Can I teach English abroad in the summer?
Are there summer opportunities to teach English abroad?
YES, however options will be more limited than if you were looking to teach English abroad for a year or even for six months. Except for some short-term contract work, most language schools look to hire full-time teachers for 10-12 month contracts. This means that most short-term opportunities for English teachers will be either in summer camps or in a volunteer capacity.
Teaching English abroad in the summer as a volunteer or at a summer camp may not pay much (if anything at all), but you can find great opportunities to spend a couple of months abroad and any experience you gain will be a great addition to your resume, especially if you decide to teach English abroad again at a later date.
Teaching English abroad in summer language camps
Summer language camps in Europe, Latin America and Asia offer 1-2 month opportunities to teach English in for school aged children and university students (in Asia). These opportunities are great for those looking for shorter stints overseas as well as those who enjoy working outdoors with children.
Different Types of Summer Camps that Hire English Teachers
Overnight "away" camps: This is what most Americans envision when they think of a "summer camp." Students/campers typically live in the woods in cabins, eat in a mess tent, and spend a good part of the day playing sports, swimming in a lake and engaging in other recreational activities. At English language camps in Europe, English language classes are also taught several hours a day, but the point is that campers and students are immersed in an English-only environment 24/7.
All activities including sports, crafts, outings, dining, horseback riding, etc. are conducted in English and are led by English speakers (TEFL certified teachers are typically preferred). They may be coined an "English Village" or "American Village". There are similar camps in the US, UK and Canada for French and Spanish children and adolescents. In such camps English teachers serve as counselors as well. The students or campers typically attend such camps for at least two weeks at a time and many stay for several sessions. Ages typically range from 8-18.
Day Camps: These camps offer similar activities and English classes as away camps, but they are typically operated in more urban environments campers usually return home in the evening' a typical day will run from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. English teachers and counselors usually live in an apartment in the city where the camp is held.
University Campus: These camps are more common in Asia - particularly in China - where the "camp" is really at a university campus. English teachers live in the dorms and the students are usually college students, but may be younger in some cases.
Here are some additional points regarding summer camp opportunities for English teachers:
- Europe offers the most summer camp English teaching positions, particularly in Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.
- Most camps in Europe hire English teachers locally in-country, however some camps will recruit internationally and interview in advance, typically during late winter and spring. Camps give first dibs to the current English teachers in Europe as they have experience and finish their local contracts in June. Examples of camps that interview include the American Village camps in France and ACLE in Italy.
- Most language camps that hire English teachers in Europe are looking to hire English teachers and counselors between 20 – 30 years of age. Language Camps in Asia tend to hire English teachers into their mid-30s, while volunteer options tend to accept participants into their 50s.
- Most English teachers who work at summer camps are provided room and board, plus a modest stipend (perhaps the equivalent of $200-$300 a week). There are also volunteer opportunities teaching English abroad in summer camps.
- Some summer positions involve sports, arts and other educational and recreational activities in addition to teaching English in a classroom setting; in other instances, teachers are hired solely to teach English classes.
Teaching English abroad as a volunteer
- Non-governmental organizations, including charitable organizations and faith-based groups often recruit TEFL / TESOL teachers to teach English abroad.
- Volunteering offers opportunities to work in some regions of the world where paid opportunities are extremely limited or non-existent, including India, Nepal, many Sub-Saharan African nations, and poorer nations in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
- Many volunteer opportunities are short term (1 week – 2 months), which is ideal for those looking to go abroad for a summer.
- Expect to incur all costs associated with flights and travel, and in many cases for accommodation as well as many volunteering opportunities are found in poorer Third World nations. Sometimes charitable organizations such as faith-based groups may absorb your costs.
- Work visas are not typically required for volunteer programs, but you may encounter some exceptions.
Summer TEFL Courses to be trained as an English teacher
If you are keen to begin your career as an international English teacher, but only have a summer to spare, you might consider spending your summer gaining your qualification and a bit of hands-on teaching experience through a four-week TEFL certification course at one of 25 international locations.
This will provide you with an opportunity to gain an internationally accredited TEFL certification while spending four weeks in a great international location (and perhaps engaging in some travel on the side). You will also have an opportunity to gain hands-on student teaching experience by engaging in practice teaching with local ESL students.
Many students will either take a 4 week TEFL class abroad for this summer in France, Spain, Italy or in the US in Chicago and teach abroad the next summer for pay or take an Online TEFL course in advance so they can apply in December, January, February and March for opportunities the following summer.
Bear in mind that your TEFL certification does not expire and you will enjoy lifetime job search guidance to assist you in lining up both summer and longer term opportunities to teach English abroad in the future. Our TEFL graduates all receive an extensive summer camp directory to assist them in finding paid and volunteer English teaching positions in Europe, Asia and Latin America.