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Are you looking for a comprehensive guide that can assist you in succeeding in teaching English abroad? This article comes in handy for you! Exotic locations from all over the world are waiting for you. However, it can be irritating to figure out by yourself the answers to little questions that emerge in your mind.

These guidelines and recommendations can help you to do better preparation while applying for your dream job. There are some main issues and problems that you are going to deal with while teaching English abroad. Here are a few fundamental things you should know to avail the best opportunity.

1. Make Sure To Earn The Required Qualification

Teaching English abroad also demands particular qualifications like any other job on the market. To be an English teacher abroad, you may be required to have at least a bachelor’s degree and ESL teaching certification such as TEFL or TESOL. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification or the advanced program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) confirms that you have completed training to teach English to non-native speakers. TEFL desires at least 100 hours of dedication, and both can be done in person, online, or a combination of both.

Some ESL companies do not require any degrees or certifications, but such qualifications will be valuable to make your job search easier and open more chances for you. Being an English native speaker is far from knowing how to teach that language to an international student. You may be naturally proficient in teaching English abroad, or you will find it surprisingly challenging. You will need some training and experience to be an expert in it.

2. Get A Proper Visa For Teaching English Abroad

Getting accurate information about your visa requirements is one of the most challenging tasks to do. You need to know several visas and apply for the right one, similar to the visa to teach in China.

Work Visa

You will probably need a work permit and work visa to teach English abroad overseas. In most cases, you can get this work visa after completing the process of legal visa. Two main factors that determine your visa’s expenses are your selected destination for teaching English abroad and the value of your passport. You can ask your recruiter about this for more details.

3. Comprehend Your Job And The Signed Contract

Like any other employment on the market, teaching English abroad comes with some accountabilities and indemnifications. You must fully comprehend your contract and package before accepting the English teacher’s position with an organized program.

You need to confirm that you answer these questions: Are they going to pay for your flight ticket? What is your salary after taxes? Be sure to consider the cost of housing if you are not given free accommodation or housing payment. What are your holiday allowance and the number of vacation days? Is there any time limit for leaving the position? To put it simply, every single detail of your contract matters. Do some research and read online articles about teaching English abroad at your destination of choice! Read the reviews and consider all of your available opportunities.

Find the right online or abroad English teaching jobs here >

4. Attract Your Students

Imagine you are a student sitting in a classroom where a teacher is from another part of the world with a different cultural background. It can be terrifying to feel comfortable in such a situation. Now, you can completely understand how your students think about you.

The first strategy to build a relationship with your students is to address them by name. You need to show a genuine effort to know them better because the students will not learn from you if they dislike you. Treat them like they are your friends!

Keep in mind that the students are just like you. There is something more to their lives than how they behave in a class that particular day. Take the first few minutes of each class to interact with them casually and ask them about their day, any exciting plans they have, their interests, and hobbies. Using that method, you can get to know them better, create a relaxing and personal learning environment, and collect discussion activities. It is easier and more enjoyable for the students to speak in English if they can talk about what they love. Open yourself up to the students! Tell them that you are always available to help outside of the classroom as well. You can plan regular office hours or inform them of the best way to reach out to you whenever they need to chat. Even though this practice requires investing a bit more of your time, you will be surprised at the rewards, such as your relationships and ideas to improve your teaching techniques.

5. Build An Outgoing Learning Environment and Routine

Students must feel enjoyable and steady while conveying their ideas and thoughts in front of their classmates. Create a non-judgemental space during the learning session and motivate them to practice English with you and their classmates. Correct their mistakes and errors in a casual tone, but try to limit your corrections while speaking because it will ruin their courage. Students should not be afraid of making mistakes because that is how they make progress. You can note the important errors that they need to change and let them know later on.

Give suitable time to the students to interpret your question in their mind. Initially, the learning process may be slow. Urge your students to participate in class activities and lessons. Use gracious and simple instructions to deliver your message. Categorize the class time for hands-on activities, questions, and group discussions. Generally speaking, limit your Teacher Talking Time (TTT) and open more opportunities for the students to talk in English.

Your lessons are newly discovered for the students, and they are going to ask some inquiries. Get ready to face the irrelevant questions from them and never criticize them for that even if they are not related to the topic. Be tolerant and answer their questions with patience.

