TEFL and travel: See the world and gain teaching experience

By Shailen Lakhani - Last update


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Every year, hundreds of Irish graduates decide to teach English abroad. A TEFL allows them to travel, live in a different country and get work experience. The TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language – course is the required qualification to teach English to non-native speakers. Even if you have a university degree you will almost certainly need to do a TEFL course too.

Where in the world?

There are a huge number of potential destinations to choose from. There are international schools around the world, and more are being built all the time. Professional English language teachers work across Europe, the Middle East,  China, Japan and South Korea. There are considerable opportunities for first-time English teachers in Asia. Many schools in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have structured programmes for teachers without previous experience.

Different people will have different ideas of what is best for them. There really are English language schools in every corner of the globe. China, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Guatemala and Brazil are all possible. Other people prefer urban centres such as Paris, Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Seoul and Tokyo. Even countries where English is the first language such as the USA and Australia offer opportunities to TEFL trained teachers.

Do your research

Before accepting a job, you need to look carefully at the issues involved in moving to and living in your intended destination. Things to consider include the economy, lifestyle, and the internal political situation of the country. You should also do your research on the reputation of the school and the size of TEFL industry in that country. If possible, talk to someone who has taught at the school, or at least at a similar institution in the same country, before making any final decision.

Furthermore, before flying halfway across the world, you should have agreed conditions with the school. These include what sort of contract will you receive, how many hours will you teach, salary and if there are any additional non-teaching duties involved. Assistance with issues such as accommodation, banking and tax is a good sign that a school is committed to looking after their staff.


Shailen Lakhani

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