“Teaching isn’t a career choice, it’s a life choice.” - François Mitterand
The former French president is right. When you decide to teach, it’s because you want to transfer your passion for a given subject to other students. Currently, the number of teachers in the UK and even in other parts of the world is at its lowest since 2013. However, a teacher doesn’t necessarily have to teach in a school in Canada. They could also consider taking their teaching elsewhere in the world. If you’re interested in teaching in another country, you should have a look at this article.
We'll offer some guidance when making the decision to teach abroad. We'll even mention some things you should consider before applying.
What Language Level Do You Need to Teach Abroad?
Whether you’re looking to teach English, history, geography, physics, or chemistry, you need to know that teaching in a foreign language isn’t for everyone. The most popular subjects taught by foreign teachers are:
- English as a foreign language (TEFL/ESL)
- Foreign languages
- Hard sciences
However, some subjects are much easier to teach than others because they don’t require you to have learnt a foreign language as well. For example, you’d probably be better off teaching Spanish in Miami rather than German, for example.
The subject you’re teaching may also help you decide which country you’re going to go to: for foreign languages, you’ll want to go somewhere where the language is commonly taught or spoken. If you're teaching English as a foreign language, it's a good idea to get a teaching job in a country where English is a foreign language or in a language school specializing in English teaching.
Similarly, this is why a lot of teachers from Canada decide to go to other English-speaking countries. When it comes to foreign language skills, you should be aware of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Although for Canada it can be used as a guide for other English speakers:
- A1: Breakthrough or beginner
- A2: Waystage or elementary
- B1: Threshold or intermediate
- B2: Vantage or upper intermediate
- C1: Effective operational proficiency or advanced
- C2: Mastery or proficiency
In general, you’ll need between a B1 and B2 level in order to teach in the target language and will probably require proof of your abilities. The necessary qualifications vary by language. However, with a TEFL certificate, you don't necessarily need to speak a second language as most teaching opportunities around the world only expect teachers to speak English to students. Of course, you'll learn all this on TEFL courses before you start teaching English overseas. However, foreign language skills are always useful for your everyday life.
So what steps do you need to take in order to start teaching abroad?
Benefits of Teaching Abroad
Working abroad can often seem like a dream for most people. The chance to be able to travel to an exciting destination would be a fantastic experience. There are so many great benefits to working abroad that will give you all the reasons to choose to go. Working abroad doesn't have to seem like a dream. It can undoubtedly become a reality. Once you hear about all the great benefits, you'll want to get started. Check out these benefits down below.
Build Your Confidence - It can be scary travelling to a new country. There is so much to think about, from places to stay to even the foods you'll eat. But, you'll become a more confident person as you get set up and start becoming a local to the country. You'll have to put yourself out there to learn and discover. It can be an exciting adventure to get started.
Learn a New Language - Often, many of us want to learn a new language, but we never make an effort to do. Most countries you'll be teaching in may have a different league than the one you speak. You'll need to learn the language. Taking classes can be a great start. Also, being immersed in the language will help you learn faster. You can finally learn a language you always wanted.
Increase Cultural Awareness - One of the great reasons about going abroad is being incorporated into a new culture. Right now, you've only really experienced your culture. However, there is so much to learn about all the other unique cultures in the world. By going abroad, you'll learn about the norms, customs and so many other things.
Improve Your Resume - Having work experience from abroad makes you stand out from any other candidate. Working abroad shows you have resilience, flexibility and interpersonal skills. You'll stand out on your resume and cover letter. During the interview as well, it becomes a great example to talk about. You'll have a resume that stands out.
These are just some of the many benefits working abroad can offer. Even if we look at teaching abroad more specifically, you can still receive lots of advantages. Teaching in another country can be very satisfying. You're able to make a difference in your student's lives. To be able to transfer your passion to another person is a rewarding experience. You'll get to do what you love every day and do it in a new exciting place.
What Are the Administrative Steps You Need to Start Teaching Abroad?
The first thing you’ll need to know is how to get a teaching status abroad.
There are four main ways to work abroad as a teacher:
- Working abroad temporarily.
- Living abroad permanently.
- Being recruited in Canada and working abroad.
- Finding a job abroad.
However, if you want to start working abroad, there are two things you should do.
- Gain a recognized teaching qualification or TEFL certification.
- Get some experience teaching.
There are also language skills to consider. Of course, this will depend on the job that you are applying for. You'll need to check which CEFR level is required.
It's important to respect the application procedure for the job that you are applying for:
- Complete the application forms as instructed.
- Remember to include your qualifications.
In order to command a higher salary, make sure to include your past experience. Don't forget to attach any proof of your language skills and your CEFR level.
If requested, you may need to attach copies of your qualifications (or translations of them). You may also need to attach copies of all other documents requested such as a TEFL certification if you're looking to become an English teacher abroad. Remember that the application procedure can vary wildly depending on the job you're applying for. Keep in mind that the procedure for applying to British schools abroad will be very different from applying to private educational establishments or state schools abroad.
TEFL teaching or ESL teaching in different countries will also have different procedures. A school in Vietnam may not have the same procedure as a school in Thailand, Korea, or Spain. Similarly, certain establishments may not accept an online TEFL and may request a CELTA instead.
Finally, don't forget all the other steps to working abroad, such as visas and passports, as well as :
- Finding accommodation, contracting water, electricity, and gas, for example.
- Opening a bank account and using it.
- And getting an international driver's licence, if you're going to need to drive.
- For researchers, you may have a different visa to complete.
- In some cases, you will also be expected to register upon your arrival in the country.
