Monday 1 December 2008

Teaching Exchanges and Fellowships

Updated 9 February 2012

Fellowships allow teachers to teach in different schools around the world for a specific amount of time whereas teaching exchanges allow you to swap your house, car and job with a teacher in another country. You might also be interested in working at international schools, getting a short-term or working holiday visa, or teaching for housing or language lessons.



  • IFESH sends teachers to Africa. They provide a small monthly stipend to cover costs.

  • AEUJ has exchanges between Japan and Australia.
  • NCUSCR offers exchanges between the US and China.


  • CEEF places teachers in Canada and has exchanges for Candian teachers to go to other countries.
  • DECS places teachers in Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.
  • DET places teachers in Canada as well as Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.
  • South Australian Teachers' Exchange places teachers in Canada, Europe, and the USA.

  • If you're moving to Germany the book Painlessly Relocate to Germany has some good tips.
  • AMSCAN has positions in Finland.
  • Best Programs can help you get visas for teaching English and internships in Belgium, Italy, and Spain.
  • DECS places teachers in Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK as well as Canada and the US.
  • DET places teachers in Denmark, Switzerland, and the UK as well as Australia, Canada, and the US.
  • France offers assistant teaching positions for Americans aged 20 to 29 through the French Ministry of Education. Here's the info from the French embassy in Washington, Escape Artist, a short summary, as well as a description of the programme.
  • Geovisions can get you visas for places like France. They also have a short term teaching and conversation partner programme.
  • SOL sends teachers to Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Teachers are on local salaries which is about $250 to $600 a month, however, housing is provided. No families are allowed.
  • South Australian Teachers' Exchange places teachers in Europe, Canada, and the USA.
  • Spain has a Language and Culture Assistant Programme through the Spanish Ministry of Education for many different nationalities. You'll need a degree to participate. The programme lasts from October to May and you can apply between November to March. They also have a Visiting Professor Programme for Americans and Canadians. You have to be able to write in Spanish, have teaching experience, be a college graduate and be willing to go for one semestre.
  • Spain also has a Master in Bilingual and Multicultural Education from the Franklin Institute that allows you to teach in schools and earn a masters degree in the process.

The Middle East

New Zealand

The United States
  • AMIDEAST has scholarship and exchange programmes.
  • Amity has an intern and teacher programme.
  • Colorado Teaching Exchange has for Australian and New Zealand teachers.
  • DECS places teachers in the US as well as Denmark, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK.
  • DET places teachers in the US as well as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, and the UK.
  • EPI places teachers in K-12 schools.
  • Humphrey Fellowship offers mid-career professionals 10 months of work and study.
  • ITES places teachers in K-12 schools.
  • LASPAU has research and scholarship programmes.
  • The US State Department has a list of more exchange programmes as well.
  • South Australian Teachers' Exchange places teachers in the USA, Canada, and Europe.
  • VIF places teachers in K-12 schools.


Sunday 30 November 2008

Free Housing and Language Classes in Exchange for English Classes

Updated 8 October 2013

If you're looking for a cultural experience and are only able to commit to teaching for a short time then swapping English classes for room, board, and language lessons might be for you.

  • La Paz: The Point Hostel is always looking for cool, outgoing and responsible people who speak a couple of languages and can commit at least a month. They offer competitive wages, a bed, half board (breakfast and lunch), free entrance to the best clubs and discos, and much more. They need hostel managers, bar managers, barmen, and receptionists.


  • Various: English Opens Doors offers home-stay with a Chilean family, meals, health insurance, TEFL training, an online Spanish course and a participation bonus of 60,000CLP for each month of service.


Costa Rica
  • Torguguero: Meybel Hostel and Hostel El Icaco have been known to offer free housing in exchange for English lessons.

Czech Republic
  • Prague: Jazykava Contact them op (thanks go to Chris Westergaad). They currently offer inexpensive Czech lessons and are working on a language exchange. Try reading Chris Westergaard's info on teaching in Prague as well.

