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Eye Spy: a TEFL Tale

TEFL

Hi Reece and Victoria!

 

In 2012 two South Africans – Reece and Victoria headed overseas on a TEFL adventure- one headed for Thailand and the other for Chile. While their destinations were worlds apart, their end goal was the same- to explore a new corner of the world and use English teaching to help them do it. Here is a video of what happened when TEFL brought them together in Spain:

Eye spy

From Reece and Victoria:

Before departure, i-to-i  helped us nurture and harness our keenness to teach with an in-depth 120 Hour Online Course.

Although our TEFL adventures started separately, there were some fundamental realisations that ignored all borders. There could not be a more accessible and convenient way to travel the world. As English first language speakers we are born with a gift that is coveted the world over. This gift is your ticket. With it you can survive in almost any country on this Earth.

One of the many things we learnt on our independent journeys to Asia and South America was the importance of language. Not only how important and necessary English is but how important it is to speak more than one language. A second language can broaden your career prospects, your cultural understanding and who can forget- the cool factor?! We as English speakers are often lazy in acquiring a second language, but with one, you can expect more open doors. We’ve chosen Spanish as ours!

Our TEFL experiences have enriched our lives incredibly. Our love for this lifestyle and our desire to continue is what brought us together in the amazing city of Barcelona in 2013. Here our similar recent histories and similar South African upbringings allowed us to gravitate toward each other. Our mutual love for travel writing, photography and videography can’t be overlooked as having an important impact on our connection.

Our first collaboration effort, Eye Spy, is a 3 minute video that depicts 48 hours of our lives here in Catalonia, Spain. We hope you enjoy!

www.itsthewanderlust.com

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Everything you need to know about the cost of living in… Saudi Arabia

The Middle East is an extremely popular destination for TEFLers worldwide. Saudi Arabia is a fascinating country with an exciting culture waiting to be explored. If you’re after big bucks and year-round sunshine, this is probably the TEFL destination for you!

 Schools and language institutes throughout Saudi Arabia usually demand high qualifications including a degree plus a level 5 TEFL qualification (our EDI Cert TEFL for example). However the rewards of having such qualifications are endless, expect to earn around $3300 per month, enough to live a very comfortable life and even save some cash to fund further travels.

Before jetting off to the Middle East you might want to consider the cost of living in Saudi Arabia.

The Basics

 Signing a contract with a Saudi Arabian school or language institute will usually land you some sort of free accommodation (usually a room within a shared house). However, if you’d like to be a bit more independent and live the high life, you can rent a 1 bedroom city centre apartment for an average of $400 per month. Living outside of the city centre? Then expect to pay a little less for your accommodation, around $300 per month.

So we’ve gathered that the cost of renting accommodation in Saudi Arabia is pretty cheap but of course there are also utilities to consider when budgeting your costs. Water, electricity, air conditioning and garbage collection bills usually come to around $45 per month, add this to the cost of a good internet connection ($55 per month) and expect to pay in total, around $100 per month for all of your bills.

Basics total: $500 per month

 Wine & Dine

On average, the cost of living in Saudi Arabia is quite cheap compared to most western countries. Basic foods like milk, bread and potatoes can cost as little as $1. If you’re the health conscious kind, fruit and vegetables will set you back around $1-2 apiece. Eggs are also a cheap food item in Saudi Arabia, a carton of 12 will only cost $2. Chicken is slightly more expensive at around $5 per kg. The price of this next food item might shock you, local cheeses can cost around $8 per kg, slightly more expensive than western prices.

Wine & Dine total: Around $100-200 per month (depending on what you like to eat)

 Getting from A to B

 Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East so getting from A to B can be as short or as long a journey as you’d like. Due to the vast development of the county’s infrastructure over the past few decades, it is now easier than ever to travel around the country.