6. Use Constructive Visuals In Your Classroom

Students can understand the lesson better from graphics and visuals. Try to display cartoons or animations with helpful English content for them in the classroom. Vocabulary is always the main problem for such students in any English class. If you want to be successful in teaching English abroad, make sure you know about producing visuals. Include English labels to daily use items such as chairs and doors of the classes. It will aid the students to absorb the vocabulary more constructively.

Generally, visuals help the students to perceive and memorize the concepts more easily. While your Teacher Talking Time (TTT) will exactly be diminished, the classroom environment will be more energetic and cheerful when all of the students can get involved in the activities. Alternatives for visual aids in an ESL classroom consist of objects, photos, pictures, charts and graphics, videos, movies, maps, posters, to other things related to the teaching of a particular lesson or topic.

7. Dress Appropriately

Your outfit is very crucial in many cultures. In some countries such as Japan, teachers are preferred to dress in conventional apparel like business garments (suit and tie for men, pantsuit or skirt and dress shirt for women). The attire code tends to be more formal in large metropolitan areas than in rural or remote regions. In countries like India or Nepal, the teachers are required to cover their knees and shoulders. Hence, long sleeve shirts and long pants are the best getups for them. In Islamic societies that are more conventional such as Saudi Arabia, female teachers are supposed to cover their entire body except for their face and hands.

Clean appearance is commonly preferred in East Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam. You may consider removing face piercings and hiding tattoos if the school needs that. Lastly, in many countries, especially Japan, you have to cover up tattoos exposed because of their bad cultural confederations that still exist.

Overall, it differs by country and school. The community, in general, is continuously changing and becoming more open. Therefore, make sure that you do your due diligence and dress appropriately following the particular culture and school’s expectations. You may ask other staff members at the school to know about their appearance and dressing expectations before entering the class.

8. Ask For Guidance

When you are getting ready to teach abroad, nothing can be better than asking for guidance from the teachers who are teaching or already taught in that country. They are in the perfect position to assist you through the entire teaching process in a foreign country. You can contact them through various social media platforms and online forums. They will also guide you to connect with the institutions’ alumni so that you get better prepared. Ask them about the dos and don’ts when you are teaching there. They must know the basics, and they will ensure that you do it right.

When you are unfamiliar with a country, you may need time to build a stronger bond with your colleagues. Don’t just hang out with the foreigners, and this is your chance to make friends with the locals too! You will encounter considerable diversity in culture, whether in the classroom or your daily life. You will understand them better from a local’s perspective. Please do not rush to conclusions about others and give them enough time to adjust and adapt to you. As time goes on, people will open up, and you will make more fabulous friends.

9. Engage The New Culture

Culture shock can be nerve-racking for anyone who is moving from one country to another. It is normal to feel uneasy at first, and things will not make sense, depending on how different the cultures of the destination and country of origin are from each other. However, it is fascinating to meet so many new people and learn new things. This is your rare opportunity to embrace other cultures, see the world from a different perspective, get more engaged and make a difference!

Try to study the cultural background of your destination country beforehand and make friends with the locals and other ESL teachers because such knowledge can help you in teaching English abroad. Employ your comprehension of the local culture to build an effective learning environment in your classroom.

10. Be Patient

Learning a new language is an undeniably difficult task. The students may feel confused at first, but patience is the key here. Follow your strategy and teach the lessons correspondingly. After a while, the students will get more familiar and enjoyable in learning the English language.

The whole class will not be able to improve their English skills at the same rate. Some of them find it easy to catch up with the lessons, while others struggle to understand them. An effective way to improve their vocabulary is to create a list of words you will use in your next classes. Discuss a few words each day with them before starting your lesson plan. Make them understand the true meaning and use of these words.

The ways local students learn and the methods used by local teachers to teach may be very different from what you know. Thus, it would help if you were flexible and open-minded to adapt to the new teaching systems. If you try to do something new, but it doesn’t work out, move on to something else! The critical point is you need to be able to adjust and learn quickly. You are always learning new things every day, just like your students.


Many people move abroad to teach English and stay longer than they had planned because it gets harder to leave. We can help you find one via Let’s Teach English! Teaching English abroad can be a life-changing experience, and you will never go back to the same person. Remember these guidelines, have fun, and good luck!