Friday 11 December 2009

Games to Use in the TEFL Classroom

Updated 18 February 2012

Games can be used throughout class: at the beginning for a quick warmer, in the middle to lighten the mood, or at the end as a reward. You can teach useful language, such as "it's your turn" or "pick a card".

Be aware of games where many people aren't involved, such as Hangman or Charades. Try to play these games in small groups. You can also try playing online games.

You can either make your own games or print them off the internet. Teaching English to young learners has some good games. You can find some more ideas in the lesson planning links.

You can make your own or base it off a popular board game, such as Snakes and Ladders. Try laminating them or putting them in a sheet protector. Groups will finish at different times so be sure to have something for them to do when they're done.
  • Scrabble is good for vocabulary.
Card Games
These take more preparation and should be laminated. You could base them off popular games such as Go Fish or Memory.
  • Taboo. Either buy the game or have students make the cards. Have a maximum number of cards that you give to students or else they'll use up the whole lot. I usually give my students 10 cards for 1 minute.
Chalkboard Games
  • Fly swatter. Write vocab words on the board in random places. Divide the class into two teams. Give one person from each team a (new) fly swatter. Describe a word. First person to hit the correct word wins.
  • Hangman. Popular, but students don't learn much unless you're practising letters with beginners.
  • Tic-tac-toe. Great for kids and adults.
  • Hot seat. One person sits with their back to the board. The teacher writes a word on the board. The other students try to define the word and have the student say it.
  • Board race. Copy a text a couple of times and put them on the board. Put students in pairs. One person runs to the board, memorises part of the text, runs back to their partner and tells them what they remember and that student writes it down.
  • Create words. Write a long word on the board, such as "International" on the board. Give students a minute to find as many small words as they can in the word on the board.
  • Trivia. Try using Power Point to play it.
  • Word Association. Write words on the board and have students write the first word that comes to their mind.

Paper Games
  • Erase speech bubbles. Get a comic. White out the words in the speech bubbles. Photocopy it and give it to students. Have them write dialogues in the bubbles. Share with the class.
  • Dominoes. This works well with vocabulary such as prefixes, suffixes or collocations.
  • Word pool. Have a bunch of words: nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, conjuntions. Students have to make the most creative sentence they can.
  • Concentration / Scattegories. This is the game where you have categories, such as cities, verbs, adjectives, parts of a house, clothes, adverbs, etc. There's a time limit and you can even have the students use specific letters.
  • Tic-tac-toe. Have students put words, pictures, numbers, etc in the squares.
  • Word Association. Say a word. They have to write down words related to it and explain why they choose those words.
  • Describe it. Student A has a picture from a newspaper or magazine. They describe it to Student B who has to draw a picture of it. This is good for directions, such as left, right, top, bottom, etc.
  • Alphabet race. Give students a topic (cities, countries, animals, food, etc.). Have them think of a word for each letter.
  • Half a picture. Each student describes their half and the other student has to draw it. Compare pictures at the end.
TPR Games
  • Fox, Fox what time is it? Great for numbers. Students say "Fox, Fox, what time is it?". He says a number from 1 to 11. Students take that many steps. If he says "midnight", students have to try to get to the opposite side before he tags them. If they're tagged, they become foxes as well.
  • Run and touch. Put pictures around the room. Call out the word and have students run and touch the picture. To make it more difficult, put up more than one picture of the same item in different places.
  • Simon Says. Do as I say not as I do. Once the students catch on, have one of them be Simon.
Other Games
  • Chinese whispers. Have the students sit in a line. Tell the first student a word or sentence. He turns to the next person and repeats it. This continues down the line. The last person has to write the word or sentence down.
  • Time Capsule / Desert Island. Ask students what 10 things they would put in a time capsule or bring to a desert island.
  • 20 Questions. You can use famous people, movies, books, places, food, etc. Questions must be Yes / No format.
  • I spy with my little eye. Pick an object in the room or use magazine pictures that have many objects in it. Say, "I spy with my little eye, something red / an animal that walks slowly, etc" The other students have to guess what it is.
  • Boggle. Can be great to practise vocabulary.
  • Long sentences. Start a sentence, such as "My aunt's cat is fat." or "I went to the shops and bought milk." The next student has to add a word, and so on. Students have to remember the order of the words. You can also try this on paper. Students can add words. There's a time limit and the group with the longest sentence wins.
  • Translations. Bring in sentences in the student's native language. Have them translate it into English.
  • Order words. Take a long sentence, cut it up, have the students order the sentence.You can use paragraphs as well.
  • Need more ideas: Check out these great games for ESL and EFL.


