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How is Teaching Abroad Different to Teaching ESL in My Home English-Speaking Country?

English learners in CambodiaESL teacher? Thinking of jetting off into the sunset to embark on your first TEFL adventure? What’s stopping you? Fear of the unknown? Or not knowing whether or not you’ll ever come back?!

If you’re thinking of taking the leap… here are a few reasons that will have you googling ‘teaching jobs abroad’ quicker than you can say…‘emigration!’

1) It’s somewhere different

Starting with a bit of an obvious one! In all seriousness though, how long have you lived in the same house, same city and done the same job every day…probably a long time! Teaching English abroad allows you to break from routine, experience another culture and put your teaching skills to the test…maybe on the other side of the world! What happens if you find it’s not for you? You can come home safe in the knowledge that you’ve at least tried it!


2) You already know what you’re doing

From 40 years experience to no experience at all, everyone can teach English abroad. However, unlike a TEFL newbie, as an ESL teacher, you’ve had chance over the years to craft your teaching skills. One of the main things for new teachers to conquer is class control and delivering a lesson – two skills you’ve already mastered.

This is your time to show off. You’ve got your worksheets saved on your trusty memory stick and your lessons plans down to a tee, all you need to do on arrival is a bit of tweaking and you’re on your way, back in your comfort zone!

3) Your bank account will see the benefit

One major perk of being an experienced teacher is that you’ll be top of the pack when it comes to being hired from employers all over the world. Like any job, experience can really make a difference in pay between initial starting salaries and having a couple years’ teaching experience behind you.

Which countries, we hear you ask? Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are some of the most popular (and highest paying) TEFL destinations with experienced teachers. For example, in Saudi Arabia, it is not unheard of for employers to ask for 2 years experience and you can expect to be rewarded with a 45k salary (TAX-FREE) plus other incredible perks such as return flights and a housing and transportation allowance (or even completely paid for)!

Beginning to wonder why you’ve been staying put all these years?

4) The students

If you’re an ESL teacher in an English-speaking country you might find a slight difference in type of students between your home country and abroad, mainly a difference in purpose for learning the English language.

Typically, as an ESL teacher in your home country you’ll notice that students who are learning English will do so in order to get by on a daily basis and also to grow in fluency. For English learners abroad there are two main purposes 1) Business reasons and 2) Personal growth & employability. For the former, English is the universal language for business, science, technology, diplomacy, aviation and advertising, so it is easy to see why many professionals strive to learn it. There really is a demand for English teachers all over the world. For the second reason, learning English is an active choice in order to either better someone’s prospects or just purely out of interest. For example, there is a growing market for teaching English to young learners as parents recognise that an ability to speak another language could be beneficial to future job prospects.

Looking to try your hand at TEFL? Have a browse of our Jobs Board to find your perfect job!


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