For a one way ticket on local transport expect to pay around $0.50, cheap right?! But if you’ll be using public transport a lot to get around, an unlimited monthly pass will set you back just $40! Although public transport is ridiculously cheap, most Saudi Arabian’s get around using their own transport (a car). With a litre of fuel costing just $0.14 you can see why it’s the preferred method of transportation for most of the country’s 29million population.

If you budget around $50 per month for your transportation around your local area, you should be absolutely fine. If you’re planning to travel further afield, cross country for example, budget a little more (and get ready for those long drives).

Therefore, if our calculations are correct, the total budget for basic food, accommodation, transport and bills should come to around $750 per month.

The Added Extras

TEFL is a great way to see the world and earn money at the same time, it also opens up so many fantastic opportunities! With salaries in Saudi Arabia topping $3000 per month, this leaves you around $2250 disposable income, enough to live a very comfortable life and save some cash to fund your further travels. Visit Saudi Arabia’s sights and see what the fantastic country has to offer.

So, living in Saudi Arabia – is it worth the price? Becoming a TEFL teacher in Saudi Arabia is a fantastic opportunity to earn a great amount of money whilst experiencing one of the most fascinating cultures on the globe.

With a combination of great salaries and the low cost of living, TEFL is a great option for those looking to travel around Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

 

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The Best TEFL Blogs From Around The World (Wide Web)

TEFL

There’s nothing like talking to a current TEFLer to truly understand what to expect when you embark on your journey. Personal experiences are the best for an honest insight and you’re likely to find that those who are already embarking on the journey will tell you as much about the low points as they will the high.

If you don’t know someone personally who does TEFL, but you’re still looking for a personal insight into the inner workings of teaching English as a foreign language, it’s time to check out some of the best TEFL blogs from around the world (wide web).

Giving a personal snap shot into the life and times of TEFLers as they’re working, you’ll not only find out about how the job itself is, but you’ll also find out about the personal life around the job.

Let’s take a look at a few of our current favourites from around the world for you to check out today…

TEFL and Louise

TEFL

With experience teaching in China and Indonesia, Louise is an incredibly open and honest blogger. When she discovered China wasn’t for her, she travelled instead to Indonesia to try out working in a language school with smaller classes, from where she documents her current situation.

Updated every one to two weeks, Louise’s entries take a dairy format, meaning that they’re a lot longer than some other TEFL blog posts you might come across. However, they give a fantastically open view into the everyday occasions you’ll experience during TEFL, leaving you feel like you’ve sat and chatted with her for hours over coffee and biscuits!

Jolie à Paris

TEFL

Continued…

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Top 5 Post-TEFL Careers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are multiple reasons why people choose to teach English as a foreign language, with one of the main appealing factors being the ability to independently earn money to contribute towards travelling the world.

Most of us, however, are looking for a change of career through TEFL, with the promise of fulfilling job opportunities available to us whenever we choose to return home and embark on a journey on that infamous job ladder.

Here at OnlineTEFL, we talk about how a TEFL course can help to enhance your CV and improve your chances of a career at home, but what are these jobs? Whether you’re currently teaching English as a foreign language, or are doing more research before embarking on the course, here are some of the job opportunities you can embark upon post-TEFL.

Teaching English as a second language

If TEFL has ignited a passion for you to teach English to those who otherwise may not get the chance, teaching English as a second language can be a fulfilling and challenging career at home. Drawing from experience during TEFL, teaching English as a second language provides its own challenges as you are often helping new students not only learn the language, but about English culture as whole in order to integrate them into society.

Teach in an English school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps one of the best-worn routes into a career, many TEFLers use the experience to travel and discover the world whilst gaining experience to become full-time teachers in English schools. Whether you’re looking to continue teaching English or any other subject, having a TEFL qualification along with experience is likely to go a long way towards securing that coveted and highly competitive spot for your training.

Become a professional translator

We might be teaching English whilst working abroad, but unless you solely mingle with other English-speakers, chances are your foreign language skills will have become pretty awesome during your time abroad. Fluent translators are highly sought after by a whole range of people, with many having the option to work on a freelance basis, allowing you to stay away from the shackles of a set daily routine!

