What you need to know about teaching abroad for the first time

Many people think about teaching abroad.. here's what you need to know before you go

What kind of job can I get?

Most foreign countries have educational requirements based on the kind of school that hires you. If you are teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) then it may be enough to simply be fluent in English or to have a TEFL certificate. But if you want to teach in an international school that provides compulsory education with all/most subjects taught in English, then the requirements are likely to be as strict or stricter than what is required to teach in a state school in your home country. Minimum requirements are usually fluency in English (for English speaking schools), as well as a Bachelors degree and a teaching qualification such as a PGCE, Bachelors or Masters in Education, Qualified Teacher status, Teacher registration or full Teacher Certification.

It's important to know that every foreign country sets their own requirements, which are different to each other and can ...and do... change with time.

Will I be teaching local or foreign children?

If you are teaching TEFL, you will likely be teaching local children or adults who want to learn English. If you are teaching in an international school, you may be teaching expatriate children or host national children whose (usually wealthy) parents are happy to pay for a private school education. This latter option is very popular in some countries. Within the international school sector about 70-80% of schools serve mainly the host national population, so the chances of you teaching only British or American children in a British or American school in a foreign country are actually pretty slim.

How long are the contracts and what are the hours?

TEFL contracts can range from 3 months to 2 years and start at different times in the year. Often TEFL contracts require you to teach evenings and weekends and you may teach a range of children and adults, year-round.

International school contracts are 1-3 years, but most typically 2 years and you teach full time, regular school hours, such as 7:30-3pm with extra time for meetings or after-school activities. The school term depends on the country but about 80% run from September to June, with a smaller number that run from January to December or April to March.

What kind of pay and benefits can I expect?

This strongly depends on the kind of job and the individual school in which you are working. TEFL contracts are usually lower paying with fewer benefits than international school contracts, and TEFL contracts can range from voluntary to US$3000 a month. Flights are sometimes but not usually reimbursed and housing is normally not provided.

International school contracts vary widely as well but usually provide a flight and housing benefit. Salaries usually range from US$2000 a month to upwards of $5000 a month.

It's important when deciding on a job to consider the whole package- tax rates, housing and flight benefits, and cost of living can make a huge difference to your take home pay!

What countries are hiring?

TEFL jobs can be found in almost every non-English speaking country around the world. Saudi Arabia and China are particularly keen for TEFL teachers right now.

International school jobs can also be found in most non-English speaking countries and the countries that have the highest number of international schools are China and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah).

How do I know what is the best job for me?

This is really difficult for a first-timer as there are so many different kinds of jobs and so many different countries and requirements. Working with a reputable recruitment agency can help you decide more quickly where you can go and what is the right kind of environment for you. At Edvectus, for instance, our consultants are mostly ex-teachers with international experience, so we are in a great position to help.

Doing your research is the most important job of any prospective international teacher. This is why Edvectus provides a free online Learning Portal to our candidates packed with hundreds of videos, websites and documents to help prospective international school teachers know more before they go.

