How To Teach English Overseas

This post is the second in the Work From Anywhere/Extra Income Ideas series where I’ll be providing details on how you can move towards a location independent lifestyle and have the freedom to work from anywhere and travel the world – as and when you please. This weeks topic is how to teach English overseas.

Teach English Overseas

Personally I think teaching is a great way to travel the world, and by teaching English overseas, you not only have the freedom to choose where you live, but you get paid for it and have the opportunity to learn another language as well! I spent some time teaching in the UK when I first arrived and I found it to be not only fun and sociable, but a way for me to help people and learn about the new culture I had found myself living in.

If you are interested in teaching English overseas but not sure how to go about the process, here is a step by step guide.

Check Your Eligibility

Before you do anything else, you should first check whether you are eligible to teach English overseas. As a general rule, you will need to meet the following criteria to be able to teach English overseas:

  • Be a native English speaker
  • Hold a Bachelors degree

Because English teaching positions are becoming more and more competitive, these points will generally be non-negotiable, but depending on where you want to teach you may still be able to find some positions which are flexible. If you are not from a native English speaking country but are fluent in English then you may have more options, however be aware that positions will be limited.

The key here is to do your research – if you don’t fit in with the criteria perfectly, but are passionate about teaching, then this may prove to be sufficient.

Complete A TEFL Course

Once you have confirmed you are eligible to teach English overseas you will need to complete a Teaching English as a Foreign Language or TEFL certificate. There are literally thousands of courses on offer around the world, but if you want to work in top schools and be paid accordingly then you may want to complete either the Cambridge Celta or Trinity CertTesol courses, as these are the most widely recognised around the world. They are however the most expensive, but don’t worry  if money is tight – you can still enrol in a good quality internationally recognised course for less investment up front.

Courses range from intensive face to face sessions to distance learning, which will of course affect the price, as well as the location you take it – some people prefer to study for this at home, or you could also travel to cheaper countries like Korea to live for a few weeks while you complete the coursework.

As I said, there are thousands of options, so its just a matter of finding the right course for you, at the right price, and right location. Some companies (Go Abroad is one) even package TEFL study along with a job placement at the end, so this might be a a fuss-free option if you are looking to study and work somewhere like Thailand.

Teach English Overseas

Apply For Jobs And Start Working!

Once you have completed your course and have your certificate to teach then the sky is literally the limit! You may have come into this process with a country in mind, or you may now be looking for places to work, but the great thing is, that there are so many jobs available, so it’s just the case of finding the one that suits you! Some job applications might be submitted as part of a program offered by an intermediate company, while others might be submitted directly to the school. Most positions will include a free airfare as well as accommodation and a wage. These will differ by country and even school, so shop around.

You may choose a placement at anywhere from a government school, a specialised language school, as a tutor, or corporate trainer. There are millions of websites advertising for TEFL jobs, but some of the most popular include Go Abroad, and Transitions Abroad.

The application process can take anywhere from 2-6 months, so take this into account when planning. Most jobs will also begin between August-October, so if you are applying late in the year, you may only be able to find positions for the following school year. Again, this differs widely so check each job that you are interested in.

Once your application has been accepted it’s time to celebrate! You are in for the time of your life, and apart from having the amazing opportunity to get paid to live in some of the worlds most beautiful locations, you are also doing something positive and giving back to the world.

Now, give yourself a pat on the back and crack open the bubbly, you’ve done it!

Photo Credits – Thanks to pmorgan and melalouise (Attribution License)

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  1. Awesome read, Nicole!

    I’ve been thinking about teaching overseas for a while. This was the perfect motivator. My initial thought was that most TEFL were very expensive. I also didn’t know about some courses were more recognized than others.

    The information provided here could make for a great ebook or premium guide.


    • WomanSeeksWorld says:

      Thanks Kevin! Glad you found it helpful – Im hoping to make some of my posts into an eBook in the future, so very happy to know you think this would work! : )

  2. Good information here on HOW to do this. But as someone who is teaching overseas, and plans to stay long-term, I would add that people should PLEASE SERIOUSLY consider why they are doing it. Do they have an interest in teaching? Or are they doing it because it’s a way to get to a different country, but really aren’t interested in teaching at all? I’ve worked with a few too many people who are teaching overseas for the wrong reasons, and it’s not good for the students, the school, the other teachers, nor for yourself. Carefully consider it – if you wouldn’t seriously consider teaching/coaching/etc in your home country, then it’s probably not the job for you, no matter how easy it is to get one.

  3. Something I’ve always thought about doing but never got around to. What a great way to meet people in the country you are traveling to though and becoming a part of the community!

    • WomanSeeksWorld says:

      You definitely should – Id like to teach in Thailand one day – so much to do, so little time though isnt it?!

  4. ElliE! says:


    Is the sky really literally the limit?

  5. Jacqdav says:

    I’ve been an EFL teacher now for about 5 years. I just did a quick one week TEFL course before moving to China. In many of the less well paid countries you don’t even need that as long as you have a Bachelors Degree. The degree is mainly for visa reasons in most countries.
    However, if you want to teach in the UK before you go (or after you return) you will almost certainly need the Trinity TESOL or Cambridge CELTA. There are almost no schools that will hire you without it.
    Also if you want to give TEFL a go, but don’t want to commit to a big move for an extended period, there are plenty of European countries that run short English Camps during the summer school holidays. Contracts for these can range from 2 weeks to 3 months.
    Additionally if you do decide to take the plunge and move, take into account the city you’ll be based in. Often the higher salaries in larger cities do not equal the cost of living compared to a smaller one. Having said that, having spare cash when you’re stuck out in the sticks may not be your cup of tea.

  6. Having a TEFL certificate will give you more options when looking for jobs overseas. CELTA and Trinity TESOL are the most recognised, and essential in the UK.


  7. jenn says:

    One other thing to know: some schools require a teaching degree and experience.

    Informative article 🙂

  8. Sarah Spangle says:

    As suggested many of the good jobs often require work experience on top of English being your mother tongue/ a Bachelors degree. Many supported packages are great for people worried about doing it by themselves as good companies will support you before and whilst you are out there with social events. I’d also recommend that type of package if you are having trouble financing yourself as they often pay for your TEFL certificate too. I know LoveTEFL are offering a package like this in China at the mo. Worth checking out if it’s something you are considering.

  9. thanks for this post! I had the idea to do this a number of years ago, but fell in love with my husband on my first adventure teaching English overseas. I have been living in Italy for 11 years, teaching English in Italy for 10 years, and married to my Italian husband for seven years. Just a note to those who want a life-long adventure of travel and teaching EFL ESL. Sometimes destiny steps in, and you have to make room for it! If you find “home” somewhere during your journey, don’t dismiss it.

  10. Sounds like a great deal doing IELTS or TOEFL before going overseas is always a good option which can improve your English try to target 7.5 or more if you really want to be a teacher.

  11. I’m thinking about starting this as I am fluent in English and have been all my life (allthough it’s my second language, so to speak). Thanks for all the tips in your post, they’re really helpful, but I’m wondering, how do you deal with the constant update on work permits (per country) and having to get a new bank account to get your paycheck etc? Right now I’m imagining spending endless amounts of time on this every time you start up someplace new and that’s worrying me a bit…

  12. thanks for your amazing article.If i may i can add this site too:
    It really helped me.
    Thanks again


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