Teaching Abroad Without Experience

Can you teach abroad without experience? Wait, before I answer, let me try and turn this question around. Can you drive a car without experience? The answer to both of these questions is yes, but that doesn’t mean that you should.

What you do need is some background knowledge, some training, and then some practice. With these three things, you can go from having no experience to just becoming inexperienced, which is a good starting point.

In most jobs today, companies hire for attitude and then offer the training and support. But for a lot of us, we still fear that we aren’t qualified, or we fear that we aren’t experienced enough to teach overseas; and of course, the concept of working in a foreign country can be daunting, but don’t disqualify yourself because you fear the unknown. Let me attempt to dispel these concerns some more by sharing how seamless it can be for you, as it was for me, an unlikely candidate from South Africa.




If you have completed your bachelor’s degree (in any field) and you speak English fluently with very few errors, I would advise you to submit your application online. It only took me 15min to change the course of my life.


Country requirements

You do need to be a passport holder from one of 7 countries. The US, U.K, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa. Don’t try to fool the system here; you’ll need to be able to prove it with your passport.


Teaching Licenses and hands-on experience

Having been in the film industry all my working life, I had no teaching related certificate/license or experience when I submitted my application. To teach English as a second language abroad one needs to invest in a TEFL certificate (at the very least) which is available online.


TEFL Qualification

To successfully proceed with the selection process, I had to commit to completing a 120hrs TEFL course. EF provided the platform for me to study the TEFL course online and I was able to complete it within three weeks. Only then did I fully meet the entry-level requirements. After this, I received an official offer to teach kids and teens at one of the EF centres in Shanghai.


Knowledge is power

Unlike before when information was strictly available from libraries, schools and newspapers, today we walk around with the world’s libraries and even opportunities in our pockets. Why is it that even with so much information, we still find ourselves indecisive about the idea of teaching and living abroad?

My journey with EF has been life changing thus far. Since arriving seven months ago EF has provided endless opportunities for me to further my knowledge and attain certifications in the teaching field. Including TKT modules, CertTESOL and more.

The lesson here is to realise that knowledge is only potential power. It takes getting up, committing and using what you have, where you are. If it means you’ve got to take the time to complete an online course or read a book to propel you towards your goals, it’s a commitment worth making; because time spent studying is never wasted.


“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” 
 Maya Angelou


The World is waiting!

Teach English, travel and work abroad with EF English First



Post by Perpetua Mbali

Perpetua Mbali - Head Shot 1Trendy geek who sneezes alphabets and cries sentences for a living. South African Writer | Blogger |Speaker Find me Instagram/Facebook/Twitter @africanredhead

Click here to learn more about Perpetua