Saturday 5 December 2009

Teaching Reading to ESL and EFL Students

Updated 18 February 2012

You might also be interested in
Basic Tips
  • Sets of 3. Reading is usually broken down into three sections: before reading, while reading, and after reading.
  • Variety is the spice of life. Cut the reading up and having them order the paragraphs. Take out the headings or sub-headings. Ask them to give their opinion. Talk about three things they've learnt. Give them pictures about the story and have them order those.
  • Look online. There are lots of lesson plans and worksheets in the lesson planning link.
  • Make reading fun. Many children read bedtime stories. Reading should be fun. Remember that when planning your activities.
  • More ideas. Here are some more ways to teach your students reading.

Before Reading
  • Use visuals. Have them discuss the title and photos that go with the reading. Have students guess what it'll be about.
  • Applicable. Ask students to give their opinion on the subject of the text.
  • Daily. Make sure that students are reading a bit outside of class.

While Reading
  • Spot the mistake. Read aloud but make some mistakes. Have the students catch the mistakes.
  • Vary the reading style. Have them read quietly, aloud, alone, with partners, small groups, or listening to you / other students / the CD.
  • Be dramatic. Can you role play any parts of the reading? It'll make the reading come alive. It also gives a chance for active students or class clowns to participate in class.
  • Stop. Every once and a while stop and make sure the students understand what they just read. Ask them some questions or have them tell you what's going on in the reading.
  • Relate it to history. If the test has dates, ask students what was happening in the world at that time.

After Reading
  • Before and After. Have students talk about what they think happened before the text was written and what they think will happen.
  • Vocabulary. Look at the vocabulary words in detail.
  • Fix the mistakes. Give them sentences or a summary about the text. Make them find the factual mistakes and fix them.
  • Write a letter. Have students write a letter or email to a character in the story.
  • Rewrite the end. Students have to create a new ending to the story.
  • Interviews. Some people can be characters from the story and others can interview them.
  • General and Specific. Even if students haven't understood every detail, they should be able to answer some general questions about the reading. This will boost their confidence and make them realise that they have understood parts of it.
  • Grammar. Make connections with difficult grammar points or recent grammar structures that you've just introduced.
  • Extension Activities. Write a review, create a cover, make a comic, or a map can help students understand the reading more.

General Test Taking Tips
  • Read and follow all the instructions. It only takes a minute or two and can save you a lot of time.
  • Forget cramming. You should study a little every day. Don't try to learn everything the night before.
  • Eat breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day and is necessary to help you think.
  • Bring your materials. Have your pencils, erasers, watch, and ID ready the night before.
  • Go early. Traffic, rain, or a flat tire can happen on test days. Make sure you leave your house ahead of time so that you get to the class a few minutes before the test begins.
  • Pace yourself. Don't work too slowly or too quickly. If you've finished early, go back and check your answers.
  • Check your answers. Make sure you haven't made any simple mistakes.
  • Don't panic. It's just a test. The worst you can do is fail.

Specific Test Taking Tips for Reading
  • First and last. Read the first and last sentences of each paragraph. They usually contain the most important information.
  • Exact wording doesn't mean it's correct. Often in exams you will find exact words of phrases from the text in the answers.
  • They're in order. Questions are usually taken from the text in order. The answer to the first question can be found at the beginning and the answer to the last question can be found at the end.
  • You don't have to understand it all. Don't spend your time trying to figure out every word.
  • Use visuals. Use the title and photos to help you.


Wednesday 11 November 2009

How to Deal with Students' Parents

Updated 18 February 2012

Here are 6 tips that will help you out when you're dealing with your students' parents. 

Hold a general meeting: Tell parents about the books that you use, the syllabus that you follow, and show them some of their child's work. If you don't speak the parent's native language make sure you have someone available who does.

Parent-teacher conferences: By meeting together, they can talk about the child's strengths, weaknesses, and goals to be achieved. Just as in the general meeting, make sure that you have the child's work, grades, and tests available for the parent to see.

