My Ultimate Teaching Abroad Bucket List

My Ultimate Teaching Abroad Bucket List - Rural Addition!

We’ve heard of travel bucket lists and adventure bucket lists, but have you ever heard of a teach abroad one? I think I might just be a tad obsessed, but over the years I’ve narrowed down ideal teaching jobs around the globe and I decided to make it official with this list. You’ll notice that they are mostly in more rural locations, because rural teaching placements are my jam. You can read more about why I think you should consider teaching off the beaten path here.  Here are 6 teach abroad jobs that are on my bucket list - not listed in any particular order because how could I ever just choose one?!

1. The Green School, Bali 

The Green School in Bali has been on my radar for years and my first trip to Bali this year just confirmed how magical this place really is. I’m not usually one for the more touristy destinations but there’s something about Bali that just leaves you wanting more. The Green School is a sustainable international school and they are making big impacts in education and the sustainability. I love the idea of their annual Sustainable Solutions Fair where students are given the opportunity to create projects based on environmental awareness. Plus, their school is an absolute dream - made entirely out of bamboo! 

2. Village School | Amazonian Jungle, Peru 

I found this volunteer position while still teaching in rural Costa Rica. It requires you to take a small plane to get to the rural village tribe deep in the Amazon (only accessible by boat or foot otherwise). The simple lifestyle and getting to become a part of a rural community is what appealed to me most. You are required to be fairly fluent in Spanish which I'm continuing to work on before applying for this position. 

3. Buddhist Monastery, Nepal  

I’m super motivated by meaningful work that contributes to larger society. I’d take a volunteer job in the Himalayas over a highly paid one in a city any day. So, naturally I’m always on the lookout for volunteer positions in remote locations. This one on Workaway has been saved to my favourites for over a year now. Teaching in a remote village reachable only by foot? That’s my kind of place! Workaday provides hundreds of volunteer positions around the world where you exchange skills for free accommodation and sometimes even meals. 

4. Rift Valley Children’s Home, Tanzania

This project is doing wonderful things for the community by assisting with quality education, healthcare and providing micro-finance loans. This position requires you to train the local teachers and help with whatever is needed to improve the overall quality of education. This is a big plus for me, as training the teachers means that education can continue to improve even after I'm long gone. 

5. Public Schools, The Marshall Islands 

WorldTeach provides year long or summer teaching positions to qualified teachers in rural areas. It was quite challenging to pick from the list which includes India, Namibia, Brazil and even South Africa (my home!). The Marshall Islands makes my list because it's an area so few people have access to travel to, or teach in, and because tropical dreamy islands in the Pacific sound like paradise. 

6. Remote School, Bush Alaska 

Although I generally favour more tropical climates, my husband has been begging me for years to move to a cooler area. I think I’d be able to deal with the cold if I were teaching in a raw environment like Alaska. This idea was solidified even more after interviewing Sara as part of my Teachers Abroad Series who is currently teaching there! Unfortunately, after lots of research I’ve come to the conclusion that as a South African, Alaska is not very likely to happen because of visa requirements even though they are in desperate need of teachers for their remote locations. 

7. Rangjung School, Bhutan

Maybe there’s a reason I keep coming back to this, but Bhutan will forever remain on my list of favourites. Technically I already completed my contract here back in 2015, but I already can’t wait to return one day. Teaching in Bhutan was what sparked my passion for rural teaching and what still keeps me going today. 

You can read stories of teachers who are already living their dreams by teaching abroad in my Teachers Abroad Series. Where do you wish to teach one day, or are you already teaching in a dream placement? Let us know in the comments!

Where to find Teaching Jobs Abroad


Surprisingly, this is one of my most frequently asked questions: where do your find your teaching jobs abroad? Many people think you need to go through an agency, or that I’ve used a company to find all of my jobs. Many believe that it is a difficult process to find a teaching job abroad but I couldn't agree less. Finding teaching jobs around the world is pretty easy if you know what you want, and where to look. 

My Experiences

When I first looked into teaching abroad there were plenty of jobs advertised for popular destinations like Abu Dhabi and China, but I wanted something unique and I was specifically looking for a rural teaching placement. Basically, I wanted to find the most rural teaching job I could - and I’m pretty sure I came close when I decided to move to Bhutan. This was literally just a google search of something like “rural teaching job” and my journey began through Teach in Bhutan. Words cannot even begin to describe what an amazing experience this was and I am still in awe of it all today. I would highly recommend teaching in Bhutan to anyone who is qualified and looking to experience something that so few have access to. 

