Nomhla Mahalia Macingwan

What is that one thing you have been daring yourself to do but just haven't had the guts? Maybe it's climbing Everest, travelling to a new country, or perhaps it's teaching English abroad! Here are my top tips if you're thinking about changing careers, and why it's the best decision I've ever made.

Just Do It!

There will always be excuses; no money, not enough time, or the dreaded “what-ifs?”. For the longest time, I was a primary school teacher in my home country. My job consisted of working with remarkable teachers and adorable children. I have a passion for teaching, however, I had a dream. A dream to live and work overseas. Teaching abroad was always one of those things I knew I wanted to experience.

Like the infamous Nike slogan says, “just do it”. This is the best advice I can give you. I had my degree, I completed my TEFL certification, and I applied to teach English abroad. The visa process took about three months in total. Thanks to the supportive recruitment team, I did my 3 percent which was filling in documents, signing them off within the deadline and they got the other 97% done. The most frustrating thing for me was having to wait for documents (that couldn't be scanned or emailed) to reach China by airmail. Once you arrive in China, all expenses incurred during this process are reimbursed so make sure you keep your receipts!

Not A Desk Job

Teaching English in China with EF English First is not a desk job. You won't be going to pointless meetings, nor will you be staring at a computer screen all day. This is a job where you can be on your feet, play games, sing songs, and use an interactive smart TV to teach a lesson. Imagine the increase in steps your FitBit will count! Another benefit is the schedule. Forget the 9-5 routine commute to work, along with every other person in the country. Working on the weekends and later afternoons into the evenings has its perks.

More Than A Gap Year

Not everyone who goes abroad to teach English is in their early 20s. I'm personally in my early thirties and it's refreshing to work with people in different age groups, from all over the world. Teacher's ages range from 21 right up to mid-forties. That is at my school. I have a friend who works with a person in their early 50s. Age is just a number.

In a company like EF, there is loads of room for growth and development. You can enroll for Teacher Knowledge Tests (TKT) with Cambridge, which is made easy for us because the company sorts out the logistics. You can also upgrade your TEFL and get a Certificate in Tesol (CertTESOL). There's absolutely no chance of your brain cells diminishing because there's room for continuous growth and development.

You can definitely bring your experience, no matter what you have been doing back in your home country; initiative and innovation is encouraged!


Teaching kids will keep you forever young. Oh the fun to be had in class! We jump. We sing. We dance, and all the while, learning is happening. Whether you're an online teacher, a kids & teens teacher, or an adults teacher; changing careers to one in ESL teaching is fulfilling. There's no better feeling than imparting knowledge onto students, and see their faces light up when they answer a question correctly in English, or students who become curious because they are excited about the topic they're learning about.

My Advice to You:

Don't overthink it. Take the plunge and apply.

Don't have a TEFL yet? Come through and we'll help you get it.

Talk to people through our website. Ask questions, do your research. Make it happen!

Apply to Teach NOW

It takes less than five minutes
to change your life.

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