Published Date: 25 November 2014 Comments: 12 Comments


Earnadete Farrar 06 July 2015
I'm interested in teaching abroad and I would like someone to contact me at: earnadette@comcast.net and I can also be reached at 1+(434) 755 -3205. Please note that I'm interested in the Special Education Coordinator's position or Special Education teaching position. I am really serious about a change.
Reply from Evedecus 06 July 2015
You need to register online with your resume, then the appropriate office will ring you back. We need all of the information (education/work history) that is contained within a CV/Resume.
Alderene 22 June 2015
I am a Jamaican teacher. I have a Teaching Diploma in History and Geography. I also have a Bachelor’s education Degree in History. I have fourteen years teaching experience. I have an interest in teaching in the middle east.
Reply from Evedecus 22 June 2015
I'm afraid we don't recruit from Jamaica.
Skylar Mitchell 20 May 2015
For a while I have been considering teaching abroad. I think that it would be a really neat experience and that I could learn so much. However, I want to learn more about the experience and what happens. It is interesting that there are so many job options, but mostly what I would like to do is just teach basic English. It would also be good for me to look into different companies and find a contract that will work for me. Thank you for the great post!
Renilla 27 April 2015
IDear madam /sir Do you have a recruiting agency in South Africa ? Please forward me the details .
Reply from Evedecus 27 April 2015
We recruit teachers from South Africa. To proceed please register online.
Renilla 27 April 2015
IDear madam /sir Do you have a recruiting agency in South Africa ? Please forward me the details .
Rezk 09 February 2015
I am ready to work with you if you ting me on 0419017893
Reply from Evedecus 09 February 2015
If you meet the requirements on our registration page, please register online.
Sue Price 02 February 2015
Hi there, I am Sue from New Zealand and keen to teach aborad. I have a Masters degree in Education, Bachelor of Education, Teaching diploma primary school teaching. I have mainly taught in Secondary and Teritiary level. I have mainly been a Physical Education teacher, Head of Department and worked in Private girls Schools in New Zealand. Currently I am in a management position as a senior advisor for the Ministry of Education in New Zealand. I am keen to teach aborad for savings, lifestyle and I am on my own with a 17 month old girl that would require full time childcare or a Nanny, so I am looking for a safe environment. I am keen to start middle of the year. I look forward to hearing back from you about suggestions and options. Kind Regards Sue Price
Reply from Evedecus 02 February 2015
Hi Sue your best choice is to register online. We have an office in NZ staffed by a very experienced ex-teacher who can help understand your particular circumstances and find you a well matched job. We even have a document written by our Middle East office about finding a Nanny in the UAE! But it has to start with an online registration so please take that first step.
amina gul 23 January 2015
Looking job in educational institutions . either teaching or in administration
Charito S. Sarip 22 January 2015
I'am interested to teach in Dubai or work as a head teacher in preschool or elementary, I been teaching children for such a long time mostly chinese citizen, some came from other countries. I want to experience teaching in an international school outside my country, I'am experienced and qualified teacher, unfortunately PHILIPPINES is not included in your list. How can I I give my service to your school?
Reply from Evedecus 22 January 2015
Charito, we don't have any expertise in recruiting teachers from the Philippines. Part of our service to schools is vet, interview, reference and police check teachers and know the culture of the teacher's country so we can better match them to jobs abroad. Therefore we specialise only in a small number of countries(those listed on the registration page) so that we can better understand, screen and match. I suspect there are recruitment companies in the Philippines that do something similar and recommend you contact a specialist in your local market.
Candice 11 December 2014
I'm interested in teaching in Dubai or India. Please let me know who to contact to discuss more details.
JOHN BOSCO MWESIGYE 11 December 2014
Thanks for the teaching job opportunities abroad advert. My question is how do you make arrangements for one to get there? I happen to have great interest to teach there.Already teaching in an International school in uganda with three years experience.
Reply from Evedecus 11 December 2014
John, many/most international schools offer flights as a benefit. We don't currently recruit from Uganda but I recommend you either find a recruitment company in your country or apply directly.
Komol Seal 02 December 2014
Dear Ma’am/Sir. I am writing with great anticipation to express my interest in securing the Physical Education Teacher position in Canada. As a highly enthusiastic and encouraging teaching professional, I believe my personality, my experience, and my solid commitment to education makes me to opt for physical education teacher in Canada. I'm presently working as a Physical Education Teacher in Gems Our Own English High School,Dubai,U.A.E. My career accomplishments with more than 10 years of experience with a passion for sports.I made a niche for myself in XIX Commonwealth Games Delhi -2010. My background is, I am a foremost national level sprinter and long jumper of India .I'm a qualified Athletics Technical professional armed with a diploma from Sports Authority of India, Master’s degree in Physical education from Delhi University, India with a coaching specialisation in Athletics and Master’s degree in Commerce, from Andhra University, India with a specialisation in Accountancy. I was sole woman student from Delhi state and only student in Outstanding Sportsperson Category while pursuing these qualifications. Having grown up playing sports, I was blessed to pursue my school and college education in sports category.
Reply from Evedecus 02 December 2014
Dear Komol, we don't work with Indian curriculum schools. I recommend you try to find a recruiter in India that supplies Indian schools abroad.

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