Next, I was fixated on the destination. I had always dreamed of living in Costa Rica and came across my future school on Volunteer South America while actually looking for a volunteer position, because everyone had told me it was impossible to get a paid teaching job in Central America. After finding an international school in Costa Rica through their volunteer portal, I noticed they were in need of qualified teachers and the rest just fell into place. 

After these experiences I wasn't really sure about where I wanted to go. I routinely scroll through a great website for job listings called Dave’s ESL Cafe and found a job advertised with the word to my heart: rural. For this job it wasn't that I wanted to come to Vietnam specifically but rather that I wanted to experience a culture in its rural form instead of the modernised version. Through Dave’s ESL Cafe, I had access to my language centre directly. 

The most difficult part of finding a job for me, was knowing what I was looking for. When it comes to the end of a teaching contract and I need to decide what to do next, I often spend hours searching simply because I’m not focused and I don’t have a clear idea of my goal. So, this would be your first step. 

Get clear on what you want

It can be a daunting task to sift through hundreds of jobs if you don’t even know what you’re looking for. Perhaps you’re drawn to a specific country or area like Southeast Asia, or maybe you’d really love to work in a rural community in the Amazonian Jungle. Once you know what you’re looking for, it’ll be easier to find the right fit for you and you won’t be wasting anyones time applying for jobs and doing interviews you know you’re not even going to take. 

Finding your dream teaching job

Finding jobs are the easy part once you know what you want. There are two ways to find your dream teaching job.

Option 1: Buy a plane ticket and go to your country of choice. This would have to be a country where ESL is commonly taught - I wouldn't suggest getting on a plane to Australia planning to work there because you’ll be in for a nasty surprise at immigration! Countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are safe options. Next, all you’ll need to research is language centres in your area of choice, and get your teaching resume to the right people. You’re even more likely to be hired because you’re already in the country and the employer can speak with you directly. You’ll also be able to see first hand what situation you’ll be getting yourself into. It’s a win-win, really! 


Option 2: Apply online before you leave. The plus side to this is that you might be able to score a free flight so this is a good option if you’re low on cash initially. Many of us also prefer the security of knowing that we’re going to have an income straight away. Here are some job search engines I use for finding teaching jobs abroad: 

Dave’s ESL Cafe is a long time favourite mine. I routinely scroll through the international job boards simply for fun to see the options that are out there. I found my current teaching job in Vietnam through this search engine. There are also tons of forums with information about schools, countries and scams so you know you’re in a community that look after you. 

Teach Anywhere is an agency I joined when I first began looking for jobs abroad, and they list jobs in international schools around the world for qualified teachers. Although I never accepted any jobs through them, my interaction with them and their willingness to assist me was a positive experience. 

I am fairly new to using ESL101 but have recently been in contact with them about various positions. I originally inquired about a specific position that I was unable to take, and have since received regular updates about other interesting jobs that are suited to my qualifications. What I like about this job board is that the listings are different with positions in less familiar places like Brunei and Kurdistan. I am also pleased to see variety with listings for international schools and language centres alike. I even asked questions about bringing my rescue dog into the country which they were more than willing to assist with. 

These are the main guys in the international teaching community. Search Associates is an exclusive search engine for qualified educators looking to teach in an international school, and they list some of the best schools in the world. The are high paying jobs that reap a serious amount of benefits. They host various job fairs at locations around the globe which you are only permitted to attend if an invitation is received. Many of the best international schools will only recruit new teachers through Search Associates. 

Volunteer South America is the search engine I mentioned earlier and the one I used to find a teaching job in Costa Rica (accidentally). They have tons of volunteer and even some paid positions throughout Central and South America. My advice for looking for jobs in these areas would be to pick a area and research schools to contact directly, as job opportunities here can be limited and under paid. 

WorldTeach has jobs in locations that are high on my teaching bucket list and should be on yours too if you're looking for something different and rural. With programs in Namibia, Samoa, the Marshall Islands and Morocco - it's an off the beaten path dream. These programs only apply to qualified teachers and they are volunteer positions, so don't expect to be saving all that much. 

EPIK is program specifically for teachers wanting to work in Korea. I know of numerous people who have taught through them and it is an easy and safe option for your first Asia experience. It makes the list simply because of the sheer volume of teachers who have gone through this program. 

