Deciding to pack your bags and book a ticket to teach English as a Foreign Language abroad is a big step. After all, it’s a decision which will affect your entire life – from where you live to how much money you’ll earn to how often you’ll see your friends and family. So it’s natural to be a bit nervous about taking that first step.
This is why we are firm believers in the power of a TEFL internship. Let’s look at seven amazing reasons you should do a TEFL internship.
Read more: What is a TEFL Internship?
It gets your toes in the water
Even with a TEFL course under your belt, you still might feel a little anxious about standing on your own two feet and teaching an EFL lesson. A TEFL internship will give you a taste of what it is like to be a TEFL teacher, without throwing you in the deep end. On a TEFL internship you could be a teacher or a teaching assistant, but whatever position you are given you are fully supported. The company you go through will make sure you are supported and looked after at every lesson. This means that any issues you might have with regards to teaching and living in a new location you can bring up with your company.
It puts the theory into practice
A good TEFL course will provide you with all the tools and techniques you need to be an effective TEFL teacher. You will learn the fundamentals of teaching English as a Foreign Language, including how learners learn best and optimal teaching methods. You will be given an overview of English grammar, as well as the skills and subskills involved in using the language. You will be shown how to plan a lesson and utilise resources well. And while that all sounds well and good on paper, putting the theory into practice is something else entirely. A TEFL internship gives you a chance to put the theory into practice with assistance never being far away.
It’s a short-term solution
A contract for a full-time teaching position is usually between 12 and 24 months. This is a long time to commit to a job you know nothing about. A TEFL internship is usually much shorter – 3 to 6 months. This is enough time to help you feel comfortable in the classroom but also short enough so that if you find it’s not what you expected then you don’t have to wait long until it’s over. Who knows, if you find you really love you could maybe get a job in the same school you are interning!
It makes life easy
Packing up your life and moving to another country is stressful. Besides the headache of the paperwork which inevitably needs to be done, the sheer amount of unknowns you are walking into can seem overwhelming. As a TEFL teacher you become accustomed to forging bravely into the unknown on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not scary the first time you do it. A TEFL internship gives you the chance to experience your first move abroad with the support of a company. You are usually met at the airport, taken to your accommodation and given an orientation for a few days. This is a much gentler start to a life abroad than going it alone and it will give you the confidence to do it independently the next time.
It’s a cultural immersion
TEFL internships are not about earning millions of dollars and living a life of luxury. TEFL internships are often unpaid or if you are paid a stipend it won’t be very much. However, your payment is usually in the form of room and board, often with a local family. In other words, your daily costs should be covered. Interns become family members and are given an insight into the local culture that not many foreigners get. At the same time, the company will often organise lessons in the local language or local excursions for you to experience the local culture.
Read more: Culture Shock
Note: some TEFL internships come at a cost, meaning that the teacher pays a certain amount to do the internship programme. Deciding to pay for it is a personal choice, as there are plenty of internships which don’t cost anything. However, often those that are paid for include a TEFL course as well or some form of training.
It makes you look good
We all know that when applying for jobs, your CV can make or break your chances. When it comes to teaching, experience is king. There’s always that catch-22 situation of employers wanting teachers to have teaching experience but not many schools want to be the ones to give the teachers the experience in the first place! A TEFL internship solves that dilemma. You will gain invaluable teaching experience which no one can deny, making you very attractive to future employers. As an added bonus, it will give you extra confidence in your own abilities.
You can choose your internship
In a sense, an internship is a backwards job. With a job, you apply to jobs and accept a position that is offered to you. Whether or not you are given the job depends on the employer, who has all the power. With an internship, you pick and choose one which suits you. You can choose where the internship is, what kind of teaching you’ll do, how long you’ll do it for. It is up to you to choose the best internship for you. It is unlikely an internship position will turn you down if you meet all their requirements – which is usually just a TEFL qualification and a certain level of English.
What it all boils down to is personal choice. A TEFL internship is not for everyone, but it might be exactly what you are looking for. If you already have a TEFL qualification and teaching experience, a TEFL internship is not what you are looking for. You need to find a full-time job.
But if you are still sitting on the fence about TEFL or are still looking at options for TEFL training or have a TEFL qualification but are overwhelmed by the choices out there, then you should check out internships page and consider doing a TEFL internship.