Image credit: sunset at Patong Beach
The world is only getting smaller, or so they say. And it seems that more and more of us are taking full advantage of that fact, with thousands upon thousands of Britons jetting off to exotic climes to explore what planet Earth has to offer every year.
Of course, if you’re going to be jumping into a big metal bird to discover pastures new, you’ll have to consider how you’ll be funding these adventures. Perhaps the most sensible, and most rewarding, way to pay for a gap year (or several) is by teaching English. Here is our pick of the top ten places in the world to use that TEFL qualification – in no particular order!
It’s the Mecca of many a traveller, and it’s not hard to see why. If the fantastic cuisine and gorgeous scenery isn’t enough to tempt you, perhaps the fascinating Eastern culture will be. It’s a great chance to explore the Buddhist way of life. Many people come back from Thailand feeling like the experience changed them – find out why!
Perhaps you learned Spanish at school, or maybe you’ve always wanted to try your hand at figuring out how to say a little more than “dos cervezas por favor”. At any rate, practising your Spanish skills isn’t the only reason to visit. With the country playing host to such vastly different areas as the buzzing Ibiza and the cultural hotspot Barcelona, there’s lots to see. Don’t miss the Dali museum in Figueres.
The Chinese way of life is vastly different to here in the UK, and it’s perhaps this contrast that attracts so many English teachers to the country. Plus, there are an estimated 300million people learning English in the country at any one time, so it’s pretty easy to find work. Visit both the rural areas and the big cities like Shanghai and Beijing to get a sense of the diversity of China.
Mamma Mia! The red tape that you might need to go through to get a job would be well worth it for the incredible food alone. You will never look at a packet of pasta in the supermarket in quite the same way again. Visit Rome, Florence and Venice, but also make time to see Lake Garda – the scenery will take your breath away.
If you’re a fan of all things flash then Dubai is going to be right up your street; the place is synonymous with designer luxury. But even if you don’t know your Prada from your Primark, it might be wise to factor Dubai into your travels, as the wages are incredibly attractive for English teachers.
You will never, ever, visit anywhere else like Japan. And apart from the wonderful eccentricity, there’s a truly fantastic teaching programme in the form of the government-run JET (the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme). Competition is tough, however, and for good reason – flights are often provided, and the support is excellent. A place on the JET programme is pretty much a golden ticket in the TEFL world.
Don’t be put off by any preconceptions you may have about Russia. It’s a fascinating country and one well worth visiting – you’ll be blown away by the beauty of the architecture in Moscow, and the vast Lake Baikal is certainly not to be missed. What’s more, native English speaking teachers are scarce, so finding work should be a doddle.
8. Czech Republic
The sheer loveliness of the medieval cobbled streets and architecture of cities like Prague is reason enough to spend some time teaching in the Czech Republic, but another perfectly valid motive is the lesson you’ll learn in how to really drink beer. Plus, as the economy is growing demand is high for English lessons.
Now a peaceful country that is on its way up economically, Poland’s history is rich and sometimes heartbreaking, but the tenacity and warmth of its people will serve to inspire any visitors. Plus, because the country is now part of the EU, there’s an ever increasing demand for English teachers.
The beaches, warm hospitality and fantastically diverse culture are surely enough to attract you to this glorious country, but it’s perhaps the exotic mystery of the Amazon rainforest that really appeals. If you can get on a tour, do it. You’ll have the most incredible experience of your life.
Why not try to tick off all ten? Have fun in your adventures!