How to Pick Between Teach Abroad Programs

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Calling all Ms. Frizzles, Mr. Feenies, Walter Whites (well… maybe not), Will Schuesters, Mr. Garrisons, Ms. Norburys, Miss Honeys, Dumbledores, McGonagalls, Professor Keatings, Dewey Finns/Ned Schneeblys, and, well, you get it. Ready to enter the teaching world but not sure where to start? How about taking it to the next level and teaching abroad? No sense in settling for the same old routine of grading papers and eating cold leftovers in the teacher’s lounge when you can take your career abroad and teach in an exciting destination!

two people working together on activity

When you’re looking for reputable teach abroad programs, it’s important to look for the best teach abroad programs reviews.

When you’re first starting out researching top teach abroad programs, it can sometimes feel like a vortex of information and you’ll probably find yourself asking questions as basic as what is considered a good program to teach abroad and how to even find these reputable teaching programs. Don’t sweat! It can be seriously overwhelming with all of the options available, which is why we’re here to help! 

4 steps to picking the right teaching abroad program for you

1. Ask yourself these questions

Your quest for the top teaching abroad program has to start somewhere, so why not begin with a bit of soul searching before job searching? Be sure to consider some of these FAQs before diving into program selections:

What is my ultimate goal in teaching abroad? Why do I want to teach abroad? 

What am I hoping to get out of it? What are the benefits of doing this? The answer for this should fall within multiple perspectives, ie professionally, personally, socially, etc. No one becomes an international teacher by accident! 

Am I trying to save the world by educating more people or doing it because I can’t think of anything else to do and it looks cool? Ultimately you just want to make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons and not out of boredom or lack of professional direction.

What do I want to teach abroad? 

Where are my skills most heavily based and what can I offer students in a different geographic region that they can’t already get? You want to offer your future students something unique and meaningful, not just regurgitate information they could find elsewhere. For most people, the answer to this question is “English,” as it is a high-demand skill for teacher jobs around the globe.

[First-time teachers preparing to teach English abroad need to download this ebook!]

hands covered in paint

What kind of teaching environment are you looking for?

Where do I want to teach abroad? 

Is my heart set on one place or am I more interested in the subject matter than location? There is no wrong answer here as it’s ok to have regional preferences, just make sure that you’re loud and proud about that and don’t sign up for a teach abroad program that places you where it feels like.

Helpful hint: Check out GoAbroad’s 2018 Top Destinations Report for teaching abroad to start narrowing down locations. 

What is my financial situation and how will teaching abroad affect that? 

Can I afford doing a program that I have to pay for or do I need to secure a legit teaching job? You don’t want to take a job that you’ll have to bankrupt yourself to do...kind of defeats the point of getting a job, huh?

Keep reading: 6 Countries to Make SERIOUS Money Teaching English

Am I prepared to become certified if need be? 

Do I have the time and money to study for and take the TEFL/TESOL certification exams or any others that may be required? Not all teach abroad programs require prior certification but most do, so don’t take this question lightly!

More resources: All about TEFL certification (at home AND abroad) 

2. Pick out a few top contenders

You’ve asked yourself the above questions and probably a hundred more as you’ve weighed this decision, and decided that you definitely want to do this, know where you want to go, and what kinds of students you want to work with. Now’s the time to find out who offers teach abroad programs there, what are good programs to teach English abroad, and which will give you the type of experience you want...and at the price you want!

Looking for the top teaching abroad programs? We’ve got you covered with GoAbroad’s Top Rated Organizations and Programs of 2017

going over lesson plan

Top teaching abroad programs will require you to be certified, and possibly make you prepare a demo lesson plan.

Dig deep 

If you want the best, you’ve got to look for the best teach abroad programs reviews. Connect with program alum or past teachers at ideal schools, scour any and all related blogs, call different program advisors, and basically make Google your best friend to figure out what are good programs to teach abroad. As you become more educated on the differences between teach abroad programs and schools, don’t hesitate to become more picky in your decision-making process. Take notes, be meticulous, and don’t be afraid to rule options out if they don’t 100% fit your needs and goals. There are enough teach abroad programs out there that you don’t need to mess around with any that won’t get you where you want to go.

Fact check

Check accreditations, years in business, notable program alum, business structure and company culture, and LinkedIn-stalk their program directors. Do they have safety measures in place for their teachers? Is international health insurance provided? Are the program social media profiles active and fun? Look at every program with a grain of salt and if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.

