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TEFL – Our Guide To Teaching English Abroad

Introduction to TEFL
Before starting out in their long term careers, more and more students are looking to spend some time abroad - either long term or short term - after they leave university.

These days, and with student debt as high as it is, taking off to explore the world can seem like an impossible pipe dream - but there are many ways of funding your travels, and TEFL is a realistic way of funding your time in a foreign country by working abroad.

Likewise, many students find that taking a year out between college and university can be filled very rewardingly with a spell teaching English to foreign people abroad.

TEFL can be a fun, rewarding and profitable way to spend a few months immersing yourself in a new culture while seeing the world and gaining some experience before you settle into a long term career or go on to higher education.

Read on to find out all you need to know about finding a student job teaching English overseas...
What Does TEFL Mean Exactly?
The acronym TEFL simply stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. There are other acronyms you might have come across as well such as TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) amongst others, but by and large, they are all pretty similar.

After doing a course, students will be awarded a TEFL certificate and will be qualified to teach English as a foreign language. This opens up opportunities for long-term travel or living abroad and, more importantly, earning decent money while doing it!
What If I Don’t Speak A Second Language?
Teaching abroad


Teaching English abroad
That's the beauty of teaching English as a foreign language. You don't need to know a second language to be able to teach English to non-English speakers! Once you have your certificate, you will be able to teach in any country that requires TEFL qualified teachers.

Many people assume they will be working in local schools with small children. Of course, this is an option for those that want to take that route - but there are other options too.

You could find yourself working in a college or language centre where corporate businesses send their employees to learn English. These employees could be from all over the world so you can't be expected to know all of their native tongues!

As a teacher of English as a foreign language, whether you choose to work with children or adults, you will be teaching language immersion, meaning English is the only language you will be required to speak.

Having said that, empathy with your students is going to make you not only a more successful teacher but it will also make your life in your chosen country easier. If you have experience of learning a foreign language yourself - learning a completely new language structure with different grammatical patterns - you will be able empathise with your students and better appreciate any difficulties they may come across.

Also, you are going to be in your host country for a period of time. Most people take up TEFL teaching as a way of funding their time abroad and experiencing life in different countries and cultures and so a little effort on your part will go a long way to helping your settle into your new role. Spend some time learning a little about the language of your host country so you can take part in conversations outside of class and get by in day-to-day life outside of work. Taking the time to learn about the history and culture of the country will also mean you will get more fulfilment from your time there.
English Isn't My First Language. Can I Still Do TEFL?
If English is not your native language, this does not mean that teaching English as a foreign language option is closed to you.

If you are currently a student or a graduate from a British university then your English is obviously of a high standard. As long as your knowledge of the English language is thorough and you manage to obtain a good quality TEFL certificate, you should be qualified to take up a position abroad as a teacher of English.

Use this as a positive as opposed to a negative factor. The fact that you are not a native-English speaker means you will have skills that a native-English speaker can never have and you can use this to your advantage.

Remember, you have had to go through the process of learning English as a second language. What are the difficulties you experienced? Did you have problems with the grammar structure or the spellings?

What are the problems you encountered when trying to decipher the speaking or the listening? How did you make your way through conversations?

Whatever obstacles you faced in learning English, the chances are your future students are going to come across similar difficulties and you are going to be well-placed to help them overcome some or all of those issues.

You will certainly be able to empathise with your students!
Teaching English as a foreign language
Do I Need Any Qualifications To Do A TEFL Course Or Teach Abroad?
You do not need any formal qualifications or experience to enrol on a TEFL course - you just need to speak English well enough. If English is not your native language then you may need to demonstrate that it is good enough for TEFL by gaining a Certificate of Advanced English (CAE).

To teach abroad, you will only need your TEFL certificate for most countries. Some countries such as Japan and South Korea only give a work visa to teachers who have a degree, so you would need to be a graduate and be TEFL qualified to work there. Most countries do not insist on a degree qualification though, so once you have your TEFL certificate, you will be able to work as a teacher.

Sometimes you can teach English abroad without a TEFL qualification if you have a degree. Enke Education run a programme for English speaking graduates to teach in China and TEFL qualifications are not essential. The same goes for NOVA in Japan.
I'm A Mature Student. Have I Missed The TEFL Boat?
Teacher abroad
Teaching English as a foreign language is not just for young university students or graduates who have come straight through school and university.

If you are a mature student and you like the idea of taking off abroad for a while to teach English, doing a TEFL certificate is still an option that is open to you.

Different countries have different cultures, and so, being an older person with a TEFL certificate can have many advantages.

