Practical Considerations for Teaching English Abroad

One concern I heard at TESOL’s 2017 Convention was the decreasing size of English language programs in the United States. Whether it’s because of the turbulent politics on travel bans or a combination of other factors, many ESL teachers are losing their jobs. The good news is that the trend in the United States does not reflect the trend in other countries. It might be time to start considering teaching English abroad! Even if you are not facing job loss, teaching outside your home country may be just the opportunity to expand your skill set and reinvigorate your excitement about the field.

Finding Jobs

One of the first things to do is to find job openings. One place you can do that is TESOL’s own Online Career Center. Other popular websites include

These sites have job postings from all over the world. Even if a certain country is not of immediate interest to you, check out the job requirements, salary (if stated), and benefits just to get a sense of what is offered in different countries.

Public or Government vs. Private

You might notice in job postings whether a school is public or private. Note that “public” and “private” may not have the same meaning as they do in your home country. For example, in the United States, private schools tend to be associated with having more resources, higher pay, or better benefits. However, the opposite may be true in other countries; private schools may still seem to have better pay based on stated salaries, but the public schools may have benefits that would ultimately exceed the salary offered by private companies, such as better vacation, housing, and insurance options. Furthermore, working through a government-sponsored public school may help with the visa process.

Visas

Speaking of visas, some people like to travel to a country as a tourist to learn about the place and to see if they can find a job once in the country. Although this strategy does have benefits, be sure not to start working until you have the appropriate visa. Sometimes a company will hire you for a month or two with the promise that they will help you get the right visa, but then the company offers excuses about delayed payments. (For example, you cannot open a bank account in some countries using a tourist visa, and the company may use that as an excuse not to pay you.) One you realized that the company was not going to pay you, you would have no recourse other than to report the company because you would still on a tourist visa.

On the right visa, however, you can enjoy many benefits from teaching English abroad, including tax breaks and free housing. So, keep your eyes on the TESOL Blog for more suggestions on this topic. You can also check out the latest edition of TESOL Press’s More than a Native Speaker for a guide on planning, teaching, and living as an EFL teacher abroad.

The Other Blog Posts in This Series

About Maxi-Ann Campbell

Maxi-Ann Campbell received her master’s degree in applied linguistics from Georgia State University. She currently teaches academic writing and oral communication at Duke Kunshan University in China. Her research focuses on improving attitudes towards nonnative English accents, and best practices for teaching English as a foreign language. Aside from teaching and research, she does teacher training for novice EFL teachers. She is coauthor of the third edition of TESOL Press’s “More than a Native Speaker.”

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2 Responses to Practical Considerations for Teaching English Abroad

  1. haris budhani says:

    The programs abroad are very compelling and at times pay higher to what you may get in America. Dubai for instance is a very wise option, a home away from home.

  2. Stephaine Bringas says:

    My attempt to yeavh english in china failed due to conflict between Chinese embasy in US and office in China that issues employment invite letter we lost out on over $4500 we had to spend getting ready only to not end up going.