Bridging the continents of Europe and Asia is a country way more enticing than what’s on your Thanksgiving plate. Turkey is a stunning combination of religion, cuisine, and people. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Black Sea, there are countless landscapes to see and enjoy. From energetic Istanbul to moon-like Cappadocia, the Ancient Greeks, Romans, and the oh-so-important Ottoman Empire have all left their mark. Earning TEFL certification in Turkey means chowing down on kebabs and meze while chatting it up with sociable Turks (most likely sipping on Turkish tea, or çay), and most importantly, embarking on a teaching journey where east meets west.
Turkey provides a diverse and transcontinental TEFL experience. Boasting the great city of Istanbul, the only city in the world that spans two continents, the diversity does not stop anywhere in Turkey. You can witness Turkey’s unique charm in its sprawling metropolises, ancient ruins, and coastline beauties all the same.
Founded by the Greeks, Istanbul is a cultural and social metropolis full of historically interesting mosques, churches, palaces, and even bathhouses. TEFL students can visit the Blue Mosque and then hop on over to the Grand Bazaar to get a glimpse into Turkish culture (and practice bartering with vendors). Istanbul offers a skyline speckled with domes and minarets as well as endless ESL teaching opportunities in a crucial business center once you’ve completed your TEFL certification.
Turkey’s capital, Ankara, is highly underrated. Its intellectual and youthful vibe comes from the large number of university students and language schools within the city’s limits (cough, potential English teaching jobs!). TEFL students can explore the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations and Anıt Kabir, the grandiose, or the monumental tomb during free time, or frequent the poppin’ neighborhoods of Kavaklıdere and Kızılay dotted with hip, trendy restaurants and cafes. No matter what, don’t forget to try a döner kebab!
Along the Turquoise coast lies Antalya, a city of sun and surf within the Turkish Riviera. Maze-like streets guide visitors past historical buildings in the old quarter, Kaleiçi. The hill of Tünektepe gives TEFL students a fabulous panoramic view of the entire Mediterranean city, and Roman ruins and Ottoman houses aside high-rises and boutiques provide the city with an ancient, yet modern feel. The historical atmosphere is a perfect learning environment for those eager to teach English abroad, and the cliff-top views make it even better!
TEFL Programs in Turkey
Turkey provides future English teachers with the invaluable opportunity to receive in-person classroom instruction within an internationally diverse context. From beaches and mountains to lakes and oceans, Turkey gives aspiring TEFL teachers an ideal teach-and-travel combination.
While some TEFL certification programs in Turkey require a bachelor’s degree, others only ask for a high school diploma. More importantly, no need to study Turkish because most TEFL programs in Turkey include survival Turkish lessons, which will be super necessary; beginner Turkish skills will help your wanderlustin’ and teachin’ spirit. Adventures outside the classroom will enhance your abilities as an ESL teacher and introduce you to the culture of your future students.
Completing approximately 120 to 140 hours of TEFL certification courses in Turkey in four weeks will gear you up with tips, tricks, and techniques needed in any ESL classroom. Trust us, it won’t be 100 percent sitting-and-listening classes (whew!). You’ll be able to learn through observation of professional English teachers before being placed in the proverbial hot seat. Your TEFL courses in Turkey will give you a chance to test out your teaching skills in actual teaching sessions with real ESL students.
English is regarded as an important language skill to gain in Turkey; it’s the language of business, diplomacy, and education. Turks are exposed to English from a young age, but exposure to native speakers is essential to mastering any foreign language, so even your daily interaction with your future students will be beneficial. Turkey has ESL teaching jobs in several educational environments, including private, public, and international schools. You can most definitely find opportunities to teach English to adult students though too. Lots of TEFL jobs in Turkey will even include help with the visa process. Once you’ve earned TEFL certification in Turkey, your program provider will likely help you find an ESL teaching job in Turkey too (score!).
Costs & Affordability
The average price tag of TEFL courses in Turkey run about $1,600 for tuition; generally, accommodation and transportation costs will not be included. The costs of TEFL programs in Turkey may seem high, but the payoff will most definitely be greater: you’ll be ready to teach English anywhere in the world! Worth it? Heck yes.
The cost of TEFL certification in Turkey shouldn’t deter you from a country with a low cost of living. An average meal can cost about $5 (15 Turkish Lira) and water is about $0.30 (less than 1 Turkish Lira). Once TEFL certified, ESL teachers can expect to live comfortably in Turkey, as salaries are usually above $1,000 per month. With affordable rent and a low cost of living, Turkey is a solid place to start your TEFL career.
Extra funds in your bank account are super useful before setting off on an English-teaching journey anywhere in the world though, so check out websites like Fund My Travel which will allow you to fundraise for your TEFL program in Turkey by sharing what you’re doing with everyone you know.
Accommodations & Visas
Depending on your TEFL program in Turkey, you’ll likely be set up with a private or shared room in an apartment in a neighborhood within walking distance of your certification classes. The cost, however, will usually not be included in your program fees. But, it is helpful to receive accommodation assistance in a foreign country, especially if you’d like to take that extra step toward immersion and live in a homestay. Some TEFL programs in Turkey will allow you to live with a host family, which is a great choice; you’ll get the insider perspective on local cuisine, mealtime traditions, and quirky Turkish sayings. If you’d like to seek out your own accommodation, you totally can, too!
Foreigners need to obtain a visa before entering Turkey. But the awesome part about the visa process (Wait, what?! There’s an awesome part?): it’s online #winning. You’ll get your visa sent straight to your e-mail! The tourist visa allows you to enter Turkey multiple times within a six month period, though one single visit cannot exceed 90 days. UK and U.S. citizens will have to pay about $60 while Australian citizens will need to pay about $100. Check out GoAbroad’s Turkish Embassy directory to find the latest visa information for Turkey.
Benefits & Challenges
When it comes to TEFL certification in Turkey, it’s not about instant gratification; you’ll have to work for that ESL teacher life. Turkey’s pros outweigh its cons, giving TEFL students enough cultural gratification to get through the four-week, intensive TEFL training.
Blend of Continental Cultures. The Turkish lifestyle is drinking çay, eating baklava, and conversing about Turkey’s long history. Turkish heritage runs deep, just like their past. Seated at the crossroads of East and West, Turkey has been an important center for Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans. That mix of empires has paved the way for some epic cultural exchanges.
Kebabs on Kebabs on Kebabs. Turkey is famous for it’s cultural mix of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine (not turkey, silly goose!). Think vegetables in olive oil, yoghurt, grilled kebabs, seafood, fresh salads, and stuffed grape leaves. YUM!
TEFL Program Costs. With program fees that seem to be a bit on the expensive side, Turkey may not be your top choice for TEFL certification abroad. Lots of TEFL options across the world hold a hefty price tag, but not all of them can proudly provide future teachers with a comfortable salary. Turkey’s got that stay-within-your-budget vibe going for its English teachers.
Low Cost of Livin’. Attracting tourists and future ESL teachers alike, Turkey maintains a low cost of living. Investing in a TEFL certification in Turkey could eventually lead to a high standard of living; think in-class for 20 to 25 hours a week and outside of class Turkish adventures in your free time.
Earn TEFL certification in Turkey to expand your concept of cross-cultural exchange. Just make sure you start with the food!