Communicate regularly: With email communication is easy. If your email system allows it you can tag the emails and be notified when the parents read the email. Whether you're going to communicate once a week or once a month, be consistent. Avoid sending emails on Mondays and Fridays since these are usually the busiest days. Remember to summarise what has been done in class and what will be done in the future.

Be available: If parents have questions they should be able to reach you so give them your work phone number and work email.

Stay calm: Parents can get angry over just about anything: the way you teach, too much homework, too little homework, other children, etc. Remember to stay calm and don't become defensive.

Have a time limit: Some parents will wait for you outside class.  Be firm and tell them that you have another class / have to prepare class / have a meeting and that you would be glad to discuss the issue, but first they must set up a meeting. This way you aren't rushed and can go to the meeting prepared.

Get help: Sometimes things just get out of hand. If this is the case ask your principal or director for help. Here are some more ideas to help you deal with parents.


Monday 2 November 2009

How Boys and Girls Learn Differently and What to Do About It

Updated 18 February 2012

These tips come from a workshop given by Lucrecia Rodriguez in Lima, Peru in 2008. You can find more tips at teaching boys and girls.

Catering to Girls

  • Give extra encouragement when they do spatial activities like computer design.
  • Let girls manipulate objects, build, design, and calculate.
  • Use water and sand tables in science.
  • Use puzzles to help with visual perception.
  • Set up spatial lessons in groups to encourage discussion.
  • Form groups and teams to promote leadership roles and negotiation skills.
  • Play physical games to help develop gross motor skills.
  • Encourage the quieter girls.
  • The work environment should be clean, tidy, and well-lit.
  • Put up pictures and posters.
  • Take photos of girls completing tasks successfully.

Catering to Boys
  • Make lessons experiential and kinesthetic. Allow for movement and noise.
  • Give them breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around.
  • Give boys chores, such as sharpening pencils, helping the teacher, handing out papers, etc.
  • Allow them to play with clay, crayons, or doodle while listening.
  • Use bead work, blocks, legos and other manipulatives to encourage fine motor skills.
  • Keep verbal instructions short. Use pictures, graphs, and diagrams when explaining.
  • Use male mentors and role models.
  • Allow boys to be a bit disorganised. Arrange tables and chairs further apart so that they have their own space.
  • Increase computer based education.
  • Use intellectual competition, such as math, spelling, or geography contests.
  • Read more non-fiction in class. Boys like facts and information.


Thursday 29 October 2009

Visa Issues and Benefits to Consider When Moving Abroad

Updated 13 February 2012

While some countries give tourist visas upon arrival others may require you to get on beforehand. Some countries require round-trip tickets or proof-of-funds before they let you on the plane or into the country. Here are some things you should know before you go.

Getting a Teaching Job upon Arrival
Wear professional clothes (no shorts, jeans, tank tops, or sandals) and go to schools with your CV in hand. After interviewing you may have to do a short demo lesson, but don't worry, relax and smile.

Teaching on a Tourist Visa
In some countries it's not uncommon for people to work on tourist visas, however, in other countries you're risking being put in prison, being fined, or deported. If you are teaching on a tourist visa you may have to border hop every once in a while. In some countries you could just overstay your visa and pay the fine as you leave. This is often cheaper than border hopping.

Getting a Work Visa to Teach
Check with your employer about what you need to bring. Often you will need to get your original university degree and transcripts. Read your contract carefully. Typical contracts usually include the minimum number of guaranteed hours, amount and frequency of pay, length of service, hours the teachers must be available to teach, whether teachers can teach classes outside of the school, and how the contract can be broken.

Some places have "no compete" policies. This varies from school to school and can mean anything from not being able to teach at another school while you work for them, not being able to teach privates, or even not being able to teach in the same city for X months after you finish their contract.

Typical Teaching Benefits
Housing and flights are common benefits. Housing is often a big expense so if that's taken care of you'll have one less thing to worry about. Some places will provide housing or assistance in finding housing. If housing is provided be sure to ask for details such as is it furnished, shared, and if utilities are covered. If you have your own housing, find out about costs, such as utilities.

Other places such as the Middle East and Asia, as well as international schools may provide other benefits such as pension, a contract completion bonus, allowances for your children's education, shipping allowances, and more.

Also published in . . .
This article has also been featured in the ELT Times.


