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Goodbye England, Hello...?

Teaching Abroad 1yr + travelling 1yr = Life
7 years ago, June 19th 2012 No: 1 Msg: #157813  
Sooooo me and my girlfriend have been kidding ourselves for long enough now and have decided to get out of England for a while.

My gf is a teacher and I am doing the TEFL course so we plan to teach for a year but where? I have met so many travellers abroad doing the same thing in different places - Korea, China, Malaysia, Indonesia. I love KL but the money isnt as good and it can be quite costly to live I have heard? I am not sure I am patient enough for the hustle and bustle of a Chinese city. Is this naive? Any help would be appreciated.

Also - we are travelling for a year after working. I have travelled through a lot of Asia but I have a hunger to get to places that I havnt had time to get to perviously - Togean Islands, Banda Islands, Palau, PNG, Alors, western Sumatra etc - any other recommendations?

Thanks, SC Reply to this

7 years ago, June 19th 2012 No: 2 Msg: #157820  
Hello Scott 😊

To help you decide where to teach, maybe check out how easy or difficult it is to get work permits and other paperwork to live in the various places. Sometimes, when all else seems equal, I mine where the ground is soft where burocracy is concerned. Also, there is the clothes and accomodation issue. ie How do you need to dress while teaching, and is the accomodation fully furnished and reasonably priced in all the countries, or are some more convenient than others...

I am not sure I am patient enough for the hustle and bustle of a Chinese city. Is this naive?

As far as I have experienced, all cities in SE Asia are full of hustle and bustle, smog, traffic, lots of people... If you really dont like that, then maybe a smaller town would be for you. But, you might find the expat life fun in cities, because you are likely to meet lots of expats, which can sometimes be a relief, when you want to be with those who understand where you come from and who speak fluent English, when you need a break from things like communicating with difficulty and personal space issues...

...any other recommendations?

Think of your interests and hobbies, and maybe that will help you to decide on which places to visit. Also, a copy of the Lonely Planets 'South East Asia on a Shoestring' might be helpful and useful, as it has so many countries in one book. I usually read through some of it, when I am going to SE Asia, and then go to a place that seems interesting. Also, reading blogs inspires me in this way too.

There are a bunch of bloggers here, who are teaching English in Asia. Maybe they will have advice and comments that will help you more. 😊

Mel Reply to this

7 years ago, June 20th 2012 No: 3 Msg: #157849  

As Mell says, work permit issues will be important to consider. Do you both have degrees? You need them to get a work permit in many places. If you don't have one, you may have to work under the table and thus need to go somewhere where this is easy. Is your TEFL course a CELTA or a Trinity course? These are the most widely accepted certificates and will open the most doors to you.

What do you want to teach? There are many options, and some countries have more of one than another. Since your girlfriend is a teacher, does she want to work in an international school or similar, teaching kids/teens? Do you want to teach children or adults? Do you want to teach in a primary/secondary school, a university or in a language school? A language school is likely to be a variety of ages and levels, and potentially some weekend/evening work. Are you OK with that?

Are you looking to make a lot of money, or just make enough to live on. Do you need to save to go traveling for the year afterwards? Different countries pay differently, and the cost of living is also a factor to take into account. One of the best countries for wages compared to cost of living in Vietnam, followed by Korea.

You say you have travelled a lot of Asia, so I'm guessing you have an idea of what countries you would like to live in. Is it Asia you are thinking of? It's one of the best places to start out in terms of money. South and Central America don't pay very well, and the Middle East is restrictive if you have no experience. You mentioned KL, but there are few TEFL opportunities there and the cost of living to wages ratio is not great. Are you looking at wanting to live in a big city like KL e.g. Taipei, Tokyo, Beijing, Bangkok, Jakarta etc, or in a smaller place. Easy access to the beach/national parks?

Do you want to get a job before you go, or sort it out when over here? Would you like your school to provide housing or are you happy finding somewhere to live yourself? Have you found TEFL.COM and Daves ESL cafe There are a lot of ads on there that can give you an idea of the various jobs available.

Sorry for bombarding you with questions! It will help us all to give you some good advice.

Hope this helps


[Edited: 2012 Jun 20 09:34 - Rat on the Road:23681 ]
Reply to this

7 years ago, July 10th 2012 No: 4 Msg: #158642  
Thank you for your replies - sorry it has taken a while for me to form a reply but I have been waiting for my girlfriend to fully confirm she is up for it before I begin seriously thinking about it.

We both have degree's and my girlfriend is a teacher already so she would be looking at a higher level job in an international school that would probably provide accomodation. I would be looking to get a basic job teaching English.

I think we would prefer to teach in a big city and then use our time off to locate more exotic locations. We love Indonesia and the Philippines but neither of these places seem to offer the same opportunities as China/Korea.

We would like to make enough money to save a bit and help fund the trip we do at the end of the year work - Kris and Kate have you done this before?

Thanks for all your suggestions guys - really helps.

SC Reply to this

7 years ago, July 10th 2012 No: 5 Msg: #158643  
Why not Shanghai? Reply to this

7 years ago, July 11th 2012 No: 6 Msg: #158670  
Yes, we have been teaching English abroad for over 5 years. If you have the right job you can save to travel. The packages in International schools are really great, so in most SE Asian countries you will be able to have a good lifestyle while saving and travelling during your time off.

The salary for your English teaching job will depend on what TEFL qualification you are doing and which country you decide to teach in. You can earn good money in Korea - although if you are teaching in a hagwon (language school) you won't have much holiday to travel with (15 days a year maybe?). In China you could get a job in a university type setting where you won't earn a lot of money but will get good holidays.

