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  1. #1
    yaakovdov is offline Newbie
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    Smile Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    Hi. I'm literally at the very start of researching the idea of teaching English abroad, which I'm potentially getting very excited about! I don't yet know where, but I would like to live in a foreign culture such as Asia or Africa. I've done a lot of backpacking in Asia already, but never settled somewhere for a while, which I think would be a totally different experience. Japan certainly jumps out as an initial suggestion, but I'm open to anything. Here's my initial questions ...
    1) Am I right in saying that I would need to get a TEFL qualification for many places, but not all (such as Japan)? How does teaching somewhere that requires a TEFL differ to somewhere that doesn't?
    2) If needed, how do I get a TEFL qualification and how long does it take?
    3) Assuming that most places start the school year in September, am I'm too late in the year now, or maybe can I start later in the year?
    4) Finally, is it always a 1 year thing, or potentially could I do a shorter period of time?

    Plua any other advice on what steps I should take next would be greatly appreciated!

    Thankyou so much!
    Andy

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    There are certainly lots of variables depending on where you want to teach. When I started teaching in Spain, it was enough to have a TEFL. I understand from my friends who are still there that many places now demand a full CELTA and a degree.
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  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    It's a wonderful adventure, I've done it for years. Choose a place whose food, culture and language interest you, and off you go. Oh, and make sure it's a politically stable place, preferably more developed rather than undeveloped, unless you have lots of patience (4 hour doctors visits, 3 hour bank visits, 2 hour cell phone booth visits, 1 hour lunch date waits, 0 chance of receiving your change if you hand someone a large bill).

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    It's a wonderful adventure, I've done it for years. Choose a place whose food, culture and language interest you, and off you go. Oh, and make sure it's a politically stable place, preferably more developed rather than undeveloped, unless you have lots of patience (4 hour doctors visits, 3 hour bank visits, 2 hour cell phone booth visits, 1 hour lunch date waits, 0 chance of receiving your change if you hand someone a large bill).
    Funny, your description of the underdeveloped place sounds exactly like my experience in Spain (apart from the part about the change). I have never been anywhere in the Western world with more unrelenting bureaucracy!
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  5. #5
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    Not all school years begin in September- it's April in Japan, for instance. Also, jobs crop up all the time, and contract times may vary.

    Getting a qualification like CELTA takes around a month. Not having a decent qualification will reduce your choice and will exclude you from the better jobs in many countries. Such courses come with a hefty price tag, but they will help you. I looked at a couple of hundred job adverts a while ago and the qualifications asked, and you can see how they help: Which ELT Qualification? - Tdol's English Language Blog

    I agree completely with Konungursvia, but I would add that it's a good idea to always have the price of a flight out- without it, you are dependent on your boss, but with it, you can get out if things go wrong. And do research places that offer you jobs before you accept.

  6. #6
    yaakovdov is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    Thankyou to everyone for your responses, it's a massive help in guiding my ideas forward!
    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Not all school years begin in September- it's April in Japan, for instance. Also, jobs crop up all the time, and contract times may vary.
    Thats really good to know! I feel less rushed now! All your responses have led me to a few more questions:

    1. I haven't yet heard of a CELTA, I've only heard of a TEFL. Whats the difference? Can you do it online, and if so, is that less appealing to employees? If its not online, where can I do it?
    2. How time consuming and strenuous is teaching abroad? Obviously I would give my all to the job, but of course this is an experience for me too. I want to embrace myself in living in another country for a while, and that means I need spare time in the evenings and weekends.
    3. I guess my main question is "what is my next step"? My guess is I need to read about different countries and what I would need to do to teach in them, but whats the best way to do this?

    Thankyou so much everyone!!

    Andy

  7. #7
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    Yes, I was thinking of Portugal while writing the description, and saying to myself "I'll bet they don't realize which underdeveloped place I am thinking of now!"

  8. #8
    yaakovdov is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    Thanks so much to everyone for your excellent advice! I guess my next step is to research what i want to do more thoroughly, including maybe finding a course (a 4 week course doesn't sound too bad!).


    To summarise more who I am and what I would like, I am a graduate of History and I have a Masters in Software Development. I would like to work in Asia or maybe even Africa if thats an option. Your excellent answers have arisen the following questions and thoughts ...


    1) Time is unfortunetely against me, for I would like to be home again in approximately a year from now! Do you think it is feasible to have a fun, rewarding teaching experience within a year of now? (baring in mind people appear to reccomend I do a course first, that lots of places are for a year, and that lots of places start in September)? Do you know of anywhere that appears to fit my current thinking?


    2) Another question that has arisen is 'Who' will I be teaching? I had in mind it would be young children, maybe who already have a start in English (as I won't be able to speak their own language!). However, some people imply adults are often the students? Which is more common?

    3) How time consuming and strenuous is teaching abroad? Obviously I would give my all to the job, but of course this is an experience for me too. I want to embrace myself in living in another country for a while, and that means I need spare time in the evenings and weekends.


    4) Finally, I'd like to know if you guys think I am a typical and worthy candidate for teaching abroad? Do I sound like I am doing this for the right reasons? I am not looking to have a career in teaching Ebglish abroad, but rather, would like to shake up my life for the next year and experience living in another culture (I've already done backpacking abroad, but not living abroad)? And my initial reaction was to research teaching abroad (which I honestly think would be fun if I had kids who wanted to be interactive, and if I could use my creativity to make fun lessons!). Plus I'd like to meet other like-minded Westerners to spend my spare time with.


    Again, thanks so much for your responses, it is greatly appreciated!

    Andy

  9. #9
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    Strange Andy that you wanted to spend your time with other "like-minded Westerners," to me, as that was the point of my travels, to spend time with different-minded non-Westerners. Do you have a university degree? It would be a big help.

  10. #10
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Teaching English Abroad? Initial questions and advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by yaakovdov View Post
    1. I haven't yet heard of a CELTA, I've only heard of a TEFL. Whats the difference? Can you do it online, and if so, is that less appealing to employees? If its not online, where can I do it?
    2. How time consuming and strenuous is teaching abroad? Obviously I would give my all to the job, but of course this is an experience for me too. I want to embrace myself in living in another country for a while, and that means I need spare time in the evenings and weekends.
    3. I guess my main question is "what is my next step"? My guess is I need to read about different countries and what I would need to do to teach in them, but whats the best way to do this?
    1 You can do a blended CELTA course, which mixes online study with lesson practice: CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) | Cambridge English
    2 You should be able to have time to get to know the country and do other things.
    3 Which countries appeal?

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