I’ve been asked a couple of times how I (a non NEST) managed to get a job as an EFL teacher abroad. I'd lie if I said it was easy. It took me a year to get ready and still many things went unplanned. I had to take risks, count on people I hardly knew and experienced things that are better left forgotten. Nevertheless, it was worth all the time, money and effort.
So, if you are a non NEST who’s dreaming of working outside of your country, read my tips and get inspired!
- Get certified – CELTA or TEFL might be expensive but they’re totally worth the money. You may have a Master’s from your local university but the employers need an internationally recognized document proving that you’re a teacher. It will simply make your life easier though it certainly is possible to get a job abroad without CELTA / TEFL. I wouldn't recommend doing the courses online though - good schools won't accept that!
- Look for a job on reputable websites – this one has worked for me.
- Send out tons of resumes – don’t get discouraged if you get hardly any replies. Send more and more and more!
- Try to get some international experience – short summer courses are a good option. Summer schools need plenty of teachers every year so your chances are a lot higher.
- Don’t be fussy – most likely you will have to teach kids, business English and/or 1 to 1 classes. Take what they give, you can get picky later on.
- Do a thorough research – there are plenty of forums and message boards – get to know people who have worked in a country you want to work in. Check out the visa regulations and the local market requirements.
- Be realistic – if you’re not and EU citizen, your chances of getting a job in Europe might be slim. Some countries employ only NESTs and you won’t be considered at all. Sad but true.
- Save some money. You might need it for the flight, flat deposit, first rent, getting a new phone etc.
- Once you’ve been offered a job, check out the employer. Google the school and check whether they have a website. Look for reviews and opinions.
- Be cautious – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Use your common sense!
Alternatively, you can do what I did:
- Choose a country you want to work in.
- Find a CELTA course there.
- Save some money.
- Do the country/ visa/ local market research.
- While you do your CELTA a) ask the local teachers for help and advice b) start looking for a job and a flat.
Don’t give up! If I did it, you can do it too J
Any questions? Bring it on!