Teach English Overseas
If you’re a native English speaker, you may not realize it, but you already have the number one qualification you need for a fun, portable income that can hand you a steady pay check from anywhere in the world.
You’ll be surprised at how far your native language can take you.
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English teachers are in high demand. You don’t need experience or training to get started. The basic requirement is to be a native English speaker. Depending on where you go you might need a university degree of some kind or a certification for teaching English as a foreign language (there are many different programs available that offer a certificate and are easily accessible).
One of the major benefits of teaching English is that you can pick up and go almost anywhere, knowing that you have the skills to fund an amazing life.
See the articles below for more information on teaching English overseas.
The great part about being an English teacher is that you can do it just about anywhere. When I told people that I was moving to Scotland to teach English, I got confused looks. Didn’t they already speak English?
The bright Andean sun is bursting through the cloud cover and slowly breathing fresh life into this bustling mountainous region. The waitress smiles pleasantly as she pours me sticky, black Peruvian coffee. I pause for a second and savor the aroma before taking a big gulp and wash down the pastry that I’ve just eaten. I’m in Cusco, Peru, the historic and spiritual heart of the Inca Empire and a designated World Heritage Site.
When 52-year-old Michael Druillard first set foot on Panamanian soil, this sunny, Central American country won his heart. It was the perfect country for his needs. Besides the warm climate, it has a stable government, a low cost of living, and varied employment opportunities. Now his life in the warm beach town of Coronado is a world away from shovelling snow in his native Canada.
With almost perpetually sunny weather, glittering stretches of Mediterranean coastline, and a relaxed, easygoing lifestyle, Spain has long been a favorite playground for Americans on vacation. But plenty of business-savvy Americans are extending that vacation into a way of life, and making a prosperous living here, too. In a country where even the Prime Minister struggles to speak English, locals are only too aware of the need to improve, meaning native speakers can easily find work as English teachers and translators.
As Corey Coates finishes his morning stroll along Jaco beach he can’t help but feel grateful to have such balance and peace in his life. Every day he wakes up with the sun, meditates, enjoys Costa Rica’s superb fruits and coffee for breakfast, then visits the ocean from his beachfront luxury condo. “The satisfaction I feel each day doing what I love is immeasurable. Some days are harder than others, but at the end of the day I’ve done exactly what I want when I want.”
I used to think that teaching English was the only way to survive financially as an expat, but, boy, was I wrong. When I first made the move to the fairytale city of Prague, I jumped right into teaching English, like all the other expats in town. Mostly it involved meeting up in eclectic and bohemian cafés and classic Czech pubs for one-on-one conversation practice and free coffees or beers courtesy of my student, in addition to my payment.
When people ask me what’s so good about Uruguay, I often talk about the various income opportunities, the natural beauty of the land, or the ability to live a simpler and less complicated life. Just a while ago, I was trading notes about life in Uruguay with Karen Michele—a single mother from the U.S. who moved to Punta del Este, Uruguay with her 12-year-old daughter, Etanne.
On a crisp, cool morning I met several Spanish friends next to a golden brick church in Salamanca, Spain. We were on our way to tour a bodega, a local winery, in Castile Leon. After a tour of the facilities, a cozy dining hall with dark-colored wood and long tables bedecked in white linen awaited. This homey room had been set aside just for the group to try more wines not available at the tasting, accompanied by rich, savory Spanish cuisine.
When Carla Willoughby, 40, decided to move from Asheville, North Carolina, to the mountainous Monteverde region of Costa Rica, she needed an income. And she knew that life would be much more comfortable if she were making U.S.-level wages in her new home, where the dollar can stretch further.
People often ask me what I love about travel and the answer, I think, lies in certain memories that stand out more than others. Riding in the back of a pick-up through the Peruvian jungle—a hundred miles from the nearest village—I caught a glimpse of an ancient temple. It wasn’t on any map. The mist dissolved before me and there it was—a palace of crumbling stones, laced with creepers. Howler monkeys cried from the treetops.
