Earning a TEFL certificate is very important to finding work abroad as an ESL teacher. TEFL courses in Western Europe will provide you with the tools you need to excel in a classroom and any other educational setting, while also expanding opportunities for teaching English abroad to include the entire world. Plus, it gives you a reason to spend a highly rewarding month learning and teaching in Western Europe.
Why Take TEFL Courses Abroad
Western Europe presents an enriching and diverse regional context in which to earn your TEFL certificate abroad, and potentially go on to find work as teaching English abroad. Though Western Europe is a relatively small region of the continent by global standards, there is a potent handful of historically influential nations and distinct cultural identities for international teacers to explore while taking TEFL courses. From the cliffs of Normandy to the heights of the Alps to the streets of Rome, tremendous opportunity awaits those who take TEFL courses in Western Europe.
Western Europe commonly refers to all of the countries which developed outside the sphere of Soviet influence in the latter half of the 20th century. It is one of the wealthiest regions in the world, and most countries in Western Europe boast highly advanced economies and developed infrastructures (as well as many fascinating historical attractions dating back for centuries).
Excluding the island of Great Britain (where most people already speak English), your potential destinations for TEFL programs in Western Europe range from Spain and France in the west to Italy and Germany in the center and the Nordic countries up top. Each country has a different level of English proficiency, which tends to affect the amount of opportunities for TEFL courses, and subsequent ESL teaching jobs. For example, most citizens of the Nordic countries, such as Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, are already highly proficient in English through primary and secondary education, while there are much lower levels of English language fluency in countries like Spain, France, and Italy.
These are just a few potential landing places for TEFL courses in Western Europe, and there are many programs which are offered across all the other major countries and cities of Western Europe. Whether it is simply a month long TEFL certification program, or whether your stay actually extends into a English teaching job in Western Europe, depends largely on the country’s English proficiency, available jobs, and educational system.
Courses & Programs
TEFL programs in Western Europe are offered in both an online format and physical classroom setting. Students always rave about the benefits of a face to face interactive setting, where they can learn, teach, and practice their skills in person. Additionally, TEFL courses in Western Europe take on a supplementary role as a sort of an orientation period to a new place where you may eventually be living and teaching English abroad.
Most TEFL programs in Western Europe last for 120 hours of instruction time, which if you enroll in a classroom setting amounts to approximately one month. Topics covered include phonetics, classroom management skills, teaching methods, grammar, and literacy, among others. Many TEFL programs in Western Europe also require a certain amount of practice hours teaching in front of a class, and upon graduation will assure you lifetime job placement assistance.
One nice thing about teaching English abroad is that you are not typically required to know the local language. Although this will obviously be a great boost to your immersive potential outside of the classroom, many TEFL jobs abroad will want you to communicate solely in English while instructing for the benefit of your pupils.
Costs & Affordability
Western Europe is generally an expensive place to live, with slight regional variations between countries. If you are living in a big city than you can expect costs of living to be higher than a smaller town or rural area. Most of Western Europe is on the Euro, so monitor the exchange rate between this and your home country’s currency.
You certainly will make enough to get by once teaching English abroad in Western Europe, however living in most places you will likely not be able to save up much money. Most TEFL jobs pay around 1500 to 2000 euros per month, which over around the costs of living. So you’ll have fun and be able to explore while teaching English in Western Europe, but you’ll have to be mindful of your budget!
Accommodation & Visas
Your housing options will vary depending on what part of Western Europe you take TEFL courses in, and whether you are living in an urban or rural area. Most teachers opt to live in an apartment or flat – if this is the route you choose, then consider that it will be much cheaper to live with roommates or to simply rent out a room in most scenarios. Some TEFL programs in Western Europe also offer the opportunity to live with a homestay, although these are mostly for shorter durations such as the length of a basic certification program which is four weeks.
Visa policies are fairly consistent across Western Europe. If you live anywhere in the European Union then you will not have to apply for a visa to take TEFL courses and teach abroad in Western Europe. If you are coming from outside the continent, then you will need to apply for a visa if you plan on staying for longer than three months. Your TEFL program provider or host school will likely endorse you through this process.
Benefits & Challenges
Teaching English abroad in another country is an exciting and rewarding challenge. Western Europe is a beautiful and culturally enriching region of the world where most people will not get to visit throughout their lifetime. Enrolling in a TEFL program in Western Europe and then finding employment in your host country is a great way to experience this diverse and highly influential half of the continent in-depth. No doubt about it, teaching abroad is hard work - but by the end of your experience abroad you will have grown to new heights because of it.