Alumni English Careers

Teaching English Abroad: The Rewarding Way to Travel

As a young child I remember the urge of wanting to explore a new place, and as an adult, this urge grew. Before I realized it the places I discovered began to reach past walking distances, past traveling in cars, soon I was jet-setting across the world to new continents. In these new lands, I found the knowledge of cultures, compassion, and curiosities that amazed me, and I was enthralled. I was indeed bitten by the travel bug, and once the itch appeared, I had no choice but to scratch; however, there was one obstacle that always stood in my way . . . money. Without proper financing, I had no means to travel and remained stuck with the itch. I began to research to find a way to travel and still make money to live off; this searching brought me to on obvious choice: teaching English abroad.

When first discovering this as a possibility I was plagued with doubts such as, “Will I be qualified enough?” and “Is this a realistic dream?” To find answers, I dove into a fact-finding mission. Here are the top three questions I had and the answers I found:

1. What are the qualifications?

I began the search by finding out the needed qualification to teach abroad and what I found was that most countries require a completed Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate. Some countries accept Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) degrees in place of TEFL certificates, but it is always best to find out for sure before making final decisions.

Another concern I had regarding qualifications is the language fluency issues. I was concerned that I would be disqualified for not speaking the language; however, I found out this was not as big a problem as I feared it might be. Language fluency is not a requirement for teaching abroad, but it is recommended to learn the language so that you can better adjust to local life outside the classroom.

2. Where could I teach?

This answer is pretty simple: Almost all countries are looking for English teachers, and while the demand is much higher in Asia, many other counties are also on the hunt.

3. Will I be able to afford to live abroad?

This question is a bit more complicated than it may seem to be on the surface. What I have found is typically in European and Latin America countries teaching English pays to live while there; however, in Asian and Middle Eastern countries it is more common to support your life while abroad and even save a decent amount. It is essential to keep in mind that I am just reporting the typical results and that it is possible to have a different experience.

Another expense to keep in mind is that not all schools pay for your flight over and other such costs. You will want to make sure that you have a hefty nestle of money kept in savings for expenses not covered by schools. This could range from rent, groceries, and bills. Also, keep in mind that like most jobs you do not get paid automatically so be prepared to have to wait for your first paycheck. Remember to factor in money for excursions and sight-seeing, as you will be in a new country and should explore!

The most important part in looking to teach English abroad is research, research, research!

Are you a Sigma Tau Delta Alumni member? Consider submitting a blog to WORDY by Nature to share with your fellow Sigma Tau Delta members how you have been using your English degree.

Jessica Shields
Associate Student Representative, High Plains Region, 2018-2019
Rho Psi Chapter, Alum
Fort Hays State University


Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University. The Society strives to

  • Confer distinction for high achievement in English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies;
  • Provide, through its local chapters, cultural stimulation on college campuses and promote interest in literature and the English language in surrounding communities;
  • Foster all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing;
  • Promote exemplary character and good fellowship among its members;
  • Exhibit high standards of academic excellence; and
  • Serve society by fostering literacy.

With over 900 active chapters located in the United States and abroad, there are more than 1,000 Faculty Advisors, and approximately 9,000 members inducted annually.

Sigma Tau Delta also recognizes the accomplishments of professional writers who have contributed to the fields of language and literature.

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