Tell us a little about yourself and your experience teaching English abroad.

After finishing university, I wasn't ready for a traditional career path and drew up a list of things I wanted to do over the next couple of years. Top of the list were teaching, volunteering, and working a ski season. I headed out to Uganda where I volunteered on a school building project and from there, went to France to work as a ski rep, taking people out on the mountain. During this time, I took a little tumble in which I broke my back and during my down time, I started applying to teach English in South Korea due to the financial benefits. I taught in Korea for a year and also went on to teach in Poland and Turkey. Since that time, my life has been a series of varied experience across the globe.

Why did you decide to teach English abroad?

Education is power and the ability to spread knowledge - allowing people to better their lives - is something that always appealed to me. As English has become the global language, many people across the world hope to learn the language and being a native speaker, I realised that I was in a perfect situation to help others. That's the 'help others' side of things, but from a selfish point of view, teaching English is a very financially comfortable way to live. Although wages aren't that high, they typically exceed average wages for the country that you live in which leads to an increased buying power.

What qualifications are needed to teach English abroad?

It depends which country you teach in, but generally speaking, you only need to speak English in order to teach English as a second language. In Korea, it was required that all teachers hold a degree (in any subject) and are native English speakers, but in Turkey it was only required that you can speak English, rendering native status and qualifications meaningless. Certain countries like their teachers to hold some form of TEFL or CELTA certification, but there are many issues with these qualifications (particularly TEFLs)

How does someone find a job teaching English abroad?

Use Google to find job postings and recruitment agencies that will help place you. I found Dave's ESL Cafe and TEFL dot com to be very useful. I wrote an article about how to find a job teaching English in Korea , but the information is applicable to other countries too. Register directly with Korean agencies that recruit teachers. There is no single agency that I recommend above others. There are literally thousands of agencies that you can register with and I registered with loads of them. They do the hard work of matching you with jobs and the phone calls should start pouring in - they get paid good money for successfully recruiting teachers. The good thing about doing it this way is that it is easy, the bad thing is that some of the jobs you get approached with will be a load of rubbish.

Apply directly to jobs through TEFL forums. This way you speak directly with the school. This is a little time consuming, but you get to apply to specific jobs that you are interested in and the schools get to speak with you, thus avoiding a middleman. When I was applying in this way (and how I found my job), I applied through Dave’s ESL Cafe and TEFL dot com . The industry may have changed, but these were by far the best two global sites when I was looking for work as a teacher. That’s it. Answer calls from unknown numbers, be professional, and see what happens.

What is the pay like?

It varies by country, but in Korea I was paid 2.2 million Korean won per month, in addition to free housing, free flights, and a month's bonus upon completion of a twelve month contract. Tax was around 3% and Korea is quite a cheap country compared to the UK, my home country, which meant I could afford to go out for dinner multiple times a week and go away for a trip most weekends. I wrote an article comparing the earning and saving potential while teaching English in different countries across the world.

What are the best parts of teaching English abroad?

You get to live in a new place while earning money and helping people. If you have never lived outside of your own country, this is also a great way to start as you will have a stable life and quite often, a good community of fellow foreigners around you.

What are the biggest challenges in teaching English abroad?

Learning to stand up in front of a class of kids (or adults) is something that you cannot learn in a classroom. You hit the ground running and figure it out as you go along. Most people find their groove within a few weeks, but some people really struggle with this.

Best advice you've ever received?

Live a life that you don't need a vacation from.

Any helpful resources or links on this topic?

I didn't do much research before I started teaching abroad because no amount of research will prefer you for the reality of living in a new place and working a new job. I decided to just go and if I didn't like it, I could always leave. After my experiences, I published my own generic advice about teaching English abroad .