Festival worker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Usually supplemented with other work, part-time festival work is particularly appealing to TEFLers as it allows you to experience the joy of travel without spending huge amounts of time away from home. The role will allow you to meet new people, often see amazing performers for free, and you’ll also get a chance to work festivals based abroad thanks to the language skills you’ve acquired during TEFL!

Marketing and sales

International business is a competitive environment and many employers are now looking for people with multiple language skills to communicate across the world. If take on work alongside your teaching role whilst abroad, you will also have not only further language skills, but be able to fluently understand the language of business and the cultural understanding of how foreign businesses trade.

There are plenty of career paths for you to travel down – these are just a few examples but the possibilities are endless! Employers love the fact that you’ve been daring and independent living and working abroad, and you’d be surprised by the broad amount of careers people have gone on to enjoy post-TEFL.

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Everything You Need To Know About The Cost Of Living In… Japan

Japan is amongst the most popular TEFL destinations in the world, and apart from being an extremely exciting place to visit, there’s generally a high demand for teachers in the area. Along with Korea and Taiwan, the average salaries are amongst the highest you can earn TEFLing anywhere in the world!

Depending upon your experience and qualifications, for example if you hold a degree alongside your TEFL qualification, some teachers can expect to earn up to $3250 (329,848¥) per month, along with the option to perform private tuition at the cost of $25-65 (2530¥ – 6600¥) per hour!

The rich culture of the country is the main appeal for many, especially thanks to the diversity of the various cities. You can enjoy the world famous sumo in Osaka or the significantly less traditional nightlife in Nartita! Before you rush to book the next flight to Tokyo however, it might be worth considering the living costs of the area.

The basics

While areas such as China offer most people accommodation along with the teaching contract, you’ll have to find and pay for your own apartment in Japan. The average cost per month for rent in a one bedroomed apartment in the city centre is typically 99,700¥ ($980). Outside the city you’ll pay a little less at 58,800¥ ($580).

Of course there are also utilities to consider as well. The total cost of electricity, water and garbage collection generally comes in at 19,510¥ ($192) per month, while monthly internet connection is around 3,830¥ ($38) per month.

Basics total: 123,040¥ ($1,211)

Wine and dine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re not talking about your party beverages here; more the stuff you need to live! Those based in the west might be surprised at the cost of some products, as some are much cheaper in Japan though others are shockingly more expensive.

Basics such as bread and milk should set you back no more than 200¥ ($2), while other basics like white rice and eggs can cost anything from 200¥ to 500¥ ($5). Chicken is around 830¥ ($8) per kilo, while the price of cheese may surprise you at an average cost of 1,595¥ ($16).

Fruit and vegetables, including potatoes, tomatoes, oranges and apples, can cost between 300¥ and 600¥ ($3-6) depending upon where you buy them from. Markets tend to be the cheapest option, and the most delicious!

Alcohol is very reasonably priced unless you’re looking to buy high end products. Beer can range between 250¥ to 350¥ ($2.50-3.50) depending upon where it is brewed, and a mid-ranged bottle of wine can cost you around 1,300¥ ($12.80) – though cheaper options are available!

Wine and dine total: 7,000¥ ($70) per week – 28,000¥ ($280) per month

Getting from A to B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan is famous for its reliable and smooth running transport, especially in the city centres. For plenty of people, it’s a welcome relief to finally use public transport that actually runs on time! No matter the way you plan to travel around the country, it’s important to know how much to budget.

For a one way ticket on the local choice of transport (whether it’s a train or a bus) is around 200¥ ($2) but for a monthly unlimited pass, it will cost around 10,000¥ ($100). If, for whatever reason, you’d rather drive around, gas costs around 152¥ ($1.50) per litre, making it quite economical!

Budgeting around 15,230¥ ($150) per month for transport should leave you well covered should you plan to keep within the local area!