I know this one is getting very specific, but I cannot recommend this experience enough - I might be a little biased because this is possibly my most favourite place in the world. Teach in Bhutan aims to get qualified teachers to rural areas in Bhutan in order to positively impact the overall education of the country. Bhutan is a magical place and one so few people get to experience without a tour guide and restrictions to what they get to see. As a teacher in Bhutan, you are given total freedom and access to an ancient way of living and being. Go to Bhutan! 

Don’t get scammed

Although I haven't had any bad experiences, I know that with everything we need to practice caution. Get everything promised to you in writing and don't pay anything to a school or company - if they ask for any money it’s a clear sign that you are getting scammed. I like to look up the schools website, search them on Google and find others who know that the organisation exists. Ask to speak to other teachers of the school and make sure you get to speak to the employer beforehand. 

Even though coming to Vietnam was my fourth teaching contract and third country abroad, it was my first experience doing it alone. With a father as a former police officer in South Africa, you could say I’m a tad paranoid about safety. I made sure to know the location I was going to, I let my family know where I was and I bought a sim card at the airport before getting into the car with anyone. Practice common sense and listen to your gut, if you’re feeling uneasy its probably better to practice caution.

Teaching Abroad: Questions to ask your Employer


Teaching abroad has been one of the most exciting and adventure filled experiences of my life, and I’m so happy that you are considering teaching abroad too! Along the way I’ve learned that an interview is not only my chance to shine and land a potentially awesome job - but also for me to test my employer and suss out if they’re a good fit for me. It’s extremely important that you take the time to ask questions during your interview (or via email during the hiring process) so that you know what you’re getting yourself into and so that there aren't any surprises when you arrive.

Pro Tip: Be sure to read your job advertisement, contract and have a look at the school’s website before asking questions that you should probably already know. 

Here’s my go-to list of questions to ask my employer before I decide to teach abroad: 

Teaching Related Questions

I usually start with these. Although this might be your first teaching job abroad and you're just desperate to get hired, remember that you don’t want your life to be hell. Think about what an ideal situation would be and don’t settle for less. Do you want to be teaching on weekends or every evening? Will you only have one day off? These situations are very likely if you're planning on teaching in Asia. 

Pay attention during your interview and practice active listening. Usually the interviewer will give a brief job description or tell you a little bit about the school. Try not to ask a question that has already been answered earlier in the interview. 

  1. Which age groups will I be expected to teach? 
  2. How many students are typically in a class? 
  3. Which curriculum or text books do you use? 
  4. What resources will I have access to? 
  5. Could you describe a typical day for a teacher at your school? 
  6. How many minutes are in a lesson? 
  7. How many hours/lessons will I be required to work per week?
  8. Which days of the week are teachers required to work? Monday to Friday, or Monday to Saturday? 
  9. Is admin/office hours included in my teaching hours, or are these additional hours? 
  10. Will I receive a set teaching schedule or do I get to choose the hours I teach? 
  11. When are the schools vacations? Are these paid vacations? 
  12. Do you provide opportunities for professional development? 
  13. How many foreign teachers work at the school?
  14. Are there any extra-curricular activities that teachers are expected to take part in? 
  15. What documentation will I need to obtain a work visa?

Benefits Related Questions

Although these are usually included in the job advertisement, it is important to tune into the finer details.I once thought I’d get my flight money back once I arrived only to find out it would only be provided at the end of my contract to ensure I completed the year. I’ve stayed in shared housing with four people sharing a bathroom which turned out to be very inconvenient. I try to get everything discussed and promised to me inserted into my contract, or at least in writing, so that nothing can be altered once I’ve gotten on a plane and flown halfway across the world. 

I typically don’t ask any direct money or salary related questions during the interview as I find it unprofessional and rather arrogant. If you are offered the job, then you’ll find all that out soon enough. 

  1. What benefits are included? 
  2. Is my flight provided before travel, or will I receive the allowance once my contract is complete?
  3. Is housing provided or do I need to find my own? 
  4. Is the housing shared or private? 
  5. If shared: Which areas are shared? How many people share the house? Will I have my own bedroom and bathroom? 
  6. Do you provide a housing allowance? How much is it?
  7. How much does average monthly housing cost in the area?
  8. Do you assist with finding suitable housing for teachers? 
  9. Will I be able to find furnished housing or will I have to furnish the house from scratch? 
  10. Do you suggest obtaining travel insurance for the year, or do you provide medical insurance? 
  11. Will my salary be paid into my current bank account or will I need to open a bank account abroad? Do you assist with this process? 
  12. What is the visa process like - do you assist with obtaining a visa and who is responsible for the costs?

