The step-by-step guide to teaching English abroad

How to nail the whole TEFL thing.

teaching English abroad

We’ve all got an acquaintance from high school who fills up your timeline with pics of their lush new life in Asia, all somehow funded by being an English teacher?! It’s true; teaching English abroad is one of the best ways to spend time overseas *while* making coin, but how exactly do you go about it? The TEFL Academy, South Africa’s leading course provider of teaching English as a foreign language, share their six steps for South Africans who want to teach English abroad:

1 Get the right qualification

You don’t necessarily need a degree to teach English but you definitely do need a TEFL qualification. TEFL (Teaching English in a Foreign Language) courses can be done completely online (there is a classroom option too for those of us who don’t have enough self-motivation for home study) and take 168 hours. The online course costs R6400 but keep your eyes on The TEFL Academy’s website; they often offer huge discounts.

2 Have start-up cash

Before you start your exciting new life you’re going to need to cover some costs. Make sure you have enough saved to cover your TEFL course, flights, visas, rent and first month’s deposit, and living expenses for at least a month until that salary comes in. You won’t be out of pocked for too long though: ‘English teachers typically make enough to save between 30 and 40% of their salaries after expenses, allowing them to cover their bills, while still enjoying the culture and lifestyle of their chosen country,’ says Rhyan O’Sullivan, Managing Director of the TEFL Academy.

3 Get vaccinated

Some countries won’t allow you to enter without certain vaccinations. Check CDC’s website to see whether you need to book a vaccination appointment before you hop on a plane.

teaching English abroad

4 Get basic health insurance

Some schools will cover your health insurance, it depends on what country you teach in. Ask about health insurance when you’re interviewing for positions, and until then look for an affordable international health insurance to cover you.

5 Know what you’re getting yourself into

Moving to a new country and getting into a new career is bound to be a bit of a shock. Research the place you’ll be moving to thoroughly, from the perspective of fellow TEFL teachers. The TEFL Academy’s Factbook is the perfect resource for any prospective teachers. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about every country where being a TEFL teacher is an option, from salary expectations to information on the local culture.

If you’re really nervous about leaving home, think about going to one of the top 5 countries for South Africans to teach English abroad. Being surrounded by like-minded ex-pats might make the transition easier.

6 Celebrate every success

It’s not going to be easy, and it’s recommended you really celebrate the small victories while you settle down and get to grips with your new life. ‘The first few lessons as a TEFL teacher can be difficult and draining. When you and your students can’t understand each other, it’s hard to know whether you are making a difference,’ advises The TEFL Academy. Once you start to connect with your students and feel more at home in your new country, however, it’ll all feel worth it.

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