Ok, so you’re fresh out of college. Congrats! You finally have your degree—along with a ton of student loan debt, no job, and no experience.
Awesome! You know what that means? You have no anchors! The world is your oyster! You have no house, no spouse, no kids (presumably), and nothing holding you back from traveling the world! Oh wait, except money.
That darned thing.
At least, that’s how my graduation went.
And I was graduating with a double B.A. in English and Film Studies—what’s more marketable than that?! (sarcasm)
Anyways, this is a prime time in your life to get a job abroad!
You have no mortgage to pay, no job chaining you to live within its soul-crushing 2 weeks of vacation time, and 6 months before your loan payments stat kicking in.
A lot of people in this situation choose to take this precious time to travel. Weather it’s a gap year in Thailand, a few weeks of backpacking Europe with your sorority friends, or even a celebratory cruise around the Bahamas, you have a lot of options.
What Can You Do?
One of the most popular options is to teach English abroad.
The field is referred to by many different acronyms:
• TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
• TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language)
• TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
• And also simply teaching ELLs (English Language Learners)
If are a native English-speaker, have a college degree (in literally any field) and hold a passport from an English-speaking country, you’re in luck! Countries across Asia are realizing that preparing their young generations for a future in technology is a necessity, and English is the language of technology.
Oh, The Possibilities!
Choosing to teach English abroad can be not only a great opportunity to pay off a chunk of debt, but the leadership experience and proof of risk-taking is a great parallel skill for future employers across many fields.
You could even learn a new language!
Internally, teaching in a foreign county will be a life-long memory, no matter what. Regardless of which country you choose, which school you teach in, which grade level you have, it’s something you will look back on for the rest of your life.
TEFL In Asia?
Most of the TEFL jobs are in Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and China.
The salaries are all in different currencies and vary widely by country, region, and school, but due to the low cost of living across the continent, teachers can often work for 2-3 years and pay off their debt entirely!
Willful and Wildhearted saved over $25,000 teaching in South Korea
Two Wandering Soles saved $22,000 teaching for a year in South Korea
Oneika the Traveler made over 100k per year teaching in Hong Kong
TEFL In The Middle East?
If you have a master’s degree and at least 2 years of relevant teaching experience, you could also teach in the Middle East where high salaries, no taxes, and free furnished accommodation are common job packages.
Countries such as Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait are known to have some of the highest savings potential in the TEFL world—reaching into $40,000 USD at times!
TEFL In Europe?
If you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience, try teaching in Europe. While the pay often isn’t enough to make any significant cuts to your loan debt, a year of living on the rocky ocean cliffs of Greece or the ancient crowded cobblestones of Spain may be enough to make up for that!
Fantastic Job Benefits!
Because these schools are aware that their teachers are required to move internationally to accept these positions, many schools offer fantastic living benefits such as rent-free furnished apartments, free health care, free language classes, free airfare to the site, and even discounted school tuition for teachers with dependents.
Whether you choose to teach abroad for financial, personal, or professional reasons, you will be rewarded in all three fields regardless.
Many people always dream of visiting these places abroad, but there is no greater an immersive experience than to live there.
Walk the beautiful streets to work every day, try a new café every weekend, meet people that will be amazed at how far you have come, and be amazed in return with how much you can love a place you’ve just arrived in.
But What If You Hate It?
Honestly, if you don’t like it, you can go right back home.
No matter where you are, you’re escape is only a plane ticket away. It may well cost you some fees in breaking a contract, and it could be a pretty pricy ride home, but if you’re cautious about the decision, keep in mind, nothing is permanent.
Jump On The TEFL Bandwagon!
Ask around, almost everyone knows of someone who has taught abroad.
When I made my decision to teaching in Ecuador and later in Alaska, these people came popping out of the woodwork!
My dentist’s daughter had taught in Vietnam. Both my gynecologist’s niece and my hair dresser’s friend had been in South Korea’s EPIK program. The receptionist at my dad’s hotel in rural Maine had a sister teaching in Wasilla, Alaska. My M.A.T. observing teacher had a friend that loved teaching in Japan so much, she never came back! This is all true!
The TEFL field is the best kept secret among college grads, an it’s time for you to jump on the bandwagon.
If you’re serious about teaching English as a foreign language abroad, check out my free email challenge. It’s a 5-day step-by-step tutorial about the application process, covering everything from your interview to mailing off your paperwork.