Erica Fairchild

The fact that you clicked on this blog hopefully means that you are interested in teaching abroad, and by now you've read all there is to know about the pros and cons that might come with it. However, I'm going to break down what you need to know about teaching abroad and things you should be looking out for.


Believe it or not, your passport can't get you into every country without any questions asked. And to work abroad you do need to have a valid Work Visa. Make sure when you are working abroad that you are on the correct visa and that you are working legally on that visa. Most companies will help you apply for your working visa. However, do your research on the country and the company. Ask the right questions and be sure that the company for school can assist you in the correct way.


You may be asking yourself, ‘Do I need to know the local language if I'm teaching English?' Technically, No, you don't need to learn the local language; however, if you plan to live in a country, I suggest picking up some basics before you travel. Although you'll be speaking English in your schools and with your peers, there is a whole world out there and the best way to experience it is through the eyes of the locals. Get to know them by learning a few key phrases of the local language to integrate with the community.


It's always good to do some research into the culture of a country before you travel, and more specifically research regions within the country as everywhere has their own quirks. For example, food and language differ greatly across different cities in China. Through doing this research you might even find locations that are best suited to yourself and personality.

Will you get culture shock? In short, YES, but that's not always a bad thing. Take the culture for what it is and join in. The more you know about a culture the less likely you are to experience culture shock and the better your experiences will be.

Types of schools

Teaching abroad varies- there are many different types of schools and it's good to know which one works best for you. From international schools to training schools to government schools, be prepared for what each one will provide and require of you. From teaching hours to class size, these types of schools differ greatly. Don't be afraid to look around and ask the right questions to find out what will work best for you.


Are you qualified to teach English abroad?

For most teaching positions abroad you're going to need a Degree and a TEFL certificate as a minimum requirement. If you don't have a TEFL, investigate companies that help you with this. For example, Education First will sponsor (and pay for) your TEFL course if you do not already have one. Once you have a TEFL certificate its yours, so the world is literally at your feet.


These are qualifications for teaching English as a foreign language and are widely recognized in the TEFL industry. Some companies will help you obtain these whilst working for them, and these are companies worth working for. If they offer you the progression and qualifications, then they care about the staff they hire. Find out if a career in TEFL is right for you:

Resources for teaching Ideas

It's great to be prepared for the classroom in every way. And although some schools will have all things prepared for you, why not do some extra research and find some useful websites and books that could help you excel in the classroom? Try searching for ESL games and teaching strategies online. Remember to keep all materials that you create; you never know when you can use them again. Ask other teachers if they have any resources, they can share with you. The TEFL classroom is an exciting place and sharing ideas and materials can only benefit your lessons.

Could you have a career in ESL? How far could ESL take you?

ESL is a huge Market in China alone. For example, over 300 million people are learning English as we speak. That's the equivalent of the entire US population. And the number of people learning English in China is set to grow by around 15% every year. What does this mean? TEFL is a huge industry and due to this can provide many possible career paths for your future. Interest? Check out EF website for more information on how EF can help you progress in your ESL career.


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