Most of us would love to travel more, but most of us would-be adventurers struggle to budget for longer trips. Thankfully, the internet era has made it easier than ever for people to access assignments remotely. However, those who don’t comfortably fit the definition of a digital native may struggle to balance an online work-life balance. Fortunately, if your English skills are up to scratch, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) abroad is one way to keep your bank balance in the black.
Is Teaching EFL Abroad Right for You?
Before you commit to the idea of teaching English abroad as a foreign language, you’ll need to think carefully about your travel plans. If you’re aiming to cover as much ground as possible on a tight timeframe, TEFL probably isn’t right for you. However, if you’re comfortable with the idea of putting down roots for a longer spell, teaching English to non-native speakers is well worth considering.
Although teaching English as a foreign language appeal to tourists, it’s also an attractive career prospect for experienced educators looking for a change of pace. Unlike conventional teaching positions, becoming an EFL tutor frees up from rigid course syllabuses and punishing hours. Admittedly, career trajectory is limited, and the salaries aren’t exactly enormous, but neither of these things should concern you if your main aim is to immerse yourself in new cultures.
What Qualifications Do I Need?
If you’re interested in teaching English as a foreign language, the good news is that you don’t need to invest in too much training or costly course fees. The most crucial thing you’ll need at your disposal is a strong command of the English language. Understandably, if you want to teach English to non-native speakers, you’ll need to be fluent in it.
You’ll also need to pursue TEFL accreditation. There are many TEFL programs available to those looking to earn qualifications, with course structures accommodating just about any schedule. If you want to earn TEFL accreditation as quickly as possible, go for a 120-hour course. Although this is seen as the minimum standard of TEFL certification, it’s accepted by just about every country that offers TEFL teaching opportunities. Provided you can commit the hours to study, you can expect to qualify in as little as one month.
Best Places to Teach EFL
Nowadays, there are plenty of EFL opportunities for English speakers looking to generate a healthy side income. One of the most lucrative places where you can teach English to non-native speakers is in China. Out of a population of more than 1.4 billion people, fewer than 10 million Chinese residents speak English fluently. Average monthly salaries for EFL teachers based in China are also competitive. In the best-case scenario, you can expect to pocket as much as £2,000 a month. Although previous teaching experience isn’t required, you will need a university degree along with TEFL credentials.
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, teaching English abroad is still an option. Currently, most TEFL positions in Cambodia don’t require tutors to have a degree in order to teach. Although monthly salaries here rarely exceed £1,000, a relatively low cost of living makes it a lucrative destination.
In recent years, more ESL teachers than ever have shifted to online learning models. Going forward, it’s likely that a significant proportion of the TEFL community will continue to teach online. If you’re looking for a flexible income stream to finance international travel, you may wish to follow suit. However, this shift to online-only teaching has resulted in a huge number of school-based positions that are ripe for the picking.