You don’t have to break out the whip, the Fedora, and the leather jacket to go to far off countries. Strangely enough, many of them will invite you over, give you an apartment, and pay you a monthly salary to boot.
That’s what’s happening in the world today, as English is becoming and even more valuable commodity to many nations as they attempt to break out into the world of Internet Business and International eCommerce.
You do not even have to be a teacher with a teaching degree. Your ability in speaking your native English is all you need, and the host country will even provide language lessons in their mother tongue.
Some people can even make a go of it as a career. You can do a 6-month to a year stint in Asia, South America, and even Africa these days.
The benefits are in most cases are pretty good.
Most schools provide Apartment with utilities, AC, and access to the Internet (though in some cases, you need to pay for the Internet.)
Depending on the contract, other benefits may be offered as well.
To take advantage of these opportunities, you should have a current passport with empty pages and at least a year left on it.
You should have at least a Bachelor degree (a Masters degree gets you a round trip ticket).
If you can take a class and get a TESOL, TESL, TEFL, or CELTA certification that helps a great deal.
The next step is quite simple. Go to a reputable site like Dave’s ESL Cafe.
Select the part of the world you want to visit. i.e. Korea or China and apply for the job.
1. If you are contacted, and the person wants money to get you, a job decline the offer. Any job you get should not cost you anything.
2. You will go through a series of interviews usually conducted online. Before that though, it is best you go to your local police station and get a background check, as many schools in China require it now; the same goes for Korea and in the Middle East.
3. After passing the interview, you will be sent an invitation letter that you take to the local consulate of the country you are planning on going to. You pay the fee and drop off your Passport. Some countries have travel agreements with the US to Lt you go to a country without a Visa, and they will do the paperwork in the host country instead.
4. You then buy yourself an airline ticket, which the school will reimburse you for later.
5.When you get to the host country, the school will often meet you at the airport and take you to the school’s campus and will get you settled in.
6. As an example, a typical workweek in China is 16 hours of teaching. If you are working for a private school, it can go up to 40 hours. Holidays in China are plentiful, and you have both a winter and summer holidays that last up to a month or two depending on the school.
7. You can see this permits you a lot of time to explore the countryside and have all the adventure you want.
Going abroad is most of the time quite simple. LAX is the gateway to the Far East, and Chicago has direct Flights as well. This writer is far more conversant with going to Asia than Europe and the Middle East. However, over the years has built up a 2,000 plus contact list of teachers and schools all over the world. If you are going to go abroad in do this manner often, you might want to do the same.
Travel light if possible and do bring a laptop. Phone service abroad is spotty at times and having Skye, QQ, WeChat, and the common, other com soft on your laptop can be a lifesaver. Make sure before you leave the US to install a VPN, as often countries are censoring the net, actively reading your eMail, and monitoring your Internet activities. Wherever you are going, buy a cell phone when you arrive or have your American phone reprogrammed for that country. In many cases, it just means getting a new SIM chip and a phone # to go with it.
And of course, have a notebook with all the important contact numbers in it in case you need to use alternative communications.
Carry a bit of the local currency as well as having an ATM that is from a bank account back in the states. The school will help you set up a bank account, and you will often be paid via direct deposit.
Do not convert cash at the airport nor through one of the many who will try to change money for you. One this is often a front for counterfeit money, and a second it may be a sting operation. Neither option is good for you.
Language, customs, and seeing signs that are unreadable or if they are understandable the English doesn’t make sense, will be some of the first things that will hit you. Later things like food, smells, and just listening to the jabber all around you can set your nerves on end.
First thing, it is always best to discover where the bathroom is. Also, bring your own toilet paper. Carry your notebook or index cards and use them religiously. You will be bombarded with a lot of information, and it is bet to start adapting as quickly as possible.
Hopefully, there will be other foreign teachers at the school you are going to be working at. Some schools have welcome packets with maps, language information, and lists of the best places to eat and shop. If the schools is large enough this information may be on a website run by the teachers otherwise you need to find the schools website and see what’s what.
However, your greatest resource is your students and their families, networks, and friends.
But, don’t get too close. This has been the downfall of many teachers using this route to visit a foreign country. Always maintain a professional attitude and be friendly but doing let yourself be drawn into a compromising situation.
Other than that, your students will love to show you around, and you will learn more about a country from them than you could ever learn on your own or via a tour guide or book.
This writer used to have group cookouts, dinner parties, and other events that both students and I shared the cuisine of our respective countries. Food is the universal language and the best way to make friends all over the world.
Don’t worry if you burn water in the kitchen you will often find your students are better cooks than you will ever be and all you have to do is speak English while they cook.
Exploring other countries is fun and doing it, as an English teacher is one way to do it in a way that immerses you totally in the culture of a foreign land. You will meet hundreds if not thousands of people and in a short span of a year can amass a lifetime of memories.
The best part is that you are getting paid while doing it.
Today, you have learned an alternative means of exploring the world and one that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg in the process.