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Teaching English Abroad? Is There A Straightforward Answer?

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    Hey guys,

    I'm leaning strongly towards taking a gap year and if I do then I'm hoping to teach English abroad in order to combine education/experience with travelling. The trouble is, and I know there's A LOT of topics on here which deal with this subject, I'm having a lot of difficulty sifting through all the information related to this and was really hoping someone might be able to give me a simple answer. I'm confused by all this TEFL and CELTA business quite badly, then there's all the companies that offer qualifications alongside work placements etc.

    I guess basically what I'm asking is this: What is the best way to go about teaching English abroad on my gap year? - I presume I need some form of qualification, but do I take a CELTA or another form of TEFL qualification? If so, which one? Should I splash out on taking this course in another country OR take a qualification at home then set about finding a placement abroad? :confused: I know nothing is ever simple, but is anyone able to give me some sort of rough step-by-step guide?
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    If it's only for a gap year, a CELTA isn't really necessary. A CELTA is good if you want to make a full career out of it, but probably isn't so easy to budget for if you're not going to work for so long.
    The important things to look for in a course is accreditation, what job help is offered and what sort of track record they have in students successfully teaching abroad.
    Where do you want to work?
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    Thankyou! Been checking this almost non-stop for replies. Yeah I did hear that about a CELTA, I would possibly like to make a career out of it but perhaps that is a qualification to get after uni as I do plan on returning next year to get a BA, so I'm now leaning more towards a course with TEFL England but am unsure as to how successful/respectable they are? I know their courses have accreditation and they have an online job centre specifically for those who take their courses - I'll have to do further research on their track record.

    I'm quite open about where I want to work, although Asia does have particular appeal to me ( Thailand, Vietnam, Japan etc. )

    Edit - The other thing I worry about is just how likely it is that I will be able to actually find and secure a teaching job abroad with just a TEFL qualification, I know a lot of the 'better' jobs ask for those with a BA. The internet makes it seem like a breeze and that there's jobs all over to be had as long as you have a TEFL qualification and a passion for teaching, but is this truly the case?
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    (Original post by damonalbarnisgod)
    Hey guys,

    I'm leaning strongly towards taking a gap year and if I do then I'm hoping to teach English abroad in order to combine education/experience with travelling. The trouble is, and I know there's A LOT of topics on here which deal with this subject, I'm having a lot of difficulty sifting through all the information related to this and was really hoping someone might be able to give me a simple answer. I'm confused by all this TEFL and CELTA business quite badly, then there's all the companies that offer qualifications alongside work placements etc.

    I guess basically what I'm asking is this: What is the best way to go about teaching English abroad on my gap year? - I presume I need some form of qualification, but do I take a CELTA or another form of TEFL qualification? If so, which one? Should I splash out on taking this course in another country OR take a qualification at home then set about finding a placement abroad? :confused: I know nothing is ever simple, but is anyone able to give me some sort of rough step-by-step guide?
    If you want to teach English here in China, you don't need any qualifications at all. Although being ethnically white is a plus (yes, China is still racist like that).
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    See this is what I'm so naive about! I wouldn't begin knowing where to look for a job like that in China without going through one of the sites that usually has jobs asking for qualifications. Really? Well I am ethnically white so I can accept that, practically if not morally ha
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    The two most accredited TEFL qualifications are the Cambridge CELTA and the Trinity TESOL. They are both intensive courses, lasting around a month and costing around £1000. You only need further education level qualifications to get onto them (A-levels or an access course) so if you wanted to take one you could. I know some 120 hour online TEFL courses are accepted by some companies but on the whole its either TESOL or CELTA employers are after.

    It might then be possible to find work in a country where the requirements are not so stringent, for example, Asia has more of a demand for teachers than Europe so it would be easier for you to find work there. However, most decent stable jobs are going to ask you for a BA or teaching experience to prove you have what it takes.

    How old are you? Do you have any teaching experience or do you speak any foreign languages?
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    That's the key reason why I was originally leaning towards a CELTA ha :/ Thanks for all that information! All three of you have been helpful.

