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  • 6 things to check before accepting your TEFL job March 15, 2010
    It’s tempting to get carried away with the excitement of going to a new country and being accepted for a job is a great feeling, notes Bruce Haxton, but before you start packing your suitcase, make sure you check out the conditions – they’ll make or break your experience of teaching abroad! Here are 6 [...] […]
  • What type of English can I teach? March 1, 2010
    In this article Chris Soames looks into your options as a native speaker. If you’re a British TEFL teacher, you’ll be asked the question ‘do you teach American English?’ more often than you’ll hot dinners. Your response should always be a firm, but polite, ‘no’. This is nothing to do with snobbishness or a belief that British [...] […]
  • Being Certified in TESOL or TEFL has Benefits February 23, 2010
    By Frank Collins TEFL and TESOL are acronyms for teaching English as a foreign language and teaching English to speakers of other languages. If you plan to teach English overseas then getting a TEFL or TESOL Certificate is a prime requirement. Subscribe to The ELT Times by Email Nowadays there is huge demand for TEFL and TESOL certified [...] […]
  • How are TEFL courses structured? January 28, 2010
    What to expect from your four-week TEFL course by Bruce Haxton. So you’re interested in Teaching English as a Foreign Language [TEFL] but you don’t know which course might be for you? Or maybe you’d just like to know more about what to expect on day one on a course you’ve already booked? Well, there are [...] […]
  • How to Fact Check January 25, 2010
    How to write more accurately and improve your grade, by Celia Webb Fact checking is an important part of writing an accurate article. Meticulous authors do research prior to committing their thoughts to paper. Not all authors are so careful. Editors and readers serve society and themselves well when they read with a judicious eye. Just [...] […]
  • 5 Simple Tips for TEFL Job Success January 19, 2010
    Want to know how to succeed in the TEFL job market? Bruce Haxton tells you how. So, you’re thinking about doing a TEFL course, and it won’t be too long before you’ve got your crisp new TEFL certificate in hand – but what are you going to do with it?! Get a teaching job abroad and [...] […]
  • Why People TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) January 12, 2010
    Ever wondered why we do it? Find out now in this article by Bruce Haxton. TEFL, on paper, is perfect: an exciting career, a chance to see the world, a life full of fresh faces, opportunities and experiences. But, in reality, life at home holds people back: jobs, cars, family, friends, house, age, personal circumstances… so [...] […]
  • Classroom TEFL Courses – the Pros and the Cons January 7, 2010
    An online TEFL course or one done in the classroom? Honor Baldry offers advice on taking the latter option. Classroom learning – it’s what we’re all used to and the way we expect to study. Or is it? A classroom TEFL course is nothing like the lessons you took in school; expect it to be more [...] […]
  • How to Find a Good TEFL Employer January 7, 2010
    A new year and a new career? Check this advice by Bruce Haxton if you’re thinking about getting into TEFL. So you’re thinking about getting TEFL certified (or maybe you already are!), but once you’ve completed your TEFL course, what are you going to do with that crisp new certificate? Get a job and [...] […]
  • Tips about teaching English overseas December 22, 2009
    By Michiel Van Kets If you’re thinking about a career in teaching English you are choosing a great profession. Not only do you give your valuable expertise to others but it is also possible to teach English in other countries not just at home. You can do this as a long term option or just take [...] […]

Why People TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language)

Ever wondered why we do it? Find out now in this article by Bruce Haxton.

TEFL, on paper, is perfect: an exciting career, a chance to see the world, a life full of fresh faces, opportunities and experiences. But, in reality, life at home holds people back: jobs, cars, family, friends, house, age, personal circumstances… so what is it exactly that makes people put all that on hold, get TEFL certified and jet off into the sunset? We asked some of our TEFL graduates what made them take the plunge…

1. To fund travel

It’s a happy coincidence that the countries with the highest demand for EFL teachers (China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Ecuador to name a few) are some of the best places in the world to visit. TEFL means you can travel without having to save up a small fortune before leaving, and you get the added bonus of experiencing more of a country than you would as a tourist.

Alice McBrearty, 26, from Aberdeen, said: “I made the biggest decision of my life on a cold, dark February morning; stuck in the library doing an essay for the third year of my degree, I decided that instead of returning to university after the summer to do an Honours year, I would go on an adventure!