Cultural and Location Specific Questions

Read up on the country or area beforehand and adjust your questions accordingly. If you're moving to a big city the food related questions might not be necessary, but in my experience with teaching in more rural areas I always ask about access to food and healthcare. These are generally things we take for granted in our own countries, but they have been a huge wake up call for me over the past few years. 

Many of the questions are only necessary if you will be moving to a rural area. 

  1. Will there be an orientation at the beginning of my contract to get me acquainted with the area and customs? 
  2. Is English spoken and understood in the area? 
  3. How do teachers usually spend their weekends? What activities are there in the area? 
  4. What do people in the area typically eat? Do you have access to a variety of fruits and vegetables? 
  5. Is clean water easily accessible in the area? 
  6. Are there restaurants and grocery stores in the area, or do people usually use the markets? 
  7. How close is the nearest airport? 
  8. What is healthcare like in the area? 
  9. Are there any risks of diseases like malaria in the area? 
  10. How would I get to school every day? 
  11. What is the climate like in the area? 
  12. What is the dress code for the school? 
  13. Is there anything you can suggest I should bring from home? *In Bhutan we had a long list of supplies that wouldn't be available once we were in the country. 

I also try to keep a neutral reaction when the interviewer responds to a question in a manner I wasn't necessarily hoping for. If they tell you you’re going to be sharing a house withe twenty people and that you have no days off, and you know without a doubt you won’t be accepting the position still try to keep the interview experience professional and positive. I’ve had situations where I chose not to take a position offered to me, but my interview went so well that they referred me to another school. 

I used to feel ashamed of asking too many questions because I wanted to seem like I was an easy-going, hassle free employee - which I totally am. But, I’d rather really know what I’m getting myself into before its too late. Ask as many questions as you see fit, in my experience employers even appreciate it when we show interest. 


Which Teaching Job is Right for You?


When teaching abroad the opportunities for teachers are endless, sometimes it can be tough to decipher all the different types of teaching jobs and which one is best suited to your needs. Which teaching job is right for you? Read on to find out:

International Schools

International schools are just like regular schools as we know them probably from our own school experience and are most likely to have a curriculum from the USA, UK or Australia. These jobs can be competitive because they are well-paid and have serious benefits unlike our own countries back home. 

What you'll need: An education degree (PGCE accepted), be a native speaker and have experience. 
Pay: It astounds me what some people can earn at an international school. Depending on the country salaries range from $1,500 to $6,000 a month (possibly even more in places like China and the Middle East).
Benefits: Most established international schools offer flights, housing, sponsored visa and medical benefits. The salary is also tax free.

Language Centres

These are privately owned businesses who require the skills of native speakers to teach small classes. The work load is a lot less than in international schools and you teach multiple classes instead of having a "homeroom". Some centres even allow you to choose your schedule so you can teach as often or as little according to your preference (or take extended vacations when you've saved enough!). 

What you'll need: A degree in any field and TEFL certification. 
Pay: Usually between $15 - $25 an hour, depending on experience and country. 
Benefits: These vary. Sometimes you get paid less but have free housing, or get paid more and have to cover your own housing. 

Government/Public Schools

In some countries, the government allows international educators into their schools in order to improve the quality of English teaching. In these schools, you are usually a subject teacher and see multiple classes. 

What you'll need: A Bachelors degree in any field (sometimes an education degree is required) and TEFL certification if you don't hold an education degree. 
Pay: Again, depending on the country salaries range from $300 to $5,500. 
Benefits: It is common to have flights and housing provided. Visa should be sponsored (The Middle East has a program that provides housing, flights and all the perks you get with an international school)

Online Teaching

Although I don't have personal experience with teaching online, I see it as something I am going to be doing in the near future. Usually it involves short classes on your computer and you determine your schedule, and this can be done from anywhere provided you have good internet access. This makes travelling and working easy! Why have I not thought about this sooner?? 

Note that your students will most likely be based in Asia and therefore the times are most likely set according to their schedule - so even if you think you can teach ANYTIME you want, this is probably not going to be the case.

What you'll need: TEFL certification and be a native speaker. Fast internet, a computer and a headset. 
Pay: $18 - $25/hour
Benefits: You get to work from anywhere! 

Sure, I didn't cover private tutoring, university lecturing positions or even volunteering but I don't feel qualified to give information on these options. If you have any experience teaching abroad or have more to add to these teaching options, let us know below! 