  • Xela: Don Diego hostel (thanks go to OleLarssen). They offer free housing in exchange for English classes.
  • Xela: Utatlan Spanish School. If you will be in Xela for more than two months then you can either get paid for the hours you teach or exchange them for Spanish classes


  • Arequipa, Cusco, Lima, Mancora, and Puno: The Point Hostel is always looking for cool, outgoing and responsible people who speak a couple of languages and can commit at least a month. They offer competitive wages, a bed, half board (breakfast and lunch), free entrance to the best clubs and discos, and much more. They need hostel managers, bar managers, barmen, and receptionists.
  • Arequipa: In return for working at the La Casa de los Pinguinos Hostel you get room, full board and several excursions (rafting, cycling and Colca Canyon). Working hours: 7.30am - 10am and 4.30pm – 9pm, 6 days a week. During your stay you will work in the front desk and bar. Your main job is to give information to tourists. Requirements: fluent English, basic Spanish, ideally German, and non-smoker. The room has a double bed, cable TV, WiFi and private bathroom. 3-6 months.
  • Chachapoyas: International Language Center contact them on You are paid about 200 usd a month to teach 25 hours of English, German, or French a week. Housing is about 50usd a month. Spanish lessons are also available. Email Angel for more information.
  • Huaraz and Lima: Britannia Teachers Peru is an NGO that teaches English to students in the poorer areas of Peru. Contact them on
  • Piura: I.E.P. Bilingue Brilliant Star in Piura contact them on They offer free housing, board, and Spanish lessons.

  • You stay for 6 days in a 3-star hotel in Poland (board + lodging paid) in exchange for conversing in English with Polish participants. You need to a native speaker though.More info at Angloville.

  • Various: Pueblo Ingles has 8 day teaching exchanges throughout Spain throughout the year. You'll get free food, accomodations, and a coach ticket back to Madrid.

United States

  • Phan Thiet: Tri Cong has been said to offer free housing and a stipend in exchange for English classes (thanks go to ajc19810).

  • Peace Boat offers a chance to teach on board as well as visit a number of countries. Volunteer positions last three months.

Volunteering, English Camps, and Teaching Exchanges


Saturday 29 November 2008

How to Create a Teaching Portfolio

Updated 28 November 2014

Having a variety of material available is key to creating a good teaching portfolio. Try to collect material from each job. It’s better to have more items that allow you to pick and choose when going to a job interview, than have too little to show. Look for a professional binder that allows you to add or take out pages as needed. Rather than punch holes directly into papers, it’s better to buy plastic sheet protectors to put your papers inside.


Friday 28 November 2008

Teaching Abroad, Perks, and the Cost of Living

Updated 15 February 2012

When considering teaching abroad, remember that salary isn't the only thing to consider. Here's an example of what defines a good salary in Amsterdam.

  • When you don't have an item to pay for such as a car.
  • Medical Insurance
  • Free housing or housing allowance
  • Utilities allowance
  • Free internet
  • Free meals /meal allowance
  • Transportation allowance
  • Computer and printer provided
  • No taxes or lower taxes. Here's information for Americans.
  • Grants. There are grants for people who work abroad such as the Christianson Grant.
Perks and Benefits
  • Pension plan
  • Chance for advancement / pay rise
  • Flight reimbursement or a travel allowance
  • Few teaching hours
  • Chance to earn more by teaching private classes.
  • More free time
  • Longer vacation
  • Chance to travel to other nearby countries
  • Overtime
The Cost of Living
Going out to eat back home might cost you at least $20 plus tip. In other countries you can get a nice meal for less than $5 and no tip is required. Things, such as transport, movies, going out to drink, or going to a spa might be significantly cheaper. In fact many people enjoy their lives much more overseas even though they are getting a lower salary because they are able to afford luxuries more often.

When you add up the freebies, perks and benefits you might be pleasantly surprised to see that teaching overseas is often more lucrative than staying at home and chance are you'll enjoy your life more. Many people use their time overseas to pay off debt and save money for retirement while still having a good time.


