Hey there, new grad: aren't you ready to get out of the country already?
Post-graduation is one of the best opportunities to leave your current place and head overseas to teach for a year (or two, or ten). It's easy to feel intimidated, though, by the idea of looking for a job on another continent, especially if you don't have much previous teaching experience.
Fortunately, there are tons of schools and organizations out there looking for people just like you: armed with a college degree, lots of energy, and a passion for engaging with a global community. From South Africa to the South Pacific, you can find a classroom and culture that matches what you're looking for.
Before you start packing your bags, though, you should make sure to check the requirements of your country or program of choice. Most (though not all!) of these jobs require a TEFL or equivalent certification, while some schools want you to have an education degree. Some countries, including China and South Korea, require teachers to have specific certifications before they're allowed to work there on an official basis.
If you don't have a certification, don't panic. There are plenty of ways to get certified, either through local classes, your program provider, or even online, so you can plan ahead and get that done before your departure date.
Now that the paperwork is out of the way, here are just a few of the great teaching opportunities waiting for you this year:
WorldTeach has been connecting teachers with classrooms abroad since it was founded by a group of Harvard students back in 1986. The non-profit is committed to providing opportunities for all kinds of people, from recent college grads to retirees, to serve as volunteers in diverse countries around the world, where they assist with educating underserved students who might otherwise lack access to quality educational opportunities.
Every year, WorldTeach sends about 500 volunteers to local schools and host communities in more than a dozen countries. You can choose between summer, semester or academic year programs, depending on the country. Many programs also include the opportunity to get TEFL certified while you're teaching.
Currently, WorldTeach has summer programs in Brazil, Ecuador, India, Morocco, Namibia, and South Africa, as well as yearlong opportunities in American Samoa, Namibia, the Marshall Islands, and Ecuador. There are also two funded Global Fellowships, in China and Ecuador. Get the sense that you will have lots of opportunity with WorldTeach?
Deadlines for summer programs are April 15; yearlong program deadlines vary depending on departure date.
2. Reach to Teach
Countries: South Korea, Taiwan, China
Reach to Teach has offices in South Korea, the U.S, and Taiwan, and has more than 40 years of ESL recruitment and teaching experience. Staff support applicants through the application and placement process and help prepare new teachers to live and work abroad for a year, making it a great option for first-time teachers.
Reach to Teach is also the only official U.S. recruiter for the EPIK, GEPIK and SMOE programs, the most widely recognized government-sponsored teaching programs in South Korea. School placements in South Korea and Taiwan are mostly in public schools, while China positions vary from young learners to adults.
Reach to Teach recruits year-round for China placements. Korea positions have two intakes each year (February and August), and Taiwan takes rolling applications, although the majority of jobs begin in January/February or late summer (July/August).
3. EF English First
EF English First is one of the biggest international education providers out there. Since its humble beginnings back in the 1960s as a program that sent Swedish students to learn English in the U.K., EF has grown into the world's largest private education company, with the goal of turning the world into a "global classroom." It has offices and schools in 54 countries, and oversees more than 26,000 employees, teachers, and volunteers across the globe. EF even provides language materials for the Olympics!
Teaching opportunities with EF range from international school placements to leading online language classes, so there are plenty of different ways to get involved. Currently, EF is recruiting for teaching placements in dozens of cities across China.
Applications for EF are accepted on a rolling basis.
Country: France, overseas French departments
TAPIF offers 7-month English teaching placements in public schools across all regions of France, as well as the overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Reunion. Assistants teach for 12 hours per week. Responsibilities might include serving as a resource person in conversation groups, providing small group tutorials, and talking about U.S. culture in English classes.
Applications are accepted from October of the previous year to mid-January, for placements beginning in October. Applicants must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 20-35.
5. Safe Passage
Safe Passage's volunteer English teaching program offers a completely different experience from most of the programs on this list. Volunteers work with the children and families that live in extreme poverty around the periphery of Guatemala City's biggest garbage dump, where many of the families work.
Formal education is far beyond the reach for many of the children living on the periphery of the Guatemala City garbage dump. They are unable to afford the school uniforms & shoes, enrollment fees, school supplies and books required by the Guatemalan public schools. With financial support from Safe Passage, each child is able to attend a local public school for the half-day term.
Volunteer teachers assist local Guatemalan teachers in their classrooms, teach group English classes, help organize sports activities, or take on more permanent roles like managing the program's library or overseeing IT logistics. Safe Passage accepts short-term (at least 5 weeks) or long-term (minimum of 6 months) volunteers on a rolling basis.
6. Greenheart Travel
Greenheart Travel is a major player in the world of international teaching and volunteering, providing opportunities for everything from internships to summer language camps. Greenheart's teaching options include paid semester- or yearlong teaching contracts in Thailand, for full-time placements in kindergarten through high school, and a 15-month China program that places teachers in an English training center in the northern city of Shenyang, and includes a salary and housing.
There are also volunteer and paid teaching opportunities in Colombia, the Republic of Georgia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Italy, and South Korea. Many of the teaching placements include an option to live with a local family through a homestay, for even more cultural immersion.
The main cohort in Thailand starts in April, with applications due in early February, but there are other start dates available throughout the year. China placements begin each month, with applications due at least two months before the start date. Other programs vary -- the Italy program begins in September (applications due at the end of July), Colombia starts in January, and Myanmar has four different intake dates -- so check Greenheart's website for specific details and deadlines.
7. English Opens Doors
One of the most well-established volunteer teaching programs in the Southern Cone, English Opens Doors has a long history and a fancy pedigree. The program is sponsored by both the UNDP and Chile's Ministry of Education, and places participants in public schools throughout Chile, from Patagonia to the Atacama Desert.
EOD teaching assistants typically spend about 24 hours per week teaching English, and another 11 hours on extracurricular activities. Participants are placed in classrooms with a Chilean co-teacher and students from 5th to 12th grade. Most volunteers also live in a homestay as part of the program.
Length of placements vary, from 4-8 months. The program has two spring (March and April) and two summer (July and August) intakes. Applications are due four months before the program start date.
Countries: Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, China
This Cape Town-based provider believes strongly in firsthand experience -- all of its staff have previously taught English abroad. They also take pride in their comprehensive support system, which guides teachers through the whole process, from pre-departure to regular check-ins once in country.
Travelbud connects teachers with paid teaching opportunities in several countries in east/southeast Asia. Placements vary from semester (4-6 months) to yearlong, and range from kindergarten to high school students, as well as private language institutes (in China). Programs are open to passport holders from the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand.
The main cohorts of Thailand placements start in April and October, though there are ongoing opportunities throughout most of the year. Vietnam training begins at the end of July; China and South Korea have rolling placement dates. Applications are generally due at least two months before your start date.
9. International Schools
If you have a teaching degree and can commit to a contract (usually for a minimum of two years), you might want to check out international schools. These private schools are located all around the world, and usually offer most (if not all) of their instruction in English.
The pay is almost always better than what you'd find at public schools, and some schools even provide housing for teachers. The tradeoff, of course, is that you do have to sign a longer contract, so you're committing to stay in one place for longer than you might with another type of teaching opportunity. If you're looking for a career in international education, though, international schools can be the perfect place to start.
Most schools hire for contracts beginning in either January or August, depending on the local academic calendar, but vacancies do come up during the school year as well. Check out a local international school fair, or international school job boards, to find current hiring opportunities.