So I have been asked a lot of questions about the teaching abroad process. I figure I should put my knowledge into one post.
Countries such as Spain, Chile and South Korea have programs sponsored by the government to get English teachers to their countries. The main motivation is to increase economy like tourism and industry.
Why a TEFL?
So I went through the research process of getting a TEFL license. Most countries require either TEFL or Bachelor’s sometimes both. I have a bachelor’s in psychology. I chose to get a TEFL because:
-It gave me flexibility in choosing a country
-I can renew my contract as many times as I like
-I can tutor in the USA and abroad for extra money
In Spain you need a Bachelor’s degree at minimum. If you don’t have a TEFL you can go through the Spanish government. It’s fairly cheap but you don’t get to choose your school or city. You also make a little bit less money and may have a harder time getting tutoring jobs on the side. Also you can only renew three times.
There are a variety of programs to get a TEFL license. I chose International TEFL Academy because they were quick to respond to my questions. I was assigned an advisor that took a lot of time to make phone meetings to clarify my questions. ITA also advertises as being able to give job guidance on almost every continent. You can take an in-person or online class. I took an about 3 months and 20 hours of tutoring, observation or student teaching. It was roughly $900 and they run specials all of the time so the price changes depending on the time of year.
The issue I had with ITA was they said they could give visa assistance in South America or Asia but when I switched my country to Spain they said I had to go through a different company. There was a discount but it was still more expensive than I would have liked. The company is TTMadrid, they give you the acceptance letter and accommodation letter you need to get a visa. They also provide lesson plan assistance, resume building and Spanish classes. It was worth it to also have this little community support while I’m out there. It was about $1200 but that’s with a TEFL license. It is possible to get a TEFL license through them. But I think I saved a lot of money doing it online. It was a lot of work but it’s cheaper than being in Madrid for 2 ½ months without a job. This way I only have to plan for one month with no income.
So my advice is
1. Clarify your country
You need to make sure you research the requirements, the culture, the cities you’d be interested in and the cost of living versus the salary you’ll be making. You need to look up the political situation of the country as well as risks. I thought about teaching in Hungary until a Lonely Planet’s “need to know” section said they beat up brown people. You’ll be living there for a year so make sure you’ve done your research.
2. Make a budget
It is really important you look at your finances and see what you can afford. A TEFL license costs $900, a visa costs $160, a flight to Europe is $600. I spent a lot of time not spending money and working hard to afford this trip. Europe is really expensive! South America and Asia not as bad.
3. Do you want a TEFL license?
You need to consider if you want to do this for a while or a short time. You also need to consider if a license is going to look good for your future profession. Are you going to a country that will allow just a Bachelor’s degree?
I hope this helped please feel free to contact me on my about me page if you have further questions. I will be posting more about the process as I experience it.