Today I have a guest post from Angelique. Angelique MacArthur is the CEO and Founder of The Unfiltered Agency, a creative brand dedicated to helping women in their 30’s live the most beautiful and unfiltered life on their own terms. Her lifestyle blog is where she shares ways to find balanced empowerment through leveled up living.
The opportunity to earn an income and travel the world is a goal or dream that many have on their career list. While the digital nomad lifestyle has become a legitimized way to work, another amazing option that has been around even longer is teaching English abroad.
In 2012, I decided to pursue this unique 9 to 5 option by teaching English in Asia. For a year and 3 months, I lived in Japan and was immersed in the culture while teaching English and I got to travel to other destinations during my off time.
From the students and families I got to know from teaching English in Asia (and still keep in touch with!), to visiting amazing locations with now lifelong friends, to earning money to help me pay down my debt, my experience was one of the best in my lifetime to date.
If you’re ready for an experience that will help you with your financial goals and enrich your life in a way you never thought possible, keep reading!
Related: 9 Ways to Make Money When Traveling
Selecting Your Destination and its Lifestyle
There are certainly several countries in Asia to teach English in however the most popular are Japan, South Korea and China.
Japan was my choice of a temporary home away from home as I have always been enamored with the country and culture. After my trip of a lifetime there in August of 2011, I came home knowing that I would be moving there shortly and 6 months later, I was a full-time resident. Japan offers a great mix of tradition and modernity and has some of the best technology in the world.
South Korea is the place to be if you like nightlife and entertainment. With a work hard/play hard mentality, South Koreans know how to have a good time all the while getting things done. South Korea is also known to be the more laid back of the three countries.
As one of the largest countries in the world, China does not disappoint with its fast-paced cities and sprawling countrysides. Also known for the incredible street food, it is certainly a fantastic choice for your time teaching English abroad.
When looking at your destination of choice here are some key questions to ask:
- Why do I want to teach abroad?
- What is my personality style?
- What are my must-haves and what am I flexible on?
- How much money do I want to earn and why?
- What are my goals while I am abroad?
- What countries do I qualify to teach English in?
That last question leads me to…
Once you have decided on the country you want to begin your teaching adventures in, there are some basics you will have to have sorted out to apply for positions.
Your country of origin and education will be the most important factors assessed by companies and schools. Applicants from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are considered “Native English Speakers” and are given precedence when applying to teach English in these three countries.
A standard education requirement for these countries is a bachelor’s degree (traditional or online) in any subject. Yes, even a liberal studies degree will work Non-degree holders can look to China as an option. A TEFL certificate is another option that is increasingly being requested in addition to your degree. Of course, the more certifications and experience you have teaching the more money you will be able to earn.
Other important items that you may be requested to have been sealed transcripts from your school, professional and/or educational letters of recommendations, and a national level background check. You will have to fill out an application form for that particular organization and be ready to provide copies of your passport and new passport photos along with a work VISA.
There are several ways to land an English teaching job in Japan, South Korea, and China. With an abundance of options, you can use a recruiter or recruiting company such as Teach Away or EPIK, look at job boards such as gooverseas.com or footprintsrecruiting.com or apply directly to schools or government programs.
Be sure to remember that when researching your destination of choice, it is important to look at reviews and the credentials of the company you decide to work with. Also, check out the benefits and training program that is offered with each position that you are looking to apply to. There are many programs that offer amazing perks such as housing and utility assistance or free flights to and from your home destination.
Income and Daily Living Costs
While many see teaching English in Asia or anywhere abroad as mostly for the experience and not for earning a decent income, they may want to think again. However, when it comes to earning potential these three countries can vary depending on your location preferences and credentials.
Japan offers a range of $2,200 to $5,000. The cost of living tends to be on the higher side between the three countries and it is common for English teachers to pay a portion of their rent costs and pay all of their utilities such as water, heating/cooling, and internet and cable costs.
China tends to offer a lower monthly payment option, ranging from $1,500-$2,000 a month but they have an abundance of English teaching positions to choose from.
South Korea pays the highest and is the number one pick for people wanting to teach abroad in Asia. With a general range between $1,900 and $2,800, the cost of living tends to be on the lower side and is budget friendly.
Also, be sure to look into what your contracts offer. Most English teaching programs in these countries offer fully furnished housing.
For those thinking to start a side hustle while away, many English teaching programs frown upon tutoring English outside of your 9 to 5 or working elsewhere on your off hours but some are flexible. If you have a side hustle or are looking to start one while overseas be sure to review your contract policy to ensure that you are not violating any rules.
No matter where you teach overseas, it is truly the experience of a lifetime! Getting to immerse yourself in another culture while getting paid is a fantastic way to enrich your lifestyle at almost any age. Use these helpful tips that I implemented in order to start teaching English in Asia to land the English teaching position of your dreams. When you do, be sure to come back and share your story with all of us!
Where would you want to teach English and why?
If you have taught overseas, what is your biggest tip for those looking to do so?
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