Published 1st July 2019

Teaching English as a Foreign Language is big business right now. Whereas a few years ago not many people would’ve known what TEFL stood for, these days it seems everyone is doing it. Why you should do a TEFL? With an estimated 2 billion English language learners worldwide and 250 000 teachers teaching English abroad, that is almost not an exaggeration.

What is it about the TEFL lifestyle that is causing your best friend John, your colleague Susan and your Aunty Margaret to pack their bags and leave? Why are seemingly sane people spending their hard-earned money on TEFL certificates and jetting off to weird and wonderful destinations to teach English to people they don’t know from a bar of soap?

What do they know that you don’t?

We’re going to help you out on this one. There are loads of reasons you should do a TEFL but we’ve narrowed it down to our favourite just to give you a taste of what you can look forward to.

Oh the places you’ll go…

Probably the number one reason people decide to up sticks and move away from everything that is familiar, is the travel. TEFL teachers are a different breed of traveller. TEFL teachers enjoy travelling while not being a tourist. TEFL teachers like getting off the beaten track, and staying there. TEFL teachers want to see the world not to tick off a bucket list (though that’s cool too) but to understand this world a little better.

Being a TEFL teacher allows you to travel to faraway destinations. You will be able to explore your local city in the afternoons and evenings, and travel further afield on weekends and in holidays. Think about it, if you’re living and teaching in the Maldives, would you really want to spend your free time with Netflix?

You’ll broaden your mind

Sounds cheesy but it’s not. Travelling the world helps you meet new people, try new food, and have new experiences. But living and working in a foreign country takes those experiences to a whole new level. Being a TEFL teacher gives you the opportunity to get to know a new community in a way not many other people would – by living there, getting to know the locals, and becoming a part of the community.

Why you should do a TEFL? One of the most affordable ways to travel
Why you should do a TEFL? One of the most affordable ways to travel

It’s all about the money, money, money

Money makes the world go round, we get it. You don’t need to be embarrassed that one of your reasons for doing a TEFL is to make money. Being a TEFL teacher is a job and it’s hard work, so you should earn money doing it. The fact that in some countries you can probably earn more than you can back home, live better and pay back that pesky student loan is just a cherry on top.

(Of course not all TEFL jobs pay thousands of pounds, but you are guaranteed to find a job which gives you the means to live well in a different country, and travel.)

¡Hola! Bonjour! Niehao!

Living in a foreign country can be challenging, but it will also be eye-opening. You will be exposed to new cultures, different social practices and, of course, a new language. Being a TEFL teacher gives you the perfect opportunity to learn another language. No need to sit through hours of lessons in a classroom – just walk out your front door and chat to your neighbour. Et voila!

It can be a summer fling…

Doing a TEFL course doesn’t mean you are stuck to TEFL for life. A summer TEFL job can be ideal if you are just looking to dip your toes into the industry and take a break from your usual 9 to 5. Language schools hire teachers throughout the year and your contract is renewed on a monthly basis, so if you want to move on to something different after a couple of months you can. 

…Or a long-term romance

On the other hand, if you find yourself living your best life as a TEFL teacher, then maybe you want to look at doing it long-term. Being a TEFL teacher is actually just one job out of many that are related to the field of English language teaching. Many people teach for many, many years but it’s also possible to become a Director of Studies, a materials writer, an examiner or even open your own school. A TEFL job might just be the first step to the rest of your life. 

The birds are doing it, the bees are doing it…

And finally, all the cool kids are doing it. TEFL is such a popular lifestyle choice right now. What this means is that no matter where you go, you are sure to make some new friends who have chosen the same path as you. You’ll join the ranks of TEFL teachers teaching English all over the world, and become a part of the greater TEFL family. Who wouldn’t want that?

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