“Yet with only part of my student loan left, I had little more than enough money to cover a return flight. Then I discovered that the high demand for English teachers in Thailand often encourages backpackers to teach while, during or after they travel”

Alice spent six months combining teaching with seeing Thailand’s highlights and says teaching English “is a great opportunity to work and save money while getting to know the country and its people from the inside, as a worker and not simply a tourist.”

2. To escape a dead-end job

According to research by VSO (Volunteer Services Overseas), a massive 40% of British workers feel like they’re stagnating professionally. During a recession it’s easy to think that you’re lucky to have any job, even if you hate it, but you’re wrong to think that there aren’t any opportunities out there. With around 20,000 vacancies posted online every month, TEFL is the perfect escape route for anyone who spends their days staring out of the window at work wishing they were somewhere else!

Robert Clarke, 22, said: “I had become bored with working in an office in central London, getting up every morning to go to a dead-end job. I wanted to travel and see the world! What better way than get paid at the same time as seeing Asia!”

Robert’s now teaching 8-16 year olds near Jakarta in Indonesia and describes living there as “fantastic”!

3. To take on new challenges

If you’re after a challenge to take you out of your comfort zone, it doesn’t get much hairier than flying half way around the world to stand in front of a class of rowdy students! And by taking on and overcoming a massive challenge abroad you’ll find everything at home afterwards feels like a doddle!

Kathleen Kane, 46, from Glasgow, said: “I decided to do the China Internship because I got to the time of my life when I wanted to try something new and do something out of my comfort zone. This program seemed to give me the challenge I needed.”

Kathleen is now teaching teenagers and young adults at a school in Inner Mongolia on i-to-i’s Teach in China Internship.

4. To get out of the rat race

Stressed? Join the 442,00 other people in Britain who suffer from serious work-related stress. There is another way though – TEFL is as far from the rat race as you can get, with every day throwing up new opportunities, faces and challenges.

Nazia Anwar, 26, from Lancashire, said: “I hate repetition and mundane stuff and that described my job. I had strains in my personal life too and was ready to break away and travel. I just had to find a way to pay for it.”

Nazia headed out to teach English at a private language school in Turkey. Speaking about the benefits of TEFL, she said “I’ve always been independent but to achieve this has given me a different kind of confidence.”

5. To improve career chances

Teaching English abroad is not only a fantastic opportunity to see the world, it can also help you to find work once you get home too. After a stint teaching English abroad you’ll be able to wow prospective employers with your improved interpersonal, leadership and communication skills!

Jozanda Parkinson, 26, from Preston, said: “I was a primary school teacher in my first year of teaching and was finding it difficult to find another job for when my training year finished. I wanted to work abroad, having worked for a children’s holiday company for 2 years in France before training to be a teacher. So I knew I enjoyed that, but also wanted to do something that would help me in my career.”

Jozanda is now teaching 6-7 year olds in Shanghai on our Teach in China Internship. As well as getting a change of scenery, Jozanda thinks her experience will stand her in good stead for the future: “I think teaching in China has given me valuable tools which I can use when I come back to teach in the UK, as well as valuable life-skills adjusting to life in a non-western country!”

6. To make a dream a reality

Sometimes you spend your whole life thinking you should be somewhere else, but fate (not to mention money, family, friends, jobs, houses etc) seems to hold you back. If you’ve always wanted to travel, or teach or both, don’t let life hold you back – take a deep breath and go for it!

Alice Pepper, from Kent, said: “I’ve always wanted to teach English abroad and in everything that I’ve done at the back of my mind I’ve always thought I should be somewhere else, teaching. When I got the email from i-to-i regarding the China internship I just knew I had to apply. It seemed so perfect for me, especially as I don’t have a degree, to learn and teach and get a lot of experience. I knew I needed to do this, instead of dreaming of doing it. That was my motivation, to make it real.”

Alice is going to be heading out to China in February on the second round of Teach in China Internships, where she’ll earn £1,300 while racking up 300 hours of teaching experience. She hopes “I can prove to myself that I am able to do this, and that I can make a difference. To learn to live in another culture and be able to adapt mine.”

Want to join them?

It’s easier (and cheaper) than most people think to get TEFL certified and teach English abroad. For details on how to get there, you could visit

About the Author

I’m totally passionate about travel, it’s been my life and work for a good few years! I would like to share my many experiences and offer a little advice if I can to fellow travellers or anyone who is just about to set off on a life-changing trip!

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