Teach English While Travelling The World

Running out of money? Want to change your life? Keen to keep on travelling? Read on, fellow adventurers, it just so happens there is a magic way to solve all of your problems… At some point in your travels it is likely that you will want to slow down for a bit, to ease into something a bit more ‘normal’ without going home. Teaching english abroad offers an absolutely fantastic chance for backpackers to earn some money, have a good standard of living for a few months and recuperate from months on the road. And luckily, there are plenty of international teaching jobs up for grabs, all you need is to have a look at some online TEFL courses, pick a country and find a job teaching english abroad…

All about teaching English abroad…

Teaching english abroad is a fantastic way to stretch your funds and to see the world at the same time. Teaching english abroad has, for a long time, been my back-up for when I run out of funds on the road and I  know a lot of people who have scored jobs teaching English in China; one of the best places to earn a decent income whilst exploring a truly amazing, truly different, culture.

I’ve covered the topic of teaching english abroad a LOT on my site as I truly believe that this is one of the best cheats for people who have no cash and want to explore the world. Check out my interview series with ten TEFL teachers to learn more about what you can expect from a job teaching english abroad.

Before you hit the road in search of a job teaching english, you will first need to get a TEFL qualification.

teaching english abroad

Learn, learn god-damn you!

All about online TEFL courses…

Before you pack your bags and book that one way ticket, you need to get some teaching qualifications! In order to teach english abroad, you are going to need a TEFL certification. TEFL is an acronym that stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. There are dozens of online TEFL courses available so you have to make sure you go with a reputable (and affordable) company.

There are several types of TEFL courses available, some involve face-to-face teaching time and others are completely online. If you’re already travelling then I recommend choosing an online TEFL course over a classroom course; it’s simply easier and you can work on your qualification in your spare time.

I recommend obtaining your online TEFL certificate with MyTefl. It’s fast, easy and one of the cheapest. MyTefl offer a whole range of online TEFL courses ranging from basic certifications all the way to business teaching and even courses for non-native English speakers – perfect if you’re from The Philippines, for example, and want to teach English.

As an added incentive, MyTEFL also include a list of teaching positions all over the world in order to help you find work. MyTefl is dedicated to giving back to the global community and so a percentage of all sales goes to worthy causes around the world.

The best way to get to grips with teaching english abroad is to read up on some personal experiences of TEFL teachers. Recently, I interviewed Becky, an english teacher in Japan with five years experience, and Tyler, head honcho over at MyTefl on the ins and outs of online tefl courses and teaching english abroad; check out the article on teaching english in Japan.

35% off online TEFL courses with MyTEFL

If you choose to obtain your TEFL through MyTefl, The Broke Backpacker readers receive a 35% discount by using the code BACKPKR 

teaching english abroad

The Broke Backpacker readers get 35% off!

Gaining a TEFL certificate is a small investment considering how much money can be made through international teaching jobs, especially when you consider that the cost of living is likely to be very low. Having a TEFL certificate really does open doors and the great thing is that, since you can complete the TEFL course online, you can do it over a period of time whilst travelling. When completing the online teaching course section of my own TEFL certificate I would often sit down on a beach, my travel laptop to hand, and get a couple of hours done whilst chilling with a beer. I never found it particularly challenging and having a TEFL qualification offers so many opportunities that it’s a good back-up option to have when travelling; eventually you will after all run out of money. Teaching English abroad is a particularly good way to supplement your income if your trying to break into the blogging game or interested in becoming a digital nomad.

How to find a TEFL job

So, once you have looked through some online TEFL courses and chosen one that works for you, what next? Upon successful completion of your TEFL course you can then look for a job teaching English abroad. Finding a teaching job abroad is relatively easy, especially if you use the directory of positions listed at MyTefl. If you fancy a more direct approach, I recommend choosing a city you like the look of and starting to send out emails to various schools in the region.

Schools are often so desperate for English teachers that many of them will offer you an interview right away. In general, I recommend trying to find a teaching job when you are already in the country; this will mean you are in a better position to actually check the school out, negotiate your salary and find a decent apartment. When choosing a school, see if you can find blog posts or reviews from past english teachers about that specific job, it will give you a better idea of what to expect. If you’re not sure you want to settle down in one place, why not make money from anywhere and teach online!

teaching english abroad

My good friends over at Goats on the Road teaching English in China

How much can you save teaching English abroad?