Thursday 27 November 2008

Are You Ready to Teach English Abroad?

Updated 7 February 2012

In some countries going abroad is a part of life. For example, in New Zealand, people between the ages of 16-25 often go abroad for the Big OE (overseas experience). Some come back and some don't. If going abroad to teach English sounds like something you'd like to do check out the info below as well as 30 days to move abroad.

Going abroad has many benefits: you'll learn how to solve problems, be tolerant of different cultures and customs, be flexible, adapt, accept the unknown, learn another language, and many other things such as those International Schools Resource wrote about in things you can learn while teaching overseas.

Do You Have What It Takes to Teach English Abroad?
While there are many reasons to teach English abroad here are the top reasons NOT to teach abroad. Be sure to check out these questions you should consider before teaching English abroad, read what Expat Guy says, and find out what makes a good TEFL teacher. There are certain characteristics that you need if you're going to live abroad such as the ones listed below. If you're serious about teaching English abroad read all about teaching English abroad.
  • Adaptable
  • Adventurous
  • Constructive criticism
  • Creativite
  • Cultural appreciation
  • Easy-going
  • Empathy
  • Energetic
  • Flexibile
  • Focused on creating good lesson plans
  • Goal orientated
  • Humourous
  • Independent
  • Knowledgeable
  • Language skills
  • Optimistic
  • Organised
  • Passionate about teaching
  • People skills
  • Perspectives have changed
  • Professional development
  • Punctual
  • Self sufficient
  • Team player
  • Tolerant
  • Well-travelling
  • Worldly view

Culture Shock
Your attitude is just as important as your teaching ability. If an employer doesn’t think that you will be able to overcome culture shock they may not hire you. Culture shock is a normal part of moving abroad. Everyone suffers from culture shock but those who don’t end up overcoming it often end up breaking contract and going home. Make sure you're prepared so that it doesn't happen to you.


Wednesday 26 November 2008

Cold Calling to Get Teaching Jobs

Updated 30 June 2014

If you're going to do cold calling in hopes of getting a job you need to do your research. Make a list of at least 10 CEOs or employers that you'd like to contact. Online forums, such as Dave’s ESL Cafe are good places to learn about schools. If you are in country, then talk to other teachers and find out which schools are worth applying to. Here are some tips from the experts about cold calling.

If you’re only applying to schools that advertise positions you’re missing a lot of good jobs. When you apply to an advert you’re competing with lots of other teachers. By cold calling you’re taking a chance that the school might have an upcoming position that hasn’t been advertised yet and are beating other teachers to the punch.

It's best to go in person if possible. If you want to talk to someone it's much easier for them to say no if you send an email or call. Sometimes it's impossible to go in person, if that's the case, look at these tips from Cool Careers for Dummies by Marty Nemko PhD and Richard N. Bolles.

What to say when you call
One way of getting straight to the person in charge is calling before and after work. They often come in early and you won't risk getting a secretary. Calling from 7:30-9am or 5-7pm often works.

If you get a secretary try being less formal. Saying something like, "Hi, is John available?" might make the secretary think that you're a friend or family member and put you right through. You could also say, "I could really use your help." This statement empowers them and helps turn even the strictest secretaries. Using humour may help as well, "This might be one of the wierder calls you've gotten." could make them crack a smile or even tell you about some of the weird calls they've gotten.

When you do get through to the person you want to talk to be enthusiastic. The fact that you're calling them and asking them for an opportunity means that you're a go-getter. Most people who have positions of power have also taken risks and admire people who do so. Try saying "Someone must have given you your first chance and I'm looking for someone to give me mine." You could also offer to work for free. After all, you'd probably learn more from them than a college course and the college would charge you to study with them. They might even offer you a job afterwards.

If they can't help you out, then ask them if they could recommend someone who could help you. Whether or not they give you the contact details, thank them anyways for their time. If you get a name, then call them and mention the person who gave you their name.

