In today’s guest post, i-to-i impart some wisdom about teaching English as a foreign language. You can read more about TEFL courses from i-to-i here or follow them on Facebook.
It’s the last day of your adventure and your mind has turned to the first day back at work...the bursting email inbox, the office chit-chat, your flickering computer screen and let’s not even mention the bane of office life... excel spreadsheets. A state of panic takes over you…how can you delay your time abroad? Breaking your leg on purpose seems a bit extreme…
With thousands of travel-bug victims searching for a way to travel-long term many have turned to Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Getting TEFL qualified will not only provide you with a qualification to last a life-time but it will also allow you to up-sticks and start a new life anywhere on the planet!
Is there a demand for English teachers?
The English language is becoming one of the most sought-after languages to learn – not only is it the international language for business, science, technology, diplomacy, aviation, advertising and tourism to name a few, but it is also a rite of passage for the youth of today to keep up with popular culture. Movies, TV programs, even food have an English-speaking dominance meaning learning English has become, dare I say it, cool.
As a result there is a demand for English teachers in all corners of the world.
How does it work?
Taking up TEFL means you take things into your own hands – you decide the qualification, the destination, who you teach and how long you teach for. If you’re looking for long-term travel, becoming a TEFL teacher is just one way to start a new career abroad.
Because of the high demand for TEFL teachers, your goal to explore the world is achievable. Teaching contracts vary in length according to both the employer and the country. Standard TEFL contracts are around 8-12 months and are often extendable. Finished 8 months teaching kindergarten in China? Why not head out to teach business English in southern France on the next TEFL adventure?
Short-term options ARE available, they just require a bit more investigating. One great short-term option is summer camps - these occur all over the world and are popular in Europe and Asia alike. If you’re new to teaching, this is a great short-term option if you want to dip your toes in before taking the plunge! Short-term teaching contracts are also a great stop-gap opportunity – to save some money before continuing on your journey around the world.
Top tip: there are literally thousands of TEFL jobs; some of them have incredible perks. Look out for employers providing accommodation, health-care and even return airfare.
But how do I travel?
There’s no hiding that teaching English as a foreign language is a real, proper job. A real timetable, students to educate and work to mark. But with most contracts just under a year it means that you can really immerse yourself in the local culture, boost your CV and escape the ‘tourist’ label, all while knowing that your next adventure is only round the corner. Remember, teaching come with the added perk of school holidays, so you’ll have plenty of free time to squeeze in some jet setting. To help you get the ball rolling, here are some top TEFL destinations that are perfect for a spot of intrepid exploring during your time off:
Vietnam is a hub for English teaching opportunities, from Ho Chi Minh City all the way up to Hanoi, you’re bound to find a position that suits you. What’s more, the country is filled with amazing travel opportunities, take a tour along the Mekong Delta or spend some time relaxing by the canal in Hoi An, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you’re interested in travelling, Thailand needs no introduction. A huge tourism industry and growing international trade have made English speakers into a hot commodity, and that means the opportunities for teaching
are endless. Everyone knows Thailand for its beautiful islands and party culture, but the north of the country is also well worth exploring. Head to Chiang Mai for the chance to explore some authentic Thai Buddhist temples.
For some great ideas on affordable hostels, click here.
South Korea is another hotspot for English-teaching travellers
, particularly in Seoul, the country’s most buzzing metropolis. Korea is also home to some spectacular hiking trails and historical sites that are centuries old. Head out to Jirisan National Park or the Bulguksa Temple District in Gyeongju.
The opportunities for TEFL jobs in Italy
are growing, and along with the allure of Italian food and some of the most famous historical landmarks in the world, there’s much more to Italy than you might expect. If you’re a fan of all things outdoors, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the country’s mountainous landscape. Head out to the Amalfi Coast to hike the ‘Path of Gods’ trail, or down to Sicily for the chance to see the awesome Stromboli Volcano.
How much can I earn?
Asia remains one of the most popular destinations for travel-hungry TEFLers with some of the most lusted-after travel destinations right on your doorstep. With a nice TEFL wage (you can earn up to £2000 a month teaching English in South Korea) say goodbye to money worries and say hello to sustainable long term travel…
Thanks to Frontierofficial and Steve Jurveston for the images from Flickr. Please note, all Flicker images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of positng.