27 June 2013
Research your TEFL destination
Our greatest piece of advice before you set off on your TEFL travels is to research your country!
The reason why we say this is that the nature of teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) will be potentially very different depending on where in the world you go. Visa requirements, employer’s preferences, pay and class size are just a few of the things that differ. The risk of not researching your country is that you may be left disappointed with your TEFL job or not even be able to get one at all, which is particularity bad news if you have already travelled out to the country.
So to save you money and time and prevent disappointment we recommend researching these areas in particular before you set off to teach English abroad.
What are the TEFL opportunities and when are the peak hiring seasons?
Demand for TEFL teachers is generally very high throughout the world in non-English speaking counties.
There is a huge emphasis put on learning English from a young age and many parents send their children to summer camps and pay for additional private lessons. To increase job prospects English fluency is very much needed which is why so many people want to learn it.
Saying this, there are places where TEFL jobs are in more abundance than others. For example in China the demand is such that TEFL vacancies are advertised year round, in countries in Europe there are peak hiring seasons when you should send out applications. Freelance TEFL teaching is always a good option to get you started in a country or to supplement your earnings. In English speaking countries the demand for TEFL teachers is obviously a lot lower, however opportunities do remain, they are just more competitive.
Will I be able to get the correct visa? (Do I need a degree?)
It is important to note that some countries require you to have a degree, if you don’t have one there are some places should just wipe off your list, however some places are more lenient and there are ways you can get around it.
Visa procedures are difficult to generalise as they are so different in each country and subject to change. We’ve had students successfully go off and teach English in places like Vietnam without a degree, even though it is recommended you should have one. Many TEFL teachers get by working on a tourist visa, although this is not strictly above board, a lot of people do it.
We recommend getting in touch with the embassy of the country you are interested in teaching in to find out exactly what the requirements are and whether or not you will be eligible to work there. Some countries will only issue visa to those applying out with the country and you will often need an employer to sponsor you so you may need to secure a job before you go out our at least travel to a neighbouring country to apply for one if you are already in the country.
Will my TEFL certificate be recognised and approved?
Before you go ahead a book a TEFL course make sure your TEFL certificate is going to be recognised in the country you want to teach. The way to do this is to check for external accreditation from bodies such as the NCFE and ODLQC. If you take a TEFL course that isn’t accredited your certificate may turn out to be worthless if employers don’t recognise it as valid certificate of TEFL which means you won’t be able to get a job. TEFL Scotland has more accreditations that any other UK TEFL course provider, giving you peace of mind that you will be able to apply for TEFL jobs all around the world when you enrol on a TEFL Org Course.
Will I be able to adapt the culture?
Take into serious consideration what it will actually be like to live and work in your country of choice.
The Middle East offers generous pay and great benefits such as housing and flight fares but the style of living and the culture will not be for everyone. Bear in mind that in some countries and in rural areas in particular the people may have never seen a white person before so expect to receive a lot of attention and even have your picture taken without asking. Culture shock and adapting to a new culture in general can be tricky at times but most travellers would say that it’s worth it in the long run; the more you get used to a country the more you will grow to love it and appreciate all that it has to offer, even if it is while keeping a tolerant outlook.