Sunday, April 20, 2008

Teaching English Abroad: Seven Important Things You Didn’t Know About

Caveat Emptor
There has been an increasing trend towards people moving abroad to retire, change their lifestyle, experience new cultures, get closer to their “roots”, and in general to improve their overall living conditions. But such a move while having numerous benefits, can be the proverbial double-edged sword, cutting both ways. There are a few “Caveat Emptors” to be reckoned with. Just take a look at these …

1. Your TESOL Employment Options Can Triple, Quadruple or More with a Recognized TEFL Certificate
Just a couple of days ago I talked with a woman who still believes that “being a native speaker is enough to teach your language to others”. WRONG. It’s not and you can’t – at least not effectively enough to make a consistent stream of income from it. Schools, language institutes and government education departments are “wising up”; you may not even be able to get a legal, paying job teaching English without some recognized credentials. A CELTA or other well-recognized TEFL certificate is a minimum requirement to get at least a reasonably-well-paid job. You legal residence and working status could well be impacted too. And, trust me on this one, you DON’T want to go where that may lead.

2. A “Lower” Salary Doesn’t Mean a “Lesser” Life Style
“You’re only going to pay me WHAT!” You should see their faces when they first get the news. “I can’t possibly live off that!” Well actually, yes you can – and often quite well too. I also like the one when they hear, “We’ll pay you a million pesos!” Oh man. Great, they quip, eyes beaming. Then the other shoe drops when they find out that one million pesos is only five hundred dollars a month. What is said next is not repeatable here. When you get a salary offer, you need not necessarily cringe. Consider what you’ll be paid in light of the local cost of living. More often though, you’ll get a seemingly low sounding salary which is more than ample to enjoy living, traveling and enjoying life in your new digs.

3. Laws and Legal Proceedings Can Be Radically Different Abroad
The terms “justice” and “what’s right” can vary widely from one country to another. Legal systems are often directly related to the type of government a country is currently under. This too can change if there is a coupe d’etat, civil war, election, impeachment, death of a head of state or other form of governmental change. The ole U.S. of A, Canada, the UK, Australia and other major countries have centuries-old, well-established (and complicated) legal codes and systems which are enforced. Many countries world-wide do not, and may rely on a system of “justice” which does not favor you, the expatriate or foreigner.

4. “Culture Shock” is a Fact of Life Abroad
“Culture Shock” is a fact of life abroad so prepare yourself for it. No matter how well you live (or don’t live) now, relocating to a foreign country can be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life if you don’t properly prepare yourself for major change. Get several guidebooks on the country you’re considering. Then read them from cover to cover. Check out websites, government and tourist information web pages, history books, literature and almanac or yearbook data from as many sources as you can. Be an informed, knowledgeable expatriate BEFORE you go anywhere.

More Information Coming Up Soon
In the second of this two-part article post, we’ll consider three more important considerations for teaching English as a foreign language abroad that “you didn’t know about”. So “Don’t Expect a Perfect World”, “If you’re a Minority …” and “Start Learning the Local Language” will be briefly addressed. See you then.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-books,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title you want at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.


Anonymous said...

If you speak english as bad as you write, you REALLY should not be teaching english. I can see how you'd have a hard time at anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Hi Janet,

I'm wondering how you were able to tell that the author of the article wrote improperly? In your two sentence comment, "English" should have been capitalized in both cases and it would have been more proper, in your second sentence, to state, "I can see how you'd have a hard time anywhere else."

Anonymous said...

Oh, one more thing I noticed, Janet. In your first sentence, using the adjective "bad" is also improper as in this situation, an adverb such as "poorly" is needed because you're describing a verb rather than a noun.

Anonymous said...

Janet, your grammar and style is terrible. There are six errors in your two sentence comment.

1) English should be capitalised. You made this mistake twice.
2) 'bad' is an adverb - you should have used 'badly'.
3) There's a pronoun missing after your comparative phrase - it should read 'as you write it'.
4) Capitalising 'really' is incorrect use of case.
5) You should have used the pronoun 'it' in place of the second, incorrectly capitalised, 'english'.
6) The preposition 'at' should not be used before the noun 'anywhere'.

Perhaps you might consider some tuition.

By the way, I'm not American, as you may have noticed by my spellings.

An annoying Clever Dick