Therefore, the total budget for basic food, accommodation, transport and bills should come in at around 166,270¥ per month ($1,640). Continued…

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3 More Reasons Why You’re Still Not On Your TEFL Adventure

You may have seen the blog we posted a couple of weeks ago talking you through a few of the common reasons that people are worried about teaching English abroad. Here at i-to-i we believe there is a way around almost every reason you have not to TEFL and we’re here with the answers.

 So, let’s get down to business and get you ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime!

1)      TEFL is your dream…but not your partner’s

So, you have this picture in your head of how your life could be teaching English as a foreign language in your favourite country. However, your partner doesn’t have the same dream. Well, there are ways around this!

Perhaps your partner works for a large corporation, they could see about getting a transfer. We obviously understand this isn’t always easy but what’s the harm in trying?

Is TEFLing something you could convince you partner into doing? Maybe they’re deterred because they think TEFL is only concerned with teaching children. Inform them that there is so much more to it than this! They could teach adults one-to-one or teach business English – the options really are endless!

Ultimately though, when it comes to your future partner, deciding to TEFL is a long term commitment. You have to ask yourself whether your partner or you teaching dream is more important to you in the long run. If you do decide to go ahead and TEFL why not check out our Valentine’s Day article on TEFL and long distance relationships.

2)      You have concerns about moving to a completely new culture

We’d be lying if we said that moving to an entirely new country (with cultural norms very different to what you’re used to) is easy. But, we see it as part of the fun! Think about how much you will learn -the different experiences you’ll encounter, the amazing new people you’ll meet. Yes, there will always be things you don’t like about your TEFL destination; however consider how the good of the experience offsets the bad. It’s also worth remembering that thousands of people TEFL every year and love it!

Most TEFL destinations these days have a really good expat community where you will likely find people in the same position as you. We’re not saying rely on these communities, but they are good place to start making friends while you get settled.

Another great thing to think about if you’re nervous about starting your TEFL adventure would be to consider doing one of i-to-i’s internships. With the internships you get so much support running up to the trip and the whole time you’re out there. You’ll also be going away with people in exactly the same position as you.

3)      Commitments at home

Obviously the thought of moving away from home where all your friends and family are is daunting. The parties, the weddings and Christmas are all events which will make you miss home. BUT, you have to ask yourself if sticking around for any of these events will benefit you like teaching abroad will! Think about the completely different events you’ll be experiencing starting your new life in a totally different country!

Check out this blog from TEFLer James who packed up his whole life to move to Paris to be with his wife. He is a perfect example of someone who may not have wanted to move away, but is so happy he did – even with the ups and downs that it brings!

So, we hope we’re continuing to put your mind at rest about the worries which people have when they consider embarking on a TEFL adventure. Remember, if TEFL is something you really want to do – you can! And we are here to help you all the way!

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These are the days I’ll remember – Charmaine’s Chinese dream

A couple of weeks ago we received this great video from Charmaine who is teaching English in China. We loved the video so much we got in touch with Charmaine and asked her to write a blog article about her time living in China. Here she talks us through what Chinese employers thought of her i-to-i TEFL certificate, the mistakes she made when looking for her first TEFL job and what you should expect from teaching English in China.

Take it away Charmaine!

I’ve been in China since June 2013 and I’m enjoying it very much. I would never have had the opportunities I’ve got now without an i-to-i TEFL certification. i-to-i certificates are widely accepted in China as one of the best TEFL certificates to produce when asked for it.

After finishing my TEFL course in March 2013, I was so eager to start working that I made some serious mistakes.

I accepted the first offer I received without doing enough research. During the interview I did not ask enough questions. Everything sounded very good. Working 70 hours a month really sounds great but when you break it down, it came to being at work from 9am to 7 pm on weekends and 1 to 7 during the week. Yes I did have a 2 hour lunch break but had to stay at work during that time because I lived too far away from work to go home. I basically left home at 6 am and got home again at 10pm. Needless to say, I just finished my probation period and looked for another position.

