As winter sets in, many proactive educators may already be making plans for the return of summer. That’s a good thing—spending your summer teaching English abroad isn’t an easy decision to arrive at, and planning for the journey can be quite time consuming. Allotting yourself the headway to carefully wade through potential programs here at the outset will free up valuable time later down the line to focus on preparation and hitting your deadlines.
There’s a lot of different avenues you can take to teaching English abroad over the summer. Questions over where to go, for how long, what level to teach, and what kind of organization to work for can be a lot to juggle. That’s why we created this guide; to help inform you about all the different options out there for a summer teaching English abroad, and how to go about finding the perfect fit.
Is this a paid gig?
Shortly, yes and no. It’s easy enough to find teach English abroad summer paid opportunities, but there are also a ton of great volunteer placements available that offer a whole different type of immersive experience. So really, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Most regular schools look to tender academic semester or full year contracts for jobs teaching English abroad first and foremost, and so summer jobs teaching English abroad at these institutions will be less common to come upon. Don’t worry though—there’s still plenty of opportunity out there to be taken advantage of. Specialty language schools tend to offer courses year round, and summer jobs tutoring abroad, au pairing, or teaching English to professionals are likewise not restricted by the academic year calendar.
How much you will earn therein depends very much on the type of job you agree to, as well as where in the world you are working. Teaching English to business professionals in China, for instance, where there is a very high demand, will earn you much more than a tutoring gig in Europe, where there is less of one. Be sure to take this into account as you think about where you want to teach and budget for your travels.
Because a short one to three month commitment may discourage educational institutions from offering a paid contract to teach English abroad over the summer, you’ll find in your research that many opportunities are also volunteer-based. Volunteering is more popular in areas of the world that lack resources to pay teachers over the summer time, opening up an entirely new range of possibilities for where you can go and what environment you can teach in.
Some volunteer summer programs will compensate educators by means such as paying for room and board, while others will wind up costing the educator more out of their own pocket. You can find a lot of summer programs that will also combine English education with other volunteer opportunities in your community, creating a more multifaceted experience.
What to look for in summer teaching English abroad programs
It can be somewhat of a dart throw to apply directly to a paid gig abroad, not knowing much about the on-the-ground situation in your country of choice. So many educators choose to make the trip through a summer teaching English abroad program instead. Going through an established program is a good way to make sure that all your basic needs will be met throughout the duration of the experience, and ensures that you will be set up with a reputable employer abroad.
As you’re looking through all the different summer teaching English abroad programs out there, it’ll help to have a few solid pegs to compare them against each other with. Some good questions you may start with are: What age level and what types of teaching opportunities do they provide for? What sort of compensation is offered (flights, room, board, etc.)? What different kinds of housing options will be available? What kind of support system will you have once you’re on the ground?
Before you jump into the research phase for summer teaching English abroad programs, prepare yourself with the right questions. Then as you begin looking through opportunities, read plenty of reviews and adjust your expectations accordingly. Once you’ve found a few programs that stand out above the rest, then reach out to alumni and the program provider with any additional questions that popped up along the way. By being methodical in these ways, you’ll increase your chances of landing in the best possible fit teaching English abroad next summer.
What are the benefits of short term teaching abroad?
While you won’t be given the same structure and support that you might during the regular academic year, short term teaching abroad over the summer has a lot of benefits exclusive to it’s format. For starters, it’s summertime! Students and teachers are generally more relaxed with curriculum demands and expectations, meaning that you can expect to enjoy a more laid-back classroom and institutional environment. This in turn can free you up with time to immerse yourself beyond the classroom in other ways.
Short term teaching abroad is also a great option for those who are considering a longer term path in international education and want to get their feet wet before making the leap. It is not as grand a time commitment as a full semester or academic year, giving you more informed flexibility down the line for when you do consider these options. Also, teaching English abroad can be an extremely meaningful, rewarding way to spend your summer even if you have no future plans in education and are just looking to fill the time.
Where are popular places for summer English teaching jobs abroad?
English teachers are in demand all across the planet where it is not spoken as a native language, so the world is literally at your doorstep. That being said, natural supply and demand means that finding work in some regions will be much easier than in others.
There is huge demand in Asia and Latin America, for example, where developing economies with large populations are looking to globalize their outlook. Millions of eager pupils in countries ranging from China and Vietnam to Brazil and Costa Rica can stand to benefit from learning our modern age’s lingua franca, just as much as you will benefit as a teacher and traveler from immersing in their country.
Europe is a very popular destination for international educators as well, but summer English teaching jobs abroad are tougher to come by here because of more stringent labor restrictions and a higher concentration of English speakers. It’s certainly worth it to see what opportunities you can find though—who wouldn’t want to spend a summer teaching English in the hills of Spain or France, after all?
Most summer English teaching programs in Africa will be volunteer based, and many will be across the Middle East as well. Still, it’s very much possible to find paid positions in both these regions if you go through the right avenues.
Are there any requirements for summer teaching English abroad?
Many summer jobs teaching English abroad will require that prospective applicants are TEFL certified, especially if it’s a paid gig. This requires at least 120 hours of training, either through an online provider or during a month-long in-classroom course. Some summer teaching English abroad programs will alternatively offer educators the opportunity to become TEFL certified throughout the duration of their employment, too. Volunteer placements are less demanding of this criteria than paid jobs.
Some summer jobs teaching English abroad may also introduce pre-requisites such as prior teaching experience or an age minimum for their prospective teachers. Of course, the most sought after applicants for a summer job teaching English abroad will be professional educators themselves—but this is far from a demand. A high school or college degree will often suffice.
Top teaching English abroad summer programs
To give you an idea of what summer English teaching jobs abroad are like and to help you get started on your research, we’ve picked out a few of our favorite program providers here. These are a select few of hundreds of opportunities out there, so take the initiative to continue researching deeply on your own!
Greenheart Travel offers a wide array of cultural immersion programs located all around in the world, including paid teaching and volunteer positions over the summer. Greenheart International is an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering a connected, sustainable, peaceful global community.
GeoVisions is an organization dedicated to giving program participants and the people they work with the skills needed to foster a healthy 21st century global community. They offer lots of summer teaching opportunities, ranging from schools to tutoring to summer camps.
GoCambio offers a unique educational opportunity to live with a host family and engage in language exchange on a daily basis. They offer programs in several different countries connecting people from all over the world.
API offers short term teaching abroad jobs around the world, in addition to a host of other programs that will make for a summer well spent. Many API programs also offer current students the opportunity to earn academic credit while abroad.
Got that summertime, summertime-teach-abroad-madness
Now that you have a better idea of how to spend your summer teaching English abroad, the next step is to start making it happen. Deadlines creep on you fast than you think, especially if you’re busy with school or a job. Start researching programs, making a list, reaching out to as many people as you can think of, and then make the commitment. What has the potential to be the best summer of your life is just around the corner!