Teaching English Abroad

(Written by Leah K)

Since I have moved to China to teach English, I have had numerous friends ask me how I got my teaching job, what program I am in, how I found my school, etc, etc… So I have decided to compose a blog explaining how I found my job. In this post I have included the steps I took to secure a job overseas. I am not saying this is the ONLY way or the RIGHT way but it worked great for me! I also included several of my favorite websites that are full of advice. So good luck my friends, I hope you have the same fortunes I have found!

Plan In Advance
When I first started looking to teach overseas I was still in school at Ohio State and I wanted to make sure I would have a teaching contract signed before I graduated. It took me a little longer than I expected to find a school that I liked, but it was worth the wait. Do not settle on the first, second, or even third school that offers you a job. I sat through about 4 or 5 different interviews on Skype before I settled with a school in Shenyang, China. It is very important that you like the school, city, contract, and people before you move overseas. Remember, you will be living here for at least a year, so it must be worth your time. Patience is the key.

Decide Where You Want To Go
You can basically teach English in any country that doesn’t speak English as a native language or isn’t very dangerous to live in. The highest paying jobs are in Asia, especially Korea. Here is one of my favorite websites http://matadornetwork.com/notebook/top-10-lists/top-10-places-for-teaching-english-abroad/ This is how I narrowed down my search of where I wanted to go. Make sure you research the country you want to move to. This can be a great opportunity for people who want to perfect a foreign language that they know. Determine your location by what you want to get out of it. A lot of the information I read about the city I live in now was through other blogs. There is a search setting on google where you can just search blogs. So if you want to go to Taipei, Taiwan…Google under Blogs: Teaching in Taipei.

Go Wild
Post your resume on as many job sites as you can. Go post crazy. Make sure your resume looks professional and highlights all of your ‘experience’ working with children. This can be anything as simple as coaching sports, working at summer camp, or tutoring after school. Get creative with your resume. The more experience you have teaching/working with children, the better your chances. Do not only go post crazy, go e-mail crazy. I would suggest creating a separate e-mail address just for this. You WILL get bombarded by e-mails from schools, teachers and recruiters. On the websites I have listed below there are open job positions. Each position should have an e-mail address of someone to contact.  Create a professional letter outlining who you are, why you want to teach at their school, and your experience. Attach your resume as well. Make sure to be very friendly in your e-mail.





Skype is a great resource for finding a job overseas. More often than not, schools will include their Skype name on their job posting. This is a great way to talk one on one. Don’t worry, most people will not want to video chat! It is simply Sykpe’s instant messaging service that is used. I highly recommend this. It is much easier to talk on an instant message than it is through e-mails.

Narrow It Down
Once you have a handful of jobs that are interested in you and you interested in them, start weeding schools out. Make sure to google the name of the schools. A lot of bad reviews come up for many schools that I have talked to. Things such as bad living conditions, and not getting paid completely turned me off from jobs that I was interested in.

Extra Advice
TEFL/TESL: Most job postings require that you are TEFL or TESL certified. This is usually not the case. As long as you assure them that you have plenty of experience teaching, you should be able to get most jobs. If you are interested in getting the TEFl/TESL, there are programs online that you can take. They are usually a couple of weeks long and pretty expensive. There are also some programs online that you can pay to get TEFL/TESL certified overseas and then they place you in a job. I didn’t do anyof these things personally, but a lot of my friends here in China did. Most of them ended up getting screwed over. I have heard horror stories of schools that they have been placed in. From taking a bus an hour to and from school everyday, to making hardly enough money to live, to the most disgusting living conditions….
RECRUITERS: Most websites told me not to go through a recruiter to get a job. Recruiters are people who make a living finding foreigners to teach at schools. They are interested in getting anyone to any school, no matter where it is. I have read many things online talking about how recruiters are only interested in placing teachers way out in the country where no one wants to work. Honestly, I got my job from a recruiter. As long as you are aware of this and make sure you tell them exactly what you are looking for in a job, you should be okay. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.

If you guys want to compare programs to mine, here is what mine entails. I work in Shenyang, China from 8:30-5 M-F. My apartment, airfare, health insurance and lunch is all paid for. We pay our own utilities. Our school helped us with our visas. We get paid national holidays off work. $10,000RMB a month.

That’s all for now folks. Make sure you have an open mind and are ready to live abroad for at least a year! I wish you the best! If any of you end up living in China, or near China you better hit me up! =)


6 Responses to “Teaching English Abroad”

  1. Just so I understand, that equates to $1,500.00 per month USD correct?

  2. Very Interesting…

  3. All I can say is …. Nick is pretty lucky to have you do all that
    investigation! I love this blog. Nick’s first entry was great and yours is equally wonderfully informative. Too bad I’m not a “few” years younger! Love to you both … and … keep those blogs coming!
    I’m living life vicariously through Ben and Nicole on the other side of the world and you and Nick in China. As far as I can tell, the earthquake and tsuname didn’t affect you at all … I Hope!! love, hugs and kisses ….. Amma

  4. Hi Leah, Thank you so much for sharing this information. I do workshops to help students learn about working overseas and I will definitely refer them to your blog. I will also mention it in my articles about international jobs for Transitions Abroad. If you get a chance, please email me from my website: http://www.volunteeroverseas.org/html/contact.html. I would like to ask you some follow up questions! Best, Zahara Heckscher

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