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Study Abroad

Can You Teach English Abroad During College? Everything You Need To Know About Teaching English Overseas

Liam Berry

Here at the WayUp Guide, we know that going abroad is more than just an extended vacation. It’s an opportunity to truly broaden your horizons and invite new ways of thinking into your life. Connection with other people is a huge part of that process. To teach English abroad is to connect with a group of people trying to do the same thing that you are: Participate in a global society.

We’ve put together this piece to tell you everything you need to know about teaching English abroad.

Is It possible To Teach English While Studying Abroad?

For the most part, having your own classroom while you’re studying abroad in a traditional program is very rare. If you’re already headed to Europe, Asia, or anywhere else on a study abroad program and you’re hoping to teach English while you’re there for a semester, the chances of doing this in an institution are very low. Even if it were more widely available, it would take a huge chunk of your time (given that it would come in addition to classes). The added stress of having a job, classes, and everything else would probably do more harm than good to your experience.

It is, however, very possible to teach English to individuals as a tutor or to work with an organization on a smaller scale. If you’re interested in tutoring foreign students, there are plenty of opportunities to teach English. This is especially true if you’re in a big city with universities. Some people are even unofficially hired to teach English to interested groups at community centers or other organizations. However, accepting a paid position comes with a web of legal entanglements. (You can read more about the dangers of that here.)

Given that getting paid to teach English is usually difficult, you can always tutor/teach on a volunteer basis. This is nice because there’s a much smaller time commitment when it comes to volunteering. Ask your study abroad program director or your study abroad office if such opportunities are available at your site. Students who came before you may have already done similar programs. If not, you can always call around to local universities or schools and ask if they need a volunteer.

Teaching English while you’re studying abroad, on a small scale, is definitely doable.

Teaching English Abroad In A Summer Program

If you’re really interested in the full teaching experience, then you should consider a summer program.

Again, if you’re an undergrad, most of the positions available to you will be on a volunteer basis. However, those programs will often pay for your room and board. You might also receive a small stipend for spending money. The best places to find programs like these are developing countries. Established economies like those in Europe and East Asia will usually have higher educational standards for English teachers.

If you want a paid position, then you should look into to getting a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification to bolster your resume. After that, it should be much easier to find a paid position without having to first pay a private service like Geovisions to scout out a position for you (although that is a fine option).

However, as we’ll talk about in the next section, a certification is not strictly necessary. And there are most certainly options for those looking to teach without them.

Do You Need A Certification To Teach English Abroad?

The short answer is, no. There are many programs that do not require certifications for undergrads looking to teach English in the summer. For the other types of tutoring or small-group teaching positions, those are usually undocumented to begin with and won’t require any certification. However, even programs that do allow undergrads to teach without certification will sometimes say they prefer it and favor students who do have it.

As we mentioned above, having a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification can add a lot to your resume as a potential teacher. However, it is totally possible to teach without a certification. Check out our list of programs below to see which ones do and don’t require certification.

These certifications cost approximately $500 and can usually be completed through an online course.

Longer English Teacher programs for after graduation have different requirements. But you don’t have to worry about going through official government training or getting certifications when you’re an undergrad (usually).

Here Are Some Great Programs And Resources To Check Out.

Find programs and jobs:

  • Dave’s ESL Cafe — Resource for connecting ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers and students from around the world.

  • API Study Abroad — Program that sends people around the world to teach English and volunteer.

  • AIESEC US — Non-profit, student-run group connecting teachers and students in more than 107 countries and territories.

  • Alliance Abroad/AIDE — Career site for teaching English abroad in Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

  • Interexchange — Site connecting students and recent grads with programs to travel abroad, teach English, and volunteer (will help you become TEFL-certified).

  • World Teach — Program connecting students and recent grads with opportunities to teach English abroad during the year, for a semester, or during the summer.

  • International Volunteer HQ — Organization connecting students with volunteer programs, some of which involve teaching English.

There are a ton of other programs and organizations out there! This list is just to get the ball rolling!

Find program reviews/ratings/details:

  • CIEE — Organization that helps you find study abroad/teach abroad programs that are right for you.

  • Go Overseas — Find reviews, compiled ratings, and program details.

  • Study Abroad 101 — Reviews, ratings, and more.

For all your other study abroad, internship, or career questions, be sure to check out the WayUp Guide for more!

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