How to Travel and Teach English

by Olivier De Winne
Published: Updated: 0 comment

Teach and Travel is the solution if you think travel is expensive and you think you can’t travel because you don’t have enough money. Did you know there is a way to travel for free and you can even save money?  The solution is to Teach English in foreign country so that you can work and travel. You just need to prepare yourself for your new life adventure.  By investing a little of your time now, you can become a full-time traveller.

Learning How to Teach and Travel Can Transform Your Life

Everybody dreams to be able to travel the world as a lifestyle. You will be free to choose where you want to teach and believe me the list of countries offering a job placement is massive.  Check below for some of the best places to teach English abroad around the world including popular Asia teaching jobs. With TEFL teaching jobs, you will get paid for the hours you work and, in most cases, it will be enough to pay all your expenses and leave money for you to put away. You will also get paid during the school holidays and this will be a good time for you to explore the local area. This dream can become your reality, but first you need to take a Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL) course so that you can achieve a TEFL diploma.  Search online for a list of accredited TEFL courses.

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Do I Need a Degree Take the TEFL Exam?

No, you don’t need to have a degree to take TEFL courses. Teaching English abroad without a degree is possible, however, it will be easier to find a job abroad if you hold a degree. You don’t need to have previous teaching experience before.

What Do I Need to Take the TEFL Exam?

  1. You need to be fluent in English and for some countries you need to be native, but it isn’t compulsory for many countries.
  2. You need to be 18 years old.
  3. You need to be interested in teaching. This means that you need to be able to share your knowledge. It will be not for you, if you are very shy and afraid of speaking in front of others. Of course, you will acquire this skill with experience but yes you will be on stage in front of your students.
  4. You need to have a minimum of a C1 level in English (advanced). Without proof of this level, you will be asked to take an entry exam to be sure you are completely fluent in English.
  5. You need to be in enough good health to be able to deal with this demanding profession. Believe me, it isn’t easy every day. Some days are extremely difficult.
  6. You need a copy of all your qualifications for checking before being accepted on to the course.

What You Can Do with a TEFL?

As soon you get your TEFL certification, you will be able to Teach English. Many countries are looking for English Teachers and some countries will give you a lot of benefits to get you on board. For example, part of your employment package may include the flight and accommodation on top of your salary.  I outline more details below.

So, this qualification is very good to have if you want to travel and visit countries without spending a lot of money.  Most of the time, you will be able to live on your salary and travel during weekends or holidays. For some countries like Vietnam, you will even be able to put money away.

The other big advantage with teaching English is that you will be able to learn new skills and learn a new language. You can optimize your time in the country to learn another language. If you are on a gap year, this will be very helpful when you come back to your country to find your dream job.

Do I Need a Visa to Teach and Travel Abroad?

The simple answer is yes, you need a visa for teaching abroad. However, as I said above, some countries are actively looking for Teachers. You will need to meet each country’s criteria for work eligibility as a Teacher. For example, if you are a non-European person and you want to come to Europe to work as a Teacher, you may experience some difficulties obtaining a work visa in France because you need to prove your French is good enough.  However, if you decide to go to Spain, you will find it much easier to get a visa.  After that, you can teach abroad and travel all over Europe.

What is it Like to Teach English Abroad?

Teaching abroad can be a very good experience and you will learn a lot about yourself. In general, travellers are very good at learning to accept the differences in other people. Teaching English abroad will give you the ability to adapt yourself very quickly to different situations and your future boss knows it.

Your experience will either be very good or very bad depending on your research beforehand. You need to be sure you will fit in with the culture of the country you choose: the food of the country and the lifestyle of the country.  You also need to take in consideration the stability of the country.  For example, going to the Lebanese Republic might offer a very good experience for you but you need to be aware that this country has some problems with its neighbours and can be unsafe at times.

Do you want to travel for Free check our others Articles:

Where Can I Teach with a TEFL?

You have the possibility to find a job as a qualified TEFL English Teacher almost everywhere. Some destinations are more accessible than others as the level of country support varies.  Perhaps for the first time, I would recommend you to target countries with a high demand for Teachers rather than exotic country where it will be difficult to start.  Later, with some experience, you will know what you want and where you want to be located.  Teaching English in Asia is very popular.  Maybe you want to earn more money, or to be located in a central point in Asia to be able to visit this region without spending a lot on transport.  On the other hand, perhaps you want visa entry to Europe to be able to visit European destinations. If you want to visit Europe, the train is a very good solution, especially the Eurail Global Pass. You can read our article about Eurail here.


Teaching English Abroad Salary – Countries with Highest Salaries for TEFL Teachers

-1-  TEFL South Korea

If your primary goal is to make money to refund you student loan, then teaching in South Korea is the best solution for you.  On average, with teaching jobs in South Korea you will be able to save 50% of your income.  Benefits of teaching jobs in Korea may include a place to live during your employment and paid flights.  If you stay 12 months, you will receive an extra month’s salary as a bonus.

If you are not deterred by the nuclear threat from North Korea, South Korea can bring you a lot – fun, great food and an excellent starting point to explore Asia. The only downside is that as a foreigner it will be difficult for you to integrate into South Korean society, unless you speak the language.

-2- TEFL China

China is both modern and traditional.  You can take a bullet train between big cities, learn about Chinese culture and the treasures of one of the world’s oldest civilizations. The demand for English makes work here as an English teacher a very lucrative job.

As your expenses will be paid, you will be able to save between $500 and $1500.  As with South Korea, you will also benefit from free accommodation and paid airfares.

