If you are thinking about teaching English abroad but don’t know where to start, our guide will explain everything you need to know and hopefully help you get started on your very own journey teaching English abroad.

Teach English Abroad

If you are thinking about teaching English abroad but don’t know where to start, our guide will explain everything you need to know and hopefully help you get started on your very own journey teaching English abroad.

What is TEFL?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and refers to the teaching of the English language in countries where English is not widely spoken. You can find similar acronyms such as TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). While there are some slight variations and differences, they basically describe the same thing – teaching English to students who do not have English as their first language.

Why teach English abroad?

TEFL attracts people from a wide range of backgrounds and for a variety of reasons. Some people use TEFL as a way of earning money on their gap year, whereas others turn it into a full-time career. With its obvious travel benefits, TEFL is a great way to see the world and experience living in another country and new culture in a way that you would not be able to as a tourist. It is a great way to give something back and make a difference to the lives of those you have never met. On a personal level it can also help build your confidence, allow you to experience new things, give your CV a boost with transferable skills and overseas work experience, and maybe even pick up a new language.

What do you need to teach English abroad?

First and foremost, you need to be a fluent English speaker. Whether you’re a native English speaker or not, you need to have a really good grasp of the English language if you are going to be successful in teaching English as a foreign language abroad. Whilst you may not yet know for example how to explain the difference between the second and third conditional, the use of the past simple versus past perfect tense, or when a semi colon should be used instead of a comma – this is where a TEFL qualification comes in.

A recognised EFL teaching qualification such as a TEFL certificate is a must. International schools and employers look for English teacher applicants to have the necessary skills, training, and credentials to teach English as a foreign language. During your TEFL training, you will learn how to plan fun and engaging lessons, teach grammar and skills-based lessons, as well as observe seasoned English language teachers in the classroom, so you are ready to step into your first teaching role with confidence.

There are opportunities available for newly qualified teachers so don’t let having any previous teaching experience put you off. Plus, you don’t need any foreign language skills – you’ll only be speaking in English in the classroom.

A college or university degree may be required for some teaching opportunities abroad however it’s not a must for all! You can still find work teaching English abroad without a degree.

Where can I teach English abroad?

The importance of learning English has become a worldwide phenomenon, which is great news for EFL teachers. There are a whole host of opportunities available across the globe. From teaching young learners in Kindergarten schools in South Korea to business executives in France, there are opportunities available teaching all learner levels and age groups.

Other Things to Know Before Teaching Abroad

Benefits of Working Abroad

Check out the benefits of working in another country, with more than just the sunshine drawing TEFL-ers to foreign shores!

Information/Advice on Working Abroad

Read key advice and information on what life could be like living and working abroad.  We’ve compiled country guides for many of the more popular TEFL destinations and we have lots of stories from former students that are now or have been, living, teaching and travelling overseas.

Jobs Abroad

Find the latest TEFL jobs from around the world on our TEFL Jobs Centre.  After enrolling in our course, you can contact employers and set yourself up with a teaching position wherever you want! Access to this resource is free for life.

TEFL Visas

Visas are an important topic, but sadly something that can be extremely complicated.  We’ve compiled a small guide on the visa arrangements for the most popular TEFL destinations for you to save you time, and we’ve included resources to find visa details for less common countries.


If you are doing any voluntary or paid teaching work while away from the UK, it is essential to be adequately protected against life’s unwelcome and unexpected events.

All travellers need comprehensive Travel Insurance for the duration of their travels overseas. You have exposure pre-departure, for cancellation, in transit, in the overseas country, for repatriation and if you wish to travel, including returning back to the UK, etc. Without proper protection, the potential costs for repatriation can be incredibly costly.  We are partnered with the UK’s only extended stay travel insurance specialists.


Healthcare is essential to consider before going to another country, especially for an extended length of time.  Make sure to get any vaccinations required for the country you are visiting and to examine what the healthcare situation is in the country you are going to.


If you think you’re ready to start working abroad, pay a visit to our TEFL Jobs Centre, where you’ll find close to 200 jobs in over 40 different countries.  If you’ve yet to begin a TEFL Course, have a look at our TEFL course options.

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