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It’s common knowledge that teaching can be a fulfilling career, but teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) takes job satisfaction to a new level. It allows you to travel the globe and explore new world’s busiest destinations while learning about yourself. Above all, it creates opportunities to meet many interesting people of all ages and backgrounds and learn about their culture. As you teach them English, your learners will develop invaluable language skills to help them flourish in their professional lives. Watching their confidence grow as their language abilities improve is what makes TEFL teachers thrive. Making a positive impact in the lives of others is certainly one of the perks of the job.

A common misconception is that TEFL teaching is all fun and games. Much like any other teaching job, it is very demanding and can be challenging at times. Most teachers, newly qualified especially, share the same worries, fears, and doubts. Many of these are addressed during a 120-hour TEFL course from an accredited provider. 

This course has been designed with a complete teaching novice in mind and to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to walk into your classroom with confidence from the start. The course modules cover areas related to the technical structure of the language, like grammar and pronunciation, but also teaching skills, like lesson planning, materials creation, and classroom management.

Most TEFL courses will also help you navigate through the challenges of cultural sensitivity. Although learning about different cultures is truly fascinating, it can also cause awkward situations and misunderstandings. During the course you will discover many tips that will help you make the most of your international experience reducing the chances of ‘oops’ moments.

Where to go first

Choosing your first destination as a new TEFL teacher can take you on a rollercoaster of emotions – it can be extremely exciting but equally terrifying. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Spain is a vibrant country and the ideal place to start your TEFL adventure, probably because it is the home of the best tourist villages. The Spanish climate is one of the main reasons why this country is one of the most popular among expats and tourists alike. What’s more, its relaxed lifestyle, welcoming atmosphere, affordable cost of living, and tantalising food make Spain a great place to move to. 

Canada is an amazing country to live and work in. Life is never dull there, with its wide range of geographical characteristics and cultures. This country offers a very high standard of living, and for this reason, finding a TEFL job can be challenging. You will need a bachelor’s degree – at the very least – as well as a TEFL certificate. Some organisations might need you to obtain a TEFL Canada certificate, as an additional qualification.

Poland is another country that is very popular among expats, especially those in the TEFL industry. The reasons for this are simple. The cost of living in this country is overall lower than any other European country on average. There is a huge culture of the outdoors in Poland: from kayaking to festivals, there’s always plenty to do. The winters can be long and harsh, which is ideal if you enjoy the snow!

Where to go next

If you enjoyed your first experience of living and working abroad, perhaps you might want to venture out somewhere further afield or with a completely different culture from yours. Have a look at the suggestions below.

Thailand is a fascinating country to live and work in. Many TEFL teachers have made this country their home away from home and have never looked back. With so much to do and see in this fantastic country, you might be too busy to cook at home and end up eating out on a regular basis. Good news though, as living in Thailand is very affordable, with an average meal costing around  $4 USD. A TEFL salary of anything between $800 and $1200 USD, depending on the institution you work for, might not seem much for western standards, but in Thailand this amount of money goes a long way. 

South Korea is one of the most fascinating and mysterious countries in the world. However, incredible experiences come at a price and living in South Korea isn’t cheap. Luckily for you, TEFL teachers in this country are among the best paid worldwide. This is the ideal place if you want to immerse yourself in a new culture and experience something completely different from what you might be used to.

Costa Rica is renowned for its unique ‘pura vida’ lifestyle. This is the ideal country to relax and reconnect with the world around (and within) you. The natural environment here – from enchanting forests to stunning beacher – is an absolute joy to explore and it will never stop to amaze you. If you are thinking about this country as your next teaching destination, you won’t be disappointed. However, remember that, like in most Latin American countries, remote interviews in Costa Rica are quite rare, as they are usually held in-person. 

Brazil is such a vast country that you’ll never run out of new places to visit. If you are thinking about moving there to teach English, choose your base very carefully. This is because there can be a huge difference in TEFL salaries depending on where you are. This is also reflected in the cost of living. Life in large urban areas, like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, can be very expensive, but it is also where most language schools are located. Therefore, there are more teaching opportunities there than in other parts of the country. 

If you are interested in teaching in countries like Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, head over to this page, where you can discover more about the elements of a teach English in Latin America experience.

Are you convinced?

Taking the first steps into the TEFL industry is an incredible adventure – although there might be some challenges, the outcome will be an invaluable experience with memories that will last a lifetime. Whichever country you choose to move to, teaching English abroad can be the best job in the world.

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