9 Reasons to Consider for Teaching English Abroad

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Some years ago, a certain architect from the UK – Mike Gilchrist – was unable to find any related work in the UK. 

Instead of sitting at home and blaming his bad luck, he took the opportunity to travel and teach English in Japan. 

After a while working in an unfamiliar environment, TheGuardian magazine caught up with him, and you wouldn’t believe the things he had to say.

TheGuardian: What is the teaching like?

Mike Gilchrist: “Working as an assistant language teacher (ALT) is a lot of fun and it’s great when the students understand and take part in the lesson. As the only foreigner in the school, you’re instantly liked by the students because you’re so alien to them.”

What have you seen and experienced?

“In the last year, I have traveled a decent amount around Japan seeing the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Kobe ... Japan has such a variety of things to see from the bright neon lights of bustling Tokyo to the relaxed traditional sights of Kyoto 

What have you learned?

“I know that my presentation skills have improved, as have my verbal communication skills. If you can present to 40 students and have them take part, you can present to anyone regardless of age. Also, I am now a master of the chopstick.”

Why are you staying for another year?

“There are several places I still want to visit. I was guaranteed a job teaching in two different junior high schools with excellent holidays and decent pay. I do really like teaching too. It’s rewarding, fun, and probably the best job I’ve had.”

Reading through Mike’s success story, are you also feeling the urge to jump on a plane and head to a new country to TEFL? Because I am. 

You can sense in his voice that he’s happy doing what he’s doing. You can also see the degree of freedom he’s enjoying. Not to mention other benefits like the opportunity to explore a new culture, and the chance to go to places and see things he’s probably dreamt of as a kid. And it seems his pay is pretty good, too.

Who doesn’t want this kind of job?

Having said all these, below are nine reasons why we think you, too, should consider going abroad to TEFL like Mike.

9 Reasons to consider going abroad to TEFL

1. You will never struggle to find a job

One of the challenges job-seekers face every day is the issue of being rejected by companies and organizations. 

Strangely, TEFL abroad teachers don’t face this problem. There’s always a job to do. In fact, in many cases, you’ll have more than one offer to choose from.

So, if you’re struggling to get a good job in your country, going abroad to TEFL – like Mike did – might be a reasonable option.

2.The job requirements are not hard-to-meet

Literally, anybody can go abroad to teach English as a foreign language. There is absolutely no barrier to entry.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a native speaker or a non-native speaker of the language. It also doesn’t matter whether you went to college to study architecture, engineering, medicine, or you didn’t go to college at all.

Provided you have the zeal and are willing to do all the legwork necessary to take TEFL courses – whether Level 5 TEFL course or TESOL courses – and pass them to get certified, you’re good to go.

All the TEFL courses you need to become certified can be taken online on platforms like Premier TEFL before you travel or in a classroom when you reach your target country.

3. You’ll be treated specially

It is one thing to be a teacher; it’s another thing to be an English language teacher in a foreign country. Believe it or not, English teachers are treated like queens and princes abroad.

As Mike rightly pointed out, “As the only foreigner in the school you’re instantly liked by the students because you’re so alien to them.”

This is a language they've been dying all their lives to learn. So, to see a teacher who speaks it so fluently makes them fall naturally in love with the person. You'll get love and respect from your students, parents, employer, and coworkers.

If you like being in places where you’re noticed, adored, and appreciated, then this is a chance you cannot pass on.

4. Easy travel to your dream destinations

Everybody has a bucket list of places they’ll like to visit before they pass on. Teaching English abroad actually opens up the opportunity to visit as many of the destinations on your bucket list as possible.

Once you land a job in a particular city abroad, traveling to other nearby cities or countries becomes as simple as a snap of the finger.

Take for instance; let’s say you travel to Spain to teach English, you can easily hop on a train to spend the weekend in France, or Portugal for just a few bucks. 

If you’re in South Korea, you can easily head to Thailand or the Philippines.  In Belgium, you have the opportunity to easily drop-by at Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, or even Germany. 

Oh, and let’s not forget the opportunity to see great destinations like Athens, Venice, Vienna, Jerusalem, Cairo, or Jordan if you land a TEFL job in Turkey.

5. It puts a star on your CV 

Teaching English abroad looks great on a resume for any career field you are trying to enter. It tells future employers in any industry that you’re adaptable, open to challenges, and possess strong intercultural understanding, which might be of valuable importance to their dream of expanding into new countries.

 6. A chance to pick up a second language

What better way is there to hone a new language skill than to go to the country itself?

Are you looking to brush up on your Spanish? Head to Spain to TEFL. Want to understand French beyond the BONJOURs and BONSOIRs? Take a job in France.

Whatever the country you go to, the chances are high that by the time you return, you’ll have added to your language skillset. 

7. You grow into more of yourself

Roy T. Bennett once said, “You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

And he’s quite right. 

Research and facts have it that people who step out of their country to live in other countries return to be stronger and tougher persons mental-wise. 

By leaving your comfort zone, you'll learn to grow a certain degree of mental toughness and survival instincts that someone who's never lived a day outside their country wouldn't have.

8.Your knowledge of new cultures become heightened 

There is a difference between someone who goes to a country on a vacation and someone who is living within the country full-time.

Spending time in another country with a completely different culture will help you become a well-rounded individual, the kind of person who not only knows the facts about what’s going on in a particular region but also understands how its people feel about it.

9. A chance to chase a career in international politics, diplomacy, foreign affairs, and international business

Who knows what doors will open tomorrow?

By gaining valuable experience as a TEFL teacher overseas, you stand yourself in good stead to leverage any opportunity that comes on the international stage.

For example, a foreign affair opportunity could materialize between the country where you’re TEFLing and your home country. 

It is only when you’re present in a foreign country that you can be considered for any available international offers.


Teaching English abroad is demanding, no doubt. But it is also exciting, and profiting, too.

If you have the knack for it, it’s a career you won’t regret pursuing. 

Why? Because there are lots of benefits to enjoy, and a lot of experiences to savor.