See the World & Get Paid for Your Time: The Benefits of Teaching Abroad

The reasons cited by individuals who teach school in foreign countries, or plan to do so, range from supremely logical explanations to unexplainable calls to adventure. Despite how they couch the reasons behind their departures from home, however, there are real benefits—including personal, financial, educational ones—to the experience of teaching English in a foreign country.

Some Benefits to Teaching English in a Foreign Country

Personal Benefits

  • Teaching English overseas allows an individual to satisfy her curiosity for adventure, travel and new experiences while maintaining a regular, well-paying (in most countries), professional and respected career.

Financial Pluses

  • Depending upon the country and the monetary exchange rate, teaching English overseas can provide a well-paying, professional position that will look great on a resume later.
  • Depending upon the country, employment perks may include an annual bonus equal to one month’s salary, a rent-free furnished apartment and airline tickets to and from that country.
  • If an English teacher is additionally skilled at writing, she may make additional money writing print or online articles for travel magazines, international newspapers, English-language newspapers published in the host country, education journals and other media outlets.
  • There are always private, well-paid tutoring positions available for English teachers to assist students studying to pass the Test of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination or the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). Successful completion of the first examination is often a requirement for foreign students’ acceptance into U.S. colleges and universities, meaning that those studying for this reason are strongly motivated.
  • Teachers who have become fluent in the language of the country where they teach can earn additional fees translating letters, documents, textbooks and other written information.
  • Teachers who return to the U.S. having taught ESL classes abroad are often able to easily step into one of the many available positions open for ESL instructors in the public school systems.

Educational Aids

  • According to a school specializing in such certifications, “TESOL, TESL, and TEFL are widely interchangeable terms which essentially mean the same thing” and often a single course can provide certification in all three of the above terms. Prior to departure and beginning new jobs—or even during their tenures with online courses—teachers can become certified in one or all of the following specialties:
    • Teaching English As a Second Language (TESL)
    • English As a Second Language (ESL)
    • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
    • Teaching English As a Foreign Language (TEFL)
    • English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
  • Teachers become familiar with two specific examinations that test a foreign citizen’s English-speaking abilities:
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
  • Skills, tips and lessons learned in trying to teach English to non-native speakers are often transferrable to other educational topics and improve the teacher’s teaching abilities overall.
  • Teachers who expend the necessary effort can become fluent in the language of the country where they teach. This personal achievement can also be used for additional financial benefits.

The real question might not be “Why should I teach abroad?” Based upon a quick consideration of the benefits, the real question might be “Why am I still here?”