Have you just graduated from high school or university?
Are you unsure of what you want to study at university or where you want to work?
Do you want to take a break from the books and the office and travel the world before settling down?
Then perhaps teaching English as a Foreign Language abroad is just what you are looking for!
Why should you teach English abroad?
There are so many reasons you should teach English abroad it might be easier to tell you why you shouldn’t!
Jokes aside, there really are a handful of good reasons why you should teach English abroad. Here are just a few:
- It’s a great way to earn money and travel the world.
- You get to experience a foreign country like a local more than a tourist.
- You will meet people from all over the world.
- It’s a flexible job so you can move around whenever you want.
- It will give you skills which you can transfer to other jobs.
- It could be the first step to a career you’d never considered before.
But let’s look specifically at how you can teach English abroad in your gap year.
Teaching English abroad in your gap year
There are two options for a gap year, but they are very similar. The one option is to take a gap year between high school and university. The other option is to take a gap year once you have graduated with a degree but before you start a job.
Either way, the first step you’ll need to take is to do a TEFL course. Once you have finished school or university, you should have some free time to dedicate to the qualification. Do your homework and find a TEFL course that is not only reputable and internationally recognised but suitable for you and your needs.
Your TEFL course can be done full-time or part-time, face-to-face, online, or a combination of both. This means that it’s possible to do the TEFL course while you are still studying or even working. You can study in your free time, which can be evenings and weekends.
Once you have the TEFL qualification under your belt, you can start looking for a job. If you have a degree there are very few places you can’t find a job. If you don’t have a degree, it’s still very possible to find a job but you need to be a bit more selective in the countries that you apply for jobs in. For example, in order to get a work permit to teach in China, you need to have a degree, regardless of what field it is in.
Finding a TEFL job
The best way to find a job teaching abroad is to decide first of all where you would like to work. Once you have chosen a country, then you can do your research and apply for jobs. There are often country-specific websites you can use – such as ajarn.com for jobs in Thailand – or you can use a general jobs board, like tefl.com.
In order to apply for a job, you’ll need to submit your CV, as well as attach a cover letter. There might be an application form you need to complete. If you make it through the first round, it is likely you will be asked to attend an online interview. This could even involve doing (or explaining) a demo lesson or submitting an introductory video.
If you are given the job, your employer will send you a contract for you to sign. Then it’s time for you to book your ticket, sort out your visa and get packing!
TEFL job contracts are usually for 12 months, which means that you’ll spend your entire year in the same job. This is great because it gives you the chance to really experience the foreign country, make friendships and possibly even learn the local language.
However, if you want to move around a bit more, then you could look at short contracts, which are usually summer contracts or summer camps. These can be from four weeks to twelve weeks long. This gives you the flexibility to move around a bit more and experience living abroad in a few different countries or even a few different cities in the same country.
If you’d rather not go through the procedure of looking for a job online, you can easily apply for a TEFL internship. Internships are ideal for teachers with no experience or people who would like a more structured TEFL experience. Internship programmes generally offer airport pick-ups, accommodation, cultural and language lessons, and teaching assistance if you need it. They are a great way to ease yourself into TEFL.
Another possibility is to teach English online. If you choose this route then the world really is your oyster as you can live anywhere, as long as you have a good internet connection and the right equipment.
The benefits of teaching English abroad in your gap year
Teaching English abroad in your gap year is an adventure. It is a year you can put your real life on hold and focus on yourself. You will learn skills that will help you in your future career. Teaching English abroad looks great on your CV, as it shows you are independent, adaptable, responsible and organised.
So teaching English abroad can prepare you for any career. But you might find that you fall in love with TEFL and it actually becomes your career! You might decide to live abroad permanently and teach wherever your heart desires. Or you could find a career behind the scenes in TEFL, as a school manager or coursebook writer or lesson material developer. There are a number of opportunities related to TEFL which don’t involve teaching.
So if you are considering taking a gap year and wondering what you should do with it, chat to us about teaching English as a Foreign Language. We promise you won’t regret it!