Thursday, 20 November 2008

Are You Too Young to Teach English Abroad?

Updated 4 February 2012

While age is not usually the deciding factor, your education and experience is. Most TEFL employers will want you to be at least 18 though some places require you to be older. In Malaysia for example, you have to be 27 in order to get a work visa. Read what more people have to say in this thread at Dave's ESL Cafe.

Do You Have a Degree?
Chances are if you are only 18, you probably haven’t finished your BA and don’t have teaching experience. Therefore, your pay will be on the low end of the pay scale. Your lack of BA is probably the biggest challenge you'll have to overcome. Many countries require a BA for you to get a work visa. If you don’t have a BA don’t even think about trying to use fake degrees. Consequences for getting caught trying to pass a fake degree can range from a simple warning to being banned from that country.

Making Your Age Work For You
You need to convince employers that your age is an advantage rather than a hindrance. Since you’re young you’re more likely to be able to adapt to a new environment and learn quickly. Don’t forget that attitude counts a lot so stress that you are positive and confident. You need to be emotionally mature enough to work in a completely different culture. Classes get cancelled, visa problems come up, salaries may be delayed, dates are put off, books don’t arrive, housing issues arise. Being flexible and patient will make your life much easier.

Training Will Help You Get the Job
If you lack work experience, don’t forget to mention any volunteer experience, sports, or club involvement you have had. Education is also important so talk about specific courses that you took such as English Literature. With the push towards EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and ESP (English for Specific Purposes) courses such as Business, Accounting, Tourism, or Law may also help you. Taking a TEFL course will also help you. Don’t forget to mention your ability to organise, lesson plan and manage your class. Remember to include other details, such as foreign languages spoken, driver’s license, work permits, and when you can start.

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