The reason I’m telling you this is not to discourage you but to warn you to ask all the questions and do your homework before accepting a TEFL position. Make a list before the interview to ensure you don’t forget to ask something. Plan carefully where you will stay as travelling to and from work can be very tiring. Renting an apartment in China can be a big expense. You need to pay 3 months’ rent in advance, so make sure you bring enough money with you to cover for that, if you must take care of your own accommodation.

My new position is awesome! I’ve learned from my previous mistakes and made sure I knew exactly what I needed to know before I signed the contract. I’m currently working at a Government school and live on campus. The facilities are modern and everything I need is provided. I work normal school hours and are off on weekends and school holidays. This gives me plenty of free time to explore the beautiful scenery here in China. I absolutely adore the students. Yes, you do get the naughty ones but kids will be kids.

I want to thank i-to-i for all the support and opening these new doors for me.


5 Top Perks of Teaching English Abroad

Travel and See the World – Without Breaking the Bank

Travelling the world can be pretty expensive, depending on where you travel and what you get up to, but it really can be done without breaking the bank! By teaching English abroad you could earn some cash to fund your travels, what we like to call a win-win situation! If the exciting cultures of the Middle East take your fancy, you could earn anything up to $45,000 per year (tax free!), enough to live a great life and save money to fund your further travels.

 Meet New People

 Possibly one of the greatest perks of teaching English abroad. Every single day you’ll meet new people from all over the world, forming long-lasting relationships and creating memories that you will forever remember. Meeting new people from around the globe also comes in handy when you embark on future travels. Imagine this, travelling to a faraway land and not having to pay a penny for somewhere to stay (simply fall asleep on your friends couch or in their spare bedroom), what more could you want?

Boost Your Resume – Improve Your Employment Prospects with TEFL

 Another great perk of teaching English abroad is that your resume will improve ten-fold by the time you return to your native country. Flexibility, team work, challenging situations, presenting to large groups and motivating others are just some of the skills that you’ll pick up over the duration of your TEFL career. A TEFL qualification is a great addition to your resume and will set you apart from other applicants for any future jobs! Picture this, you’ve just returned from teaching English for a year in Thailand and you’ve landed yourself an interview for a great job, you’ll have so much to talk about and it will definitely improve your employment prospects!

Make a Difference – Change Lives

 Another top perk of moving abroad to teach English is knowing that you’ll be making a difference to so many people! You could call yourself a ‘life-changer’! English is a language of empowerment, and every single time you teach a person to speak one of the most spoken languages around the world, you’re helping them to improve their job prospects and their life, it’s such a great feeling!

 Become a New Person – Challenge Your Fears and Insecurities

 Teaching and travelling abroad can be a daunting experience for many people; you just need to know you’re not the only one! Teaching English abroad will expand your awareness and introduce you to greater diversity, you could really get to know yourself! Teaching a class of eager students who don’t speak a word of English will definitely be a challenge, but you’ll become a pro within a few lessons and all those fears you had will suddenly vanish!


Long distance relationships: How to survive away from your friends, family and partner

To TEFL or not to TEFL; that is the question. For most embarking on their adventure of a lifetime, the major doubts come when they realise they will be travelling to a distant country… and can’t take their loved one with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being thousands of miles away from family, friends, a partner and everyone you know can be incredibly daunting, but if you’re truly passionate about seeing the world, making money and teaching to those who desperately need it, don’t let you passions be quashed.

It’s undoubtedly hard maintaining long distance relationships, and not just the romantic kind. Maintaining friendships across the world can put a real toll on even the best of friends, while parents do their best to let us know we’re missed (and, y’know, we kind of miss them too…).

You’re not the first and won’t be the last to try and maintain a long distance relationship during TEFL. Thankfully there is so much you can do to keep in touch with loved ones, and plenty of ways to keep your home comforts in a country that doesn’t even know how to make a proper brew.

