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

The Super TEFL FAQ List

[Every FAQ question is a link - click on the question to go to that page]

Part One:

Learn about Teaching  English Overseas

Is Teaching English Overseas appropriate for me?
What qualities are needed to succeed?

How much might I earn or save?

Is there job security?

What are my chances of landing a “decent” job?

What types of jobs are available?

Is it possible to find a job teaching for only a few months?
For a few years?  For the rest of my life?

Who does this kind of work and why?

What if I don’t speak the language where I want to go?

I hear only flakey things about teaching overseas!
Do people respect the occupation?
Is this business full of misfits?

Can TEFL Overseas be a “real” career?

What if I am not young, white, thin, blonde, native-speaking, straight, or ?

What if I don’t have teaching experience?

What if I don’t have a degree or TEFL training?

What kind of quality of life can I expect?

Part Two:

How to Make the Best Decision for You

Where can I find good advice?

Will I need some training first?

What do I bring to the table?  Find your “special” skills.

What if I have children?  What about my partner/spouse?

How to search the job market – possible jobs – possible countries.  How would I decide?

How “safe” is life overseas for single women or families?

What is the social life overseas like?  Will I be lonely?

What is teaching like?  What is a “typical day” like?

Is life overseas healthy?  You can’t drink the water?

What if I have special medical issues or need certain medicines?

What if I am a vegetarian or have special dietary wants and/or needs?

 What’s the cost of living?

What’s the downside?  What if things don’t work out?

How long does it take to “adjust” and get into the groove of overseas life?

Part Three:

How/Where do I start?  What to do once the decision is made.

How do I find where I fit in best?

How do I find a financial situation that suits me?

How do I select a place that fits my lifestyle?

Should I get some training?  How?  Where?  What kind?

What about health insurance?

Should I freelance, take a part-time or full-time job?

Should I teach kids or adults?

What about corporate classes?

Where’s the best place for a “newbie” to start?

Can I set up a job before I go.  Or should I wait until I get there?

Part Four: 

The TEFL Job Search

Should I use a recruiter?

Should I send e-mails and letters?  Or call?

What about CV’s and Resumes?  The same as back home?

Can I find an EFL job in the area of  my special interest?

How do I market myself?
How can I make myself attractive to a potential employer?

What are the interviews like?  Can you give me some tips?

What about telephone interviews?

What documents do I need to have?

Should I send my original degree or certificate to a recruiter or potential employer?

Is my appearance important?  What about tattoos, piercings, etc.?

What if I am handicapped?

What is the rejection rate?

How quickly can I find a job?

Part Five:

Accepting your first TEFL Job

What questions should I ask when trying to decide whether to accept a job?

What are “visa runs” all about?

Are contracts worth the paper they are written on?

How can I check the reputation of a potential employer?

What is “Western-style” housing?

What are split shifts?  Should I accept working them?

Should I accept weekend work?

Part Six: 

Organizing yourself to go Overseas

Should I buy health insurance?

How should I budget for the transition?  How much money should I take with me?

How do I send money home?

Should I set up any special banking or financial accounts?

What should I do with my house?  Rent it out or sell it?

What possessions should I sell?  Which should I store?

What responsibilities do I have to my home country before I go?

Should I keep a mailing address in my home country?

Part Seven: 

Making the Move Overseas

What kind of plane tickets should I buy?

What expenses are involved in moving?

Do I arrange my working or residence visas before I go – or after?

What do I need to take with me?

What do I NOT need to take with me?

Should I mail important things to my new address – or take them on the plane with me?

Part Eight: 

On the Job – the Scene in Your New Country

What is “culture shock” and how will it affect me?

Cultural differences: When Yes = No

What is Xenophobia and Jingo-ism?  How do I deal with them?

What should I wear to my new job?

Should I buy a car or motorcycle?

Can I make extra money on the side?

Should I socialize with the people where I work?

The Culture Game:  Can I really get a raise just by going to a Karaoke with my boss?

How do I know if it is safe where I live?

Will my job offer medical insurance?

How do I reduce my initial expenses?

Part Nine: 

Planning for a Long Stretch Overseas

How does networking work overseas?

Should I continue to network in my home country?

Does it matter where I get more training or education?  Distance programs and more.

Can I get better health insurance?

Do I need a will if I stay overseas?

 Part Ten: 

Medical Care while you are Overseas

What kind of coverage do I need?  Should I get just a traveler’s policy?
How much coverage do I need?

Should I get a policy that can move from country to country with me?

Where can I find a good insurance policy?

Part Eleven: 

Planning for Your Financial Success

What kind of bank accounts do I need?
Should I get an international ATM card?

Should I invest in my new country or my old country?

Should I invest in real estate or the stock market?

How can I manage real estate from overseas?

Should I open a brokerage account?  Can I open one from overseas?

Keeping a "Plan A" - B, and C: Contract “flexibility” and other problems.

Part Twelve: 

Planning for Your Eventual Return Home

Should I continue to network – even when I am away from my home country?

What should I do about my aging parents?

Should I keep a webpage?

How do I budget the transition back home?

How can I keep up my qualifications while I am away?

What is “reverse culture shock” and how does it work?

And Just a little bit More . . . 

Where to Find More Information

and an Appendix of TEFL and EFL Terminology

What about training?

How to Choose a TEFL Certification Program


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