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TEFL – An Adventure For All Ages: Part One

Part One: TEFL for Gap Year Travellers and Backpackers 

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Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a great way for people of all ages to travel the world, earn a decent living and meet people from all over the world. But the challenges, opportunities and rewards of teaching English overseas are different depending on your age and your motivations to TEFL.

So we’ll be putting together a series of articles talking about TEFL experiences for everyone from gap year travellers through to people looking for a little adventure after they’ve retired. So, let’s kick off with you lucky, young, care-free, fresh-faced Gap Year TEFlers!

TEFL Opportunities for Gap Year Travellers

Due to the wandering nature of gap years and the relatively short time frames, TEFL opportunities for gap year travellers are effectively limited to three types of teaching: volunteering, short-term paid internships and summer schools.

Volunteering Opportunities

Despite the very obvious drawback that you can’t actually make any money by teaching English as a volunteer, it can be a great way to gain experience and work out whether TEFLing is right for you. It also opens up places where you just can’t really earn money teaching English, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

The Pros

Minimal training required
No previous experience require
You’ll be really making a difference
Gaining useful CV experience
Opportunities in exotic places

The Cons

No wages
Limited resources
You sometimes have to pay

Good Places to Look For Volunteer Opportunities:

The i-to-i TEFL Jobs Board

The Volunteer Teaching pages on

Short Term TEFL Internships

China Interns

If you can’t afford to take a gap year without earning a little cold hard cash along the way, signing up for a TEFL internship is a great option.

The vast majority of these internships are to be found in the rapidly growing English markets of South East Asia and China. And the good news, if you’re new to TEFL is that they are open to people with no previous experience and no TEFL training.

Our TEFL Internships in Asia are available in China, Thailand and Vietnam and include 140 hours of TEFL training, accommodation, help with visas and a healthy monthly living allowance.

The Pros     

No previous experience required
Full training included
Monthly wage
Free accommodation
Interns from all over the world

The Cons

We can’t think of any really
Asia can be quite hot
Bit depressing when you have to leave?
All that cheap food, travel and booze?
Seriously. We can’t think of any cons

Good Places to Look for TEFL Internship Opportunities:

The i-to-i Internships section

University jobs boards

Dave’s ESL Cafe

Teaching English in Summer Schools

Every year across Europe parents who’ve got a little cash send their kids off to improve their English skills at summer schools. There are literally 100s of them from Paris to Prague, Seville to Sienna.

The vast majority of summer schools, especially in the UK, are British Council affiliated. This means you need an EDI CertTEFL or another level 5 qualification like a CELTA to work there. There are also some schools you can work for with a 120- or 140-hour TEFL course. These high training requirements also mean that wages are relatively high: so you expect to earn anything up to £380 a week plus food and accommodation.

 The Pros

Locations across Europe
Decent wages
Meet teachers from around the world
Short term contracts available.

The Cons

You need a level 5 qualification
No long term stability

Good Places to Look for Summer Camp Opportunities:

Check out this blog post

The i-to-i TEFL Jobs Board

Dave’s ESL Café and other jobs boards

Regional newspapers and websites for the part of the world you want to teach in

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