A TEFL course abroad, is it worth doing or should you just take your TEFL course online at home? There are certainly merits to both options, but here we’re going to look at why you should take a TEFL course abroad. Read on if you’re thinking about taking the plunge!
Why should you take a TEFL course abroad?
Why do you want to take a TEFL course, is it to start a new life teaching English abroad? Or is to live and work in that country you’ve always dreamed about?
Where you take your TEFL course can often determine where you start working as a new English teacher. So, if you want to teach English abroad it makes sense to take your TEFL course abroad.
There are a number of reasons for this. By doing your TEFL course abroad you will have a readymade support network around you. Your TEFL course provider should be able to help you do any legal paperwork you need, and through the course you will make new friends. Off the back of this it will be much easier for you to find a place to live and settle into a new culture.
Compare this to taking a TEFL course at home and then going abroad to look for a job where you have to start from scratch. You’ll therefore see why it is a good idea to take a TEFL course abroad. Especially when you consider that the logical step for many newly qualified TEFL teachers is to seek employment abroad.
If you’re from the UK, USA, Canada or Australia, then taking a TEFL course in your own country could be equally if not more expensive than doing it abroad, even after you have included flights! This is particularly true if you need to rent accommodation in your home country for the duration of the course.
The cost of a TEFL certification can be high, so if you can save money by studying abroad it’s a great reason to explore a new country. In countries outside of the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, TEFL courses will often cost less and accommodation is cheaper. This doesn’t mean the course is any better or worse, but it does mean that you could put that money saved towards some traveling!
So, if you’re seeking a new experience overseas, and want to get TEFL certified, you can often cut costs by deciding to do your TEFL course abroad.
One of the frequent challenges of going to teach English abroad can be acquiring a working visa. This is a reality for anyone from outside the EU wanting to teach English in Europe as well those of you who are wishing to teach on other continents.
In many cases, language schools will expect you to have a visa arranged before offering you a contract. Unfortunately, they won’t always help you to get the visa in the first place. Of course, and as we all know, in order to work legally in a country you’ll need a visa. This is why it is very important that you know how to go about applying for one, along with the steps that are required to obtain it, in your chosen country. This is where it becomes useful to do your TEFL course abroad.
If you’re studying for your TEFL certification abroad and intend to stay there, your TEFL course provider can step in and help you with your visa application process. They will have the legal admin expertise to assist you and make the process a lot smoother. Compare this to trying to get a visa to work abroad whilst you are still in your home country and the experience will likely be a much more testing one.
TEFL job opportunities
When you are job seeking, the chances of you getting an English teaching job abroad will be much higher if you are already in the country or region you want to teach in. Nothing compares to being able to go and meet your potential future employer face-to-face for to express your interest in a job or for an interview. This allows the language school to see you in person in order to evaluate your English teaching skills. They will also be able to assess if you’d be a good fit personality wise.
If you’ll already in the country this shows that you are committed to working and building a new life there. This greatly reduces the risk for any employer looking to hire you. Some English teachers will agree to take a job but actually never make it out to that country. If you’re already there then nobody needs to worry about this!
Certain TEFL course providers will even go as far as to guarantee you a job after you complete your TEFL course. Thus alleviating any stress of finding a job once you’re ready to start teaching.
Furthermore, even if you can’t find a TEFL job abroad right away you can still apply for online English teaching jobs to support yourself until you find that ideal job.
Nothing beats teaching practice when it comes to preparing you to teach English for real. The majority of people learn through experience, so if you want to develop good teaching qualities before you step into your first TEFL class this is something to look out for when choosing your TEFL course.
When undertaking your research, you’ll find that many online TEFL courses don’t include a teaching practice element. In contrast, a good percentage of in-class TEFL courses will include some teaching practice and this is a big tick in their favor. However, before rushing off to do an in-class TEFL course in your own country, you might want to consider that any teaching practice there might not be with the type of student you eventually end up teaching if you move abroad.
By taking a TEFL course abroad you’ll immerse yourself in the culture and get an understanding of your future EFL students. The majority of classroom based TEFL courses abroad will also include a teaching practice element as standard. After all, they have a readymade supply of students who are more than happy to receive a free class.