Monday 19 October 2009

How to Get a TEFL Job

Updated 5 September 2013

Basic Requirements to Teach English Abroad
While most institutes prefer native speakers there are still many opportunities available as long as you are fluent in English. Most schools prefer that you have a college degree. In addition, some countries require that you have a passport from an English speaking country. Lastly, some countries may require you to been educated in English for 10 years or so.

Qualifications Needed to Get a TEFL Job
A TEFL certificate is useful but a BA may be a requirement. TEFL certification classes will help you learn how to teach English as a Foreign Language. They will also give you practical teaching tips and you will practise teaching EFL students. If you want to learn more about getting a TEFL cert then read how to choose a TEFL course and doing a TEFL course at home vs. abroad. If you're not sure if you want to take a TEFL certification course read is a TEFL cert necessary?

While it's not mandatory for you to have a TEFL cert, knowing about the English language is. Whether you go to a library to do research, talk to teachers or enroll in a course, you need to be prepared. The articles learning about TEFL and teaching and general teaching tips have a lot of helpful tips.

If you have the right qualifications and experience you might be able to teach at a primary or secondary school. There are bilingual and international schools out there. International schools are more competitive and they usually QTS (Qualified Teaching Status / a teaching license) and two years teaching experience in a primary or secondary school. If this sounds like something you would enjoy doing take a look at how to teach in an international school.

Money Matters for TEFL Teachers
The cost of living in some countries is pretty low compared to others. However, you will still need to bring money with you to tide you over until you get paid. $1000-$2000 is usually enough though you might want to have access to a credit card just in case. You can usually live well and save a bit. To find out more about which countries have a good lifestyle and which are the best for saving check out the best countries for TEFLing.

If you take public transport and cook at home you'll be able to save more. This means that you can spend your money on studying a language or travelling. Creating a TEFL budget has more money info. Taxes depend on many things, however if you're an American you will still have to file. The tax guide for overseas Americans is a good place to start.

Getting a TEFL Job
Remember to be professional when looking for a  TEFL job. Make sure you have a professional email address and a professional photo. Read about how to write a TEFL CV and how to write a TEFL cover letter. Watch what you put on Facebook or Twitter as employers might google you. Set your privacy settings on high and consider putting a formal photo on Facebook. Don't say anything bad about your old employers either. Here are some guides to teaching English overseas.

Vary the methods you use to look for a TEFL job: answer adverts online, get a recruiter, use LinkedIn, post your CV online, contact family, friends, and past employers. If you are looking for a job and don't have one at the moment try to get relevant experience by volunteering, doing research, or studying. Make sure you have business cards. When you meet new people keep in touch with them. You should send them a quick email reminding them who you are and tell them that you enjoyed meeting them. If you speak a foreign language, put that on your CV as well.

Once you get a job make sure you find out about the visa requirements. Sometimes you may need a medical check up or a police background check. You should also ask who is going to cover the fees and how long it takes to get it.

Also published in
This article has also been featured in the ELT Times.


Saturday 10 October 2009

How to be a Respectful Traveller

Updated 20 February 2012

General Tips for Tourists
Dressing like a tourist can be disrespectful to the local culture, cause you to pay more, and it can also make you a target for pickpockets. Here are some tips for traveling abroad. You should also check out reddit and journey women's what to wear where.

How to Blend in Physically
  • Clothing. Cargo pants, shorts, halter tops, and sleeveless shirts aren't the norm in many parts of the world. Women who show their legs might get whistles, stares and air kisses. When in doubt cover up.
  • Shoes. Ditch the flip flops and Birkenstocks; they’re beachwear. Opt for comfortable dress shoes.
  • Nix the guidebook and a camera. Copy the necessary pages of your guidebook and put your camera in a backpack or purse. As for money and ID just take what you need and leave the rest in a safe place. Your passport, valuables, plane tickets, the bulk of your credit cards, and money should be left in the hotel safe. Make a copy of your passport and carry that around with you.

