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Teaching English abroad: Why, how and where

  • Teaching abroad
Article
Published 6 months ago

For fluent or native English speakers, teaching English abroad is often a great opportunity to experience life in another country. The importance of English as an international language means that other expats as well as native residents are often keen to have their children learn English, alongside local or other widely spoken languages. So, it may be easier than you think to take the leap and jump into life in your dream destination.

Nisha Sawon

Editorial staff

The benefits

One of the great advantages for those already fluent in the English language is that there is no need to have years of experience and a wealth of qualifications in hand to secure a job (though experience will certainly help in a more competitive market). For anyone who isn't working at an international company with the option of transferring abroad, this can often be a good way of securing employment in a foreign country before you move. Also, depending on the school, you may have your flights or accommodation paid for you.

In addition to job security, you also have the joy of working with children! Any teacher will tell you that, though it can be challenging at times, working with children and seeing their skills improve is a wonderful feeling. Not only will their skills improve, but so will yours; you will learn new teaching skills by teaching in a new culture, as well as life skills, just by living abroad.

There's also the vacation time that comes with working according to the school year. Though this varies from country to country, it is often the case that students get extensive holidays during summer and shorter (but still substantial holidays) over the winter period. If you're living abroad, this will give you ample time to explore your new home and take short breaks throughout the region (if you've chosen a really far flung destination).

Getting qualified

If you are a native English speaker, a certificate in teaching English abroad will be an advantage, while fluent English speakers may want to acquire a similar qualification in addition to an English language qualification. It is likely that in leading international schools applicants will require a university degree in any subject as a minimum.

Although it's not absolutely necessary, qualifications in teaching and teaching experience are an asset. Having experienced standing at the front of a classroom can only be a good thing. Of course, the more experience you have, the higher you can expect your salary to be, as with any job. Additionally, well-reputed international schools will likely want you to have some teaching experience under your belt. However, the important thing to note is that it isn't completely necessary, and many people live abroad comfortably as a newer teacher.

Teaching in the Middle East

There are a number of Middle Eastern countries that are popular with expats in addition to being home to wealthy locals, keen for their children to learn English. It is unsurprising, therefore, that there are some excellent opportunities here for English teachers. However, some countries have more stringent requirements than others.

In the UAE there is the potential to earn up to $4,000 a month, however you will need teaching qualifications from your home country or a few years experience. It is possible to earn up to $3,500 a month in Oman, and, though it may not have the likes Dubai to draw you in, there is a low cost of living and a fascinating culture to explore. Saudi Arabia offers English-speaking teachers the chance to earn around $3,000, and experience (while beneficial) is not required. In Kuwait you can earn up to $2,600 tax-free monthly, however experience is necessary.

Teaching in Asia

Asia is a popular region amongst young backpackers and tourists, as well as career-minded expats. There is a wonderful blend of traditional culture and modern developments throughout the region, with this juxtaposition often visible at a city level in some countries. Similarly to the Middle East, those looking to teach English in Asia will likely find countries with expats and international schools abound, as well as local parents looking to increase their children's language skills.

In Japan there is the potential to earn $3,000 a month, in addition to benefits such as accommodation. Visitors tend to be drawn to the intricately unique culture of the country, though it is something to prepare for if you are thinking of living there long-term. South Korea offers a possible $2,500 a month with similar potential benefits to Japan, in addition to being home to both the impressive urban area of Seoul and more tranquil areas outside of the cities. Vietnam is a popular tourist destination, but for those looking to set up shop over there, you can earn up to $2,000 a month, which goes a long way in a country with one of the lowest costs of living featured here. Taiwan also offers a reasonable cost of living and the potential to earn up to $2,000 a month. China has become increasingly popular as it's economic significance grows, and, if you are keen to brush up your Mandarin, you can earn up to $2,000 a month there teaching English. The country is so vast that whether you want to be in an energetic city or a quieter rural town, you will likely find somewhere to suit you.

Do you have any tips for anyone hoping to teach English abroad? Share them in the comments below.

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