Teaching English Abroad

We left the UK in 2013 with over £20,000 of hard-earned savings, which paid for almost a year and a half of fast-paced travel around New Zealand, Australia, South-East Asia and the UK. However, this wasn’t enough to quench our wanderlust so we hatched a new plan that would allow us to continue to travel, live in new cultures and earn enough money to save for the future: teach English abroad.

Why Teach English Abroad?

Do you want to explore a new country and really experience what it’s like to live in a different culture? Teaching abroad allows you to become involved in everyday life in your chosen country; you’ll be working alongside local people, teaching local children and living within the community you serve. In addition to this, most English teaching jobs abroad are relatively well paid and located in countries where there’s typically a low-cost of living, so you can save money easily while you work.

Andrew teaching in Vietnam

Teaching English Abroad – How to get Started

Although Andrew is a qualified teacher in the UK, I managed to land my first English teaching job without any previous experience – just a master’s degree and a TEFL certificate.  We are now living and teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam and we’ve put together these articles about our experiences to help aspiring TEFL teachers.

If you’re specifically looking for teaching work in Vietnam or China and you’re a native English speaker with a degree, please email us at: ourbigfattraveladventure @ gmail.com (remove the spaces before and after the @ sign) as we may be able to help you find a role through our contacts. When emailing, please include your CV and the subject line: Teaching Application.

16 thoughts on “Teaching English Abroad

  1. Hi!
    I’d like to say a big thank you for your amazing blog! It’s not only thoroughly informative, but also beautifully inspiring for anyone who wants to follow their dreams. I’m going to Vietnam alone at the beginning of March to teach English and explore this mesmerizing country. I have to admit that the preparations are quite overwhelming, thus your blog is a lifesaver. THANK YOU AGAIN! I’m a bit worried about language school scams in Hanoi. There are so many online warnings, so I would be extremely grateful if you could advise me what schools are the best in your opinion.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Joanna, thanks for reading and I’m glad you’ve found our blog useful. What an exciting journey you’re embarking on, I hope you have a great time in Vietnam. The most reputable and well-known language centres are Apollo, ILA, Language Link and we worked for Washington; just be careful to get references from other teachers who work there and read your contract thoroughly before you sign anything. If you have any more questions, feel free to let me know 🙂

      • Hi Amy,
        Thank you for your quick reply and advice! I hope you are having a great time in the USA!

          • Hi again!
            Actually I have another question if you don’t mind. For some strange reason I find Hanoi very overwhelming and I’m totally lost when it comes to a decision where is the best place to live over there. Perhaps, it’s because I lived in tiny Banff in Canada before with elks and deer behind my window 🙂
            As I read on your blog, you used the agency to help you find accommodation. Could I have its name, please? Perhaps, they could help me find a share flat or a studio for a single person?

            Btw, Happy Holidays!!!


          • Hi Joanna, our agency contact is Binh, his email address is: binh@fair-realestate.com. He will be able to take you by taxi to see a number of places around the city so you can choose what’s best for you. I’m sure he can find you a place for a single person easily; many expats choose to live in West Lake (Tay Ho), you might like this area as it’s less hectic. Have a great Christmas too and let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  2. Hi! I just wanted to let you know that this blog is beyond helpful!! I am currently a senior in high school and about to move onto college. My biggest dream is to become an English teacher abroad. I go to Vietnam to teach English, a part from an organization. But my main question I wanted to ask you is, what education path/ majors are helpful when wanting to teach abroad?

    • Hi Victoria, thanks for reading and commenting. It sounds like you have some big, exciting plans for the future! English or education degrees are helpful for teaching work but any degree combined with a TEFL or CELTA qualification should help you to find teaching work. Any experience you can get in the classroom is always good preparation too, I wish I’d had more of that before I started teaching! Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

  3. Hello!

    I am looking to travel South East Asia at the start of next year. I’ve decided Vietnam may be a good place to put my TEFL qualification to use once I have completed it. I was just wondering if you knew how long the qualification was valid for as i’ve heard for a ‘lifetime’ and others ‘just a year’.
    Also, do you know if it’s possible to just teach over there for 5-6 months as i’ve read that contracts are 12 months minimum which would be too long for me.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Mollie, thanks for reading. As far as I know, TEFL certificates should be valid for life; you could always check this with the company you do your training with though. Most language centres do try and get you to sign up for either 9 or 12 month contracts but I’m sure you could find shorter contracts, especially if you arrive after Christmas and are looking to teach for the rest of the school year (although there will be less work around in January than there is in September). Good luck!

  4. Hello,

    Thank you very much for this blog. I am a young woman who is thinking about teaching in Vietnam.

    Would it be possible to have ask you some questions via e-mail?

    thank you very much,

  5. Hi,
    I am so happy to have stumbled on your blog, especially the Indonesian section (comments were closed, thus why I’m commenting on this page). Jakarta is a rough place for sure and I actually just got a teaching job about an hour south of it. It can be incredibly overwhelming being the only Westerner (photos, shouting, wanting to practice English anywhere and anytime no matter if I’m eating dinner or walking down the street), and I’m learning to navigate it all with a positive attitude but the introvert in me is dying a little haha. Luckily I began my trip in Gili Meno (I hope you loved your time there!) and I’ll probably make several trips to Bali to feel like I’m in civilzation again. Anyways, I really appreciated your honest views and look forward to reading more about your travels!

    • Hi Caitlin, thanks so much for reading and commenting. Wow, I bet teaching in Java is an experience, I’ll be interested to read more about your adventures and will definitely check out your blog 🙂 Yes, we definitely found Gili Meno to be a peaceful little place.

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