How to Blend in Socially
  • Personal space. The personal space bubble is often smaller.
  • Greetings. Air kisses, shaking hands, and bowing are common ways to greet people. Learn which ones you should use.
  • Time. It may be more flexible than what you're used to.
  • History and culture. Make an effort to learn a bit about the country’s history and culture before you go.
  • Language. Try to learn a few simple phrases before you go abroad. Most people have a decent grasp of English so there’s no need to shout. If all else fails, try writing things down. People are often very helpful to foreigners.
  • Local delicacies. Snake, dog, and wiggly things all might find their way onto your plate. Try it. Don't make comments about how gross or weird it is since many people think eating beef is gross.
  • Use public transport. It tends to be cheaper and safer than taxis.
  • Cheap prices. Although things might be considerably cheaper than in your home country, keep in mind that salaries might be lower. Don’t say how cheap things are because for those earning money in the local currency they’re not really that cheap.
  • Remember the Thumper Rule. Remember you’re a guest. There are going to be some good things and some bad things. No one wants to hear how horrible their country is. If you don't like it, go home.
  • More tips. Here are some more tips for travelling abroad. 
Also published in . . .
This article was originally published in Boots N All and has been modified to create this version.


Friday 2 October 2009

How to Get Good Teaching Jobs

Updated 16 May 2014

Some people don't think you can get a good job by teaching English but they're out there. Having the right qualifications, experience, connections and luck will help you. There's lots of information out there worth reading on how to get a great job.

Korea's a good example. University jobs in Korea can pay very well and the long vacations (up to 5 months paid vacation!) are fantastic. Here are tips for how to get a university job in Korea. The Middle East is also nice since the salaries are tax free and there are lots of benefits. Find out which other countries have high salaries and good benefits by reading the best countries to teach in.
  • Apply to jobs you're under qualified for. Not jobs that you are seriously under qualified for. However, if they want you to have five years experience and you only have four, you might want to apply. Or if they require a masters degree, but you're a semestre away from graduating. If you don't apply there's a 0% chance that you'll get a job. If you do apply at least you have a chance.
  • Apply to religious schools. This is a touchy one as there are some schools that are super religious and there are some that are religious just in name. Some require a statement of faith or even a baptismal certificate. These places often get fewer applicants since people can be wary about mixing religion and work. Find out if you are required to participate in any functions, such as chapel. 
  • Apply to schools outside big cities. It seems like everyone wants to live in a major city, meaning that if you apply to places outside bigger cities, you may have a better chance of getting the job. 
  • Ignore start dates. If you find a school that you like, but you're not available now, send them your CV and let them know when you will be available.
  • Have a stellar CV and cover letter. Cover letters are what an employer sees first so if your cover letter gets rejected the employer will never look at your CV. You'd also be surprised how many people can't write a good CV. Spend time on your CV and update it often.
  • Nix chain schools. They usually have a high turnover and you will work long hours for little pay. The exception to this would be the British Council and perhaps International House.
  • Get teaching qualifications and experience. If you plan on making TEFL a career the more experience and qualifications (BEd, PGCE, PGDE, master degree, or diplomas) you can get the better chance you'll have of getting a high paying teaching positions. If you don't have a TEFL cert, you should look into getting one.
  • Share your knowledge. Getting articles published and giving workshops will help. They're nice to put on your CV and you can network at the same time.
  • Ask for more. If you've got the experience and qualifications ask for a better salary and more benefits. You have to be willing to negotiate, but most places are willing to help you if you will give their institute a good name and bring in students.Salary's not the only thing: more vacation, better teaching hours, gym membership, or language lessons are just a few benefits you could ask for.
  • Connections are key. Teachers leave good jobs and many of them aren't advertised. Instead, they're passed on to people within their network.
  • Find a niche. EAP, ESP, teaching young children, exam prep, curriculum design, curriculum review, materials development, language test construction, academic writing, teaching exams prep, medical English, business English, legal English, and English for tourism, are all some examples. 


Thursday 1 October 2009

Teacher Conferences and Training in Peru

 Updated 21 February 2012

There are plenty of events to go to and you should try to go to a couple of a year. Many teachers are also part of professional affiliations. These may offer newsletters, discounts to training sessions, and will also tell you about upcoming events. If you're going to be in Peru, be sure to check out things to see and do in Peru.

Professional Teaching Associations in Peru
Month-long Intensive Certification Courses
Choosing a TEFL course has more info. You can find plenty of resources online, such as The Peace Corps Guide and TEFL Boot Camp. Make sure the course you take has at least 120 hours and 6 hours of teaching practice. Many TEFL certs can now be done completely or mainly online, even the CELTA.

Teaching Conferences
More Information About Teaching in Peru


Saturday 22 August 2009

Thanks for Donating

Thanks so much for donating!


