If you’ve just graduated from college and have no idea what you want to do in life, don’t panic! Maybe you’re stuck in a minimum wage job that’s not going anywhere, or you can’t afford grad school just yet. Does the thought of being stuck in a cubicle for eight plus hours a la “Office Space” sound like pure hell to you? Well, there is hope! You don’t always have to be limited to crappy jobs at home. There are great careers to be had overseas.
A teaching English abroad career is one way you can travel with a purpose and keep collecting more stamps in your passport. Forget the fictional four hour work week of a digital nomad, teaching English abroad is the perfect way to marry your wanderlust with a profession that pays real dolla-dolla bills, ya’ll. It’s also a great way to step outside your comfort zone, make a real difference in the lives of others, learn new skills, and accumulate incredible memories you cannot find at home in an entire lifetime. So here’s the big question: is teaching English abroad a good career? Let’s find out, shall we?
What are the benefits of a teaching English abroad career?
So, what’s in it for you if you choose to teach English abroad as a career? As we’ve mentioned before, teaching English abroad is one of the best ways to explore the world. As an educator, you can choose to go slow in one country for several years or skip around the globe every couple of months. Whether you spend a week or a year in one place, a teaching English abroad career is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a new language, get in with the locals, and see what it’s really like to live in a particular country.
Live and Learn
You’ll learn more about yourself and whether you can adjust to living in a totally new culture and working with people from a different background. As a teacher, you’ll also become a student—learning different ways to see the world and solve problems. With a teaching English abroad career, you’ll grow to be more open, tolerant, and culturally sensitive.
Still Bring Home the Bacon
Teaching English abroad can be quite a lucrative career if you’ve got the skills and experience. You can save a lot of money to pay off bills back home (student loans, anyone?) or recharge that travel fund. Teaching English is also a way to develop excellent professional skills, gain international work experience, ramp up your resume, and improve job prospects at home or abroad.
Change Lives— Not Just Yours
Most importantly, teaching English abroad is not just about you. It’s an opportunity to make a positive, lifelong impact on the lives of your students. If you’re really good at your job, you’ll win over their hearts and make friends for life. Who doesn’t dream of making a difference like a Professor Keating or a Ms. Gruwell?
[We’ll do your homework for you—get matched with teach abroad programs]
Your life teaching English abroad
What is a teaching English abroad career really like? Well, that depends on the kind of ESL teaching job you choose. If you’d like to be a language assistant in a public school, you could be making lesson plans, helping your co-teacher manage the classroom, marking scripts, leading the English club, or sharing your culture with students in the hallways. On the other hand, if you choose to work at an international school, you will be expected to meet with parents more frequently, do a lot more independent work, and understand the curriculum inside out. As a volunteer teacher, you may find yourself teaching English more informally and in less traditional classroom settings.
You may teach a 9-to-5 with a public school or follow a more variable schedule with a commercial language school, which may mean working at several places, on the weekends, and evenings. As a one-on-one tutor, you may spend a couple of hours teaching English conversation or business English.
Your life teaching abroad also depends on where you live. You may be able to walk or cycle to work within minutes, or experience longer commute times by train or bus. Usually, you should have enough free time to de-stress, take your own language classes, and learn about places beyond the well-trodden tourist trail.
7 jobs to kickstart your teaching English abroad career
1. Teaching in China with Teaching Nomad
Teaching Nomad has one of the largest networks of high paid teaching jobs in mainland China for newbie and more experienced educators. Enjoy a relatively low cost of living and exquisite culture of one of the world’s biggest economies. Teaching Nomad also promises to make the transition of moving to China as painless as possible.
- Read Teaching Nomad reviews | Visit their site
- See all teaching jobs in China
- So, you think you can teach English in China?
2. Teaching in the UAE with Teach Away
Earn competitive, tax-free salaries and other lovely perks teaching English abroad as a career in the United Arab Emirates (UAE in short). Teach Away is one of the the region’s most reputable recruiters for international licensed teachers, principals, and school administrators. Teach in private or public schools in world class cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
- Read more about Teach Away | Visit their site
- See all teaching jobs in the UAE
- Everything you need to know before teaching in Dubai
3. Teaching in Turkey with Asian College of Teachers
Teach in a country that literally straddles two continents, is steeped in history, and has all the Turkish delight you could ever imagine! Asian College of Teachers (ACT) gives you the chance to earn a TEFL certificate and get teaching experience under your belt!
4. Teaching in Brazil with GeoVisions
Want to travel and teach in the largest country in South America? Volunteer to teach a host family with GeoVisions in exchange for free room and board and the opportunity to learn Portuguese! In your free time, explore a country that’s home to caipirinhas on the beach, the Amazon (the original, not the online seller!), Carnaval (the world’s biggest street party), and futbol.
5. Teaching in Poland with Angloville
Teach in Europe’s best kept secret ESL market with Angloville. Sign up for a language immersion program where you can volunteer teach successful Polish students and professionals. There’s more to Poland than pierogi so explore Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, and Wroclaw to learn more about this central European country’s culture.
6. Teaching in Qatar with Edvectus
Because Qatar is hosting the next World Cup in 2018, the need to learn English is in greater demand. Edvectus recruits highly qualified and experienced English and other subject teachers for this country’s state of the art international schools. Teach in the heart of the Middle East and earn high wages, enjoy incredible amenities, and be highly valued as a professional.
- Read more about Edvectus | Visit their site
- See all teaching jobs in Qatar
- 7 reasons to teach in Qatar
7. Teaching in Russia with Language Link
Don’t be fooled: Russia is so much more than vodka, spies, and Vladimir Putin. Learning English is high priority for many locals who want to travel and do global business. Skip the red tape and teach English with Language Link, one of Russia’s top language schools with branches in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and several other locations across the country.
- Read Language Link reviews | Visit their site
- See all teaching jobs in Russia
- 10 ways not to offend people in Russia
Next steps towards your teaching English abroad career
Are you ready to take the plunge? Here are some more resources to help you decide if teaching English abroad is a good career for you!
- Got no dinero but still want to teach abroad? Start a campaign at FundMyTravel.
- Compare teach English abroad programs side by side with MyGoAbroad.
- Get customized meaningful travel advice from our OnlineAdvisor.
- Explore hot jobs and other teaching opps with our Teach English Abroad directory.
- Is teaching English abroad a good idea?
- This is why English language teaching is a dream career.
- Still on the fence? Read more articles on teaching abroad.
Trust us—when it comes to launching your teaching English abroad career, having the information and knowledge from resources like those above will help guide you along the right path.
The real question: is teaching English abroad a good career for you?
After all’s been said and done, teaching English abroad as a career is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Before you go, make the right choice about where you want to go, who you want to teach, and how much you want to get paid.
When you get there, don’t make the mistake of thinking it will always be rainbows and unicorns. There will be tough days when you will get soaked in the rain cycling to school, the students just won’t shut up, or the language barrier will infuriate you at the doctor’s office. Hang in there, dig deep, and learn how to overcome these obstacles. In the long term, you will definitely be glad you stayed—especially when it continually improves your long term career prospects and hireability. That’s right, someday you’ll be looking for jobs after teaching English abroad, but for now, let’s focus on the amazing work you’ll do during it.