Teach off the Beaten Path


While teaching in a comfortable, secure and privileged position at a respected school in South Africa I came to find myself terribly unhappy with my situation. Yes, I was a teacher and I was impacting the lives of our future generations but really, I could quit and the very next day there would be something just as qualified as me ready to take my place. 

I didn't feel that my life had purpose or that what I was doing in my career was fulfilling me or the greater humanity. That all changed with the decision to move to rural Bhutan where I would teach in a village for a year, to jungle Costa Rica with only dusty dirt roads and now to middle-of-nowhere Vietnam (I live in Quang Ngai, which is by no means a travel destination). These rural, off the beaten path teaching placements have given me the best experiences of my life. Here's why you too should consider teaching in the less commercial destinations:

1. You're more likely to secure a job

Obviously everyone wants to go to the major cities for the nightlife, western food and expat community and this is where most teachers apply. It creates a lot of competition and choosing a placement that's in a smaller or less known town will make it more likely to get an interview and secure a job. 

2. You can save more money

In all of my teaching positions abroad I've been situated a fair distance from any kind of major city. The places I chose also had little access to activities and entertainment that I would normally spend money on back home, and there weren't many malls or shops to buy clothes or products that I used to think I needed. Living where I am in Vietnam now, there literally isn't anything to spend my money on so I just save it.

3. You get to experience the real culture

It's easy to gravitate to what you know and what is comfortable when you're surrounded by expats and people you would normally relate to, people you have things in common with. What is really great about teaching out of the major cities is that you are forced to immerse yourself in where you are, with the locals from that area. You get invited to events that you never would have gotten to see were you stuck in a foreigner bubble. 

4. You get (even further) out of your comfort zone

This is my favourite part and I think I may now be addicted to that niggling uncomfortable feeling you get when you have no idea whats going on. Its so thrilling for me! I also have enough experience now to know that it soon passes and everything feels normal again after a short while. Being in a place where very little English is spoken, where you have to learn things that are just a given in your own country, really makes you learn so much about yourself. Yes, just being in a new country is enough for this, but the impact is even greater if you push it further into a more rural area. This little area just outside of your comfort zone is where all the magic happens. Its where you grow and blossom. 

5. You have a chance to make a greater impact

This is what I was talking about earlier, being back in South Africa with a replacement ready whenever I were to leave. This was definitely not the case in my overseas positions where it can be really challenging to find someone willing to "rough it". Teaching in these areas matters. Your work in these rural places is really valued and it is shown by the community.

If you're a qualified teacher, or even have a TESL certification, I encourage you to look into placements that are off the beaten path. It doesn't have to be in a rural Himalayan village, but it could be a smaller town a few hours away from the capital cities. I think you might be pleasantly surprised. 


Questions to ask before Teaching Abroad


So you're thinking of packing up your life back home? You want a life of travel, adventure and new experiences? You want to make a difference in the world and make the most of your time? If you answered YES to any of the questions you're on the right path to becoming a teacher abroad. However, these questions could fit to anyone looking to see more of the world. What does teaching have to do with it? Here 5 questions to ask yourself before deciding if becoming a teacher abroad is for you: 

1. Can I see myself being a teacher? 

You need to think seriously about what being a teacher will mean for you. When I first thought about becoming a teacher I thought I'd be having fun all day painting and singing - but let me just tell you, its not for the faint hearted and there's a lot more involved than painting and singing. I honestly love being a teacher and to be honest, ESL teaching here in Vietnam is a lot easier than other teaching jobs I've had. My first year of teaching, and even some days now, was exhausting. Teaching can be tough and you need to remember that its still a job. You're going to be spending a lot of time doing it if you decide to make this change. Make this decision consciously. You don't want this to turn into something you dislike just as much as your old job back home. 

2. Do I enjoy interacting with children, adults or other people in general? 

This was a big one for me. One I didn't even think about until my first practical as a student teacher back home. I see teaching as a constant giving of yourself. You are constantly communicating and listening, there are a number of students who constantly need you at multiple times throughout your class. Do you think this constant interaction would be something you'd enjoy, or would you rather have a calmer and less social job? I have no problem interacting with others but am an introvert at heart, so after a day of teaching I need a lot of quiet time to recharge. Luckily I've learnt this about myself over the years. 

3. Am I willing to take my work seriously? 

Many people tend to choose teaching abroad as something to do to fund their travelling or to save for a certain lifestyle - which it is great for! However, you need to understand that your students are paying for your services and you owe it to them to do a good job. Plan your lessons, get to class on time and make sure your students are learning in an active and engaging way. 

