Lots of people want to travel, get a bit of distance and experience something new.
It´s an exciting prospect! However, it only seems to be the lucky few who get to make it a reality.
Travel doesn´t have to be expensive but it does require a considerable amount of money and that is a luxury not everyone has.
But don´t fear, there is a way: Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).
If you have the desire to teach, a will to travel and are a native or fluent English speaker, then teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) could provide those essential funds enabling you to see the world.
That´s exactly what I did! Fresh out of university, I was looking to do some travelling and when I heard about TEFL abroad it seemed like a perfect opportunity.
First things first: I had to become certified to teach English. Having the language skills does not mean that you know how to transfer them to others and it is also required by all employers. In my hometown there is not a school that offers such training and so I completed a TESOL certification online with International TEFL Academy, part time, over an eleven week period.
This enabled me to complete the course from home, giving me the flexibility to continue working simultaneously.
Being certified for TEFL really has opened so many doors.
There were so many different options; Asia, South America, the Middle East and Europe. With typical six to twelve month contacts, there are no long term commitments, providing the option to spend time in different countries…
First Stop Asia: South Korea
With a strain on the education system and a fast growing economy, the TEFL market is booming. With an estimated 2000-3000 new jobs available each month, it was not long before I secured a position teaching business English to adults, which was confirmed in advance via phone and email.
I chose South Korea first as my employer provided free housing and an air fare reimbursement, perfect for helping me to get my feet off the ground.
Second Stop South America: Argentina
Using the money I had saved each month from my generous salary in Seoul, I travelled to Argentina to search for work, as most employers require interviews to be conducted face-to-face. With teaching experience on my side I quickly found a position in Buenos Aires, again teaching business English to professionals.
Third Stop Middle East: Egypt
After six months I travelled to Egypt. I managed to secure a job by phone in advance, this time teaching children in a secondary school.
A very different experience awaited as children require to be motivated and looked after, something I didn´t have to worry about with my former students. However, the children were very enthusiastic to learn and generally well behaved and I found it a very fun experience.
Living on three different continents over a two year period would not have been financially impossible without teaching English.
However, I have also gained something money can´t buy: Valuable work experience, improved communication and interpersonal skills and lots of self confidence.