Friday, July 23, 2010

How to get a job abroad - my advice to non NESTs

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!
  1. 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!
  2.  Look for a job on reputable websites this one has worked for me. 
  3.  Send out tons of resumes – don’t get discouraged if you get hardly any replies. Send more and more and more!
  4.  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.
  5.   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.
  6.   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.
  7.   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.
  8.   Save some money. You might need it for the flight, flat deposit, first rent, getting a new phone etc.
  9.   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.
  10. Be cautious – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Use your common sense!

Alternatively, you can do what I did:
  1.      Choose a country you want to work in.
  2.       Find a CELTA course there.
  3.       Save some money.
  4.       Do the country/ visa/ local market research.
  5.       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

Any questions? Bring it on!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


It’s the first day of a month and I haven’t posted anything new in a while. That’s why I owe you all an explanation.

Life has been pretty hectic recently and I have found myself packing and looking for a new job.

Having lived in Istanbul for three years, the time has come say goodbye to that amazing city. There are many reasons behind my decision most of which I don’t want to discuss here.

So here I am – back in Poland, not really ready for a new start. But there’s no choice.

I’ve met some fantastic people here and the future, though largely uncertain, seems bright again.

I’ll be in Istanbul at the end of August but otherwise you’ll be able to find me in and around the beautiful TriCity in Poland. If you’re planning to attend the 2010 IATEFL Poland conference, I’ll see you there!