4. Can I commit to my contact time? 

Contracts are usually drawn up for one year, but there are others out there for shorter or longer time periods. Many international schools or language centres have a quick turnover rate of teachers as many just decide a few months in that this "teaching abroad" experience isn't for them, or they just don't like their school or living conditions. I think its important to accept responsibility for your own actions and choices. Remember that no one is making you do anything, so when you sign a contract for a year you should stick to that commitment as far as possible. Obviously it can be difficult to know what a school is really like, so research and trust your gut. I often use my Skype interview as a test for my employer rather than the other way around, and usually can tell if the school is going to be a good fit for me at the end of the call. Completing your contract will not only be more beneficial to your students who won't be getting a new teacher every few months and be totally thrown every time, but it will also benefit you in getting a good reputation and a good reference for future jobs. 

5. Are you ready for a life changing experience? 

Teaching in itself is a challenge, teaching abroad takes it to a whole other level. Your students and the community that you live in will creep into your heart and you'll carry them around with you always. I have the fondest memories of my Bhutanese and Costa Rican "families" and I'm sure it will be the same for the family I have acquired here in Vietnam once I leave. I've seen and experienced things that I never even dreamed of and in most instances I was able to because of my connection with the community as a teacher, many of these experiences would not have been possible if I were merely a traveller. I always like to think that although I am a teacher, these experiences have taught me so much about myself and about life. 


5 Myths about Teaching Abroad


As a teacher abroad I am constantly meeting people who think that teaching abroad is something for them to consider doing. There also seems to be a lot of fear and misunderstandings, excuses really, about why they couldn't possibly ever achieve it: I'm too old, only teachers from the United States get hired, I have three kids and a dog, but .. my flat screen TV? Seriously. In this post I hope to smash some the myths about teaching abroad and hopefully give you that extra little nudge to being your teaching abroad career if its something you feel called to. 

Myth 1: You need to be a native English speaker 

I would say that most of the teaching jobs out there specify wanting a native English speaker from certain countries (mainly the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland - South Africa is a new addition, yay!). But, there are certainly ones who are so desperate to find teachers that they will settle for non-natives who speak English very well. I think its important to point out that you should actually be able to speak English fairly well for this to work. You'll also be limited to schools or centres that will take you as a non-native. There are currently German and Filipino teachers working at my centre here in Vietnam, and one recently landed a job in Hong Kong. 

Myth 2: Its difficult to find a job

I think this depends on your definition of "difficult" because it really comes down to context. Its difficult to live an unhappy, unsatisfied, unfulfilled life. Finding a job where you encounter new and exciting experiences is just part of this journey. I've found it easier to land a job abroad than in my own country as a qualified teacher. English teachers are in such a high demand outside of our own little bubble, and our work is really valued. The internet is such an amazing tool, all you have to do is search in the right places! Dave's ESL cafe is a favourite of mine and I often just browse jobs for fun. Or, like I did for Costa Rica you could literally just google schools in the area and contact them directly. I think this is a better option you want to go to a specific place. 

Myth 3: Teaching abroad gives you a lot of time and money for travelling 

In Vietnam I am able to save a lot of money, especially because I live in the middle of nowhere and have nothing to spend it on. I work six days a week mostly in the afternoons and evenings with a two week holiday in February. This obviously means there is very little time to travel anywhere while teaching. However, with all the money you save you are able to travel for months on end after a year here. Many teachers who work in Asia as ESL teachers will work for one or two years and then travel for a year, then return to teach again and repeat the process. In previous jobs I had lots of time with three vacations a year, but there wasn't the financials to fund any trips - Bhutan was a volunteer position and Costa Rica's living expenses were very high. 

Myth 4: You need a TEFL certificate and experience in teaching 

Again, there is such a demand for teachers in Asia and around the world. I personally have a teaching degree so I don't need a TEFL certificate, but there are teachers currently working at my centre who are non-native speakers and unqualified. It is possible! You'll definitely get paid less than if you had the certificate and you'll be a whole lot more confident with it (teaching is not always a walk in the park) so think about making the investment anyways. 

Myth 5: Teaching abroad is not a "real career" 

I get this comment all of the time: this is just a phase, get the travelling out of your system, when you have kids you'll have to settle down. The thing is, when you start teaching abroad it opens your eyes to all of the other people doing it - people with families living abroad, young people, old people, people who have been doing this for over 30 years. They certainly seem a lot happier than some of the people back home with "real careers". 

If you are currently working abroad or have in the past, comment below to share some of your own insights and myths in this profession.