Teaching English Abroad: The International Career Break that Pays You to Travel & Boosts Your Resume
Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Are you looking to escape the corporate grind for a rewarding career break abroad than enables you to live in foreign country and become part of the local community?

Do you need a way to finance your international adventures?

Have you considered that international work experience can boost your resume and set you apart in a globalized economy and a competitive job market?


Why Consider Teaching English Abroad?

From Costa Rica and Chile to Cambodia and China, an estimated 250,000 English speakers gain employment each year teaching English abroad, making teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) one of the most viable ways for people from all background to get paid while living abroad.  You won’t get rich teaching English abroad, but in Europe and Latin America English teachers typically make enough to break even and live comfortably, while in Asia and the Middle East English teachers usually save 30%-50% of their salary each month after expenses, which is great for funding extra travel or perhaps making student loan payments.  In addition, you can enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in a foreign country as a local where you shop in local markets, live in a local neighborhood, and interact with members of the community on a level that even the most dedicated travelers almost never experience.

Teaching English Abroad as a Resume Booster

Whether you are looking to take a break from your current career or are just out of college and looking for ways to enhance your marketability to potential future employers or graduate schools, teaching English abroad can not  only provide a great international adventure, it can make for a serious resume booster as well.

  • * In a globalized economy where commodities, financial transactions, information, and people are crossing borders at ever-faster rates, international work experience is sought by employers in nearly every sector.
  • * Employers also increasingly prefer to hire people with experience interacting with others from different cultural backgrounds, and nothing embodies that more than living and working in a foreign country.

  • * Teaching English abroad will require you to develop organizational and communication skills, as well as the ability manage group settings – all skills that will serve you in whatever endeavors you pursue in the future.

  • * Working and traveling in a foreign country proves your ability to move out of your comfort zone, to take risks, and to adapt and confront new challenges.

  • * Graduate school programs, including law schools and MBA programs, increasingly seek those with an international background and “real world” work experience.

In addition, teaching and living abroad will set you apart from other applicants for jobs or graduate school who will otherwise hold similar qualifications to you.

Key Things to Know about Teaching English Abroad

  1. Take a TEFL certification course!  You don’t need background in teaching in education to teach English abroad, but a quality TEFL course will provide you with the skills you need to become a professional teacher, and most schools and language institutes require it. Also, quality TEFL schools will provide job placement assistance. Make sure you take an accredited TEFL course that meets international standards, including 100 hours of training and coursework, and 6-20 hours of live practice teaching and observation.  This is the equivalent of a four-week intensive class or an 11-13 week part-time or online class.

  2. Research as much as you can!  From interview procedures and hiring requirements to visa matters and salaries, all aspects of teaching English abroad will vary from country to country.  Here are some great resources for learning more:


Websites like and list thousands of job listings for English teaching positions all over the world and forums where English teachers and job seekers share their experiences and insights.

The International TEFL Academy website features hundreds of FAQs & Articles about teaching English in addition to country profiles for teaching English in more than 50 countries around the globe.  You can also call 773-634-9900 and speak to an expert advisor about all aspects of teaching English overseas.

While it’s written primarily for a British audience, Susan Griffith’s Teaching English Abroad is a great resource providing hundreds of pages of information about job markets for teaching English abroad, including country profiles, contact info for thousands of schools, volunteer organizations and recruiters.

Blogs – Many English teachers around the world write their own blogs that offer great first-hand insights into life abroad as an English teacher and many include great job-hunting tips as well.

And finally, don’t be intimidated if you don’t have prior teaching experience or a background in education. Approximately 80% of those teaching English abroad don’t have prior experience and by taking a TEFL course you will gain the skills you need to enjoy a rewarding experience abroad as an English teacher.

Good Luck!

John Bentley is a Senior Admissions Advisor at the International TEFL Academy, which trains and certifies 1,200 people a year to teach English abroad and provides lifetime job search guidance to all students and graduates.  He holds a BA from Harvard University in Middle Eastern Studies and an MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.  While at Harvard, John was a primary author for the Egypt-Israel edition of the famous Let’s Go! travel guide series and he has worked in the field of international travel and education throughout his career.  He also grew up overseas in Cairo, `Egypt and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe.

For more information about TEFL Certification and teaching English abroad and to request a free brochure and country chart, please call 773-634-9900 or visit:



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