If you choose your country wisely, it is possible to save upwards of $15,000 in just one year whilst still living in a nice apartment, eating out a few times a week and having a really good standard of living. Teaching English in South Korea is ultimately one of the best places to teach English in the world with backpackers frequently managing to save around $20,000 in a year whilst working just thirty hours a week!

Having a TEFL course offers you the opportunity to live in countries which you could never normally afford to explore; such as Japan!

There are lots of different ways to become a nomad; you can become a travel blogger, travel the world as an au-pair or even have a crack at freelance photography. The beauty of teaching english abroad though is that pretty much anybody can do it – English does not even have to be your native language (although it does help). If you’re off backpacking for the first time, having the necessary teaching qualifications in your back-pocket makes for an excellent safety-net for when you run out of cash…

Be sure that you have the correct visa for teaching english, in some countries like China you will save yourself a real headache if you sort this before you go but in others, such as Colombia, it is relatively easy to arrange your english teaching visa once you are in the country and have your job all lined up.

So, what are you waiting for? Visit MyTefl today, use the BACKPKR code, and try your hand at an exciting new career that let’s you gallivant around the world…

To learn more about long-term sustainable travel, check out the Backpacker Bible; How to Travel The World on $10 a Day! 

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51 Comments

  • Renuka says:

    Fantastic! I hope it’s as good as it sounds, though. I always thought only native English speakers are hired for teaching English. But I guess, just about anybody who has good command on the language can get a TEFL degree and start applying for the jobs. Cool!

  • Monica Gray says:

    Wow! I found this post at exactly the right time… was just researching teaching English abroad when I stumbled to your post for info and a coupon! Awesome, this is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much! :]

    • Will Hatton says:

      No problem Monica! I hope you have a fantastic time teaching abroad! Where do you plan on heading first? Good luck on your TEFL course, TEFL247 are really good so I’m sure you shall blast through it with no worries! 🙂

  • Erich Hiller says:

    I heard you need a college degree though, Is that true?

  • Arcelia Castillo says:

    Would I need a college degree to teach in Mexico? Where would I find the requirements for different countries?

  • Mariska says:

    Hi Will! Great info thanks! 🙂
    Do you know if a degree is needed to teach in Vietnam?
    I just came back from one month in Vietnam and absolutely loved it! I really want to go back and explore the country more! I think teaching will be a great way to fund this and also to give back!

    • Will Hatton says:

      Hey Mariska, off the top of my head I don’t believe you need a degree to teach in Vietnam – you should definitely get a TEFL though, they are cheap and well-worth the investment 🙂

  • Trav says:

    Hi Will, this article has inspired me to take off overseas and teach English in a foreign country as soon as possible. Brazil is a country that has always fascinated me; do you know if it’s possible to find teaching work there and are visas difficult to obtain? Thanks!

  • Zascha says:

    Hi Will. How long does this offer last and is it just for the 120 hours one? 🙂

  • Excellent info! I’m planning on getting my TEFL and teach sometime in the near future. I would love to go to Dubai for the money, but I’ll probably end up starting in Korea because the ease of getting a job.

  • Zascha Friis says:

    Brilliant. Thank you, Will. I want to do it in August when I come back from my summer in the U.S. 🙂

  • Mae says:

    I was thinking 10 mins. Ago that I will continue my plans of travelling and being me. this post gave a big sign today. Let’s do this. ????

  • Great ideas for working and traveling. Interesting too about not signing up at a school until you’re in the country. It takes an experienced traveler to be that flexible. Great plan though for saving and getting to know your host country.

  • Getting this certificate opens up so many opportunities for travellers. Everyone needs a good teacher.

  • This is an interesting idea, and one that I’ve gone back and forth over for the last few months. How fluent do you have to be in the native language though? I’d love to go to Asia, but the only other language I speak is Spanish, so I’m thinking a country in South America would be more doable.

  • I know plenty of people who have done this and loved it! And who knows, maybe I’ll give it a shot someday…I do have an English degree that I’m not really using, too! 🙂

  • Teaching abroad is a great way to see the world! I’ve done it before myself ^_^ I didn’t know that it was possible to arrange your visa once you get there in some places. I taught in France and there was no way I would have been able to do that! Colombia is a good idea actually..

