So you want to teach abroad? Or more specifically, you want to travel and also make money because you’re fresh out of college and already have crippling student loan debt ? Its okay, there’s an app for that! Well.. An application. A literal one.
So first you have to decide on the continent you want to travel to!
I’ll let you think about that for a minute. The main ones are: South America, Asia, and Europe.
South America and Asia being the most abundant and ‘easy’ to get into.
Have you decided on your continent?
Have your questions ready?
1: How do you even get started??
I would firmly recommend and suggest going through a recruiting agency.
For my Korea position, I went through Canadian Connections; a Toronto based agency (hence the name) that recruits people from all 7 english speaking countries for EPIK, JLP, and hagwons. For my China position, I went through Teaching esl China or TeachESLKorea.com (Dan, the owner recruits for both countries)
I can say with 100% confidence that they are the best for getting into Korea. The owners, Dan and Shane, are incredibly polite, quick to respond, informative, and understanding. They truly cater to your needs. So if Korea is what you’re looking for, go through either of them.
If you are looking at countries other than China or Korea; I recommend ReachToTeach, CIEE, and Aclipse.
Both of those recruiters hire for world wide placements.
If you have an interest in only Japan, use the JET program!
Something to add, never ever ever go through an agency that tries to charge you. Those companies are getting paid by the schools they place you at so if they are demanding money from you, it shows that they don’t have your best interests in mind; but rather, that their best interest in money.
Using GoAbroad is a good way to find reputable organizations as well.
Also, as another warning if you choose to use an agency I did not list, if they dont write about where you’d be placed or what your contract would be like, be a little wary.
Answer to question 1: Pick a continent, pick a recruiter, and apply. Its free, what do you have to lose??
You need a degree, a clean bill of health, a clean background check, and recommendations as well.
2: What the hell are JLP, EPIK, and Hagwons? Megan those are not words.
You right, you right, I’m sorry.
JLP= Jeollanamdo Language Program; rural province in korea with its own education office.
EPIK= English Program in Korea (the most general. You could be placed with GEPIK(Gyeonggi province), SMOE(Seoul), JLP, a Hagwon, a public school, rural, or megacity)
Hagwon= Academy with non standard teaching hours. Usually after school or weekends.
3: What are the hours like?
I’ll focus on Asia, because I haven’t researched South America or Europe. Sorry..
- Korea and Japan:
Public School: You will be contracted at 22 teaching hours a week, or 4-5 classes per day, Monday-Friday 9-5. Overtime will be paid accordingly.
Hagwon (for Korea): Academies can make you work upwards of 35 teaching hours a week with 40+ office hours. Some Hagwons are nice and keep you at 20-25 hours. Some make the foreign teacher work like 40 classes a week. Some academies are great, some shut down in the middle of the year and steal your money. NUMBER ONE REASON TO GO THROUGH A RECRUITER AND NOT AN ACADEMY ALONE IS YOU WILL BE PROTECTED FROM THAT.
- China and Taiwan:
Bigger cities have a cap at 20 hours a week, with a 2 hour lunch break. With or without office hours depending on your school. Generally there will be other english teachers at your school so you can plan with them and have frieeeeeends.
Smaller cities, you teach less.
The average class number per week is 16-18.
- Southeast Asian countries and Spain (I know its random, but hey hooo):
15-25 hours per week. 25 is standard.
4: What are classes like?
Classes at Asian public schools are generally quite large, ranging from 25-45 students. Classes are 40-50 minutes each, and you either teach your own material or from a textbook. But you will be a real teacher. Some people get easier jobs than others and have everything lined out for them; some are completely on their own. So prepare to well.. prepare. You will also have classes that are SUPER high level and ones that barely know how to read english. So adjust your teaching speed for that. Some classes are highly energetic, whereas some have no energy and sleep all class. So, prepare for that as well. Some activities go really well, but some blow up in your face. But just roll with it. If the kids don’t want to do it, they’re wasting their time not yours.
5: What is the pay?
Depending on the credentials you have, you’ll be looking at $1000 a month for southeast Asia, and $2000-2500 for China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
You will get a fully furnished, rent-free apartment as well.
So the pay is really good!
In China, they cover your health insurance and lunch.
In Korea, they pay half of your insurance.
You will get your flights paid for to and from, as well as a bonus at the end of the year for finishing your contract.
6: What is the vacation time?
JLP; Korea: 24 winter vacation days, and 8 in the summer. Paid
EPIK; Korea and Japan: 18 winter vacation days, 8 summer. Paid.
Hagwon: LOL. Just kidding, that depends on your school.
China: two months half paid summer vacation, and 2 weeks in the winter.
So go explore the continent!
In many countries however, you get less than in the States. So keep that in mind.
You will also get all national holidays.
7: Random things you may be wondering:
You must be 18 or older. No experience necessary. You must be from the 7 english speaking nations.
Generally, depending on how big of a spender you are, you will be able to save money.
Yes, it can be extremely stressful, and get used to things changing last minute.
You will plan camps all by yourself.
It does get lonely, if you’re not near many people.
It can be extremely hard for people with dietary restrictions and allergies.
Some days will be exhilarating, while some will lead you to tears.
Kids prefer games, where they can move around.
You will have a main coteacher and person to help you with all the things you need to do.
Everything depends on your school; no matter what because nothing is a standard here.
Use your free time wisely. Do things you enjoy. Explore, travel, try out small restaurants, branch out, blog, hike, anything! You’ll have to learn how to enjoy your own company.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!!