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Old 12-26-2011, 09:47 AM
 
210 posts, read 381,117 times
Reputation: 136
I've never taught English abroad but I did seriously consider it at once and have researched it extensively. To add another perspective based on my findings:

1) South Korea and the ME are where the money is at. South Korea seems to be a mixed bag. Some love the place and same absolutely hate it. There are many a horror story to be heard/read, especially on Dave's, but I can't speak to what percentage of the ESL community has positive and negative experiences. More people will come to ESL/TEFL forums to vent than to boast, so take that for what it's worth. I'm sure Tiger Beer can provide more than enough perspective to help you make a sound, educated decision about what location best suits your personality and desires.

You couldn't pay me enough to work in the ME, even though many seem to enjoy their stay there and the amount of money they take home. It's worth noting that most high paying jobs in the ME require a masters degree of some sort, or at least that was the impression I had.

2) Europe's pay and immigration restrictions more or less make it a non-starter nowadays. I came to the conclusion that you really had to want to live (very modestly I might add) in Europe to TEFL there. Seems to be a tough place to manage at the moment, though many do.

Again, I have no experiences to draw from, nor am I an expert on the topic. But those were my findings through research and forum reading. Take it for what it's worth, which could be nothing.

Good luck.
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:03 AM
 
190 posts, read 252,801 times
Reputation: 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
I've never taught English abroad but I did seriously consider it at once and have researched it extensively. To add another perspective based on my findings:

1) South Korea and the ME are where the money is at. South Korea seems to be a mixed bag. Some love the place and same absolutely hate it. There are many a horror story to be heard/read, especially on Dave's, but I can't speak to what percentage of the ESL community has positive and negative experiences. More people will come to ESL/TEFL forums to vent than to boast, so take that for what it's worth. I'm sure Tiger Beer can provide more than enough perspective to help you make a sound, educated decision about what location best suits your personality and desires.

You couldn't pay me enough to work in the ME, even though many seem to enjoy their stay there and the amount of money they take home. It's worth noting that most high paying jobs in the ME require a masters degree of some sort, or at least that was the impression I had.

2) Europe's pay and immigration restrictions more or less make it a non-starter nowadays. I came to the conclusion that you really had to want to live (very modestly I might add) in Europe to TEFL there. Seems to be a tough place to manage at the moment, though many do.

Again, I have no experiences to draw from, nor am I an expert on the topic. But those were my findings through research and forum reading. Take it for what it's worth, which could be nothing.

Good luck.
I've heard it's not impossible to find work teaching English in Europe if you're American and don't have an MA or CELTA certification, but it is extremely difficult and takes time and the work you do find will be the lowest paying and bottom of the barrel. Countries where locals speak English well already are the most difficult to find work in teaching English, such as Sweden and the Netherlands. I believe there's a Fulbright (?) program where you apply to teach abroad and can choose the countries you like to teach in the most. A bit like Japan's JET Program. I've only glanced over it, so I can't speak much about it. I imagine like JET, odds are you'll end up in a small town rather than a major city.
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:26 AM
 
210 posts, read 381,117 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikJohnsson View Post
I've heard it's not impossible to find work teaching English in Europe if you're American and don't have an MA or CELTA certification, but it is extremely difficult and takes time and the work you do find will be the lowest paying and bottom of the barrel. Countries where locals speak English well already are the most difficult to find work in teaching English, such as Sweden and the Netherlands. I believe there's a Fulbright (?) program where you apply to teach abroad and can choose the countries you like to teach in the most. A bit like Japan's JET Program. I've only glanced over it, so I can't speak much about it. I imagine like JET, odds are you'll end up in a small town rather than a major city.

That's basically what I've heard.
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Old 12-26-2011, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Joplin, Missouri
633 posts, read 819,438 times
Reputation: 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
I've never taught English abroad but I did seriously consider it at once and have researched it extensively. To add another perspective based on my findings:

1) South Korea and the ME are where the money is at. South Korea seems to be a mixed bag. Some love the place and same absolutely hate it. There are many a horror story to be heard/read, especially on Dave's, but I can't speak to what percentage of the ESL community has positive and negative experiences. More people will come to ESL/TEFL forums to vent than to boast, so take that for what it's worth. I'm sure Tiger Beer can provide more than enough perspective to help you make a sound, educated decision about what location best suits your personality and desires.

