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What to Consider before Looking for an ESL Teaching Job Abroad

5 May 2015

Going to live and work in a different country can sound intimidating even for the most adventurous individual. While teaching English in another country has great potential to be an amazing, life changing experience there are definitely some things to consider when going to work in another country. In this article we have highlighted the most important aspects to consider when you are searching for a job teaching English abroad.

1. Getting a TEFL Certificate

As it is possible to get an English teaching job in another country based on your fluency in English alone, it will be difficult. It is important to have a TEFL certificate that is accredited by an internationally recognized accreditation board. This will not only give you an advantage in your job search it will also give you more power in negotiating your salary. Boston Academy of English is fully accredited by ACCET, which is an accrediting board through the U.S. Department of Education. 

2. Having an Interview Plan

Many employers will want to interview you in person. Because of this, it is okay to begin your travels without having a job set in stone, but it is a good idea to have contacted some schools and be prepared with several different interviews before you set off on your journey. Having more than one interview set up will benefit you in a couple of ways: First, if one job falls through you have other options. Second if you like one job better than the other (for any reason e.g. higher pay, better location) then you have a choice; you are not stuck with one job and one contract and you can take some time to make a decision while exploring the country you’ll be living in.

3. Knowing the Culture You Are Entering Into

Even though English is a growing language and throughout many countries you can find English speakers, it is still helpful to become familiar with the language of the country you’re headed to for a few reasons. It will help you when trying to get from point-A to point-B, or shopping and knowing prices or going to restaurants and reading the menu. Most importantly, it is a great way of connecting with locals and immersing yourself in the culture. Even if you are not fluent in the language, showing that you put an effort into learning their language will delight the locals immensely.

There are amazing cultures to experience and embrace in every country. Nevertheless, as a foreigner, it is important to be sensitive to cultural differences that might lead to confusing or uncomfortable situations. It is also great to know what holidays are celebrated or which festivals are happening throughout the year that you want to be a part of. Some of the most popular are the Chinese New Year Celebration in China, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany—but we have an entire blog about this, to read click here!

You can read more about specific cultural aspects, holidays and festivals in different countries here. You can also find more culture/country information on our page about The Future!

4. Unreliable or Untrustworthy Employers

While teaching English abroad has great potential to be a life changing experience, there are definitely some things to look out for as it is easy to be enticed by attractive job offers. Doing your research on any school or employer you are applying to will benefit you; knowledge is power. Some red flags would be if the employer does not support your work visa. Another warning sign is if you are not offered a contract. Also know that there is no reason for you to send money to any of your prospective employers and if they ask that is a major red flag. Although untrustworthy employers are uncommon it is important to be aware of what to look out for. There are many reputable programs that offer jobs and contracts in many different countries and our staff at BAE can guide you in choosing the right one.

Our TEFL instructors and staff specialize in teaching abroad. They look forward to sharing their experiences with you and offering personalized advice to point students in the right direction.

For more information on getting your TEFL certificate and getting paid to travel the world visit our site, or sign up for one of our TEFL Open Houses!(Insert link to website here).


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