GoAbroad makes it easier

Our whole deal is trying to make your experience finding programs and getting abroad easier. We’ve got tons of tools and resources to make sure you find the right program and have the best time abroad. If you’re feeling lost in a sea of program options, our Online Advisors will send you five to six of the top teaching abroad programs that match your requirements. But, how do you keep all of it straight? Save and compare your favorite programs with MyGoAbroad and keep all the best teach abroad programs reviews in one place. Nervous about getting started on this journey? Keep reading these articles and our ebook for first-time teachers abroad

GoAbroad's whole deal is trying to make your experience finding programs and getting abroad easier. We’ve got tons of tools and resources to make sure you find the right program and have the best time abroad. 

3. Have a clear understanding of costs

We are big fans of using budget tools or worksheets when it comes to planning for any type of meaningful travel abroad because there are a lot of miscellaneous costs that can pile up. Whatever your preferred method of budgeting, make sure that you fully understand your anticipated costs and how they stack up against your anticipated earnings. Some types of teach abroad programs don’t pay and are more volunteer-based, whereas others are actual education jobs with pay and even some benefits. 

Keep reading: How to Pay for Teaching English Abroad

4. Now that you’ve looked at the decision from every angle, make it!

There’s only so much research you can do before a few teach abroad programs jump out at you, so after you’ve gone through everything with a fine-toothed comb, pick one already! As long as the program will get you to your goals and is put on by a legitimate, ethical company, you really can’t go wrong.

[Prepare early: Download this planning timeline we made just for you]

man in blue shirt with blue and red messenger bag

You’ll be 2Cool4School with these reputable teaching abroad programs.

Still stuck browsing options? Here are a handful of great teach abroad programs to consider

There are truly so many reputable teach abroad programs to look into that you should NOT feel pigeonholed into doing one that doesn’t fit your needs. Check out some of our top teaching abroad programs below to get you started and then read up on the best teach abroad program reviews to help pick!

ita logo

1. International TEFL Academy

Calling all uncertified, wannabe teachers! What makes the International TEFL Academy so great is that you can become certified and find a teaching job all through this one provider. What a way to kill two birds with one stone! ITA is a global leader in providing TEFL certifications in 25 locations (as well as online!) and certifies over 3,500 people every year. On top of this, ITA provides their students with lifetime job search guidance, resume and application reviews, and unlimited access to their job board.

i to i tefl

2. i-to-i TEFL

Similar to International TEFL Academy, i-to-i TEFL focuses on providing both TEFL certification as well as job placements. Since 1994, i-to-i has certified over 180,000 teachers either in a classroom, online, or a combo of the two, and their English-government-regulated courses are approved by global language schools. When you’re ready to start job applying, i-to-i has you covered with their paid TEFL placements in China, Spain, Vietnam, or Thailand, as well as access to their constantly growing job board for those who want something different.

teach away

3. Teach Away

Already certified and looking to hit the ground running? Time to score an education job through Teach Away! This teacher placement organization has been a leader in international teacher recruitment for 15 years, and their extensive programs include education jobs with Ministries of Education, private schools, colleges, universities, and ESL schools. Their job options go far beyond just teaching English, and are open to licensed teachers, ESL teachers, principals, administrators, college instructors, vocational teachers, and online teachers. No excuse to be unemployed with these types of opportunities!

line of apples on a picnic table

Your taste for apples will be insatiable.

teaching nomad

4. Teaching Nomad

Want to teach in Asia or the Middle East and make a decent paycheck on top of it? Teaching Nomad is your new best friend! Focused on connecting both rookie and veteran teachers with great schools in Asia, Teaching Nomad offers a huge range of jobs. With everything from kindergarten up through high school, language schools, and international schools, there is definitely something for every type of teacher. This provider has a reputation for hooking teachers up with fairly high-paying jobs and helping non-certified teachers get TEFL certified for free, so if you’re looking for an economical choice, Teaching Nomad is it!

Want even more advice? Our Online Advisors have program recs for you

Pick your teach abroad program STAT! 

Regardless of the type of teach abroad program you sign yourself up for, you’re making an awesome choice to take your career to the international stage, and hopefully make a difference on top of it! There is always a need for passionate, knowledgeable teachers in all corners of the world, so you will surely make an influence through any teach abroad program route—don’t forget to pack your red pen!

Find reputable teaching abroad programs