You couldn't pay me enough to work in the ME, even though many seem to enjoy their stay there and the amount of money they take home. It's worth noting that most high paying jobs in the ME require a masters degree of some sort, or at least that was the impression I had.

2) Europe's pay and immigration restrictions more or less make it a non-starter nowadays. I came to the conclusion that you really had to want to live (very modestly I might add) in Europe to TEFL there. Seems to be a tough place to manage at the moment, though many do.

Again, I have no experiences to draw from, nor am I an expert on the topic. But those were my findings through research and forum reading. Take it for what it's worth, which could be nothing.

Good luck.
What is the ME? If I'm going to be somewhere that gets really hot/humid than I'd like it to be coastal. I live in the hot/humid weather for summers now but I know there are hotter places out there. Thanks for the tips!!! The information has been invaluable.
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Old 12-26-2011, 12:07 PM
 
210 posts, read 381,117 times
Reputation: 136
ME = Middle East
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Old 12-26-2011, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Joplin, Missouri
633 posts, read 819,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
ME = Middle East
Awwww. That just doesn't appeal to me. Things are just too unsettled there yet. After everything that has happened in the last 10 years...I think it is the last place that I'd want to be right now.
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Old 12-26-2011, 01:35 PM
 
319 posts, read 323,226 times
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Here is the Fullbright Scholarship link, if you are curious about it:

About Fulbright | Fulbright Scholar Program

We had a classmate from Ecuador on it. She didn't work at the university (nor did she teach, I think this was more of a visa-related issue than her proficiency since she spoke really well). From what I understand--at least at our university--when you apply for this program, and possibly get interviewed, you will be asked some things in the language you will be immersed in, in the country you choose. Be prepared! From what I understand, the Spanish-speaking countries are harder to get into simply because of the volume of people applying. Other countries might be easier, though I'm not sure. I speak Polish and was interested in doing Poland, and it actually seemed easier to get into it since fewer applicants tried out for it, and the percentage accepted was greater than those for Spanish-speaking countries. One thing that I should mention, though, is that this is, in my opinion, more of an academic post rather than pedagogy-only position. At any rate, it's good to know anyway!

Otherwise, as others have said, go to a country that you would like to go to personally. Have you considered South America? (I glossed the thread so I may have missed it) Many countries, also, will prescribe a grammar-translation or audiolingual method. Make sure you acquaint yourself with teaching styles since Western methods may not work in non-Western countries. Also, make sure you emphasize that you will at least teach American English, since different dialects will be wholly inappropriate in certain cultures (at least in pronunciation/speaking classes -- one case I am thinking of is Singapore, or "Singlish").

As others have said about SK (South Korea), many hated it, many loved it. I have been told by co-workers that the government is generous in its salaries for teachers, paying room, flights, and some other expenses. In fact, I have known people that actually saved and accumulated money in SK! Countries like China may not pay as well, though it depends on where you work. I understand the ME may pay well also, though this is hearsay and I don't want to lead you astray. Best wishes!
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:25 PM
 
Location: 22.1667 N, 113.5500 E
11,763 posts, read 17,429,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
1) South Korea and the ME are where the money is at. South Korea seems to be a mixed bag. Some love the place and same absolutely hate it. There are many a horror story to be heard/read, especially on Dave's, but I can't speak to what percentage of the ESL community has positive and negative experiences. More people will come to ESL/TEFL forums to vent than to boast, so take that for what it's worth. I'm sure Tiger Beer can provide more than enough perspective to help you make a sound, educated decision about what location best suits your personality and desires.
100% true on South Korea. Some people LOVE it, and some people HATE it. The majority of people will complain about it at one time or another, even if they really like it. I lived there for many years, and I both loved it, and hated it, at the same time.

It's difficult to explain South Korea unless someone has been there. It's really amazing on some levels, and really frustrating on other levels.

Great things: 24 hours, incredibly convenient, best internet/broadband in the world, amazing public transportation, amazing food, cheap food, free apartment for teachers, easy lifestyle, fun students, travel friendly, a gazillion of nightlife things to do, a great place for people who love drinking alcohol, a great place for people who love to socialize, everything is different from any other country by large margins, etc.

