Is your bucket list full and bank account empty? Perfect. Now’s the time to plan an extended vacation abroad! Sound crazy? Not really. If you have portable skills or residual income, there are many countries where your talents are in demand and your money will stretch a lot further.
Even if you aren’t in the group just mentioned, don’t despair. You may be able to put your ability to speak English and your knowledge of Western culture to practical use. Ever thought of teaching English as a Second Language? Here are the steps.
Update your resume. Having a college degree is a definite plus, however there are courses you can take towards certification as an ESL teacher. These courses usually take about one or two months to complete and can often be done online. Check out the Internet to learn more about different types of ESL certification.
Place your resume online. There are numerous websites where you can browse ESL jobs and also post your resume. Before you put up personal information, however, be sure to read the website directions and disclaimers.
Two of my favorite ESL sites are ESL Teachers Board and Dave’s ESL Café. By the way, some countries prefer a CV, which is like an expanded resume concentrating on your academic experience.
Get your passport. If you’ve never had a passport, you’ll need to apply in person at your nearest passport facility, which is quite often the local U.S. Post Office. Details are available on the official government website: Travel.State.Gov
Screen carefully. After you post your resume online, you’ll start getting invitations to teach. Unfortunately, not every invitation you receive may be legitimate. The ESL websites I mentioned in Step 2 have a wealth of information about finding the right teaching position and being safe in the process. Do your homework.
Negotiate a contract. This is sometimes easier said than done, however a good way to tackle this chore is to ask the school if you can speak with one or two of their current or former ESL teachers. If the school has nothing to hide, they should be willing to let you do this. If they are reluctant, keep looking.
Get ready to travel. Many schools will offer some reimbursement for your travel expenses, so be sure to ask. Travel lightly. If you’ve established contact with another ESL teacher at the same or similar school, ask them what to bring. The best thing you can take along is an open mind.
Tips and Warnings:
In addition to your passport, you may need a visa for travel to certain countries. Once you know which country you will be working in, check out the official website of their Embassy or Consulates for more information.
Prepare yourself for jet lag and culture shock. Perhaps the best preparation you can make is just be aware that you will experience them.
Never put yourself in a position where you don’t have enough money to leave if things don’t work out.
Get ready for the experience of a lifetime. I’ve been living and teaching in China since August, 2004. Every day is an adventure. Good luck and good journey!