How To Become A Teacher In A Foreign Country


Becoming a teacher and teaching (English) in a foreign country is a great way to travel, experience a different culture and share one’s knowledge with others. There are many places around the world where becoming an English teacher is a possibility.

How To Become A Teacher In A Foreign Country

There are a range of options that you can choose from when becoming a teacher in a foreign country such as country, length of contract, and how you get employed. It is also important to have your own personal requirements, such as benefits and what is provided, when finding an employer.

1. Where to go

Choosing the country that is right for you is probably one of the hardest decisions when becoming a foreign teacher. Almost every country that does not speak English as a first language accepts foreign English teachers.

Each of these countries have different requirements for qualifications and the level of ease/difficulty in finding a position in a desired country varies greatly.

In places such as Poland, China and Spain jobs are relatively easy to find and there isn’t an overwhelming amount of competition. In these places as long as you meet the requirements you can find a job without too much problem. However, countries like Japan have high competition and schools often want to employ teachers with a lot of experience.

2. Contract length

The length of your contract can vary depending on where you are going and how long you want to be gone for. For some people a couple of weeks is the best option, giving them the chance to travel but not long enough to really miss home. Others like to go away for a year or more and truly experience a culture, with more time to travel. Again this is personal choice.

If you are unsure of how long you would like to teach for I recommend a shorter contract with the possibility of extending. Another option is to try out teaching with a shorter contract in another country as a trial to test if teaching is something you will enjoy.

3. TEFL and Qualifications

In some countries it is possible to find work without any formal qualifications or experience as long as you speak English fluently. Others require a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification.

The most common of these course is 120 hours and can be done online. There are many companies that provide these qualifications so it is important to check if the company you go through has suitable courses for the country you wish to go.

Personally I chose as this was the cheapest option I could find, I was guaranteed this qualification was appropriate for various countries and they have a user-friendly jobs board.

In addition to a TEFL certificate you may also need a university/college degree. Once again this is dependent on where you are planning to teach and the individual school. Usually though your degree does not have to relate to what you are teaching.

4. Recruiter

Going through a recruiter can make this process easier. The main benefit of using a recruiter is that they can offer in depth insight into various schools. They know of more schools than you are likely to find on your own and can make recommendations based on your own requirements, abilities, experience and what is available. Basically they do most of the leg-work for you.

Recruiters also give you an added sense of security knowing that you have their support before and after moving to your new home. Any uncertainty or issues with possible or current employers can be discussed with any good recruiter.

5. Personal Requirements

Like with any job each person will have their own list of requirements for teaching abroad. However, moving abroad has additional factors to consider. These include things like, accommodation, travel costs, visas, language courses and in-country support. It is up to you to decide what is acceptable and unacceptable for your potential employer to provide. Some people have no problem with finding their own apartment while for others this could be extremely stressful.

It is important to check with your employer if they provide accommodation or if you will be required to find your own. If you don’t speak the language or don’t know the process of renting somewhere in your country of choice having your employer provide you with accommodation can make your move less stressful. Keep in mind different countries have different processes and requirements for renters.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to know more about Mickey’s life in China check out her blog at:


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Daniel is a Chemical Engineering graduate, his passion for research, writing and sharing ideas led to the creation of this blog.

2 Responses

  1. Stanley Cohen says:

    Very educative post. I just bookmarked your blog.

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