Send a personalised letter of introduction and your CV. Keep in mind that you might not receive an answer, but the key factor to remember is that you are making contact. You might try calling or arranging a meeting with the director as well. Here are some sample networking emails you might be interested in.

Follow Up
Send another email or call them. If they don’t have any vacancies now or in the near future ask to be notified when vacancies do arise.


Monday 24 November 2008

Learning the Local Lingo while Teaching EFL

Updated 22 January 2012

This is part 2 of learning the local lingo and is guest post written by James Zerfoss.

Some people teach ESL* because they would like to learn the local language. This is a great opportunity for many native English speakers. The one drawback is that you will be spending four or five hours a day teaching English. That means that you will be required to speak English during those hours. Furthermore it will likely put you in a community of English speakers. I think this is one major determining factor as to how well students acquire a foreign language. There are lots of tips for learning a foreign language.

I am currently attending a university in Taipei every morning to learn Mandarin and working as an English teacher in the afternoon. The one major obstacle I see for most people, not only for native English speakers is that many people spend most of their free time speaking their native language with friends from their country.

Few students actually spend much of their free time speaking Mandarin. Of course I realize that learning the language of the host country is not everyone’s primary goal. Some people are just in another country to have fun and learn about the culture. For the more serious language learner you really need to distance yourself from the pack. You need to make local friends and try to spend your weekends with locals and not your fellow countrymen. You can do this by doing your favorite hobbies. You can join a hiking club, find local drinking partners, local musicians, or local skateboarders.

Language Partners
They can be helpful but I believe that many people in Asia have mixed reviews on language partners. Since their English is likely to be better than what you can speak their language sometimes they take advantage of the situation. I have not used language partners much in Taiwan but had language partners in South Korea since there were no Korean language courses available where I lived.

The one drawback to doing a language exchange is that if you are not serious about grammar you may really miss some important points. There are grammar aspects that taking a course that tests you on certain grammar can help with. That said, I know people who really liked grammar or who were translators that really hammered away at learning the grammar.

University Courses
In some countries it is possible to attend courses at a university language center in the morning and work at a language school in the afternoon. This will cost you more but it will guarantee that you listen to two or three hours of the local language a day. This is not an aspect to be overlooked. If you are a true beginner it will take you some time to make local friends that do not speak English.


One good way to learn the local language is to make friends. In some areas of the word this is easier to do than others not to mention that people all over the world are looking to practice their English. In some countries it can become a struggle to get people to stop speaking English to you. In my experience Asian countries are the best for getting opportunities to speak the local language. Part of this is that many Asians are not very confident when it comes to speaking English.

If you show that you are confident at speaking their language, they are likely to speak to you only in their language. That even happens when their English is better than you can speak their language. In some European countries the opposite happens. Some Europeans are so confident in speaking English that as soon as they hear your English accent they will try to speak to you in English.

It is all about input. While speaking is great, if you really want to get good at a language you need input. You need to have people talk to you. You can also listening to music and watch DVDs. Another thing you can do is join a local club or take a class about something that you are interested in. I have met some Koreans and Chinese with great English who have never been to an English speaking country. How did they do it? Well they have been watching American movies for years, even decades. Not to mention that movies and friends will teach you local lingo that you are not likely to find in a book.

My Experience
I have studied German in Germany, Spanish in Peru, Korean in South Korea, and Mandarin in Taiwan. I learned spoken German by having a German girlfriend in Berlin. German was also my major in college. After studying German Literature for two years at the University of Delaware I moved to South Korea. I lived in the country side for one year and learned a lot of Korean from language exchanges and Korean friends. Later I lived in Gwangju and learned a lot of Korean from a good friend Tae-yung.

Now I have been living in Taiwan for over a year. I hope to study at Taiwan Normal University for the next two years and then take the American Foreign Service Test.

*I realise it should be EFL, however, many people use ESL when they're talking about EFL.


Online TEFL Certificates, Diplomas, Masters, and PhDs

Updated 6 April 2016

Why Study Online?
The US Department of Education has recently released a study that shows that students who study online perform better. If you're considering online education, do your research since some places will not accept distance degrees.