Help with accommodation
Finding accommodation abroad can be difficult, particularly if you’re searching whilst still in your home country. You won’t know the place and you could fall victim to a scam or end up being charged overly high prices.
If you take your TEFL course abroad the local connections you form can help greatly in avoiding these pitfalls. Advice on what neighborhoods are safe and what is a reasonable price can be invaluable. Not only can it save you a lot of time, money and potential stress, it can also make a big difference to your preparation for teaching abroad and overall experience.
Furthermore, many TEFL course programs abroad will include accommodation or some form of assistance in finding some at the very least. Even if you can’t stay there after your course has finished, this will still give you some breathing space to find your fee. Before you know it you’ll be ready to go out in search of a place of your own!
Life abroad can be very different to life in your home country and it’s not for everyone. You’ll be living away from your family and friends and there will be a lot to adapt to in your new life and career. If you plan on staying long term you will also likely need to learn a new language. Some people will relish this opportunity whilst others will find it a daunting prospect. Therefore, you may need a bit of support and encouragement, even if you do really want to do it.
By taking a TEFL course abroad you can find that encouragement. Not only can you reduce risk by using it as a short-term trial (you can always fly home after your course has finished), you can also rely upon support from your course provider to help you adjust to life in a new country.
Most TEFL programs abroad will include some form of orientation and there will be people there ready to help you when you need it. They can assist you with the country’s customs and processes and this can help greatly when becoming accustomed to a new culture. It goes without saying that getting this support and forming a network abroad is much easier if you take a TEFL course in your chosen country. This leads us neatly onto our next point.
By taking your TEFL course abroad you’ll have access to a ready-made network. This includes people on your course and your course provider. They can help you find your feet and provide you with support when you need it.
Having a good network can be particularly important if you wish to get work abroad after obtaining your TEFL certification, or if you need to look for accommodation or resolve visa issues. It’s no exaggeration to say that the contacts you make will often be key to your success in your new life and career as an English teacher abroad. Furthermore, as anyone who has taught previously will tell you, the bigger your network the more likely you are to pick up private students. Word of mouth is powerful and going freelance is a route that many teachers will want to explore at some point.
When it comes to making friends, a sense of community and shared experiences can go a long way in forming bonds. Doing a TEFL course abroad ticks both of these boxes.
The fellow trainees that you meet on your TEFL course will likely become lifelong friends. You will naturally support each other and do things together whilst adapting to your life abroad. Therefore, if you can find a TEFL course provider that facilitates this sense of community it will help you take a big step towards settling in and making a success of your time abroad.
New teaching experiences
If you’re after a new, unique experience teaching English abroad, one of the best ways to dip your toes in the water is by taking a TEFL course abroad. By doing this you get to sample what it’s like before fully committing yourself.
You may already have experienced teaching English in your own country. If this is the case, and you are from a native English speaking country, you could have been teaching ESL. The meaning of ESL is English as a Second Language. In the context of teaching, this refers to teaching English to someone who lives in a country where English is the dominant language, but who speaks a different native language.
In contrast, TEFL means Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This refers to the teaching of English to someone who lives in a country where English is not the dominant language. Although the subject matter is largely the same, the experience of teaching EFL can be very different to teaching ESL.
Even if you’re already an ESL teacher, it’s likely that you’ll still need a TEFL certification to teach English abroad. It therefore makes sense to do your course abroad to see if teaching there is right for you. Just try and make sure you go for a TEFL course with teaching practice!
If you’re seeking adventure and want to learn a new language, then doing a TEFL course abroad will be the right choice for you. It will give you the opportunity to understand and integrate into a new culture and go to places of the like that you have never seen before.
Yes you may have doubts, going to study abroad is a big step. However, once you’re there you’ll be committed to the experience and motivated to succeed. Any concerns you had previously should hopefully fade. Employers will also see this commitment to a life abroad and will be more likely to hire you. This will put you in a great position to make the best of your time abroad after your TEFL course.