Bad things: Korean people, as friendly as they are, can also come across as rude, nationalistic, etc. People lack a lot of manners, which can be a refreshing change compared to a stuffy place, or grind on people's nerves.

Plus little things are completely different. SOME (not most or all), but SOME are too 'bottom line' cut-throat with finances, and run shady schools that don't always honor contracts. Again, 95% of the time, you'll be fine, and there is a Labor Board if there is a dispute. But 5% of the time, you might have to confront an employer to be paid on time, etc.

Ah....I won't get into it too much. There are problems with EVERY COUNTRY in the world. The plusses of Korea far outweigh the negatives. But, take into account, that a ton of teachers are also 'first time ever to be abroad' teachers, and are going to be having a lot of 'complaints' and 'issues' with not everything being done like it is where they are from. So, if you read Daves, you'll probably get all kinds of mixed messages on the place.

Once a person actually arrives in South Korea, and experiences it, everything will suddenly make sense. Wether that person accepts or struggles with those differences, it's really dependent on the person.

I've met the most 'open-minded' people you can imagine, running away from Korea in disgust. I've also met many who are supposedly 'close-minded', who absolutely love Korea. Vice-versa as well. No one really knows where they'll fall in line within the 'love-hate' spectrum of South Korea. But, I know very very few who are just 'indifferent' towards the country.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:29 PM
 
Location: 22.1667 N, 113.5500 E
11,763 posts, read 17,429,612 times
Reputation: 5563
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
You couldn't pay me enough to work in the ME, even though many seem to enjoy their stay there and the amount of money they take home. It's worth noting that most high paying jobs in the ME require a masters degree of some sort, or at least that was the impression I had.
The MIDDLE EAST.

As a general rule, 'The Middle East' is where old lifelong ESL teachers, who've spent decades drinking themselves into oblivion in Asia, suddenly wake up and realize they need to 'save a bit of money' so they can retire.

It's kind of the 'pastures' where we graze when we get old.

I think it holds very little if any interest whatsoever to any single person. But people who just want to 'dry out' and 'rent videos' and not do too much, to make a lot of money, usually go there.

That being said, it's also a good place for 'families'. Most Middle East countries encourage families and give good benefits, much more than anywhere else.

That being said, there are a lot of restrictions. Generally speaking, DUBAI is the golden egg, where everyone would love to teach, if they are going to the Middle East. SAUDIA ARABIA is the least desireable one. ESL teachers live in compounds, and function in a rather odd existance altogether.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:36 PM
 
Location: 22.1667 N, 113.5500 E
11,763 posts, read 17,429,612 times
Reputation: 5563
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
2) Europe's pay and immigration restrictions more or less make it a non-starter nowadays. I came to the conclusion that you really had to want to live (very modestly I might add) in Europe to TEFL there. Seems to be a tough place to manage at the moment, though many do.
Europe is the worst place. I went to Europe to attempt to teach a few times.

First time was BUDAPEST HUNGARY. Granted this was 1997, but they only paid $300/month. I figured it was better to just go back to South Korea, where you can save $1000/month easily, and than you could essentially work one month in Korea, and live for 3 months in Budapest. In short, it wasn't worth it.

Later I went to SPAIN. Mostly because I was pursuing further education, but thought of teaching ESL on the side. I can't remember the pay, but it was so low, I decided to just wait until I got back to Korea, to make up the money I was losing by not working. (Seems like it was something similar to $700/month or something like that).

Most of the teachers in Europe, are almost always from Europe, as they are the only ones who can legally work there. But either way, the pay is generally so low, that even if you could legally work there, I'm not 100% sure it's worth it.

It's 100% worth it if you're dream has always been to live in some particular European country of your dreams. But, you'll fight to make that life worth it.

All that being said, I can personally think of countless examples of people who've made it work for them.

For example, African-American woman who loved Italy. She strung together a number of language institute jobs, than later was hired to manage one.

Another was an American guy who loved Madrid. He just taught illegally for so many years, I believe it was five total. He never left the country, and than heard of some 'Amnesty Program' which was a front to deport South Americans. However, when the American came in with 5 years of living in Spain non-stop continuously, they gave him Spanish citizenship on the spot.

In short, if you have the WILL to live in Europe, it can work. The times I've went there, I found that I simply lacked the will, and I just much preferred Asia by large margins. So, I always ended up making my way back to Asia.
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