-3-  TEFL Dubai

Dubai has a lot of advantages for people who are motivated. As part of your employment package, you can get flights, accommodation and insurance for you and your dependents, plus $3000 to $4000 a month. To receive this, you will need to sign a contract for 2 or 3 years. This can be a long time if you feel Dubai is not your ideal location. Dubai is also an expensive city but the salary is tax free. You need to make sure you are going to love Dubai; it is quite a modern city with lasting traditions. It may be more difficult for a woman to find her place in this country.

-4- TEFL Taiwan

The cost of living in Taiwan is low and you will get paid very well for teaching English in Taiwan.  You should be able to save up to $500 a month.  A typical contract length is 12 months. Taiwan has amazing food and you will also be able to learn Mandarin. You will probably find a job in a private school where teaching techniques are different. They learn by rote not by talk.

-5- TEFL Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia offers the highest pay for teaching English but also the biggest culture change.  Here, you will be able to save around $800 per month. In addition, they will pay your flights and accommodation. Teachers at private school have a lot of benefits such as health care, transport and a salary bonus. Salaries can range between $1500 to $3000 tax-free. The downside for women is that they can’t teach men and your lifestyle will be restricted.

The Jet Programme

The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) is a special Japanese scheme which allows you to go and teach English in Japan. You will be the Assistant of the English Teacher. You can also apply to become a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) but for this position you need to have a high level of written and spoken Japanese.

The contract is for a minimum of one year which can be extended up to 4 years. You will be expected to work a 35 hour a week and maybe occasionally on weekends and during holidays.

The Jet Programme Salary

The Japan Exchange and Teaching salary is 3.36 million Yen which is almost £25K. You will be able to request 3 different choices about where you want to go but you can be sent anywhere in the Japan. To be out of big cities isn’t bad because the cost of living is less expensive and it will be easier to become part of the community in a small town.

The Jet programme will either provide accommodation for you or help you to find a place to live. This will depend on the city where you will teach.

The Jet programme will pay for your flight to Japan and the return flight, if you complete your year and leave Japan less than one month afterwards.


TEFL Jobs Spain

There are plenty of different programmes to teach English in Spain. Spain is a great place to go if you want to have a base to explore Europe. With the Spanish programme, you will be able to obtain a visa and you will be able to travel all of Europe without any problem. Spain has a good lifestyle, sun and very good food.

Get Paid with TEFL Internships

With this programme, you can learn to become a TEFL certified Teacher and on top of that you will make money. Average salaries are between 1000 and 1500 Euros. TEFL internship positions can be found in Barcelona or Madrid.

The International TEFL Academy in Barcelona or Madrid is the best option if you don’t have your TEFL.  Here, you will assist the Teacher and you will learn to teach at the same time.

As soon you finish your TEFL, you will be able to find another position in Spain where you will earn on average 1700 Euros per month.

Tips for TEFL Teachers

1. Give Simple Instructions

You are going to teach a foreign language and it is important to make your instructions as simple as possible. You need your students to understand you in order to do their tasks. You need to write your questions in simple English and use as few words as possible.  Your instructions need to be clear, short and easy to understand by the majority.

2. Get Organized

You will teach in different schools and in different countries, so when you travel and teach it makes sense to use online storage (Google Drive is good). As soon you plan your course of lessons, you should file them on your drive. In this way, you will be able to download them at a new school and use material again without too much extra work.  Of course, it is important to reflect on what worked in your lesson and what didn’t so that you can make improvements before using them again.

3. Encourage Students to Read Instructions

Asking students to read instructions before you start teaching will help you identify where students may have difficulties. It is a good way of seeing where they are not comfortable and it will give you ideas of activities you could create to help them.

4. Make your Classroom Interactive

Think carefully about engaging activities you can implement during your lessons. Role play is a useful technique.  For example, you could set up a restaurant scene and ask to students to be the staff and the customers. By doing this, you will create authentic contexts in the classroom and engage your students.

5. Use Summaries

Ask your students to make a summary of the lesson.  This could be written or verbal and is a good opportunity for you to detect if the student has understood the lesson and to assess whether you need to spend extra time on this topic or not.

6. Encourage Group Work

Organizing students in groups is another way to engage students and help them learn.  By encouraging student talk, they will become more independent because they can help each other and rely less on you as the Teacher.  Don’t forget that you are going to teach English.  You will achieve better results in the classroom if your students are involved. The best learning happens when it isn’t just led by the Teacher, but when everyone participates as a group.


7. Find a Student Helper

Identify a student who is making good progress.  Involving student helpers by showing their work as examples or asking them to demonstrate activities will engage other students.

8. Give your Students Time to Practise

Of course, you need to set up activities and explain them.  After that, however, make sure you hand activities over to your students and allow them time to have a go.  Your role will then be to helicopter around the room and offer support as needed with the task or language learning.

9. Get to Know your Students

It is important to build a rapport with your students in order to create a positive learning environment.  Take time to get to know the likes and dislikes of your students so that you can build on their strengths, weaknesses and experiences.

10. Have High Expectations

Make sure you have clear expectations for behavioiur and standards in your classroom.  Involve your students in setting these expectations.  Maintaining high standards will lead to greater progress and students being treated equally and fairly.

11. Join Online Communities for Support

Teaching abroad will mean that you are a long way from home.  It is a good idea to join online teaching communities on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.  Other professionals are generous in sharing resources and offering support, especially to Teachers who are new to the profession.  You could also join teacher travel groups to find recommendations of place visit in your region and perhaps to find a travel buddy if that’s what you are looking for.

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