Teaching abroad is a great way to create a rewarding gap year experience for you and the local people of whatever country you’re planning to visit. Teaching abroad can have a direct, positive influence on the lives of children from under-privileged backgrounds and can help create a new generation of international business people.
To teach English as a foreign language you will need a TEFL qualification. Most reputable schools and colleges will not hire you without it and it can be easily obtained either online or in a classroom. The time it takes to complete a TEFL course depends on the position which you’re going to be looking for (For example a higher level teaching role will require more training and therefore will take you longer to complete). A TEFL course explains how to best conduct yourself in the classroom and refines your teaching skills. Once you are TEFL certified you are ready to teach in any country around the world to students who wish to improve their English language skills.
Teaching work abroad is relatively easy to obtain with the right qualifications. If you’re interested in teaching abroad on your gap year but feel you need to research a little more about it, then check out our great teaching advice articles.
Kate Scott travelled to Cambodia expecting to find a nation of poor people in shacks. By working as a teacher there she soon found that there's a lot more to this country.
Fiji is a place of learning. I was teaching the local village children, and they would tell me about their home and culture, whilst the wildlife and scenery taught me how beautiful the world is.
After a chance meeting with a friend Sarah ended up teaching English to the women of Chiang Mai behind bars. And the women were nothing like you'd imagine.
Stephanie attended a traditional Navajo ceremony believed to cleanse her and help her journey back to the first state of life - where Navajos believe we grow from again.
Teaching English abroad is not only a great way to give something back on your gap year, but also a good money maker! Check out these top TEFL destinations and advice...
Thinking of teaching English as a foreign language? Then make sure you read Christina Chandler's useful tips on teaching English in Europe to help get you prepared.
Tina Thornburn has continued he 'day in the life of a volunteer' and she's told us all about her experiences of volunteering with monkeys and teaching children in Kenya.
Teaching English as a foreign language is one of the most popular activities you can do on your gap year and Prague is one of the most beautiful cities to do it in.
Ben Robson spent 5 months volunteering, teaching English in Sichuan Province, China. Big classes, great food and smart kids; he shares his experiences.
If you want to spend a year or so living in Japan whilst getting paid at the same time, teaching English is the easiest and most common route for the majority of foreigners. In general, the only requirements are that you’re a native speaker of English and you hold a degree (the subject doesn’t usually matter).
Helen Hughes taught English in Ik-san, Korea. Living and working there was a bit of a culture shock, but it left a lasting positive impression on her.
"You can teach some of our students" said my new boss, in hesitant English. "Now?" I said, shocked. "But I arrived late last night and I'm really jet-lagged." I'd dragged my luggage through customs, been bumped about in the back of a taxi for half an hour and slept for just a few hours. To say I felt like pap was an understatement.
There are so many life-changing experiences available for gappers that I had great fun researching options for my gap year. I wanted not only to travel, but to adapt and live in a totally different culture. Having always played sports, I thought the football coaching placement in Ghana organised by Sporting Opportunities sounded different and amazing.
They say that teaching is something that is in your blood. Well, my mother is a teacher, and a result, in every country I travel to, sooner or later I find myself standing at the front of a classroom, while rows upon rows of expectant faces stare at me. I don't quite know how it happens, but I seem to teach on a regular basis.
The plane journey was possibly the longest journey of my life, both literally and mentally. Then actually getting off the plane was the most intense thing I've ever done; imagine stepping into a sauna just that little bit too hot and then triple that, then you will have half the idea of how the heat hits you as soon as you enter Ghana.
My job was a cross between teacher and clown. Some of my Japanese teaching colleagues let me do what I wanted in class (mad games to teach directions, bringing in my much-loved funk music, generally having a laugh) while others made me teach pronunciation and spelling (once I wrote 'embarassing' on the board but spelt it incorrectly... which was embarrassing).
I have so many good memories of being a teacher, from getting a pile of cards from my students and being presented with flowers on Valentines Day to telling my students the story of Helen of Troy and watching them perform their favourite parts of the story. I got such a buzz walking out of the classroom knowing that my students had enjoyed the class.
Before I came to Japan, I had a notion that Japanese classrooms would contain row upon row of immaculate and impeccable children, disciplined and studious. This was certainly not the case, particularly at my junior high school, where in my first week my English teacher warned me what to expect.
Lewis Smith and Dani Mason split their time in Sri Lanka between teaching in schools for under-privileged children and working in an elephant orphanage.
For me, taking a gap year was one of the easiest decisions I've ever made. I was fed up of learning facts just to regurgitate them all in exams. I wanted to learn about people, the world, and get a grasp of the bigger picture. So I set out looking for a way to fulfil my dreams.