Travel is one of those things that is best enjoyed over a longer period of time. The only trouble with that is the accompanying price tag. To really get into and enjoy long-term travel, you would probably need to find a way to finance your lifestyle. Luckily, that is something which is becoming increasingly easier in this day and age. For native (and also some non-native) English speakers, one of the easiest and most convenient ways of funding your trips around the world is becoming an English teacher abroad.
So today, we’re taking a closer look at how it’s possible to start earning an income as a teacher in order to keep traveling.
Consider other subjects besides English
Teaching English is actually not the only thing people would be happy to pay you for. Most of the international schools around the world have curricula entirely in English, meaning that you could also pick any other subject to teach, be it Maths, History, or Art.
Keep in mind, though, that in these cases, you’re signing up for an actual work contract and are expected to stick around at least until the end of the year. Also, most schools start looking for teachers to join their teams around June and, once the school-year starts, most of these doors will be closed for you.
However, if this is something you’re considering, there are several platforms that you can keep an eye on to find suitable positions in your favorite locations, such as TeachAway or your destination country’s job listings.
Find a language school
Besides international schools, the other most common way of teaching abroad is finding a language school to work for. This option also gives you a lot more flexibility than the previous one. Some of them will even be on the lookout for new teachers all year round, making your travel schedule a bit easier to juggle.
There is a caveat, however. The levels of language schools can vary tremendously around the world, as can their criteria for whom they hire. In the vast majority of cases, you would need to have a widely recognized teaching certificate and quite a lot of experience under your belt before you can even be considered. In the more popular expat destinations across Europe (think Prague, Berlin, or Amsterdam), it can be a painstaking process no matter your qualifications and experience.
Things are very much the opposite if you plan to travel along the less trodden tracks. Language schools in China and the Middle East, for example, are known to lure English teachers with exceptionally well-paid jobs and often present a lot less stringent requirements. For these locations, though, it’s a great idea to take language lessons of the native language yourself. You can start learning online even before you leave home and should definitely try to find a teacher who can also introduce you to the local culture to avoid a nasty shock.
The third route you can take when considering teaching abroad is starting teaching privately. Of the all of these options, this is definitely the most flexible and convenient. You make your own schedule and can even decide your workload. In most cases, you’re also in charge of how much you want to charge your students.
So, if the situation is so rosy, why doesn’t everyone do it?
That’s because teaching privately is also a high risk/high reward situation. It’s actually rather difficult to pull off full-time travel and full-time teaching at the same time. Looking for students is an art form and your strategy should also always take into account your location. While there are, thankfully, options that make finding private students less of a chore, it’s still rather complicated making a decent living off of it.
Conclusion – Find the teaching option that fits your needs but be ready to hustle
As you can see, all of the options presented have their upsides and drawbacks. You really need to find the balance between job security and flexibility which fits your situation. Another option for teaching abroad is combining a few of the methods mentioned above. A lot of teachers choose to teach courses at a language school and supplement their income with private students for added security and income. And this is something you can definitely consider.
Whichever route you choose, however, be ready for a bit of a hustle. Finding a stable income will require some practice and know-how that you can only get once you jump in the game.
Author bio: Liisi is a lifelong language and linguistics enthusiast who has now made her passion her job with helping language learners like her find private teachers. Outside of work, she can often be found with a book in hand or twisting herself into peculiar shapes doing yoga.