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Frequently Asked Questions about TEFL Certification and Teaching English Abroad

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Can friends or couples teach English abroad together?


Can I go abroad to teach English with my friend, spouse or significant other?

friends teaching abroad egyptYes.  It is very common for friends and couples (both married and un-married) to go abroad together to teach English.  If you are considering going abroad with a friend or significant other, here are some matters to consider:

  • While it is entirely common for friends and couples to go abroad and teach English, to live together in the same apartment or city, you should not necessarily count on working in the same school.  Some schools actually prefer not to hire friends or couples in case one leaves, the others won’t leave as well. 

    Conversely some schools do prefer to hire friends or couples under the philosophy that those with the support and company of a companion will make a smoother transition to life and work overseas.  Bear in mind that you may work at separate schools and still live and socialize together, and many couples and friends actually find it beneficial to work at separate schools because they are able to meet more English-speaking colleagues and widen their social networks.

  • traveling couple teaching abroad 3 Make sure you concentrate your efforts in places where it is realistic for both of you to find work based on your backgrounds and qualifications. In some job markets, it can be difficult or impossible for people who do not have four-year degrees or who are not native English speakers to gain employment.  Consult your country chart, the country profiles on our website and with your TEFL Advisor to learn more about particular job markets.

  • If you want to live and work in the same city or region, concentrate your efforts on going to major job markets where it is most that likely that you will both gain employment.  This will typically include major cities in Europe, South America and Asia, which are often traveling couple teaching abroad 2home to dozens if not hundreds of language schools.

  • Follow the hiring seasons!  In Europe and Latin America, hiring is concentrated during particular times of the year, when the majority of schools and language institutes conduct their hiring and recruiting.  If you don’t follow these hiring periods, your chances of both landing good teaching opportunities decreases dramatically.


For couples:

  • With some exceptions most English teaching positions pay enough salary to support one individual.  This means that unless you areable to line up an especially good paying job or you have access to alternative financial resources, both of you should count on traveling couple teaching abroad 1working to ensure that you earn enough to support yourselves and to enjoy a comfortable standard of living.

  • If you are married and one of you has citizenship in the country where you wish to live and teach, it will likely be easier for to gain employment, work visas and residency.  Note that laws regarding these matters vary from country to country.


It is critical that both/all of you speak with your TEFL Advisor. Your Advisor cannot provide accurate advice without knowing the circumstances of both parties and it is critical that the Advisor be able to directly address the questions and concerns of all involved.



