Teaching English as a Second Language/ Teaching Abroad

Parent Q&A

  • my 21 year old decided to take a year or two off from college and would love to travel. Someone mentioned that there are great, paid opportunities to teach  English in Europe or Japan. If you have recommendations for how she could get started with his research please feel free to share them with me. Additionally, if your young adult children have ever done something like this please feel free to share with me any information that might be helpful. Thank you!

    I was a young adult child that did this.  Although it was after I graduated from college.  I taught English in Venezuela for room & board and hourly pay.  I ended up staying over 3 years until the rising crime and increasingly unstable political and economic situation sent me home.  But I did get to travel throughout an amazing country and also neighboring areas. I just decided where I wanted to go and started looking for opportunities.  There are many in Asia.  In Europe they tend to prefer British English.  If your 21 year old wants to wait until they graduate, there are programs in the Peace Corps that teach English too.  The program I used is now defunct but opportunities can be found online.  It is a great experience!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions & Advice Related Pages

How to learn more about teaching abroad?

Aug 2012

My husband and I just heard about a friend of a friend who is going to South Korea for 2 years with his wife and children so they can both teach english in elementary schools there. My husband and I thought this sounded awesome, and would love to learn more. Does anyone have any advice of how to learn more about teaching abroad? We're open to almost anywhere in the world. I would teach, and my husband would either stay home with our little ones, or try to work at his job remotely. I currently hold a clear multi-subject CA credential. Would I need to get a special credential authorization in teaching english as well? Getting Wanderlust, but still need an income

The best places money-wise to teach English are Korea, Japan and China. The best training to get is CELTA training, offered by St. GIles in SF but you can also get just a regular TEFL certificate. THe CELTA is highly regarded overseas these days. It doesn't really matter that you have a teaching credential. Go to Daves ESL Cafe and read what it says there to get an idea. Gone are the ideas of getting a job teaching English without a certificate. The three Asian countries pay your airfare and housing if you get a contract but don't count on housing big enough for a family of course. There are lots of other countries needing ESL teachers also. Karen A.

I am from China and I know in China there are a lot of English teaching jobs for native English speakers. The fact that you've already had a CA teaching credential will help you a lot in finding a good job there. Go to the Craigslist website and look for the Asia section, then go to the education section, there you will see many job positions. For example, this link will bring you to the education section of Shanghai: http://shanghai.craigslist.com.cn/edu/ Good luck! anon

Teaching English in Dubai

March 2012

I'm a teacher and in a little debt still from school and a friend suggested that I teach English in Dubai. Tax-free and a lot of money... if I did it for a month, it could really help! Any ideas on this? Guidance? Greatest idea ever? Terrible idea? dubai-bound?

My sister in law is currently teaching in Dubai after many years of teaching in the US. She is an adventurous woman who has traveled much in her life, and she is making the most of her experience by traveling throughout the region during her breaks. She is currently in her second year there.

I know someone who moved there to teach a, along with her husband and kids. She said she never heard of one month contracts). If seems important to get some first hand info before making such a big move. Good luck, PK

How to get credentialed to teach ESL

Nov 2004

I am interested in teaching ESL. Can anyone tell me the credentials you need and where you can take the courses to fulfill certification requirements (Community College?). Also, best places to apply for jobs in the East Bay. Many thanks

It depends on what level you wish to teach. If you are looking to teach elementary or high school, you will need a regular teaching credential. If you want to teach at an adult school, you need an adult school credential, which requires 5 years experience, or units in TESOL/Linguistics, etc. If you want to teach at a community college or university, an MA TESOL is usually required.

Lots of people get a TESOL certificate. Many places offer these certificates. I know UCB Extension has one, and SJSU has one. Probably most extensions and universities offer TESOL certificate programs.

I've been teaching at a university Intensive English Program for a while, so I forget all the requirements of the other kinds of programs, but I hope this gets you started! Good luck! Jaime

I am not positive about all of the possible options, but I just recieved my teaching credential for secondary English and it qualifies me to teach ESL. (Being prepared to teach ESL is now part of the state requirements...) So I assume that you would need to get a teaching credential to teach ESL in a public school, (you didn't say at what level you wanted to teach.) That being said, I think teaching ESL to a culturally heterogenious classroom must be the hardest thing in the world and I only wish there was someway to get even more preparation. lauren

Here is what you need for different teaching environments:

1. community college ESL teacher
You will need a MA degree to teach community college ESL. SFSU has a large program for this and I am sure CSUH has one too.

2. adult school ESL teacher
If you want to teach in adult schools (the adult programs that are run through the high school district), you need a CA adult education credential. I got mine at SFSU and I believe it needs to come from a state college.

3. high school, middle school, grade school ESL teacher
You will need a CA teaching credential.

4. intensive english program teacher
Most require a MA degree but some will allow a BA with an ESL certificate.

5. EFL teacher abroad
Requirements for better jobs (in universities) or better ay require an MA. There are plenty of EFL jobs for teachers with only a BA or certificate as well. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I have a MATEFL and have been teaching ESL since about 1992. jennifer

Single mom wants to teach English abroad


I am considering teaching ESL abroad for a year or two. I'm a single mom and wonder if anyone has done this as a parent and can recommend a good program? I have a strong background teaching ESL in this country, usually linking ESL with community/ social justice issues facing immigrants. I realize tht teaching abroad is a different context and would be especially interested in teaching in Spain (pref Barcelona) but am open to other countries. I need to make good $ to support myself and my daughter and hopefully be able to save money as well. I'd appreciate any recommendations and experiences you can share.

My experience was many years ago but I got teacher training and taught EFL at a school in Barcelona called International House in 1981. At that time they had locations all over the world. I hooked up with them in the USA, probably through a directory or Berlitz. Another good way to find well paid ESL work is through major corporations in the place you will be. When I was in Barcelona, this kind of work was usually contracted through an individual middleperson, or a school like IH. Perhaps you could use the Internet to find out major corps. in Barcelona and contact them by e-mail. Hope this helps some and good luck. Mpbannett

My husband and I taught ESL in Japan through the YMCA's now defunct OSCY (Overseas Corps of YMCA volunteers) program. While they discontinued that specific program, the Y still offers extensive ESL courses throughout Japan and they take excellent care of their teachers. We did not have children when we lived there, but many of our colleagues did and loved the experience of living and teaching in such a child-loving country. The pay and benefits were generous, hours pretty flexible, and opportunities for making extra money by private lessons and tutoring were plentiful. I know the economy there is not as strong as it was when we lived there, but have heard teachers still do quite well. If you have an interest in Japanese culture and traveling in Asia, I highly recommend it. Hilary

I recently returned from Paris where I taught English for Kaplan. There should be a center in Barcelona or Madrid (although I'm not sure of this) and they most likely have general English classes as well as TOEFL and TOEIC courses. If you check out International Centers on the Kaplan website, you should be able to find the centers in Spain and surrounding countries. The pay was not wonderful, but adequate if you work a sufficient number of hours. Good luck! Leanne