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5 Reasons Why You Should Teach English Abroad

Why teach English abroad? We're glad you asked! ITA advisor Felicia, who taught English in Argentina & Taiwan, lists 5 reasons why teaching English abroad should be on your to-do list.

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No matter what phase of life you’re in, International TEFL Academy (ITA) certifies people of all ages and backgrounds to teach English as a foreign language around the world and online. Specifically, we assist in helping our teachers find English teaching jobs all over the world.

If you're looking for options to expand your horizons both personally and professionally, you make be asking yourself: "should I teach English abroad?"

Well, there are a few reasons why teaching English overseas might be the right decision for you. But first, let's address two frequently asked questions:

Why Teach English Abroad?

Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) abroad is a chance to travel the world and experience other cultures in a very special way. You'll earn money while living in a foreign country, immerse yourself in a new culture, gain experience, develop lasting friendships, and have a positive impact on your students' lives.

Why is it Important to Teach English Abroad?

Teaching English abroad can be an important, life-changing experience. By teaching English abroad you have the opportunity to gain perspective, get work experience, learn about (and from) other cultures, make positive connections and friendships, and contribute to others in a real way.

Now let's dive into the 5 main reasons why you should consider teaching English overseas:

1. TEFL is a Growing Industry with a Lot of Opportunities for English Teachers

According to the British Council, approximately 2 billion people worldwide are using and learning English. People all over the globe seek to learn English to enhance their professional and educational opportunities. As an English teacher, you can make a difference and help them realize their goals. In most countries, the demand for English language instruction far outstrips the supply of qualified English teachers, especially native speakers.

With an accredited TEFL certification, native or fluent teachers can realistically gain employment teaching English in up to 80 countries abroad, even without a college degree or prior teaching experience. In addition, there are thousands of opportunities for teaching English online, which is one of the fastest-growing sectors of international education, especially in wake of COVID-19, when virtual education became a necessity across the globe.

Even during periods of economic uncertainty, demand for English language education is so high that there are always teaching jobs available overseas and online.

2. Teaching English Abroad Will Give You Valuable International Work Experience to Build Your Resume

Just before I decided to teach English in Argentina, I was debating on taking a job right out of college in fear of not having any other offers come my way. Well, let me just say that I’m so happy I didn’t let that fear talk me out of this amazing life adventure. Professional jobs aren’t going anywhere. They will be here when you get back. In fact, I felt much more marketable as an employee once I decided to enter the corporate world because I was able to put my professional experience as a teacher, and more importantly, my international experience on my resume.

Even if you don't go into education as a long-term career, teaching English abroad will enhance your resume and skills in areas like group management, communications and organizational skills. You will prove to future employers your ability to adapt to a new environment, work across cultural & linguistic barriers, and to stretch yourself beyond your "comfort zone." You will also have a great opportunity to learn a foreign language.

In addition, your teaching abroad experience will set you apart from the crowd and provide a great topic of conversation with your future employers once you get back home to enter the workforce!

Bottom line: in the globalized economy of the 21st-century international work experience such as teaching English abroad is like gold on your resume.

a TEFL teacher and her students in the classroom

3. Teaching English Abroad Will Improve Your Chances for Enrollment in Elite Graduate School Programs

If you're considering entering a graduate school program, bear in mind that most admissions officers at top professional schools say that "real-world experience" outside of the classroom enhances an applicant's chances of being accepted. Again, international experience is especially valued as it proves your ability to adapt, take on new challenges outside of your comfort zone, and prove you have initiative.

From a financial perspective, some of our teachers even teach English abroad - particularly in regions like Asia & the Middle East -  so they can save for their Master’s degree. There is even the option to get your Master’s degree online now from many universities, which gives you the chance to achieve your goals of earning an advanced degree, all while seeing the world and getting paid to teach English abroad.

4. Teaching English Abroad is a Great Way to Spend a Gap year 

Taking a "gap year" between academic college years or between degrees to explore new endeavors has become increasingly popular in recent years and teaching English offers a wide variety of opportunities both in volunteering and paid positions. 

Read more: 5 ways to spend your gap year

5. You Can Earn Good Money and Pay Down Student Loans while Teaching English Abroad

If you are going to college or have a college degree, chances are that you have some amount of student debt. In countries like South Korea, UAE, or China, teachers can save anywhere from $1,000 - $2,000/month because many of your basic living costs are covered (housing, flights, bills). This gives you the chance to not only save money, but you can chip away at your student debt at the same time.

Read more: I Have Student Loans - How Can I Teach English Abroad?

International Jobs for New College Graduates

So here are 5 reasons for you to consider teaching English abroad! While I hope you find them inspiring, I also want to point out that you should consider asking yourself one more question: Why do you want to teach English abroad?

Do you want to learn a new language? Make new friends from other cultures? See great landmarks and stunning natural beauty? What about feeling the satisfaction of making a positive impact on the lives of your students?  The reasons to teach English abroad will be different for all of us, so it is important that you also think to yourself "why do I want to teach English abroad." 

Read further:

Still need some convincing? Some of our ITA alumni share their own motivations for taking the plunge and heading overseas to teach English:

ITA alumna Michelle Hermes"I have always wanted to travel and "see the world" but I was never able to really do it. I have traveled to Europe, but I have never been anywhere else due to time and financial restrictions. So, I decided that teaching abroad would be a great way to see part of the world that I had not seen before."

- ITA grad Michelle Hermes, from D.C. to South Korea

ITA grad Jamie Bennett"I decided to teach abroad because I wanted to be a teacher, but not in a regular public school setting. I majored in English and found that I had a passion for linguistics and the study of languages, and I decided to travel to a foreign country and share that passion with others.

- ITA grad Jamie Bennett, from Detroit to China

ITA grad Jacob Poulos"II decided to teach abroad because I wanted to learn a new language, to experience a new culture, and to see the world. I have always been a wanderer so this field was perfect for me.'

- ITA grad Jacob Poulos, from Michigan to Mexico


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