How To Make A Career Out Of World Travel

Traveling the globe is a dream that many people have and sadly that few people ever realize. But to travel the world for a living and actually get paid to do what you love? That sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?
Well it isn’t all holidays and beaches, but it can be done. One of the most popular ways to see the world and at the same time start an exciting new career is to become a TEFL (or TESL) teacher.

What Is A TEFL Teacher?

TEFL means: Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Unsurprisingly then, becoming a TEFL teacher allows you to teach English to children and adults who do not speak the language natively. You can do this in English speaking countries or (more commonly) in other countries where there is a high demand for English teachers.

Some popular places to teach English include:

  • South Korea
  • China
  • Japan
  • Thailand
  • All Over Europe

So as a career choice this gives you a great opportunity to see the world and make a real difference whilst being paid to do so.

What’s The Catch?

There isn’t really any catch as such; the fact is that as a native English speaker you have a skill that people all over the world want to learn and you can use that skill to find work almost anywhere.

It is important to realize though that being a TEFL teacher is a job just like any other. TEFL courses can get a bad name because they are often associated with backpackers who just want to party, but the reality is that TEFL offers an opportunity to make travelling a real career.

TEFL - Typical classroom in one of the chinese training schools

TEFL – Typical classroom in one of the chinese training schools

What Do You Need?

If you are a native English speaker you have most of what you need already. The other requirements will depend on where you want to teach. Here is what is usually required:

  • Ability to speak English (as a native or near-native)
  • An undergraduate degree (not always required)
  • A TEFL certificate
  • Experience of some sort

Actually, you can often get a job without any experience, but if you have some relevant experience you may well find getting a job much easier. In more competitive countries, experience can be essential; in other countries experience may make the difference between getting any job and getting a great job.

If you don’t have any experience of TEFL teaching, it may be helpful to get some experience in a school first. You can volunteer to be a teaching assistant or try volunteering with a youth association. Anything relevant that you can add to your application will help.

You may also find it is worth investing in a TEFL course that includes some teaching hours, rather than simply paying for the bare minimum TEFL certificate.

TEFL - Be ready for wonderful atmosphere and smiles

TEFL – Be ready for wonderful atmosphere and smiles

Where To Teach

The most exciting thing about getting a TEFL qualification is deciding what to do with it. You can start by teaching in your own country of course – there are always people who need to learn English after immigrating to an English speaking country.

But you will probably want to spend your first year somewhere more exotic; the world really is your oyster, but here are some things to consider when looking at countries/areas to apply to:

  • What is the pay like?
  • What is the cost of living like?
  • How competitive is this country?
  • Do you have enough experience?
  • How are teachers treated there?
  • What career opportunities will you have?

If you dream of making a real career in Europe, it might be worth getting a year’s experience in Thailand first where you will find it easier to get a job. Alternatively, teaching in South Korea is an excellent stepping stone to teaching in China or Japan.

TEFL - You can teach adults too

TEFL – You can teach adults too

Of course some countries pay much more than others, so your decision may be based on what you need to survive right now and what you hope to achieve in the future.

Coming Home Again

Perhaps the best thing about being a TEFL teacher is that the experience you gain can be valuable when you come back home again too. Experienced TEFL teachers often become regular teachers in their own country, but other options can include teaching English at home or even becoming a personal tutor.

The opportunities are virtually endless if you have the determination to work hard and make the most of your time overseas!

About The Author:
This post was written by Robert from ICAL TEFL who provide TEFL courses like these ones and other TEFL related resources. Robert loves to travel, his ambition is to teach English on every continent.

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5 Responses to How To Make A Career Out Of World Travel

  1. Hi Gadi – as a new reader to your blog I though I’d just hop on and leave a quick comment here to say I’ve been enjoying it very much. Cheers! Shaun

    • Hi Shaun!
      Thanks for the warm comment :)
      We are glad you’ve been enjoying the blog.
      We are planning many trips to beautiful places (this time in Israel) and to share our awe about them with you.

      Stay tuned :)

      Gadi & Tun

  2. Pingback: study english rayong

  3. I’m working on my certification to be able to teach English, right now. Figured it was a good thing to have as many skills, certifications, and anything else as possible before leaving to travel around the world.

    • Hi Kimmy.

      Having a TESOL certificate before you start to travel is a good thing for sure. Keep in mind though , that many public schools will require from you at least 3 month commitment almost everywhere.
      Private schools, however, mostly don’t care about it.

      Thank you

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