Wanted: intrepid explorers…adventurers with a thirst for different cultures…must be willing to taste new and exotic foods…have a deep and friendly smile…age unimportant…you choose your working hours but remember to leave enough time to travel, an instant social life filled to the brim with colorful people who will genuinely try to make your life as easy as possible and you’ll even get paid!
The smell of fresh tamales mingled with whiffs of sweet atole and my stomach grumbled. Throngs of people of all ages were crammed into the dark plaza with lighted brujas (lamps) as the only source of light. Someone came onto the stage: a roadie setting up a mike. An excited murmur moved the crowd.
Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up and wish you could change who you are, where you are, and what you do? I used to have those days too, until I realized I could make all of that happen by cashing in on a skill I already had. A skill that thousands and thousands of people, in nearly every country on the planet, are desperate to acquire, and will pay to learn.
I grew up in a really small town in the northern U.S., where cows probably outnumbered people 1,000 to 1 and I, alone, made up 20% of my graduating class. If it weren’t for having our own postal code, we probably would not have even been considered a town at all—more like a rest stop, maybe.
I’ve been living in paradise for a few years now. I’m just five minutes’ walk from a beautiful, picturesque beach lined with palm trees and seafood restaurants that serve the catch-of-the-day, fresh, every day. And, get this…I only pay $320 a month in rent for a two-bedroom apartment, complete with a second-story terrace where I watch the sun set, as I’m caressed by the cool ocean breeze on most nights.
When Costa Rica got its start as an expat haven more than three decades ago, it was all about retirees. But over the years, the great weather, stable government, and low cost of living have also attracted those too young to retire (or those who never want to). And they’ve found plenty of ways to support themselves—and their families—while living in a tropical paradise.
I used to be like you. Sitting in front of a computer screen dreaming of faraway places…the sun on my face…lazy afternoons exploring forgotten seaside villages…or drifting through market towns in search of exotic indigenous rugs and hammocks to adorn my beautiful, colonial apartment. And then I decided to actually do it! In 2003, I chucked in my day job, bought a ticket to South America, and never looked back.
Three days a week, I take an early morning walk to a park near the beach, not far from my apartment. I sit in the cool morning air and listen to the birds rustle and sing in the trees above the park bench. I like to arrive a little early, before my first client of the day arrives to meet me. This is Latin America, so even though our appointment is at 7.00 a.m., she usually doesn’t arrive until about 7.10 a.m. She is a single mother, working full time and studying for her undergraduate degree. I admire her resolve to make a better life for herself and her children. And, I get to be a part of that.
“Many educators will tell you that schools are not in the business to make money,” says Janice Gallagher, who set up a children’s school in Nicaragua. “I, on the other hand, am a business woman, and there is definitely potential for profit. There will not be profit immediately because you will need time to grow and establish yourself. There are several private schools that do turn a profit after several years.”
There are few places on earth as romantic as Buenos Aires. At night, in the backstreets, couples dance the tango. Old men sit outside the bars, playing the accordion. Sad music that tells of loss, longing, and the complications of love. I’d come to Buenos Aires with two prized possessions: my dog-eared copy of the poems of the blind poet, Jorge Luis Borges, and my folded and torn certificate for teaching English.
A train ticket and a TEFL certificate were all I had when I traveled the 1,000 miles from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche. As we rode through the endless flatness of Patagonia—past broken railway sheds and the silhouettes of wind-bent trees on the horizon—I wondered what I was getting into. I had no job. I’d never been this far south. I knew no-one.
My profession has taken me all across the world, experiencing unique journeys…attending world famous events…and meeting fascinating people. And I got paid to do it. I have rung in the New Year at Hogmanay in Edinburgh, danced up a storm at Seville’s April Fair, and was awed by the beauty of Buddha’s birthday celebrations in South Korea. I have ridden camels through the Sahara desert, liberated baby sea turtles in Mexico and swam with sharks in Belize.
Gliding between the jagged peaks of the French Pyrenees in my chairlift seat, I took a deep breath and tried to relax. It wasn’t the soaring height of the peaks that made me nervous, or the prospect of swishing down them on my skis. It wasn’t the weather, either—blue skies stretched from peak to peak. Nope, everything on the slopes was perfect.