  • Meg Jerrard says:

    Thanks for this amazing resource – I’ve heard of TEFL and know a tonne of people recommend it as a means to travel, especially in South East Asia at the moment seems to be a popular trend, though I really had no idea you could save a lot of money with this too. Sounds like a really great plan, totally just assumed it was a means to travel as opposed to actually earning enough income to cover everything and save on top!

    Thanks for opening my eyes!

  • Vanessa says:

    $20,000 in a year? That’s fantastic. There are people who earn 6 figures that can’t put that much aside over 12 months. Maybe more of us should consider getting certified!

  • This is a great post, I definitely learned more about TEFL from reading this. I didn’t realize just how much money you can make from it, this is a great way for people to not only earn but still travel and be able to immerse into a country when they can. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kate says:

    Teaching English overseas can be very rewarding, it is hard work though. Its not the easiest job you could get and requires energy and patience. I had to plan and do extra curricula activities outside of teaching English too and I was only a volunteer. I would absolutely recommend looking into it if you enjoy spending time with kids/young adults and want to give back. Great advice here and something for travellers to think about

  • Straatloper_ says:

    Please also consider the responsibilities of being a teacher.
    You are most likely making an impact on young children’s future, so be prepared to put
    in more work than an online course while sunbathing.
    Would you like it if your children’s teachers were unschooled and only wanted to put in minimum effort for maximum benefits?
    Just something to think about!

  • Ian says:

    Saving $20,000 in Korea in a year is pretty high. I’d say that is rare and $10-15,000 is more likely. Exchange rates can change too. I saved 18,000,000 Won in my first year making 2.3 million Won a month.

    TEFL certificates are not usually required to teach in Asia, but they can help.

  • How do you think that course compares to the CELTA?

  • Disha Shetty says:

    You have opened my world and saved my life!

  • James says:

    Hey Will,
    I came across your blog post this afternoon. Great information!
    I will be traveling next year and would love to get my TEFL certification. Which hour class do you think is the most practical?
    Thanks,
    James

    • Will Hatton says:

      To be honest, I would go with the longer one – the more hours you do, the more comfortable you will be standing up in front of your first class 🙂 However, if you feel you have it locked down; go for the shorter one, most schools don’t differentiate between the two.

      • James says:

        Awesome…thanks for the info! I’m heading to Asia next year and want to make sure I have something to fall back on if I decide to stay longer…

  • Pink says:

    Hi Will!

    Do I have a big chance to find an English teaching job in Japan if:

    -I earn my certificate from myTEFL?
    -I’m not a native speaker of English?

    I’m planning to have this cert before the year ends and apply for a teaching job early next year in Japan. 😀 I heard that finding a teaching job there is tough for non-native speakers.

    By the way, thanks for this article!

    • Will Hatton says:

      Hey there, yes indeed you do have a MUCH BETTER chance of finding paid work in Japan if you have a TEFL certificate and, after doing a heck of a lot of research, MyTEFL is definitely the one I recommend…

      You could just pretend to be a native english speaker, your written english is damn excellent!

      I have an interview in the works about teaching english in Japan so stay tuned 🙂

  • Zhan says:

    This is just so timely. I just came back from a month of travel and I was thinking of staying back in Cambodia or Thailand or Malaysia and start teaching English… ohhh what a perfect sign! Thanks Will!

  • Nicholas Aw says:

    Hey, I got some questions here and hoping for some answers.
    I found out the TEFL online course provide different time and price for us to register. I would like to ask whether different price and time will receive different certificate and now I am currently doing diploma and I hope I can start to teach English overseas once I graduate and I am not sure my diploma with TEFL certificate will enable to teach overseas or should I need a degree?

  • Great Website! I

    I have traveled the world through teaching English and now have my own TEFL Recruitment Business and also do online marketing to cover my travel costs. It’s great that you give people motivation in travel and how easy it is to make that move to gain a place on the travel circuit. You don’t need a degree to teach BTW … I offer places to teach with no degree but there are small disadvantages with it but to travel and earn coin it’s not bad for people to get some cash as long as you perform and teach well. BTW I would like to offer this website some space to advertise on my new site on one the pages most probably resources so get in touch

  • Jenette says:

    Your blog is very helpful. Very keen to details. I like your blog for Sagada travel guide. I am heading to Sagada and want to take TEFL someday. Thank you so much! God bless!

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