Thursday 4 June 2009

How to Deal with Reverse Culture Shock

Updated 20 October 2013

Reverse culture shock happens when you move back to your home country and often is worse than culture shock. Many people realise that living in a foreign country can be difficult but going back home is often harder. When you go back home you expect things to be the same as when you left. However, things change.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to come to terms with is that you have changed. By living in another culture you see things differently than before. You've broadened your horizons and see your country, job, family, and friends in a new light. You may get frustrated with family and friends when they ask you about the country you lived in or that they don't know much about the world. You may miss things from abroad such as transport, local foods, or the people. Knowing about culture shock and what to expect will help you get used to life back home.

Overcoming Reverse Culture Shock
  • Keep in touch with friends and family at home while you are abroad.
  • Keep up-to-date with the news from your home country.
  • Continue to study the foreign language. 
  • Keep in touch with your friends abroad.
  • Visit neighbourhoods with people from that country. If you lived in China, head to Chinatown.
  • Understand that it takes time to re-adjust.
  • Interact with people from that country. Your community college or university might have exchange students. You could try setting up a language exchange.
  • You can find more tips in this post at Dave's ESL Cafe.
Ready to Go Abroad Again?
Just because you're home doesn't mean that you can't leave again. 


Sunday 19 April 2009

How to Accept or Reject a TEFL Job Offer

Updated 4 February 2012

On the Fence about a TEFL Job?
Don't simply reject a job teaching English abroad because of the salary or benefits. Contracts are usually negotiable and there are many things to consider before you accept or reject a teaching job. They have made an offer so now it's your turn to make a counter-offer. Remember that while you can usually make a couple of changes to the contract in order to get a better deal or to clarify items you can't change it completely.

Rejecting a TEFL Job Offer
If you reject a position please email the person and let them know. It's not polite to simply ignore their job offer. When letting a TEFL school know that you will not accept their position you can just write a quick, polite email. There's no need to say "I heard that your school treats its teachers badly" or "the salary is way too low". Instead say something like "I'm afraid I already accepted another position" or "Thank you for the offer but I'm afraid I have to decline."

Accepting a TEFL Job Offer
If you accept a position teaching English abroad then you might be able to negotiate. Negotiating your TEFL contract has a lot of good tips. Keep in mind that some employers may decide not to offer you the position if you ask too many questions and want to change too many things in the contract.

Email the TEFL school and thank them for the job offer. Try saying, "Thank you for offering me a position at X school. I'm very excited about the prospect of teaching at your school. I have received the contract and have a couple of questions I would like to ask/clarify about it." Then list your questions.

For example, if your contract says that an English teacher will teach 25 hours, you could ask how long an hour is. Sometimes 40 or 50 minutes is considered an hour in some teaching contracts. Another example, is that you are an experienced teacher with five years experience. Their advert says that they pay $1000 to $2000 but they have only offered you $1100. You could say something like "I have a question regarding the salary. In the contract it says that I will receive 1100 USD, however, I feel that my five years experience would make me eligible for a higher salary."

Some employers have a chart to determine salary. For example, TEFL teachers with a BA are paid X and TEFL teachers who have a BA + TEFL cert get paid Y. Other employers don't use this method. The best thing to do is know how much teachers are paid in that country.

After Signing the TEFL Contract
After you sign the contract and start the visa process you should do the following.
  • Book a flight and inform your school when you will be arriving. Ask about airport pickup.
  • Email current teachers and ask them for tips about the school and city.
  • If you're going to bring teaching materials with you, start looking around for suitable books and materials.
  • Observe some classes before you start teaching.
  • Familiarize yourself with the materials.
  • Start thinking about lesson plans.
  • Familiarise yourself with the town.


Monday 16 March 2009

Europe for Non-EU Citizens

Updated 8 May 2015


Money Matters
Europe is expensive there's no doubt about it. Elliot_spencer from Dave's ESL Cafe says that "it's hard to live on €1200 in Italy and you often lose a month or two of work during the summer." Someone else said that they spend 500 on rent, 100 on utilities, 250 on food, 80 on transport, and taxes are often around 40%.  Many Europeans prefer the Middle East or Asia over Europe. Europe - not a living wage to be found.With that being said when there's a will there's a way and most people go to Europe for the culture rather than the money. Nonetheless, there are some employers that pay well. I've put together a list of the best paying ones in Cyprus, France, Georgia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, UK, and Ukraine.