For example, the Ministry of Education in the UAE doesn't accept them but the Ministry of Higher Education does. This means that you can't teach K-12 with a distance degree but you can teach at university. While the Saudi government doesn't accept online degree, the SACM  often does. The Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) requires a letter in a sealed envelope stating the method of instruction. In addition to Saudi, Kuwait, and Qatar also do not accept degrees that include coursework that was done online. Here's some info about teaching with an online degree in Saudi and Qatar as well as ways around the new laws.

If you need to get your foreign degree verified to work in the USA, Foreign Credits has an affordable service and it's the one I'll be using once we got back.  

Certificates and Diplomas
You can find information about TEFL Certificates, short courses, TEFL Diplomas, management diplomas, teacher training certificates, and qualified teaching status (QTS) / teaching licenses, check out this post. Below you will find a number of masters degrees. You can also find more at distance learning schools, affordable online schools, affordable colleges foundation, affordable online degrees, and education degree.

Master Programme Basics
Many people feel that 1 year programmes are inferior than 2 year programmes. However, you have to remember that it's quality, not quantity that matters. "If you factor in skills, such as project and time management, that are required to complete a British Masters within its tight timescale, judgements on quality based on a course's length appear shaky. (Masters of Europe, 2005)".

Be sure to consider how much time you will be expected to devote each week. It’s also worth asking about the graduates. If many people start a programme but few finish you might want to look at another school. There are a many programmes out there: online, on-campus, and blended learning (those that are a mix of the two).

Make sure that you select an accredited programme and ask about online support. There’s nothing like writing a paper and not being able to submit it because there’s a problem with the system. Your professors should be accomplished in the area they teach, have substantial teaching and training experience, as well as publications. Having an adviser who can answer questions is also good. Here is a google doc with info about some popular schools to get an online MA with.

Don’t go for the cheapest programme out there since you usually get what you pay for. If you’re a US citizen look at IEFC. Scholarships (such as those listed at GoodCall) and paying in installments might also be an option. Some universities (such as those in Asia) have been known to offer discounts simply because you're a foreigner. You can often transfer credits from another university, a certification course, or a diploma course (Cambridge ESOL has good info.) Other universities offer credits for proven work experience.

Master Degrees from Australia

Master Degrees from Canada

Master Degrees from China

Masters Degrees from Costa Rica

Masters Degrees from England

Masters Degrees from Hong Kong

Masters Degrees from Ireland

Master Degrees from Israel
  • Tel Aviv University - MA TESOL
  • University of Haifa - MA TEFL
  • University of Liverpool, in Israel (TASP: Teaching and Studying Programmes)- MA in English Language Teaching (There has been some controversy about this degree so do your research carefully.)

Masters Degree from Japan

Masters Degrees from Korea

Masters Degrees from Mexico

Masters Degrees from New Zealand

Masters Degrees from Peru
  • FUNIBER - MA in TEFL. FUNIBER has a consortium with the University of Piura, Peru and the University of Jaen, Spain.

Masters Degrees from Saudi Arabia
  • School for International Training - teaching fellowship with Saudi INTERLINK Language Center at Al Yamamah University (YU) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It consists of two summers of full-time study in Vermont and two academic years of full-time teaching at YU. You get a salary, housing, and discounted tuition. More details can be found at "teaching fellowships"at Interlink.

Masters Degrees from Scotland

Masters Degrees from South Africa

Masters Degree from Spain
  • FUNIBER - MA in TEFL. FUNIBER has a consortium with the University of Piura, Peru and the University of Jaen, Spain.

Masters Degrees from Thailand

Masters Degrees from Turkey
  • Bilkent University - They have 4 MAs: MA in Curriculum and Instruction with Teaching Cert, MA in Curriculum and Instruction, MA in Educational Management, MA in TEFL

Masters Degrees from the United States

Masters Degrees from Wales

Distance PhD / EdD Programmes can be found at this post.


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