Hayley Bannah

The simple answer is no. The good news is that ESL teaching opportunities abroad have grown considerably over the past 30 years. I've witnessed this first hand as an experienced ESL teacher and recruiter in this industry for 20 years now. Teaching overseas has given hundreds of thousands of people the chance to live in some of the most amazing countries in the world whilst earning good money at the same time. However, with the rise in ESL jobs abroad, the industry has become a bit of a minefield for those starting out.

Follow the 5 tips below to secure the right overseas ESL job for you.

1. Be realistic – So you want to teach on a beach in Spain, don't we all! You need to realise that you might not be able to secure an ESL job in your dream location right off the bat, especially if you don't have any teaching experience or ESL qualifications. For those new to ESL, you should start off looking for a job in a country that can hire teachers with no teaching experience. Then, once you gain some experience, you will be in a better position to apply for those countries which have higher requirements. Play the long game. China for example, is a good place to start in this industry because there is a high demand for ESL teachers with fewer requirements.

2. Be smart – Gone are the days when you can just jet off to a new country and hope to land yourself the perfect ESL job. Firstly, you need to obtain a legal work visa for the country and to do this you typically need to be sponsored by a school in that country. You need to do your due diligence and research reputable education companies that offer visa sponsorship. Don't trust those who claim you can work on a tourist visa, you simply must not. Securing the right visa from the start may take a little longer at the outset but believe me, when you're there living and working without a care in the world, that work visa and the knowledge you're with a reliable company will be worth its weight in gold.

3. Be open minded – When starting out in a new career, you will have to be flexible and think about the big picture. If you're having no luck securing your dream university job, consider teaching a different age group. For example, the greatest number of vacancies in Asia right now is teaching children and teenagers so if you really want to kick-start your ESL career today, take advantage. Be open-minded about different countries and locations as well. Research which countries have the highest demand and find a company that gives you a range of city options so you can tailor the experience to suit, whether that be teaching in big metropolitan cities or in smaller regional towns. You could also teach in different educational settings, from ESL training centres and mainstream schools to universities, online platforms and corporate companies. The aim of the game is to get your first ESL job abroad so you can start living the life you've been dreaming of!

4. Be informed – The little things matter so be prepared to ask an ESL school the right questions. Ask about class sizes, school resources and facilities. Will you be teaching from a 20 year old text book or a modern, specially designed curriculum? Will you have autonomy and be the lead teacher or a teacher's aide? Will you get paid for lesson planning or do you get paid per class? Will you be teaching in the one location or will you have to travel across town to get to different schools each day? Will you be the only foreign teacher at your school or will you be part of a big contingent of expat teachers? By asking the right questions you'll be able to determine which ESL job abroad is right for you.

5. Be prepared – Take the job and the interview process seriously; these are the people who get ESL jobs abroad. Update your CV highlighting relevant experience, revamp your LinkedIn profile, prep for the interview (be punctual, well dressed, research the company and the country, know what your strengths are and what you can bring to the role). You need to demonstrate you have the ability and the passion to live overseas and teach ESL students. If you can do that, the ESL job should be yours for the taking!

Education First has been an industry leader in ESL for over 50 years. We are currently recruiting for teaching positions across China. If you would like to find out more then why not apply and speak to one of our international recruitment specialists today.

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