Europe: EU, Schengan, and more
It's easier to get visas for the new EU than the old EU. Check the official EU expansion website. Any EU country is possible if you have a sponsor such as an employer or spouse. Studying, starting a business, or retiring is also an option. These discussions have more info: the EU for Americans, getting a job in the EU without an EU passport, and a North American teaching in Europe.

Old EU Member States
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
New EU Member States
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
More Countries to Join the EU
  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia (Kosovo)
  • Turkey
If you are in one of these countries now try to get permanent residency or citizenship. This might help you if these countries join the EU. However, it may take up to 10 years after joining the EU for citizens from Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia to be able to work in the other EU countries. Please see the official EU expansion website for more information.

Non-EU Countries
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland have all elected not to be part of the EU. However, some countries have agreements that let their citizens live in EU member states.

Schengen Countries
There are 25 Schengen countries. Bulgaria, and Cyprus, Liechtenstein^, and Romania are scheduled to join shortly. You can find information more information in free travel in Schengen countries.
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France (Monaco*,**, ^)
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland**
  • Italy (San Marino^ and Vatican City^)
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway**
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain (and Andorra**,^, ^^)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland** (and Liechenstein*,^)
* Monaco's visa requirements are the same as France.  Liechenstein's visa requirements are the same as Switzerland.
**Not European Union members.
^ Andorra, Liechenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City are microstates. San Marino and Vatican City are de facto EU members. Andorra and Monaco aren't EU members; Liechenstein is a future member. Of these only Monaco can issue Schengen visas.
^^Not  a Schengen member.

Time in the Schengen Area
According to the Schengen Agreement, if you're not from an EU country or don't have a resident visa you can only stay 90 days out of 180 in the Schengen countries. Overstaying, living or working without a visa, could result in fines, arrest, deportation and/or being banned from entering Schengen countries in the future. If you're looking to travel, ITTP has lots of tips in his post that he wrote.