While some schools and businesses will prefer to take on younger members of staff to teach English, other countries place more value on the expertise of an older person and you will sometimes be treated with more respect.
How Do You Get A TEFL Certificate?
Becoming qualified to teach English as a foreign language is much easier than it was in years gone by. Previously, students had to commit to attending courses over a period of weeks. These courses would only take place intermittently in a few towns and cities throughout the UK making it impossible for many people to attend.

These days, however, it is much easier to access TEFL courses. If you prefer classroom learning, you can choose to attend any of the fulltime courses that take place all over the UK. If time is an issue for you, there are also weekend and evening courses available. Check online for any courses that might become available close to where you live.

The TEFL Org is the UK's most accredited TEFL course provider. Since beginning in 2008, they've trained over 120,000 teachers who've gone on to find work teaching English all over the world. As well as offering online courses, The TEFL Org run classroom TEFL courses at locations across the UK, Ireland, and in Madrid, Spain.

The TEFL Academy has over 35 TEFL Courses running every month in locations throughout the UK. They offer a Combined Level 5 TEFL course that includes 20 hours in the classroom and 148 hours of online study. The TEFL Academyis the world’s only TEFL course provider that has received official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies both in the US and the UK. Their course is regulated by Ofqual (UK government department) and is approved by the DEAC, a U.S. Department of Education National Accreditor.
TEFL Academy
Different Types Of TEFL Courses
A quick search online and it's easy to get bogged down and bamboozled by the vast amount of TEFL courses available out there. Take your time to do the research and find the right course for you.

Timeframes, prices and the potential jobs at the end all differ and you need to choose the one that best fits.

Who you achieved your TEFL certificate with can determine whether or not you have a chance at getting other work so don't necessarily choose the cheapest option, especially if you are thinking about teaching English as a foreign language as a long-term career move.

As mentioned above, teaching English as a foreign language abroad can be a good way of funding longer term travel and experiencing the culture and lifestyle in a different country. However, some people make a career out of teaching English as a foreign language.

If you think this is something you might be interested in then you need to commit to an internationally respected, high quality TEFL course. The two most recognised courses are CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), awarded by Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate and the Cert.TESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) awarded by Trinity College London.

If you have particular institutions in mind where you would like to work, it's worth asking them which qualification they would prefer you have before investing time and money into the course.
Online TEFL Courses
As with the classroom courses, there are many online TEFL courses out there. Again, if you are looking to keep your options open in being able to secure work in a variety of countries and institutes all over the world, then do your research and choose an online company that is in a position to provide that freedom.

Having a respected and recognised TEFL qualification in your armoury is going to help you get employment much easier. Again, if you have a particular country, language school or institute in mind, contact them first to see if your chosen qualification will be recognised by them.

If you do want to do an online TEFL course, one of the most famous online TEFL companies is www.i-to-i.com. They have been around for over 16 years and, during that time, have gained respect in the online TEFL world and are recognised by thousands of institutes and language schools worldwide.

www.i-to-i.com has been given official seals of approval from ODLQC (Open and Distance Learning Quality Council) OFQUAL (the Office Of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) and EDI (Education Department International).
Choosing The TEFL Route - Three Takeaways
  • Travel - If you want to travel around before embarking on a different career, gaining a qualification in teaching English as a foreign language is a great way to either fund your travels or fund a longer term stay in just one country. As a person in possession of a TEFL qualification, you should also be able to find employment in countries where obtaining a work permit is difficult. Turkey is a good example of this. Work permits for foreigners are very difficult to come by but English language teachers are made welcome.
  • Career - It is possible to follow a long-term career in teaching English language as a foreign language. If this is your goal, invest the time and money into getting a respected, recognised qualification initially. Career progression means further qualifications are necessary - and your original, recognised qualification will stand you in good stead for this.
  • Work at home - There are TEFL job opportunities in the UK as well as abroad. Many summer schools in the UK need TEFL or TESOL qualified teachers to teach children who come from all over the world to attend. A teaching summer school job is a great way of using your TEFL qualification in the UK.

Camp Beaumont hire TEFL teachers every summer across London and the home counties
Apply for TEFL Jobs
Some TEFL jobs are posted on our website so check the list below for TEFL jobs open for application now.
1-7 of 7 jobs

EFL Teacher (Residential / live in role)

Embassy Summer

United Kingdom

£658.97 per week

EFL Teacher (Residential / live in role)

Embassy Summer


£658.97 per week

EFL Teacher (Residential / live in role)

Embassy Summer


£658.97 per week

EFL Teacher (Residential / live in role)

Embassy Summer


£658.97 per week

EFL Teacher (Residential / live in role)

Embassy Summer


£658.97 per week

EFL Teacher (Residential / live in role)

Embassy Summer


£658.97 per week

English Graduate

EF English First (Kids and Teens)



1-7 of 7 jobs

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