Teaching English in Asia can be a great way to continue your traveling and overseas experiences. Just remember, it is not all honey and roses though. Teaching English in Asia can be great or it can be a nightmare. It all depends on how you want to approach it. Here are some things you should know.
It’s not going to make you rich
You will make good money for Asia as the cost of living in Asia is much less than the Western world, but you won’t be living it up. If you just teach your basic hours, you will cover your accommodation and food, and have a little left to travel around with, but not very much. If you are just using it to get a little bit of extra spending cash as you are backpacking, great, but if you’re going to try and make it to career? You better do it because you love it and you enjoy the area.
Unfortunately, a lot of the companies that hire English teachers are quite happy to hire backpackers as they don’t have to pay much. They are well-known for even hiring people where English is not their first language. If you wish to teach English properly and at a good rate, you need to make sure you’re going to a reputable agency. There is a lot of competition for the good jobs, but if you present yourself well, it should be no problem.
A good agency might make you sign a one-year contract. Although you have committed to one year, this is not set in stone. Both parties can generally cancel the contract at any time, usually with one month’s notice. If you cancel your contract you might lose some remuneration for flights and other expenses though.
Strangely enough, you don’t have to have an English degree to teach English. Just having a good working knowledge of English is all you need. Sometimes you don’t even need that. If you can speak some of the local language or you can pick it up quickly, it will go a long way to making the experience a better one. In reality, as unfair as it sounds, if you are white, fairly good looking, and have a bachelor’s degree, you will be hired.
If you are going to teach English seriously, and not just for temporary cash, you had best secure the job before you travel. Most agencies or schools where you might teach can help you with the visa process. No matter where you work though, make sure you do not start work until you have all the paperwork completed. No matter what anybody says, if you do not do this it can become an epic disaster. You don’t really want to be deported, do you?
A TEFL certification and a bachelor’s degree will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. Sometimes you don’t even need a degree if you have some experience already. Certifications can be different in each country so make sure you know where you want to go before you get your certification.
Working in Asia for a year can change your life. It can make you learn whole new things about yourself and who you are. Teaching English in Asia isn’t always smooth sailing, but it is no different than any other job. You will learn more about the country and make new friends. Customs are different everywhere, but if you work in Japan be careful of Kancho (look it up). Happy teaching.