Teaching Abroad: The Pros, Cons and Whether It’s Worth it


  1. Is it worth it to teach abroad?
  2. What qualifications do you need to teach abroad?
  3. Can new teachers teach abroad?

Are you a tutor with a love of travel who wants to combine work and play? Teaching abroad might be for you! Now the world is opening back up, it’s the perfect time to dust off your C.V. and think about taking your excellent tutoring skills to a new country. What are you waiting for? Read on as we guide you through all things teaching abroad.travelling-teenager

Is it worth it to teach abroad? 


Teaching abroad has grown exponentially as a career path over the past ten years because of the demand from international schools, around 450 each year! Whether it be teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or teaching the UK-style system abroad, there is a huge demand for UK teachers as sought after solutions to the growing number of schools and students internationally. 

With plenty of places to travel in your time off, the idea of combining work and travel is overwhelming for some. But for the modern globetrotter, teaching abroad is the perfect way to be able to explore the world whilst working, earning, and learning about new places. Here are our three reasons why you should 100% consider teaching abroad:

You will grow as a person

Packing your life into one big bag and moving out of your home and comfort zone to teach abroad somewhere new will change you as an individual. Your fundamental skills in communication, empathy, meeting new people, being open, and solving problems will improve from day one as you navigate life in a brand new place. 

If you choose to work in a non-English-speaking country (likely if you’re teaching English abroad!) then you’ll be learning some of the language so you can assimilate into your new home. There’s nothing more empowering than giving directions in a language you’ve never spoken before or having a day-to-day interaction with a stranger using your new skills. Go for it!

As well as teaching, you’ll have plenty of time to grow your life outside of work. Try new foods, travel on the weekends, find friends, and build your community away from home. It’s just like starting again. 

Meet your global community 

Teaching in the UK can feel like education exists in a vacuum, and it’s important to realise there’s no one right way of doing things. Teaching abroad allows you to experience how schools around the globe are teaching and nurturing young people. 

Feel part of a global community and consider changing the way you educate by joining an international school, and become a better teacher because of it!

Because English has become one of the mediums of international business, learning English allows international students to engage with their global community. So as an English teacher abroad, you aren’t just a means to an end, but a way of bridging the gap between worlds. 

Experience benefits

Apart from all the self-fulfilling reasons why teaching abroad will grow you as a person, the benefits sometimes far outweigh those you might be offered in the UK.

These are vast! But lots of teaching placements will either fully or partly fund your travel (such as your airfare) and accommodation costs for teaching abroad. Think of all the money you’d save, with more to spend on sightseeing, food, and trips in your school holidays. 

English teachers working overseas often find that they have relatively more disposable income or savings. Still not convinced, most organisations and schools often also help you with stipends towards your DBS check, medical and other insurance costs as well.

Whilst teachers with UK qualifications like PGCEs and MEds can earn a lot more than their usual salary, those teaching English as a Foreign Language earn much less. Whilst your monthly take-home pay might be lower than at home, your expenses (depending on where you live) might be a lot less. 

Factor all of that in with your paid-for travel costs and living in a beautiful new country (think: the Middle East, Thailand, even Madagascar!), and a greater quality of life, and it becomes less about your monthly earnings. Think how much a big backpacking trip might cost on its own! 

Remember to always check your earnings (these might be paid in local currency) against UK tax laws, but you might be eligible for some exemptions, or the lowest rate of tax. 


What qualifications do you need to teach abroad?


Now if you’re thinking about teaching English abroad remember this: English is the most highly sought-after foreign language to learn abroad. An impressive 20% of the Earth’s population are English speaking learners - that’s an estimated 1.5 billion people (The TEFL Academy). 

But do you need a PGCE to teach abroad? In short, no you don’t! But let’s explore both options.

Yes, I have a PGCE qualification

A PGCE is a British qualification that enables University graduates to teach in state schools across the country.  Whilst having a PGCE will help you to get a teaching job abroad, it might not be enough. Many international schools recognise the qualification, others do not. And remember you’ll need a university-level degree to even apply for a PGCE in the first place. 

If you’re applying to work in an international school that teaches the UK curriculum, then you’re in luck. You can apply directly to the school of your choice, attend international job fairs, or check for vacancies online. 

Lots of UK teachers apply for international school jobs as soon as they’ve finished their teacher training and gained their PGCE, but some wait a further year (until they’re a fully-fledged Newly Qualified Teacher) to make the big move.

But, if you want to teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) then you’ll need a professional accreditation (which we’ll talk about a bit further on). That, combined with your PGCE will put you one step ahead of the competition, making it a lot easier for you to find work teaching abroad. 

No, I’m not a qualified UK teacher 

If you want to teach English as a foreign language, you’ll need to complete a TEFL course - with most schools asking you for a minimum of 120-hours in training to be able to work with them. You don’t need a PGCE to be able to do this, or even a degree, but most schools prefer you to have an undergraduate-level degree plus your TEFL accreditation. 

There are thousands of TEFL courses on offer, so remember to look out for that Ofqual accredited provider logo, usually on the homepage of the course itself. It’s really important that it’s recognised, or else you won’t be asked to interview. 

Depending on whether you complete it part or full-time, it can take anywhere between 6-10 weeks to get to Level 3 (the qualification that will allow you to move and work in most schools). It’s usually recommended you complete the course in the UK before you go, to guarantee that stamp of approval. 

You’ll then also be able to lean on a support network, wherever your teaching job ends up being based. And what’s even better, most are remote and online learning, so you can study from anywhere!

Remember (as with any job, especially in education) that you’ll learn tons as soon as you start your first international teaching job, and that there will be systems in place in your new school or college to support you. There are also plenty of online communities and resource pages to use as you go along. 


Can new teachers teach abroad?


Of course, you can! International recruiters and schools don’t always necessarily prefer teachers with more experience, but those with more varied experience. Have a degree, a TEFL, the experience of working with young people, and a passion for education? You’ll shine in the interview. 

If you take on the TEFL route, remember that it doesn’t begin and end with your first placement. There are loads of progression opportunities within the English-teaching space, like management, mentoring, teaching, and examining. 

Remember with GoStudent, there are huge opportunities to be able to go remote and teach abroad. You can teach from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection! Plus, you can set your own schedule and work hours that suit you (more time for travel and fun!). Register with us, here.

Whether you’re looking to earn money to travel or want to start a new career, teaching English provides amazing opportunities for travel as well as personal and professional development. It’s a whole new world to explore! 

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