Teaching English Abroad

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Photo by Fotolia/John Gomez
Don't be skeptical. Teaching English abroad could add adventure to your life and career.

Global demand for English language education has created a need for qualified teachers — and sometimes “qualified” just means you grew up speaking it! Whether you’re an established teacher or thinking of transitioning into the profession, it’s a legitimate way to earn a living and see more of the world. Here are some organizations that can help you find a position teaching English abroad.

United States Information Agency  

This organization will put you in touch with Binational Centers (BNC) all over the world. BNC’s are autonomous institutions operated by associations of local citizens and American residents, and are established for the purpose of fostering better international understanding. These centers hire teachers locally (and will usually hire you on the spot if you’re a native speaker of English). You can also write ahead to the center of your choice. In either case, no placement fee is charged.

Peace Corps 

In order to get a job with these folks, you must have a degree and you must be in the United States when you apply (since you’ll be required to take part in a training program). The pay scale for Peace Corps workers is relatively low, since it mirrors the income of the people of the host country. However, the organization does provide a sort of “readjustment allowance” when your job stint is over, to help you out when you first come back to the States.

YMCA of the USA 

The YMCA sponsors many different programs with varying requirements (though a college degree is necessary for every position).

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) 

Members of TESOL get bi-monthly lists of job openings abroad and are entitled to discounts on the organization’s publications concerning teaching English and other pertinent matters. Although the people at TESOL will not actually match you up with a job, once you send in your $33 yearly membership fee, a $3 filing charge, and your resume, they will add your name to a computer list that is available to employers all over the world.

International Schools Services 

These folks will match you up with a job, if you qualify. They do all the contacting with overseas employers and sponsor an annual recruitment session in the U.S., in which all their interviewing for work abroad takes place. However, they require you to have a B.A. or B.S. degree, plus certification and two years’ experience. They also charge a $50 (nonrefundable) processing fee.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We contacted each of these nonprofit organizations and found their personnel to be extremely helpful and very prompt in sending us their brochures and application information. So should you be interested in any or all of the above, we recommend that you get in touch with these friendly folks. They’re happy to answer all questions (even the ones you can’t quite put into words).