I can't imagine moving overseas for a year without my husband. Would there be a possibility of him moving overseas with me? He would not be interested in teaching aboard either. Could he possibly obtain a dependant visa for the year I would teach in Korea? Would the school pay for both of our visas, if possible? Thank you!
Posted @ Monday, July 23, 2012 5:36 PM by Natashna Simmons
Hi Natashna, 
Yes your husband can go with you and on a spousal visa. It's not a big deal to get it if you are married, the school probably doesn't need to pay for anything but you will need to just look into it (google and go to that country's immigration page).
Posted @ Monday, July 23, 2012 6:17 PM by International TEFL Academy
Hello. My friend and I want to teach in South Korea together. Would it be possible for us to live together even though we won't be working in the same school?
Posted @ Friday, August 10, 2012 10:15 PM by Paris
My friend and I really really want to go teach in South Korea together she has a degree but I do not and our hearts are set on Korea is there a way for us to do this since I do not have a degree?
Posted @ Thursday, December 27, 2012 5:46 AM by Claire Harley
Hi Claire, 
You should contact our advising staff to go into more details at 773-634-9900. 
There is a way for you and your friend to both go to Korea. You both will need a 120 hour TEFL class for a government position, if it's online TEFL it must have the 20 hour practicum (which we offer and most TEFL schools do not) 
1) get married and go on a spouse visa (probably not for you) 
2) Your friend without a degree can teach with the TALK program which is a governement program for people without a degree.  
2) Education  
* Bachelor's degree candidates who have completed at least two (2) years of undergraduate education, or Associate's degree holders who completed their education at an accredited post-secondary institution in one of the aforementioned countries.  
- Minimum of 50 semester hours (or equivalent) are considered as completion of two (2) years of undergraduate study. 
- Applicants completing the last semester of the second year are eligible to apply, but the final decision will not be made without the final official transcript indicating completion of two (2) years of undergraduate study. 
Posted @ Thursday, December 27, 2012 3:24 PM by International TEFL Academy
My husband & I are both interested in teaching English in Mexico. Neither of us have 4 yr degrees, however, we do have college level education. Would we be able to find decent work in Mexico?
Posted @ Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:24 AM by Kelly
My husband and I are U.S. citizens looking to travel and teach English abroad in 2014. We are currently planning and saving for it now. We want to be in the same area, but we do not have to be in the same school if necessary. We would prefer to teach through the Disney program but finding out how to contact them directly has proven to be a bit difficult. I currently hold a TEFL certification and my husband will have his by the start of July 2014. What information could you offer us that would help point us in the right direction? 
Lauren and Dave 
Posted @ Monday, April 29, 2013 7:27 AM by Lauren
Hi Lauren, 
The first thing you need to do is get your husband Dave TEFL certified and take it through our school. It seems that if your TEFL school had good job assistance you would be contacting them for job help.  
Disney is only 1 of thousands of language schools. If you are looking to sing and dance 6 hours a day with 3 & 4 year olds to Disney songs, it's a great place to do that. If that's not "your thing" there are jobs teaching all different ages including adults. 
We train over 1,200 new teachers a year and have a staff of people here in Chicago to assist all our graduates with finding jobs abroad after they finish our TEFL certification. 
Have Dave call us at 773-634-9900 or fill out a contact form about TEFL classes and teaching abroad information.
Posted @ Monday, April 29, 2013 4:32 PM by International TEFL Academy
Hi Kelly Ann, 
Yes Mexico is a great job destination and you can both be hired by many schools without a 4 year degree. Please speak with your admission advisor John and he can help you.
Posted @ Monday, April 29, 2013 4:35 PM by International TEFL Academy
My fiance and I are looking to teach abroad together and currently enrolled in a class. I am an American, but he is Nigerian. We both have teaching experience and higher degrees. What countries would be most likely to hire us both so that we can stay together?
Posted @ Friday, July 05, 2013 12:53 AM by Tanya
Considering your fiance will be regarded as a non-native English speaker by most schools, your best bet may be Latin America. Also, it appears you are not a student of ours. We suggest contacting your TEFL training school for assistance. 
Posted @ Tuesday, July 09, 2013 11:09 AM by ITA
My girlfriend and I are looking to teach abroad in the Far East and I was just wondering how we could go about starting the process. We both have degrees and we are both in full time employment at the moment but we feel that teaching abroad is something that we both would enjoy and be good at. 
Posted @ Sunday, October 27, 2013 1:13 PM by Stephen
Hi Stephen, the next step is to call our office M-F, 10am-7pm Central time to speak with an advisor or to start with a brochure and then setting a time for you to talk with us about teaching options and TEFL class options.
Posted @ Sunday, October 27, 2013 1:17 PM by International TEFL Academy
I have 2 children and am not married. However, I do live with someone and we do not plan to get married. Is this a "no no" when living in certain countries? For example, if we wanted to go to the Middle East which tend to be extremely religious countries would it be not allowed to live together and not also be married? Incidentally, I would be the one working/teaching. He would not be working as he lives off of investment income. Last question: what about my children? Ages 6 and 7 - what about them attending local schools in a foreign country???
Posted @ Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:20 AM by Chrissy
Hi Chrissy, 
1) this is a complicated question that won't be answered in a blog reply, give us a call at 773-634-9900 
2) Her is an article on teaching abroad with children:
Posted @ Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:55 PM by International TEFL Academy
hi, if i was to teach in the middle east without a degree but with a tefl certificate, would my sister be able to live with me if she isnt teaching?
Posted @ Saturday, December 14, 2013 6:09 AM by Nafisa
She would need to be doing something to qualify her for a visa to stay in the country. Since she is not your spouse or child, you could not claim her as a dependent. Also, almost all countries in the Middle East require teachers to have at least a 4-year college degree.  
Posted @ Monday, December 16, 2013 8:50 AM by Ian Davis
Hi, my friend and I would love to teach at an international school in Japan. We are both currently obtaining our BEd (completion date is Aug 8 2014) 
She is Japanese, I am not, is it possible for you to be able to teach close to each other and live together?
Posted @ Sunday, January 26, 2014 7:25 PM by Sarah
Hi ,  
My friend and I are interested in teaching English abroad. She has a degree and I don't. 
Please advise which countries are mostly likely to employ both of us. 
Posted @ Sunday, February 23, 2014 12:16 AM by Charlene Govender
Hey Charlene, 
Great question. Check out this article for the best countries to teach without a degree: 
Posted @ Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:23 AM by Ian Davis
Good day 
Both my husband and myself would like to teach English as a foreign/second language abroad. Neither of us have degrees. He is 60 and I am 53 years. We are not choosy to where we go. My husband is British and I am South African. I am currently in the UK with him, but I am leaving to go back to SA in a few weeks. We would like to get information regarding what courses would be best for us to do as well as the possibility of work.  
We can make an appointment to come and see an advisor if you have offices in London. 
Kind regards 
Jackie Claydon 
07511 342 682
Posted @ Thursday, April 17, 2014 1:48 AM by Jackie Claydon
Hey Jackie, 
We'd love to set up a time to talk with you. Please fill out a contact form to be assigned an advisor, or you can call our UK line a +44 0203 318 6930. 
Posted @ Friday, April 18, 2014 9:00 AM by Ian Davis
My wife and I are considering teaching in china, I have a BA in Spanish and history education, and a masters in educational technology, my wife has a BS in English education. I have worked in the school system for 7 years, while my wife has been home with kids.. Which of course is the question... I have 5 kids under the age of 8 :) are their schools that would take a large family like mine on? My wife and I would both plan on teaching. 
Thanks - great site btw
Posted @ Saturday, June 28, 2014 12:29 AM by Matthew
Hey Matthew, 
Great question. Check out this article on teaching abroad with children: 
Posted @ Saturday, June 28, 2014 12:10 PM by ITA
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