Teach English Overseas

By Eric Hammer

One of the greatest adventures you're ever likely to have is when you teach English overseas. This kind of job can be done for years (there are people who spend their entire lives teaching English overseas) or it can be the sort of thing you do for just a few years or even a year as a way to see the world and perhaps give something back.

And no, you do not have to teach English overseas only in a poor country. In fact, many such jobs are available in wealthy countries such as South Korea and Japan. The jobs are there because there are few native English speakers in the area and you are more in demand. Jobs can even be had in Western Europe, though those jobs do tend to be harder to get because it's easier for schools there to find English teachers from Great Britain willing to cross over to the Continent.

Another myth that some people fear when they consider the idea of teaching English overseas is that they think that they're not going to be able to do the job unless they also speak the local language. While speaking the local language definitely can be a benefit, it's not a necessity for teaching so much as it is for getting around and doing your grocery shopping and the like in the area where you are teaching.

How Much Can You Make?

The salary varies widely when you teach English overseas, depending on where you teach and who is hiring you. Entry level jobs can pay as little as $15,000 per year, however it is also possible to make a decent living doing this, especially once you have experience in the business with top teachers making as much as $100,000 per year.

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Because there is such demand for people to teach English overseas, advertisements for jobs are regularly posted on Internet message boards and in major international newspapers such as the International Herald Tribune. However, it is important to check out the places offering the jobs very carefully. Some places will try to take advantage of people who are interested in this kind of work by offering very low salaries which you cannot possibly live on. This is especially true when you take a job in a wealthy country.

It is also important to be open to new cultures. It is entirely possible for example that your job teaching English overseas will involve spending your time in a place where you are the only English speaker for miles around. This can lead to a feeling of social isolation unless you are willing to engage with the local population and learn to understand them and treat them as your social equals. This idea is also important in general since your students will not appreciate being looked down upon. Remember that you are a visitor in their country and not the other way around so it's important to act as a respectful person and not a loud mouthed American who insists that she knows the "right" way to do things.

Qualifications / Requirements

Generally, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in order to teach English overseas. It is also helpful to take courses in English as a Second Language (ESL) and or TESOL/TOEFL courses (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Teaching English as a Foreign Language). However, this is not necessarily an absolute requirement in order to land a job.

First Steps

Start by investigating the various possibilities online and figure out where you want to teach. Then, contact a few schools in the area and ask if they are looking for someone to teach English overseas. Find out what their requirements are and send out a resume.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about how to teach English overseas:

English First: Teaching Jobs - A good basic resource on how to become a teacher overseas.

Go Abroad - More than just a site for those who want to teach English overseas, this site also includes information on other opportunities to study or volunteer overseas.

Teacher Hit - You can find teaching jobs in Europe here.

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Every Way to Make Money | Teach English Overseas