It may sound crazy, but pine-forest-filled, cool-weathered, coffee-loving Vancouver, Canada is a pretty sweet spot for teaching abroad.
English may be the primary language of British Columbia, but Vancouver has a large international population -- both students and immigrants -- who need to learn English.
As such, Vancouver has hundreds of language schools; all of which need English teachers to fill their spots!Photo Credit: domo k..
Although Canada does not have a large market for English Teachers there are many different types of programs you can chose from The best and most popular programs involve one of Vancouver’s many international language schools.
Private Language Schools
Vancouver has hundreds of different language centers that specialize in all different types of English. Many of the programs run roughly 4-6 days a week for 4 weeks including morning and afternoon courses.
Because these courses run year round, they often hire year-round. All of these schools require a TEFL certification of at least 120 hours. One popular is:
- Global Village English Center -- a private English school located in Vancouver that runs programs for beginner to advanced learners.
TEFL & Teach Programs
Another way to go is to enroll in a TEFL / TESL course in Vancouver. This allows you to enter Canada on a student visa and have personal, face-to-face interviews when selecting a position. It also allows you to get a feel of living in Vancouver before accepting a position.
If choosing a private school, the classroom sizes should never exceed 20 students and you are working a typical Monday-Friday school week from 8am-5pm. Giving an ample amount of time to wander around the city of Vancouver.
Many private tutoring positions can be found through the school you chose to teach at, through International programs, as well as online.
When and Where to Look for Jobs
It’s best to start by selecting which program is best for you to determine when and where to find the right job for you. The hiring season is one to two months before the start of the semester in September. If you are choosing one of the language schools, they often have rolling applications and accept applicants as needed.
Although you can find most jobs online through teaching job boards, it’s also best to make personal interviews for the best results in obtaining a position.
Once you have decided on your program type job listings are also posted on the school’s website and can be contacted through email, phone, or mail-in resumes.
Most language schools, private tutoring, and international schools will require no less than a 120-hour Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certification (TEFL). Some schools will require a Bachelor’s Degree in Education or English.
Once you gain your 120-hour teaching certification you will be recognized by the Ministry of Education and can work in most school as an English teacher in British Columbia. Private schools or magnet schools may require further education.
Salary and Cost of Living
It’s no secret that Vancouver is a fairly expensive city to live in. A one-bedroom apartment ranges from 1,000 CAD to 1,500 CAD depending on the distance to the city center. And a trip to the grocery store could cost you around 200 CAD for your basic load of fixings for dinner, milk, eggs, and a bottle of wine.
Adding rent, groceries, the pesky utilities of electric, water, and Internet, and a monthly public transportation pass you are looking at around 1,500 CAD a month in living expenses. If you are diligent about your nights out to dinner you can manage to sneak in a few shopping trips to Zara or H&M into your monthly budget.
On average, English teachers will make around $3,000 CAD (Canadian Dollar) a month. It is about 0.83 USD to 1 CAD and the cost of living in Vancouver can be quite high so a great way to supplement your wage is by doing private tutoring. There are numerous tutoring organizations throughout the city waiting for teachers.
Just like most teaching abroad positions, the best times to apply are one to two months before the start of the new school semester or school year which generally starts after Labor Day in September or the beginning of January for the Spring semester.
Living in Canada
Cost of living aside, Canada is a great place to go if you want to ease into life abroad. The proximity to the United States the cultures are very similar. Many of the same stores, familiar language, and familiar foods are always helpful to the adjustments of living abroad.
Moving to a foreign country can always be an adjustment, so if you are looking for a place with similar customs and traditions to make the transition to living abroad easier, Vancouver is a good place to start looking.
Indulge in the local food scene by popping by the Food Cart Fest this summer, explore historic Gastown, walk around Chinatown -- the third largest in North America -- or go to a hockey game.
But no matter what, enjoy your time living in beautiful Vancouver, Canada!