Pack your favourite snacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can’t emphasise how utterly vital this is! It’s on the same level as locating your passport (kind of) and will seriously keep you going during your first few weeks alone. On previous trips you’ve been comforted by friends and family meaning that you haven’t required as many home comforts, but travelling with your favourite biscuits, teabags, crisps and cereal will provide a much needed food hug when you’re feeling low.

Don’t misunderstand us: there’s nothing quite like discovering the new food in the country of your choice, but let it come in time. Food in particular can be a real culture shock so rather than over-stimulate all of your senses, if you’re feeling particularly low, tuck into that pack of choccy biscuits and make yourself a lovely cup of something warm.

Set up a Skype account

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skype has proven itself to be a saving grace to long distance relationships the world over. A fuzzy phone call can just make those loved ones feel even further away, but with nothing bar a decent internet connection, a web cam and microphone, you can enjoy face-to-face conversations for however long you want.

Seeing the face of your loved one perched on the desk in front of you can provide a huge amount of comfort, while your parents will really appreciate being able to see that you haven’t invested in a full-facial tattoo during your adventures. Continued…


Three Reasons Why You’re Still Not Teaching English Abroad!

You have no money? You’re scared of leaving routine? You think you’re too old? We won’t be having any of these excuses! If teaching English abroad is something you REALLY want to do then you will find a way around it…and of course, we are here to help!

TEFL

So, let’s get started…

1) You have no money

This couldn’t be a better reason for you to start teaching English abroad! Unless you choose to volunteer, you are almost 100% guaranteed to get paid for the teaching that you do. This can be anything from $1000 per month in Thailand to $3500 per month in Saudi Arabia (where the money is at!). On top of this in many countries (for example China, South Korea and Turkey) they will provide you with free accommodation, usually a one bedroom apartment, or give you money towards it. Most schools in China and South Korea will also reimburse the money you pay for your flights…you can’t get much better than that…surely?! So, if you’re concerned about not having enough money, you could start your TEFL adventure in one of these countries, build up some great experience then perhaps move on to one of the better paid countries…sorted!

Now try and tell us again that having no money is stopping you from starting your adventure?!

To find out more about pay etc. in different countries take a look at our Top TEFL Destinations infographic.

2) You’re scared of leaving routine

Get up. Eat breakfast. Go to work. Go to the gym. Get home. Make dinner. Watch some rubbish on the television. Go to bed. Repeat. Does your daily routine sound something like this? Well, how would you like it to sound something like this: Get up. Watch the sun rise over the glistening sea whilst eating you breakfast. Stroll to work. Make a difference to people’s lives. Inspire them. Stroll home. Go for a run along the beach. Be entertained by some locals dancing and singing outside the door of your house. Eat some delicious local cuisine. Go to bed. Repeat.

Are you REALLY scared of leaving routine now?

3) You think you’re too old

Ask yourself this…WHY should you ever be too old to start teaching English abroad? If it is something you are passionate about then nothing should stop you. Yes, if we are realistic you may experience a few difficulties with Visas but you just have to keep patient. More often than not teachers with a few years of maturity are preferred in many TEFl destinations. Maybe you want to see places you never got a chance to…TEFL couldn’t be a better way to fund this! As many people would say wouldn’t you rather live a life of “oh well’s” rather than “what if’s?” Perhaps it could be your way of assisting your children/grandchildren in seeing the world! Katie is a mature TEFLer and after teaching in China for three years she has moved on to Vietnam. You can catch Katie on Chalkboard here.

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Hey Katie!

So, we hope we’ve helped to put your mind at rest about some of the main concerns that people have about starting the TEFL life. Remember, teaching English abroad is all about: making money, spending some time in another country, relaxing at the beach on weekends, earning money, gaining valuable work experience, making a difference AND having the time of your life…WHAT more could you ask for?!