The English language is probably the most commonly spoken language in the world. Because it is so widely spoken it’s sometimes been referred to as a “world language” and is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union. This burgeoning linguistic imperialism has caused, among other things, a consistently growing need for English speaking teachers abroad.
Unfortunately, asking someone to move to a different country is a quite the commitment. Finding someone on top of that who is both trained and qualified for the job is an even tougher task. This is why many schools abroad are actively seeking potential teaching candidates who possess an English Language teaching certificate (ELT/TEFL/EFL). Granted, In countries where the demand for English language teachers is high you could feasibly obtain a job with just a Bachelor’s degree however in today’s job market it’s best to get a leg up on your competition.
Certification courses generally run from 100-120 hours and can be obtained both in the classroom and online. Don’t speak the language? Possessing a TEFL certificate can be of great importance for those potential teachers who are not fluent in the native tongue. While you do not always have to speak the local language, native speakers are sometimes favored for an English teaching position. However non-native speakers with TEFL certification are still given consideration – especially over those candidates without certification.
Most schools have a job placement program that will get you in touch with prospective employers once you’ve graduated. Teaching commitments vary school to school however most arrangements will require a commitment of at least a year. Some might even include round-trip airfare to whatever teaching location you wind up in. Some schools will provide housing but regardless of where you end up teaching this housing will more than likely be fairly ‘bare-bones’ with little (if any) furniture.
Speaking of accommodations, one thing you may wish to consider when applying for a teaching career abroad is your own personal living situation. If you are in a relationship and living with a partner this could or could not hamper your chances of being placed with a school. This all depends on the school of course.
Some institutions will find single candidates appealing because of their flexibility and potential willingness to accept a shared living accommodation with someone else. Another reason why a single teacher might be found more appealing is that they are more likely to be mobile and able to leave on less notice.
Because However if you should happen to be in a relationship with someone don’t lose hope yet! Some schools prefer to hire teaching couples because they can be hired together and share a single living accommodation. In these situations, couples without children are considered more stable. Protip: Would-be Lotharios beware – in most countries there is a zero tolerance for dating the local students. Obviously the chances of this problem occurring greatly decreases when schools hire teaching couples. Or maybe not. Who knows. That’s the theory at least. Either way, don’t be that guy.
One final word about living arrangements and relationships. Not every destination is necessarily going to be gay-friendly. Fortunately the Rainbow SIG (Specific Interest Group) is fabulous resource for international teachers and students with concerns or questions pertaining to the social climate of a given area abroad.
Overall teaching abroad can be a fantastic experience to be treasured for a lifetime. If you’ve got a desire to experience other cultures and see the world while broadening the horizons of others, obtaining a TEFL degree should be your first step!
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