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.

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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.

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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.


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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. 




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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

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