Keep reading below to find out more about the things you should consider when working abroad. Often time people can get only caught up on the great benefits. You still need to consider the other factors mentioned above. Once you understand all the other factors you can then make the full decision about going abroad. Knowing about these factors now will also make it easier once you lock in that job contract.
Are you still considering working abroad?
We've got tips for you for those wanting to teach English abroad or any other subject for that matter!
Tips for Teaching Abroad
Our advice for teaching abroad is straightforward.
You first need to think about whether you want to teach in the public school systems or teach privately when you teach abroad. Then you’ll need to think about a number of factors:
- Facility: What can I currently teach according to my qualifications?
- Feasibility: Do I have the skills to apply for tutoring jobs?
- Readiness: Am I ready to start teaching with this experience or take new steps?
You should start planning your move as early as possible before leaving. It’s also a good idea to tell your current employers about your plans. You don't want to start teaching English abroad the day after you tell your current employer about it.
Because you might want a good reference from your employer for the teaching positions, you're applying to, for example. It’s better to get them on your side before you leave. Also, make sure that you’re aware of the different statuses of teachers in the places you’re interested in so that you know exactly what you should be earning, what your working conditions should be, etc. Learning to put together a good application is a good idea for when it comes to looking for work as a teacher as well as your language skills.
Finally, don’t give up and make sure you’re flexible and set yourself a broad range of goals. If you’re set on moving abroad, don’t forget about applying for jobs abroad. It will be able to be possible to work abroad. Even if you don't hear back from jobs or don't get accepted keep trying. As the famous saying goes where there is a will there is a way. 100s of people work abroad each year including teachers. You can be the next one to teach abroad. Don't give up on your dream of working abroad.
How to Apply for Work Abroad
Are you interested in working abroad?
You just have to apply! A teacher can work in a number of different institutions:
- In a Canadian school abroad
- In a private establishment or local schooling
- In an overseas territory
When you travel abroad to start teaching overseas, you need to think about whether you're going to stay for the short-term or long term.
Firstly, you should look at the jobs available. There are two main ways to do this:
- Apply to job offers
- Apply directly to establishments you’d be interested in working for
You’ll just have to prove your experience and your credentials. After you’ve applied for the job, the powers that be will start looking at your application. There are two possible outcomes:
- They reject your application
- Or you will be called to an interview or given the job
Following the interview procedure, establishments usually select candidates After that there is one final stage, signing your contract and starting work. One of the advantages of working abroad is the possibility of joining interesting and multicultural teams.
In both cases, there'll be paperwork but, while an international school is probably more used to hiring teachers internationally and sorting out a work visa for a certified teacher, there are international teaching institutions that can help qualified teachers find their way into a classroom abroad.
Are you interested in working abroad and having a new and interesting professional experience?
Where would you like to go?
Whether you're wanting to teach inside China, do a gap year in Taiwan, move to South Korea, get an ESL job somewhere in Asia, or become an educator anywhere else in the world, you can get a job placement with a TESOL certification if you're a native English speaker or learn a foreign language and teach another subject in schools, universities, or other academic institutions. You'll have lots of places to consider teaching abroad. Making a list can be a great way to pick the best places you want to work or travel to.
Other Things to Consider Teaching Abroad
There are many benefits to teaching abroad, but before you jump the line and sign up, there are other things to consider. Going abroad is a fantastic experience that could be the opportunity of a lifetime. You'll be able to grow personally and professionally. You'll also get to do something you love every day in a new exciting place. It does sound like a dream. So before you make the decision below, we'll list some things you should consider.
Family/Friends - Going abroad means leaving your family and friends for at least a few months. This can be hard for most people. Being aware of what you are missing will have you prepared for when you decide to go abroad. Your friends or family most likely won't be able to visit frequently or vice versa.
Language Barrier - Not knowing the language has both benefits and disadvantages. We listed the benefits above so we'll mention the disadvantages. It can be hard to get around a place without knowing the language. Ordering food or asking for directions becomes a lot harder. It doesn't make it impossible. Of course, it just adds some difficulty to your everyday life.
Visa/Documents - Getting Visa is most likely a requirement for the country you visit. A visa allows you to work and reside in a country for a certain period. The visa application process can be long and tedious. You'll also need to ensure you have any other documents you need just in case you run into officials. Being prepared when it comes to your government documents is the best.
Income - Getting paid is going to be a requirement, of course, to working abroad. Most likely, the country visiting is in a different currency. You'll have to open a bank account over there to stay away from currency fees. Opening a bank account can sometimes be a complex process. You'll need a few documents before getting set up. Planning can help you out on this one.
Places to Stay - Some teaching agencies abroad will offer you a place to stay. This would be the best-case scenario. On the other hand, finding a home in a new country, especially when you don't know the language you can run into some difficulties. But, again, this doesn't make it impossible. It just makes the process a little more complicated.
We don't tell you things to stop you from going. We want you to have all the facts before making the decisions. These factors aren't a deal-breaker and can all be done. It's just something to keep in mind with all the other choices and factors you have to think about.
You Can Teach Abroad
We hope this guide has been useful in helping you gather the information you need to start working abroad. It can be a nerve-wracking and exciting decision all at once. As long as you consider the factors and are doing it for the right reasons, you won't have any regrets about working abroad. It can be something you'll be to look back on when you are older. You'll learn lots of great things, and you'll gain so many benefits. Not to mention you'll get to take your passion for teaching to an entirely new country. It's a great opportunity. Follow out advice in this article, and you'll be on the path to success. You just have to make that first step and start applying.