Before you go – Travel for TEFL and TESOL

If you are thinking of teaching English in another country, you should have a lot of questions on your mind. Here are some of the most frequent questions asked by prospective teachers and the answers.

When Should I Plan To Go?

This depends on where you want to teach. In many countries, everything shuts down during certain months of the year, usually in the summer. Our country profiles, later in this book, provide general information about the best time to apply for jobs. You can apply for jobs from home or you can turn up on spec. Both approaches have their own merits and drawbacks depending on the country you want to teach in. The country guides offer more detailed answers to this question.

What Should I Take With Me?  

Essentials – like obtaining health insurance valid for your stay overseas – are dealt with later in this chapter. Do remember to check if your passport will be valid for the period of time you plan to be away – it’s amazing the number of teachers who forget to do this!


Make sure you take clothes appropriate for the climate you will be living in. Remember that a country that is hot and sunny in the summer can be freezing cold in the winter. Clothing may be expensive in your new country so take a good supply of things you like to wear. Check with the school to see if you will be required to dress formally when you teach. If you will be going out to look for a teaching job on spec it would not hurt to take clothes that you would wear to an interview.  Appearance really does count when you are job hunting, almost as much your CV in some cases!  You might want to invest in some ESL/ EFL teaching books as these may be hard to obtain in your destination country – they may be in short supply. A good dictionary and a grammar guidebook will always come in handy when you are faced with any awkward questions about word definitions or the nature of past participles. Also, make sure you have a few good novels for your leisure time. If you are learning the language of your destination country (it’s a good idea), then take along your iPod, Kindle and, for when you forget to charge, some paper books.

Will I Need A Teaching Qualification?

It’s a good idea to get some training before you go or why not take a teaching course while you are on your travels? Whether you train in your home country or while you are away is your decision, but if you plan to train in another country make sure that there are appropriate courses on offer.



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