The night I arrived in Mexico to start my first English-teaching job…the sky lit up with fireworks! I asked the taxi driver what holiday it was. He responded that it was not a holiday, but likely a birthday of someone in the neighborhood. Mexico likes to celebrate. I decided right then and there, I had come to the right country.
With a 16-hour work week…a month-long winter vacation…a huge number of well-paid jobs …and all the Chinese food you can eat…it’s no wonder so many people of all ages and backgrounds are heading to teach English in China. Demand for teachers is high as China is a world player and millions of college students and adults enroll in English courses to help them get better jobs.
In 1991 Patricia made the move to the town of Cascais, Portugal, just 30 minutes up the coast from Lisbon. Here each day begins with a long, leisurely beach walk, her two poodles at her side. “I never had pets when I lived in the U.S. I was too busy working. But when I first moved here, I noticed that everyone had dogs and birds, and I thought, yes, it’s so full of life. This is what I want.”
Bangkok, Thailand is No. 1 on Time magazine’s 2013 list of the world’s most visited cities. Maybe the tourism ministry was right…going with the slogan “Amazing Thailand.” So what is it about this country that’s so alluring? Beyond the temples and beaches, it is my everyday existence. For example, the daily commute to work…
Life moves at a much slower pace now. It’s very different from how things were three or four years ago. Today I wake up to a beautiful blue ocean view from my home on the Mexican island of Cozumel.
Heading to a foreign country to teach English has long been the first taste of life abroad for many a young person fresh out of college, but now it’s a popular route for people of all ages.
I don’t have a degree in Education or English or even something like International Studies. What I studied was Forestry. Yep, that’s right, I learned about trees!
It’s funny how slight differences in pronunciation can make a big difference in meaning—especially in a foreign language.
If you are thinking about teaching English overseas, Cuenca in Ecuador has got to be one of the easiest places to start your career. Imagine sitting back, relaxing and sipping freshly ground Ecuadorian coffee in your favorite little haunt. The sun is shining—as it does every day. Smartly dressed locals are strolling around…
Few countries in the world can compete with Malaysia for natural beauty, the warmth of its people and diversity of cultures…not to mention the amazingly low cost of living (my live-in maid costs $400 a month). I feel blessed and wish that I had moved here years ago. Betty Cotton loves telling her friends about Malaysia, too—especially Penang.
As you know, you have a skill that can easily translate into a steady income overseas—English. In fact, thousands of people just like you have used the fact that they speak English fluently to become English teachers in exotic new countries. That’s the path I’ve chosen, too. Although I wasn’t always so sure how I’d fund my life overseas… The fall of 2008 found me sitting in Santiago, Chile after nearly a year of traveling through Latin and South America.
My second cup of coffee is half gone as I fill in the last square of the Sudoku. The LA Times crossword has already been vanquished. Now it’s time for Eduardo, my first student of the day, to join me. He’s a few minutes late (as usual). But I don’t mind. When you teach English online to students via Skype, everything is easier.
Work doesn’t start until nearly 8.00 a.m. but I’m an early riser so I like to get up around 6.00 a.m. I’m greeted by the sun shining in my window.
My new life started in late 2008, just after I had been certified to teach English as a Second Language. I knew I wanted to live in Latin America, so I looked for a job – where else – on Craigslist and responded to an ad from a placement agency.
I guess you could call me a maverick English teacher. You see, for the last 10 years I’ve traveled and lived in many exotic destinations around the world, including Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, the Czech Republic, France and Spain. All this was achieved just by using the power of my words. You might be wondering what I’m talking about. How can it be possible to just use the power of your words to travel the world?
The early morning sky is cluttered with color. The large crowd that woke up as early as 5.00 a.m. to be here oohs and aahs in unison as yet another balloon inflates and calmly lifts off the ground. There must be nearly 30 of them up in the skies of north-central Mexico by now and many more to take off.
The year after I graduated from college, I retired to the South of France. Ok—officially, I was “working” there as an English teacher. But that consisted of chatting with high schoolers in my native language for about eight hours a week (my contract paid me for 20 hours, but they never scheduled all of them).
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