Whether you already have English teaching experience under your belt or you simply have an undying love for spreading the gospel of grammar, a TESOL degree is the next step to furthering your career. To be a true TESOL professional, with cultural insights and experience in the real world, you need to complete your TESOL degree abroad. The international exposure in (and out) of the classroom is an ideal complement to any career in teaching English as a second language. In addition, your international degree will be a major advantage if you plan to work abroad post-graduation!
Why Earn a TESOL Degree Abroad
With a career path that is all about cultural awareness, adaptability, and strong communication, there is no better way to start out than by pursuing your TESOL degree abroad. The international immersion will set the tone for your studies and provide the most beneficial experience for your future, both personally and professionally.
While you are busy learning the ESL concepts and methodology inside of the classroom, you will be able to apply the skills during your time living abroad in interactions with locals. Spending one to two years in a foreign country will make you cognizant of your surroundings, more compassionate toward others, and have a more extensive cultural understanding (obviously a major plus as an English teacher!).
Professionally, a TESOL degree will give you the platform you need to be successful in many different educational settings. TESOL graduates usually apply for jobs teaching in higher education, managing language courses, planning curriculum, or creating tests and materials. By completing your TESOL degree abroad, you will be demonstrating to future employers that you have a deep commitment to cross-cultural learning. This exposure will provide you with a broader perspective of living and learning in another culture, and make you an asset in future positions. Paired with your studies, the international experience will also give you a stronger, more empathetic connection to your students.
In addition to this, the relationships you will make during the courses in a TESOL degree program abroad will create a robust, professional network that will benefit you long into your future. You will constantly be interacting and learning from your fellow classmates, professors, and students. The TESOL community can be tight knit and well-connected, which could open up many opportunities down the line.
Good news: many universities offer TESOL degree programs and there are jobs for ESL teachers all over the world. If you want to narrow your placement down a bit, consider the demand for teaching jobs and the cost of living in each country, and don’t forget to glance at your own travel bucket list. To get your gears grinding, here are a few countries that are more popular for TESOL degrees and offer very different kinds of cultural immersion opportunities:
China. With a high demand for English teachers and a society that puts a strong value on education, China is an excellent option for beginning your TESOL career. This winning combination makes for plenty of great job offers after graduation (with competitive pay as well!). Especially with a higher degree in TESOL, native English teachers are greatly sought after for teaching in Chinese schools. There will be no shortage of expat English teachers around, so you will quickly make new friends to dine on dumplings with!
England. If you would like the comfort of an English-speaking country along with the international experience, TESOL degree programs in England will be great for you. As far as the post graduation job outlook, London is an international business hub, which means there are plenty of TESOL job opportunities available in businesses. With the advanced qualifications of a TESOL degree, there are endless possibilities in a more traditional school setting as well (maybe Hogwarts will be hiring!). If course-creation or test-making is more your style, many of the official ESL exams are based in England, so you will be right in the academic action.
Poland. If you want cheap European living, a central location, and an immersion into a Slavic language, Poland is a star applicant. Since Poland is a newer member to the EU, they are still catching up with Western business, which means a major need for quality English classes. You will be able to meet with, learn from, and eat all the pierogis your heart desires with fellow ESL teachers. With an abundance of language schools and universities, you will be an incredibly desirable candidate for higher level teaching, program development, and teacher training TESOL positions.
TESOL Degree Programs
Most people choose to pursue a master’s degree in TESOL, though some go all the way and get a doctorate degree in TESOL. TESOL degrees are typically not offered at the undergraduate level, but if you want to try teaching English before committing to a post-graduate degree, you might consider getting a TEFL/TESOL certificate abroad instead.
TESOL degree courses dive deeply into educational theories and practices for being a successful language teacher. You will gain a greater understanding of TESOL methodology, along with exploring key concepts and issues that go along with this career.
In addition to the focus on theories and ideology, TESOL courses will spend time developing your skills on teaching the basics, like grammar and phonology, to ESL students. TESOL degree programs often include practice teaching hours and plenty of opportunities to reflect, so that you will feel comfortable and confident in your career as a TESOL professional.
Benefits & Challenges
Demanding course work. TESOL degrees are in-depth and comprehensive. They will provide excellent preparation for a future career in higher education, just be ready to work for it. The good news is, the concepts and cultural understanding will be even more applicable with your first-hand immersion experience in an international setting.
Professional connections in all the right places. By completing your TESOL degree abroad, you will be able to network with professors and experts in the countries mentioned, or other ESL hotspots like Australia, India, and Scotland. These connections will be helpful as you begin the job hunt and throughout your career. The only thing better than friends in high places is friends all over the places.
First-hand immersion experience. Living and learning in a foreign country will make the concepts from the classroom much more real. This experience will enhance your career and give you a better connection your future students. International exposure to a classroom setting as both a teacher and a student will make you a more successful ESL educator. Plus, what better lesson plan inspiration than your travels and time abroad?
If you have a passion for education and international learning, then earning a TESOL degree is the right career move for you. By earning your TESOL degree abroad, you will gain valuable personal and professional experience that will stay with you throughout your career, no matter where you will end up.