4 July 2013
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is an amazing way to travel and become immersed in a completely unfamiliar country. First-time travellers, especially if alone, may find the thought of living and travelling in a different country daunting. So, this is a brief guide that focuses on how to prepare for life on the move, the safest TEFL destinations and the best TEFL destinations for those travelling solo.
Be organised – don’t underestimate the importance of planning.
First thing to organise are your finances! Whilst travelling, inevitably you’ll be spending money – find out how much you have, work out how long you’ll be away for, and from that, create a simple and straightforward budget. As a TEFL teacher you’ll most likely be earning a good wage, but it’s good to already have a good financial base to start from. Take a diary – it’ll help you keep track of everything. Some TEFL employers include accommodation and/or meals, so look for a job that includes them – especially useful when alone and will take away a lot of the stress involved in organising life overseas.
Research important aspects of everyday life, regardless of where you will be going – dress code, language, cuisine, weather – these are all things which seem obvious, but should be thoroughly researched before leaving. Learn a bit of the local language, too – it isn’t required to get a TEFL job but it will be nothing but helpful to you as you settle into our new life.
Another point, and one many forget about, is that wherever you are, there’s probably a pretty strong expat community. Try to find out the main area you could find them and get chatting in a social circle. This will not only help you make friends, but give you something to do whilst not working or seeing the sights.
Best destinations for solo travellers:
Thailand: It’s an amazing TEFL location; beautiful beaches, buzzing city life and endless sights to see. There are a huge number of TEFL teachers, travellers and tourists always out there. You are guaranteed to never feel lonely or bored – there’s always something to do or someone to talk to.
Spain: The No.1 holiday destination for Brits is always on the lookout for TEFL teachers. There is a great variety in work places that you can find in Spain; summer camps with teenagers, schools with classes of children of all ages and abilities or evening language schools of adults wanting to better themselves! Whatever you are looking for you can find and, with all the Spanish sunshine and delicious tapas, you will always be kept busy with something.
Czech Republic: Prague is a beautiful city with plenty of schools looking for new TEFL teachers. The Czech Republic as a whole has a low crime rate and there is a great demand for native-speaking English teachers across the country.
South Korea: This fantastic and vibrant country is already a popular TEFL destination. The crime-rates in South Korea are very low and, as Koreans are a very friendly and welcoming people, you will feel at home in no time at all.
Believe in yourself
The person who will hold you back the most is yourself. Take the leap of faith – you can do it! The idea of standing in front of a class for the first time may be terrifying but every teacher feels like this and you will soon settle in.