Published 16th June 2016


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Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a love of travelling go hand in hand. No doubt a major reason many people decide to uproot their lives and embark on a TEFL career is because they want to experience the adventures of travelling.

And while we are always thinking about learning and teaching English – because that’s what we do – it is also necessary to think about what other languages you could learn to make your travelling a bit easier. (Besides, it’s good for us to be students sometimes.)

What language you decide to learn will most certainly depend on where you are going to live, but there are a few languages that you should bear in mind when considering studying, simply because they’ll be useful to you in a whole lot of different places.


Of course, if you are thinking of relocating to South or Central America, Spanish is an obvious choice of language, but even in the United States there are well over 35 million Spanish speakers. What’s more, Spanish is the second most popular language in Europe, after English. In fact, Spanish is the first language of 21 different countries so no matter which continent you’re on it’s bound to come in handy.


French is also spoken on all the continents and it is the second most widely learnt foreign language, after English.  While of course being able to speak French will help you if you are planning to go to France, it will also prove useful in Canada, Switzerland, Canada, the Seychelles and numerous African countries.

Mandarin Chinese

A list such as this one wouldn’t be complete without Mandarin. Living in China can be quite a challenging experience at times, so learning the language will go a long way to making your experience easier, bearing in mind that English is not widely spoken there.


Russia is another country where English is not a common language of communication, even though TEFL is on the rise. It is also the largest country in the world and there are about 300 million Russian speakers globally. It is also the most popular Slavic language.


More and more TEFL teachers are heading for the sweltering heat of the Middle East or North Africa.  Being able to speak Arabic will open doors which otherwise wouldn’t be open to you and help you understand this interesting culture. There is also a low supply of Arabic- and English-speakers and being able to translate could be a very lucrative skill to have.


Regardless of which language you choose, learning another language gives you the opportunity to remember the experience of being a student, giving you empathy for what your students are going through. Plus, it’ll enable you to get to know and appreciate another culture better.

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