By Meagan Maddock, senior double major in international affairs (with a concentration in Latin America) and women & gender studies at CU-Boulder
Travel lovers, new grads, and people looking for adventure should all consider the exciting opportunity of teaching English abroad. Teaching English provides one of the easiest ways to travel the world, experience other cultures, and learn new languages. Many prefer this option to volunteering or interning abroad, because you can actually make money, and in some cases, you can make enough to pay off student loans!
Demand for native English speakers continues to rise throughout the world, and Americans can find jobs in basically any non-English speaking country, regardless of their undergraduate major. While pursuing a Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate opens up more, and often higher-paying, opportunities, it is not necessary for landing a teaching job. That being said, qualifications depend greatly on the region.
While teaching abroad can be a great option for all kinds of people, many veteran English-teachers warn that this option is not for everyone. While it offers great opportunities for people who just want to get abroad after college and/or before pursuing grad school or a career, people who are not passionate about teaching and cultural exchange should think twice before teaching abroad. Much like study abroad or international internships, teaching abroad is full of challenges and requires flexibility, adaptability, and an open mind. Check out these blogs to read about personal teaching abroad stories: http://blog.teacherport.com/
It is important to prepare for an international teaching position much like you would for a study abroad program. Various organizations offer programs that are similar to study abroad programs, with a downside of charging a fee and an upside of providing a more structured experience. On the contrary, it is not uncommon for people to become certified and find a job on their own with an independent English school. In those cases, it is especially important to consider visa and work permit restrictions, medical insurance, housing arrangements, and contracts before you go. Two resources to get you started include the Teaching English Quick Tips and Goabroad.com.
Does this topic spark your interest? Career Services will be hosting a Teach Abroad event on March 6, 5:30-7pm in C4C Abrams Lounge. We will have panelists with diverse experiences teaching in every region of the world. Come with questions!