One of the questions I always get about my long-term travel is “How do you afford to travel so long?” – well, it’s a twofold answer. Firstly, when travel is your priority you’ll find yourself putting every spare penny towards it. You’ll start sacrificing materialistic things in order to save for your world trip. Secondly, you can always find a job overseas that allows you to live in a foreign country and to use it as a base to explore.
Europe is one of the best places to base yourself because there are such a great variety of countries nearby and it’s easy to plan exciting weekend trips away. If you’re looking to move overseas for a while, the first thing you’ll have to ask yourself is what kind of work you’d like to do. One of the most obvious job choices for native English speakers is teaching English overseas – it’s in high demand in almost every country.
Finding an English teaching job overseas can be intimidating, especially if it’s a field you haven’t worked in. The first thing you’ll need to figure out is whether you’re eligible to teach English in Europe. Usually as a minimum employers will want someone who is a native English speaker and someone who has at least an undergraduate degree (in English or Teaching is a definite bonus).
Do I need a TEFL to teach abroad?
If you are serious about teaching English overseas, you will find that obtaining a TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, certificate will increase your chances of landing a good job. TEFL, TESOL or CELTA are the most popular certificates you can obtain, but before you invest money and time into them, it is a good idea first to decide which country you would like to work in. Some positions would require this certification, but employers usually want experience teaching or certification.
Where can I Teach English in Europe?
At the moment there is a strong demand for English teachers in Spain, France, The United Kingdom and Georgia. I taught English in the Czech Republic for six months and really enjoyed the central location to explore the surrounding countries. After returning home for a brief stunt, I spent six weeks living in Madrid, Spain. For someone who is from such an isolated country, living in Europe is an incredible opportunity to explore surrounding countries and your new adopted country. Traveling to Europe doesn’t have to be expensive; you can find a lot of cheap Air Canada flights to get to Europe.
If you chose to teach English in France you would be bordering a number of interesting countries: Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and Italy making it possible to spend weekends or holidays abroad without spending a fortune on flights. While it seems a bit unusual to move to the United Kingdom to teach English, many people from other countries move there in order to learn English so there is an abundance of jobs there. The UK would be the obvious choice for someone who wants to live overseas, but isn’t ready to commit to being immersed in a country where there might be a language barrier. Georgia is high on my travel list; I haven’t visited yet, but I have heard that it is an exceptionally beautiful country filled with the most hospitable and generous people. Maybe in future I will consider living there as it would be an incredible cultural experience.
Interested but not sure where to start?
Steps for securing an ESL job to teach English in Europe:
1) Narrow down the country/countries you are interested in working in
2) Browse TeacherHit for teaching jobs in Europe to decide what qualifications are required for your chosen country and to find current job listings for English teachers overseas
3) Do an online or in person TEFL, TESOL or CELTA course to improve your teaching skills
4) Start your individual job applications for the positions in the countries that interest you most
Beyond the bonus of being able to travel around a new country and continent, teaching English in Europe where it is not the native language gives you the opportunity to learn or improve a new language yourself. If you’re interested in learning Spanish, then Spain would be an obvious choice for a place to live and work for a year. On the same note, there would be no better place in the world to learn French, than in France, perhaps Paris or Nice – the options are endless! When I was living in Madrid I took an introductory Spanish course and found it really helpful. In future I’d love to move back to Spain to teach English and continue my Spanish learning.
Have you ever taught English overseas? Have you taught English in Europe? What was your experience like?
If you have any questions about teaching English in Europe feel free to post them below, I’m happy to help.