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teach english abroad

7 Things You Need to Be a Successful English Teacher Abroad


teach english abroad


Teaching English abroad is one of the best ways to experience other cultures, have flexibility and freedom in your life, and find your purpose. English is also the most spoken language in the world, so there’s always a demand for qualified teachers. From language schools to government programs and volunteering, there are a lot of different ways you can teach English abroad. 


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It’s not just a matter of booking a flight and starting a new adventure though. To make sure you’re prepared, there are some items you need to have before you go. Here’s a list of the 7 things you need to be a successful English teacher abroad.


A Valid Passport

The first item you need is a valid passport, mainly because you can’t travel without it! If you’re looking to move abroad to teach English, it’s important that your passport is valid during your whole stay. 


Passports are usually valid for 10 years, and the general guideline is to not travel if your passport is going to expire in the next 6 months. Renewing your passport is pretty straightforward, but if you forget to do this, you may encounter some problems while you’re abroad.

A Bachelor’s Degree

As the English teaching industry becomes more and more competitive, the qualifications you need to get hired are becoming more strict. Having a bachelor’s degree isn’t required for every job teaching English abroad, but if you want a decent salary and comfortable working conditions, your best bet is to have one.


You’re definitely at an advantage if your degree is in English or education, but it’s pretty common for companies and schools abroad to accept a bachelor’s degree in any subject. For popular programs like Japan’s JET program or South Korea’s EPIK program, a degree is absolutely essential.


TEFL Certification

On top of a degree, recruiters for English teaching jobs abroad are looking for people who genuinely want to teach English, not just people who want a gap year abroad. Having a recognized TEFL certification can move your resume to the top of the applicant pile.


There are a lot of options out there for certifications, but it’s important to research them thoroughly because they are definitely not all equal. There are companies that sell TEFL certifications for a few dollars, but they aren’t recognized or accredited, and they really won’t even help in your job search. 


A 120-hour TEFL certificate is the industry gold standard, and the certification course offered by TEFLPros is accredited by ACCREDITAT. Pursuing this certification will not only open doors to new teaching opportunities abroad, but certified teachers are generally paid more, too. 


Job Assistance

Once you have your qualifications in order, you can officially start your TEFL job search. It can be daunting to begin this process on your own – moving overseas is no joke! 


Look for a TEFL provider that will work with you to begin your job search the right way. See if they are open to offering you personalized advice and assistance as you make the transition to getting your first teaching job.


Lesson Plans

After you’ve secured a job and are planning your move, you can start creating lesson plans. Some schools will provide a complete curriculum for its English teachers and others will expect the teacher to create everything from scratch. No matter what your situation is though, it’s a good idea to prepare lessons in advance to help your classes run more smoothly.


The TEFLPros certification has 5 different modules that cover lesson planning in depth. Creating lessons can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start, and that’s another reason having a high-quality TEFL certificate can help you become a successful English teacher abroad. 


Some Start-Up Cash

Outside of the classroom, you’ll also need some start-up cash to make your transition abroad a little less stressful. Each employer offers varying amounts of financial assistance to new teachers. Some pay for flights and accommodation while others offer a stipend to help cover expenses. And some don’t offer any help at all!


No matter what your new employer offers, it’s always a good idea to have some spare money on hand to cover any unexpected costs that come up. There are a lot of moving parts when you’re relocating to a new country, and your first few days or weeks will probably be somewhat hectic. Knowing you don’t need to stress about money when you arrive can help you adjust more quickly and settle in to your new life.


An Open Mind

The last thing you need to be a successful English teacher abroad is an open mind. Chances are you already have one if you’re pursuing English teaching jobs abroad, but it’s still important to discuss. 


A lot of potential English teachers fantasize about life abroad, but they set themselves up for failure by not being realistic about what they’re getting into. Adjusting to a new culture, being surrounded by a new language and new people, and starting a new job all at once can be intimidating. 


If you go into the situation with an open mind and some flexibility though, you’ll overcome the obstacles and thrive in your new environment!


Final Thoughts

A lot of people dream of teaching English abroad, but only a few actually follow through with it. To be a successful English teacher abroad, there are a few things you need to have both before and after you arrive in your new home. The items on this list are a great place to start preparing for your journey. They’ll help you secure a teaching position with excellent pay, a comfortable work environment, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll never forget.


Get Certified With TEFLPros Today!


It’s never too early to start preparing to teach English abroad either, so start checking these items off your list! To learn more about the TEFLPros TEFL certification, you can book a free strategy session to start your journey today. 

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