group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Teach English

    Teaching English Abroad

    Teaching English abroad is one of the few practical means of finding a paid position in many countries. Several education systems and private language schools around the world are looking for teachers with native or near native English speaking proficiency for their classrooms. Long-term opportunities oftern require you to have a 4-year degree, while short-term opportunities are available for current students on a volunteer basis.

    The Learning Abroad Center provides a number of resources for you to explore and learn about international teaching opportunities. However, we do not administrate teaching abroad programs and cannot place you in a paid teaching position. Utilizing our website and other resources will be necessary for you to find the best type of teaching position for you.

    Getting Started

    1. Read the teaching English abroad web pages on this website to learn about the differences in teaching opportunities and how to start your search process.
    2. Establish your goals for teaching English abroad.
    3. Explore programs and positions in parts of the world where you are interested in teaching—do this early as many programs will have early deadlines.
    4. Contact programs to learn more about their teaching programs.

    Things to Consider

    There are several different types of teaching positions and several ways to find positions. There are 3 main approaches to finding positions: Government-sponsored programs, Teaching placement programs, Independently arranged positions. Establish goals for the kind of experience you prefer. A few things to consider are:

    1. Decide whether you want/need the support and structure of an organization to find you a teaching position or if you are comfortable arranging this on your own.
    2. Determine where you want to teach. Research demand and availability of positions in that location. Research types of schools and work culture and determine if you are comfortable working in those settings.
    3. Decide how much you want/need to earn while teaching abroad. Research wages in locations of interest. Some teaching opportunities will offer an attractive salary while other teaching positions will be volunteer-based.
    4. Research specific training and/or credentials needed for the positions in which you are interested.

    Gain Teaching Experience before You Go Abroad

    Teaching experience will make you a more desirable candidate when applying for jobs and will also better prepare you for your role as a teacher.

    Volunteer in Your Community

    Volunteer in your community to gain experience before teaching abroad. You'll find out if you enjoy teaching English, build your resume, and develop effective teaching skills. It can also be a cost-effective alternative if you do not plan to obtain TEFL certification. The Minnesota Literacy Council offers a training session for English as a Second Language (ESL) tutors and places you with local schools and organizations to gain experience teaching.

    Take a Class

    Consider taking one of the courses in the UofM Teaching English as a Second Language minor program.  CI 3611W - Basics in Teaching English as a Second Language includes a community engagement component where you will act as a teacher and professional leader with students for 30 hours a semester. This course will help preparee you for teaching ESL to adults in community programs.

    TEFL Training

    TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certification courses teach you how to create lesson plans and communicate effectively with students. This training will also make you a more qualified candidate when applying for teaching positions.

    TEFL certifications can be expensive. Consider whether the training is necessary and worth the cost. Look at actual job postings to see what qualifications are required for the country, type of school, or length of contract you desire.

    Keep in mind that simply being an English speaker does not necessarily qualify you to teach English. Teaching requires thoughtful lesson planning, patience, and effective communication. Certification courses provide valuable training that can make your teaching experience more enjoyable for you and your students.

    Local & Regional Certificate Programs

    US Government Programs

    Government Sponsored Programs

    Government sponsored programs are often funded by the department of education in the host country. These programs are more competitive than placement programs and also have a more extensive application process. They often do not require an application or participation fee.  These programs are typically intended for graduated students.  Note that these education abroad opportunities are not affiliated with the University of Minnesota and have not been fully vetted. Inclusion on this website should not be construed as an endorsement by the University of Minnesota.

    Teaching Placement Programs

    There are several opportunities to obtain positions through placement programs. You generally pay a fee to these organizations and they find your position placement, help with logistics, provide support. Support for flights, visa, housing, etc will vary from program to program. 

    Independently Arranged Positions

    There are several opportunities to arrange a teaching position independently. This requires you to research available positions and contact English language schools or language institutes directly. See the resources page for links to other teaching English abroad resources.