Wednesday 10 February 2010

Teaching English Abroad If You're a Non Native English Speaker

Updated 10 February 2012

For the purposes of this article an English speaking country will be considered: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK or the US. Non native English speakers (NNS) have a more difficult time finding a job teaching English abroad. Here are some ways that will increase your chances of getting an English teaching job abroad. The fact that speaking another language can also help you since you know what it's like to learn English and may speak the students' native language. Read more about NNS teaching English

  • If you have a passport from an English speaking country your chances of getting a job teaching English overseas will increase. If you are currently living in an English speaking country to become a citizen.
  • Where you went to school is very important. Some places want you to have spent at least 10 years in the school system of an English speaking country. Furthermore, many employers want you to have a degree from an English speaking country. Some of them won't consider degrees from non-English speaking countries even if all the courses were in English. This can be difficult for French Canadians.
  • Your English level is also a very important factor. Is your English at the same level as a native speaker? Taking an exam such as Cambridge, Michigan, or TOEFL can prove to your employer that you have a native speaker level of English. When looking for TEFL jobs try calling or visiting the school instead of just emailing. By doing this they will be able to hear your English and see that you are fluent in English.
  • The time you've spent in an English speaking country will also come into play. Did your family immigrant when you were just a child or did you go as an adult? The earlier you immigrated the better your chances of getting a job as a TEFL teacher.

Suggested Countries and Programmes
  • China
  • European countries such as Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Spain. You'll have to have the appropriate work visas to work in Europe if you aren't from an EU country.
  • Japan has an instructor's visa and the JET programme. There is also a Specialist in Humanities/International Relations work visa  but you will have to prove a degree or 3 years of related experience.
  • International schools. To work in an international school you'll need to be a qualified teacher.
  • Korean universities. You'll need to have a masters. You could get the E7 or the E1.
  • Latin America
  • Saudi Arabia gets non-native speakers visas to teach in universities.
  • Universities around the world get NNS visas as long as they're qualified. A masters degree is essential.


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