Getting Citizenship
There are 4 common ways to get citizenship: birth, marriage / civil partnerships, ancestry, and permanent residency. You can compare citizenship requirements through Canada Metropolis. You may also have to language, cultural, or history tests. In addition, some countries require you to give up your original citizenship. Here's info for France and Greece.
  • Birth: At least one of your parents will have to be a citizen of the country at the time of your birth.
  • Marriage (civil union, traditional / same-sex /  common law marriage): Many countries (such as Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK) accept common law marriages, same-sex marriage, and/or same-sex unions. In Madrid Magazine has information about the pareja de hecho law which gives you a 5 year resident visa and after that you can apply for permanent residency.  Italy and France do not require residence. France requires you know French and to be married for 5 years if the French spouse is not registered with the French embassy or 4 years if the French spouse is registered. Italy requires those who live outside of Italy to be married for 3 years if you don't have children or 1.5 years if you do. If you live in Italy, the requirements are 2 years of marriage without children and 1 year of marriage with children. In Spain, it's only 1 year of marriage and residency. The UK requires you to live in the UK for 3 years.
  • Ancestry: Some places like Italy may go back to your great-grandparents (look for "Cittadinanza italiana per discendenza / Italian Citizenship through ancestors (iure sanguinis))". The UK has a five year ancestry visa and here's more info. Just because one of your parents was born in an EU country doesn't mean that it's easy to get citizenship. Here's my quest for Romanian citizenship.
  • Permanent Residency: After getting permanent residency you can get citizenship. It may take up to 10 years to get permanent residency though. You can compare citizenship requirements through Google Answers and this link. Studies can also help you get citizenship. France cuts the 5 year residency requirement to 2 years if you are working towards a degree in France.
Living Legally in the EU
There are many ways to live legally in the EU. Try also looking at teaching in eastern Europe, teaching in Europe, and UWEC.
  • Illegally being there: If you can prove that you have lived and worked (even if it's illegal) in Spain for at least 2 years then you can get empadronamiento. It's part of the arraigo laboral. Otherwise known as the outer limits law, it's only for illegals and you'll get residency. You can find more info at Anglo Info.
  • Marriage (traditional, civil union, same-sex, and common law): If you're in a marriage, (traditional, civil union, same-sex, or common law) with an EU citizen or resident you can get residency. Many countries, such as Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France (PACS), Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK accept common law marriages, same-sex marriage, and/or same-sex unions.  In Madrid Magazine has info about the pareja de hecho law which gives you a 5 year resident visa and after that you can apply for permanent residency
  • Study: Learning the language isn't as hard as you may think it is. France cuts the 5 year residency requirement down to 2 years if you are working towards a degree in France. CSIET information about studying abroad. Some countries will let you work part time while studying at a university. Italy for example, will allow you to work up to 20 hours a week. See this thread for info about studying in Italy. Universities in Europe are often cheap and may even be free, however, don't forget that you'll still have to pay for rent and food. In France, tuition for public institutions is less than €1000 a year. The Czech Republic,  Iceland, and some Scandanavian countries, such as Finland, Iceland, and Norway have free tuiton. Here's a BBC article about Germany's offers free tuition. Here's information about Norway: free tuition, living in Norway, permanent residency, scholarships, and work / residency permits. There are also lots of scholarships out there, such as EURAMUS (geared towards health studies).
  • Work: See the section below "Working Legally in the EU". 
Working Legally in the EU
Check out EURES. The skilled worker permit (also known as the Blue Card) has started. Some places like New Employment, i-to-i, CIEE, and World Teach all offer help with visas. Some countries, such as Holland and Belgium have straight forward methods to getting work visas. If you find an employer who will will a letter confirming you you'll be hired and you'll get a one year resident visa.
  • Au Pair: More information can be found in the article on working holiday visas.
  • Licensed Teachers: Qualified teacher might be able to work at an international schoolSpecialised schools such as Summer Hill School are also an option. See teaching exchanges for more info.
  • Find a Niche: If you have a high-demand career then you have a good chance of being sent to Europe. Technical, science, and engineering jobs are always in demand. Being sent abroad is one of the easiest ways to get into Europe.
  • Internships: More information can be found in the article on working holiday visas.
  • Get Sent Abroad: Work for a company that has branches in the EU.
  • Investor / Entrepreneur Visas: An investor is someone who invests a large amount of money. An entrepreneur is someone who starts a company or business. You might want to check out My Second Passport and My 2nd Passport for more info.
    • Cyprus allows permanent residency if you buy property or properties worth a total of at least €300,000.
    • Bulgaria requires about €500,000 for their investor visa. Invest Bulgaria Agency (a government run site) and Invest Bulgaria have information about residence and citizenship. You might want to hire a company such as Arton Capital to help with paperwork. 
    • France offers a skills and talents card and anyone could get it if their project is accepted. Or you could invest €300,000 and hire 2 French citizens.  
    • The Netherlands has an agreement with the US called the Dutch American Friendship Treaty. You have to create a business plan, have health insurance, invest at least €4,500 and practice a "free profession" like law or medicine. Here's more information about the programme in detail
    • Portugal has a golden visa which gives you permanent residency if you do one of two things: buy property or properties worth a total of at least €500,000 or start a company and hire ten employees.  
    • Spain also has a golden visa. You need to buy property or properties worth a total of at least €500,000 and you'll get permanent residency.
    • Switzerland offers an investor visa for those from non-EU countries. Those from EU countries can get a self-employment visa or an independent visa.  
    • The United Kingdom has an investor (£1 and £2 million ) and entrepreneur visa (£200,000).
  • Teaching at Camps: Some of them list you as a volunteer and you get a weekly stipend thus eliminating the need for a work visa.  You will often be teaching English or performing in an English Theatre.  See summer and winter camps for more info.
  • Teaching English:  See teaching exchanges for more info. Some TEFL courses will let you work in their institute after you pass their TEFL course. You can find jobs in, Euro Jobs, and Dave's ESL Cafe. Saxoncourt, SOL, IH, Bell, Berlitz, and ILS have been known to help with visas. Berlitz will help with visas allowing you to work in Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, Poland, and Slovenia. Basically you will have to go there for an interview and will only be given a freelance position.
  • Volunteer: Many volunteer agencies provide you with a visa and a stipend. Check out: CUSO, Geovisions, My Pro World, Peace Corps, Volunteers for Peace, VSO, and World Teach. CSIET has good info.
  • Work Online: If you're willing to move around you could work online. You'd have to leave the Schengen Area every 90 days. Try looking at teaching online and making money online.
  • Working Holiday Visas: Read the article on working holiday visas. Expect to earn about $700 to $1500 in Europe.
Country Specific Information
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Parts of this article have been published in the Turkish University Press.


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