TEFLDaddy.com
A Practical Guide to Teaching English Abroad

 
Frank and Friendly Advice written by a Retired Teacher-Trainer, Experienced EFL Teacher
& Former Peace Corps Volunteer Living & Working Abroad since 1989

Can I set up my first TEFL job before I go?  Or should I wait until I get there?

Which way works best?

I like to set up my jobs before I move to a country.  Only once in my career have I gone to a country, done interviews, and selected the job I wanted - before actually moving there.

While moving first and lining up a job once there, has its appeal - I, personally, am not that confident in new countries or new situations.

If you know the country you'd like to move to well - and have the financial ability - it probably would work best for you to go there first.  If you don't know the country and language well, it probably is better to line up your job from your home country.

Why do some people advocate going there first?

On the scene you can meet teachers that work at the school you are considering, see if the housing is decent, meet your employer, and see if things are as stated.  Accepting a job from overseas makes these things difficult. 

Also, many employers prefer to hire people on the scene.  They don't really know for sure if an overseas hire is going to show up or not.  If you are already there, obviously the odds are much better that you will be there for your classes on Monday morning.

Visa Problems

Many countries require that you apply for your work visa from outside that country.  Tourist visas (what you get when you arrive) are often (maybe usually) not convertible to work visas.  So, even if you do line up a job - you will still need to leave the country and go to a neighboring country to get the correct visa.  This is an additional expense that you will need to consider.  Travel, hotel, and visa expenses can add up.

Local Hiring

Some countries greatly prefer to hire locally.  Thailand is one.  Why would an employer consider hiring someone from overseas - when so many people apply locally?  Some countries, like Korea and China, are quite used to people applying from overseas and it presents no problem.

 

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