How Teaching English Abroad Can Help You Become a Digital Nomad

Digital nomads working in cafe

The last few months have certainly seen a number of changes in our lives. In order to deal with an unprecedented global situation, we’ve all had to change the way we think, the way we live and the way we work. Many of us have been forced to work remotely from home. While this might have been awkward and challenging in the beginning, we soon realised it was doable. In some ways, many of us became more productive the less time we spent in an office. Others, unfortunately, lost their jobs and needed to pivot into an entirely different career. Possibly one of the most common new careers is that of a digital nomad.

What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad is someone who works completely online. Whatever needs to be done can be done on their laptops, as long as they have an internet connection. This means that they can work from wherever they want to be, anywhere in the world. They can set their own schedule and work whatever hours they choose, as long as their deadlines are met.

But what exactly does a digital nomad do?

Anything – and possibly everything. When you consider the online landscape, there are a few jobs that should come to mind: website design, blogging, content writing, digital marketing, social media. These jobs are done on a laptop anyway, so they are intrinsically related to working remotely. However, it’s now possible to do a number of other jobs online which would usually be done face-to-face.

One of these is teaching English online.

Read more: What Tools Do I Need to Teach English Online?

What is teaching English online?

If you’re familiar with teaching English as a Foreign Language, then you should have an idea of teaching English online.

Basically, teaching English as a Foreign Language involves teaching English to speakers of other languages. These learners speak another language as their first language and are learning English as a second, or even a third or a fourth, language. These learners might be children, teens or adults. As the teacher, it is your job to teach them how to communicate in English for whatever purpose they might need it.

Generally speaking, students learn English as a Foreign Language at schools, private language schools, universities, or private lessons. Now, this can all be done online.

How can I teach English online?

When you teach English online, you teach one student or a group of students in a virtual classroom. You might use Skype or Zoom or another virtual platform. You teach them as you would in a physical classroom, but obviously, there are a few differences when it comes to executing your lessons. These days online classrooms are able to offer us a number of tools to make our lessons effective. It’s possible to share your screen, put students in separate rooms to chat, show videos, play interactive games together and so much more.

Now that you know how to teach English online you’re probably wondering where you find your students. There are two ways you can do this. You can sign up to one of the literally hundreds of online companies, or you can find students yourself. A company will book students for you and pay you a set rate. If you’re an independent teacher you will need to advertise yourself on social media and book your own students. On the plus side, you can set your own rate.

Read more: 7 Easy Steps to Becoming a Successful Independent Online Teacher

Laptop. Online working from around the world

How teaching English online can help you become a digital nomad

Teaching English online gives you a lot of flexibility. You can choose how much you want to work and when you want to work. And, of course, you can work from anywhere in the world so you can choose where you want to live as well. And this is the crux of the digital nomad lifestyle.

Teaching English online allows you to create a work situation that suits your lifestyle. If you are a morning person, you can get all of your work done in the morning while you’re fresh. If you want to work only three days a week, you can make that work for you. And if you want to live in Thailand, it’s possible without having to find a job in Thailand – you can keep the same job no matter where you are.

The bottom line is that you can choose how you want to live and you can adapt your job around that. Usually where we live or when we work is dictated by your job, but this is absolutely not the case with teaching English online.

The benefits of teaching English abroad as a digital nomad

Not only that but teaching English online must be one of the most enjoyable jobs there is, for this exact reason. Teaching students from all over the world will give you a glimpse of what life is like in different countries. Getting to know your students will help you understand and appreciate different cultures and ways of life. At the same time, you could be living in a country which is unexplored territory for you, so your time off from work will be an adventure as well.

What’s more, working as a digital nomad gives you time to dedicate to any other passion projects you may have. Working the usual 9 to 5 often means we spend all of our time trying to get our work done and are so exhausted by the end of the day we just want to relax. But when you can choose your own hours, you can allocate time specifically to do what you want to do.

Plus, because you’re earning money teaching, you’ll have some spare cash if you need capital. Maybe you want to start your own travel blog. Or maybe you need to design a website to advertise other skills you may have, like writing or translation. Or maybe you want to start an online shop selling vintage t-shirts. Whatever you want to do, it’s likely that you’ll need some cash to invest in yourself in the beginning, and teaching English online can help you do that.


Teaching English online is accessible to everyone. It’s something you can do if you are twenty years old or a mother of two kids. You can do it as a side hustle at first while you continue working, or you can do it as your first job. You can do it in a small one-bedroomed flat or in your parent’s house. Whatever your life situation is, you can make it work for you. And if your goal is to become a digital nomad, teaching English online should be your first step to achieving that goal.

Why you should start teaching English online now

If you think all this sounds amazing but you’re worried that it’s all too good to be true, then why not test it out. You can start teaching English online while you continue the life you are currently living and see how it goes. You will be able to find your feet in the virtual classroom, earn some cash and figure out how the digital nomad lifestyle can work for you. Being a digital nomad means you can work from home if you want to!

All you need to do is sign up for an accredited TEFL course. Once you have your certificate in your hand you’ll be able to look into teaching English and seeing how it can work for you. Good luck, and let us know if you have any questions!

The post How Teaching English Abroad Can Help You Become a Digital Nomad appeared first on The TEFL Academy Blog.

I have been traveling and teaching ESL abroad ever since I graduated university. This life choice has taken me around the world and allowed me to experience cultures and meet people that I did not know existed.

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