    I'm 18 and have little-to-no teaching experience but do want to go into teaching post-Uni, the idea of doing this gap year is to combine experience in the field with travel but you highlight a big worry of mine - that my lack of experience could mean that I take a course and can't find a job to travel to.
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    (Original post by damonalbarnisgod)
    See this is what I'm so naive about! I wouldn't begin knowing where to look for a job like that in China without going through one of the sites that usually has jobs asking for qualifications. Really? Well I am ethnically white so I can accept that, practically if not morally ha
    Just turn up at any of the many English schools and say you're looking to teach. They're always looking for new teachers as the turnover rate is very high (people tend to stay here for a term, a year). In fact, if you're white then just walking around one of the university campuses in Beijing you might get randomly stopped and asked if you want to be an English teacher!
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    Haha, if only I had enough faith to trust in it being so simple! Even if I did, I think my friends and family would require a little more assurance than that before I hopped on a plane and headed over :P
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    Are you looking for a job specifically (i.e. earning money), or just anything where you'd be doing teaching, like volunteering? While I didn't gain any kind of a certificate or earn any money doing it, I had a great time working as an English language assistant in a school in Chile with Project Trust, who offer year-long volunteering placements (various opportunities, some to do with teaching, either as an assistant or as a teacher outright, and others doing something else entirely). I got some valuable experience working with experienced English teachers, and have since gone on to do the CELTA course and a little English teaching after that.

    If you're still at school or college I'd strongly recommend looking into gap year organisations and also ways that you can organise your gap year on your own if you wish to be more independent - personally I'm strongly in favour of people taking gap years before uni, as in general I've found it gives you a stronger sense of what you want to do with the next few years of your life, and gives you a lot more independence. You might find that your school/college has an advisor who can give you further information about such opportunities.
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    I'm preferably looking for some form of job involving pay, however I'd also be interested in voluntary work with accommodation provided. I am looking to get some form of qualification, your experience sounds really interesting I completely agree with your opinion on gap years, unfortunately my school isn't the strongest at being helpful with these things.

    Still pretty confused about how to go about this, hmm.
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    (Original post by damonalbarnisgod)
    Thankyou! Been checking this almost non-stop for replies. Yeah I did hear that about a CELTA, I would possibly like to make a career out of it but perhaps that is a qualification to get after uni as I do plan on returning next year to get a BA, so I'm now leaning more towards a course with TEFL England but am unsure as to how successful/respectable they are? I know their courses have accreditation and they have an online job centre specifically for those who take their courses - I'll have to do further research on their track record.

    I'm quite open about where I want to work, although Asia does have particular appeal to me ( Thailand, Vietnam, Japan etc. )

    Edit - The other thing I worry about is just how likely it is that I will be able to actually find and secure a teaching job abroad with just a TEFL qualification, I know a lot of the 'better' jobs ask for those with a BA. The internet makes it seem like a breeze and that there's jobs all over to be had as long as you have a TEFL qualification and a passion for teaching, but is this truly the case?
    Yes, you'd be fine with TEFL England. They also do paid internships in China where you don't need a degree, so it would probably be quite easy to arrange as a non-graduate in comparison to other places.
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    I am 18 and did a teaching placement this Summer in India with a company called Projects Abroad. it was very hard work but a fantastic experience and would thoroughly recommend going with them. They also do placements in other countries too.
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    (Original post by meganabanana)
    I am 18 and did a teaching placement this Summer in India with a company called Projects Abroad. it was very hard work but a fantastic experience and would thoroughly recommend going with them. They also do placements in other countries too.

    You have to pay to do projects abroad though don't you?
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    Yeah Projects Abroad charge. And to be fair a lot of the projects are ones that you could individually arrange by going abroad and you'd save so much on cost but I think a lot of people like the 'security' of having it sorted out as it's less daunting and maybe seems less risky too?
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    Tbh, for the places where the OP is fancying, there are so many paid opportunities available with great perks that I don't really think there's any need to pay. A good well-established school or chain or scheme will have plenty of experience in dealing with first-time English teachers and so will be able to support a newbie very well.
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    (Original post by mel0n)
    Yeah Projects Abroad charge. And to be fair a lot of the projects are ones that you could individually arrange by going abroad and you'd save so much on cost but I think a lot of people like the 'security' of having it sorted out as it's less daunting and maybe seems less risky too?
    Anyway they need somebody abroad to help them. For example the person who works in local education...
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    Yes projects abroad do charge but it did make the trip a lot easier - I had people who spoke great English that I could call for advice and who met me from the airport. It really helped to have someone who could advise me or be there if anything went wrong. It really depends on how confident you feel because for me I really liked having this security as it was the first time I had travelled abroad alone.

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