There are some great quality international schools in Thailand and Vietnam if those countries interest you. I take it you are thinking about her starting a job in September 2013, rather than in two months! Plenty of time to do the rounds and find a good school. They start recruiting early.

[Edited: 2012 Jul 11 00:59 - Rat on the Road:23681 ]
Reply to this

7 years ago, September 5th 2012 No: 7 Msg: #160645  
Thank you for all your help on this. I am now trying to get my head around what qualification to do and have become very confused. The Trinity College TESOL qualification has different level (e.g. a certTESOL and a dipTESOL). Some of these courses take up to a year and some are 4 week intensive courses. Do I really need something that takes this long? I thought a TEFL qualification could be done from home and was over 120hours or somethign similar. Will this not be enough to get me a teaching job in Asia?

Then there is the CELTA course which is much the same but is the Cambridge version. These both sound quite in depth and mor expensive than what I thought. I have read blogs of people doing 120 hour courses online costing aroun £250 and then going out to teach. Is it better to do a TESOL or CELTA to enhance my employability or will I be fine with an online certificate?

I have entered this question online and it seems that a lot of people have had the same worries. No real answers available though. Any ideas?

Many thanks
In response to: Msg #158670 Reply to this

7 years ago, September 5th 2012 No: 8 Msg: #160660  
Hi Scott,

There are two main levels of TEFL courses. The certificate is aimed at entry level teachers and take a month - 120 hours taught course with 6 hours of assessed teaching practise is the industry minimum. The diploma is a professional development qualification for teachers who have at least 2 years experience.

You need a certificate to start with. The Trinity TESOL certificate or the CELTA, as I've said, are the industry standard and will enhance your employability. There are many companies (e.g. British Council, International House) who will not employ you without one of these two. An online certificate is not accepted by 'good' schools.

In some countries like Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China, TEFL qualifications don't really matter. Many companies train you on the job or throw you in with a book and class! Whether or not you have a TESOL certificate will not matter in these countries - if these are the countries you are looking at then an online certificate will potentially give you some background information before you get given a class.

So, basically, it's down to where you want to go - or where your girlfriend gets a job. If it's in a country that requires a certificate to teach, you should do a CELTA or Trinity certificate. If it isn't, do an online course for background information if you want, but it won't be necessary.

Is this any clearer? Reply to this

7 years ago, September 5th 2012 No: 9 Msg: #160667  
That is very clear! Thank you very much for your help! You should be a teacher... :-)

Will the online course be suitable for places like Vietnam and Cambodia? We are edging toward an are like this or maybe KL - as we really love the city and there is a new international school open there for my girlfriend to teach at.

Many thanks againf or all your help.

SC Reply to this

7 years ago, September 6th 2012 No: 10 Msg: #160688  
Ha ha! Thanks!

No, online courses won't be very helpful in Vietnam or Kuala Lumpur. In Cambodia it will only really get you odds and ends in different schools. Reply to this

7 years ago, September 6th 2012 No: 11 Msg: #160697  
Should I be paying you for this advice? :-) Have you got a CELTA ot a TESOL? If so - where did you get it? There are quite a few options...

In response to: Msg #160688 Reply to this

7 years ago, September 10th 2012 No: 12 Msg: #160842  
It doesn't really matter where you do the course. If they are accredited by Trinity or Cambridge, the courses are very similar. Are you planning to do it in the UK before you go or when you arrive?

Reply to this

7 years ago, September 11th 2012 No: 13 Msg: #160887  
B Posts: 5
Sorry to butt in here, but I am also thinking about doing a CELTA course to go to SE Asia to live and work for a few years . A question, to do a TEFL / CELTA course do I need to have a degree or teaching experience ? Some web sites say one thing and others say another thing.
And if I do one abroad (in Phuket for example) is this frowned upon by employers or does it not matter ?
Simon Reply to this

7 years ago, September 12th 2012 No: 14 Msg: #160908  
1 posts moved to this new topic: Pakistani in the UK Reply to this

7 years ago, September 12th 2012 No: 15 Msg: #160909  
Welcome Simon! Don't worry about butting in!

To do a TEFL or CELTA course you do not need any teaching experience and you do not need a degree. The requirements for a degree are usually with the work visa. Many countries work visa/permit requirements ask for teachers to have a degree. This doesn't have to be in teaching, but they have to have one.

Where you do your qualification does not matter one jot. The type of certificate it is is what matters.

Are you planning to work in Phuket?

Reply to this

7 years ago, September 12th 2012 No: 16 Msg: #160911  
B Posts: 5
Hi K&K

Thanks for welcoming me :- )

I am not actually planning to stay too long in Phuket, It´s just that there was a an option from a company called "Catcus TEFL" here in Brighton to do the course there.
I was rather thinking of Vietnam or or Burma once I´ve got some sort of plan sorted out,I´ve met some nice people in both them countries and loved it there.

Reply to this

7 years ago, September 13th 2012 No: 17 Msg: #160932  
Cactus TEFL is not an TEFL course school, it's an independent website that advertises courses run by other companies.

You can do a course in Vietnam if you fancy that. ILA, Language Link and Apollo run them here - either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh. Check them out! Reply to this

7 years ago, September 13th 2012 No: 18 Msg: #160975  
B Posts: 5
Nice , thanks a lot . Reply to this

7 years ago, October 1st 2012 No: 19 Msg: #161650  
B Posts: 5
Hi again

Is it worth going direct to a school or do I have to go through a agent like Catcus ? Reply to this

7 years ago, October 9th 2012 No: 20 Msg: #161840  
I'm pretty sure that Cactus just directs you to the school. It just advertises various places that offer courses. It isn't complete, however, so also try googling 'CELTA Phuket' or whatever course/location combination you are looking for. Reply to this

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