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Where shoud I teach

Where Should I Teach? 5 Ways to Choose Your Destination

So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to take off on a journey to go teach English as a second language overseas? Not everyone has the courage to step out of their comfort zone and commit to living and working in a new and likely unfamiliar country. Deciding to make this move is the first of several major decisions you will encounter when preparing to travel and teach abroad. From there, the next big choice to make is determining where exactly you want to teach. This may seem like a daunting task, but there are many ways you can approach this decision that will help you pick out your ideal teaching destination.

1. Look for the Highest Demand

Some countries have very large, booming ESL markets, and others may not have such a strong need for foreign English teachers. As a result, one way to choose where to teach abroad is to go where the most jobs are! Pursuing a market with a high demand for ESL teachers will typically make the job search process easier. Also, if many teachers have gone there before, you may find that there is easy access to information about living and teaching in these regions. There may also be larger communities of fellow ESL teachers already in the country, which can be comforting if this is your first time working overseas.

As a tip, you can search countries by Top 10 Job Opportunities on our website to help start your research.

2. See Where You Are Qualified to Teach

Different countries will naturally have different requirements for ESL teachers. In some countries, a certain level of education is required, while others may require previous teaching experience. Some may only be able to offer visas to people who hold a passport from a specific area. Looking at the minimum requirements for possible countries of interest can be a great way to figure out the area you should pursue, as you will typically need to meet these in order to find success in your job search. Although this may sound overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! A good starting point for your research is the Country Profiles on our website where minimum market requirements are listed. There is also the option to contact individual consulates and embassies for specific and up-to-date information on visa or entry requirements.

3. Weigh Your Priorities

We all look to teach English in another country for various reasons. For some, paying off student debt is the main goal, while others may be more interested in improving their skills in a certain language or learning a new one altogether. The benefits you can expect from each ESL market will vary, and sometimes a location that initially catches your interest may not offer the kind of position that best suits your needs. Listing your priorities and putting them in order from most to least important can be a good exercise to figure out what you want to get out of your teaching experience. From there, you can look for what countries will likely meet the most important items at the top of your list, which can help narrow down the choices.

As a tip, the Where You Can Teach page on our website is also a great way to compare and contrast benefits of different locations.

4. Check Out Social Media

There are a number of great blogs, forums, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and other social media channels where teachers who have previously taught overseas or are currently working abroad post about their experiences. Looking at these first-hand impressions can help paint a better picture of what working in a specific country is like and, although everyone’s experience is going to be unique, this can allow you to visualize yourself in a similar situation. If you can picture yourself there and are comfortable with the experiences you’ve found out about online, it might just be the right place for you!

5. Consult Your Job Placement Advisor

If you’re having trouble deciding where to teach on your own, our Job Placement Team can help point you in the right direction. Each Job Placement Advisor has lived and taught overseas, so they’ve already had to make this choice for themselves. When you initially connect with your Advisor and provide them with basic information about your teaching goals, they will use this and their experience, combined with their knowledge of the ESL industry, to identify locations that may be a perfect match for you.

Lastly and most importantly, don’t forget your sense of adventure! After all, this is what leads many of us to teach overseas in the first place. If your first location choice doesn’t work out, try again elsewhere. Flexibility and adaptability are important qualities for ESL teachers, and will not only help you in the classroom, but will ultimately lead you to an unforgettable overseas experience.


Written by Jennifer St-Jean

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