How You Can Live and Teach English Abroad as a South African
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South Africa might be one of the most beautiful countries on the planet, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t spread our wings and discover what lies beyond our borders. Living and working abroad is an opportunity all South Africans should be aware of. Even though it might seem like the odds are stacked against us, it is possible to teach English abroad as a South African.
Factors affecting South Africans teaching English abroad
There are probably quite a few things you are worried about when it comes to teaching English abroad as a South African. Let’s look at these concerns in more detail.
The South African passport
Granted, the South African passport is not the strongest passport, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t travel. While some of us are lucky enough to hold another passport, there are more of us that don’t – and yet we still travel.
We just need to be smart about it. There are loads of countries which we can travel to and enter without a visa. The trick is to make sure you will be able to convert a tourist visa into a working visa when you are there. Alternatively, you can organise a working visa from South Africa before you even leave – provided you have secured a job.
Again, the rand is not our strongest feature. Travelling on the rand can be downright depressing. But the beauty of teaching abroad is that you only need enough money to support you until your first paycheck. This could include flights and rent and general living expenses. But once you have your first salary, you are earning like a local – and you can live like a local, too.
Plus, many of the countries we find ourselves in have a low cost of living, which means that our teaching salaries go a long way. In fact, many South Africans go into TEFL because they want to save money – and it’s perfectly possible to do that.
Finding a job
With such a high unemployment rate at home, we often think that the same must be true elsewhere. In other words, it will be difficult to find a job teaching English abroad as a South African. But because there are so many people wanting to learn English all over the world, and that number is growing all the time, there is no shortage of demand for TEFL teachers.
But as we said, you don’t need to trust us. Meet Schalk, a TTA graduate from South Africa.
A South African teaching English abroad
Schalk le Roux is 23 years old. He comes from Malmesbury, a small town about an hour outside Cape Town. After school he started working in the IT field but quickly realised it was not for him! He then started working as a student teacher at the same school he went to as a child and soon realised that his passion was teaching.
His first adventure was working for a year as an au pair in America, where he realised “My passion lies with teaching kids and my hobbies include experiencing different cultures and travelling.”
He realised he could combine the two by enrolling with The TEFL Academy. He signed up for the Level 5 course in May 2021 and finished at the end of June the same year. Two months after the course, he was living and working abroad. Now he is teaching Maths, English and Computers to Grade 4 students at a school in Tak, Thailand.
Interestingly, Schalk doesn’t have a degree. To be a TEFL teacher in Thailand, you need a degree and then the school sorts out your legal paperwork. To get around this, he organised for a company to hire him as a volunteer to get a visa and then sponsor him to get a visa that allows him to work legally.
“It was a big transition with a lot of stressful parts, overall, but it was and still is, one big adventure. I fell in love with this country and its people almost instantly and I have no regrets choosing Thailand. I have explored a few places and there is only more to come.
“The school is fantastic, and I work with almost 20 other TEFL teachers from all around the world. I have 4 classes: 3 different 4th grade classes to whom I teach Maths and Foundation English and then I also teach Computers to one of the 4th grade classes and one 6th grade class. My classes have between 28 and 34 students each and I teach 16 hours a week.
“I love every second of it. The students and Thai teachers are so nice and respectful, I have no words of how to accurately explain it. Thai culture is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. The food, the atmosphere, the people, the environment, everything, it is unbelievable!
“I love it here and want to stay here for as long as I possibly can, maybe settle here. The monthly salary for someone without a degree is about 30 000 baht which is more than enough to make a decent living. I came here with my girlfriend of 5 years and she gets the same salary as me. Our monthly expenses including rent, utilities, laundry, food, scooter rental and health insurance is less than half of one of our salaries. The cost of living is extremely low when you move out of the tourist areas, which is usually where the most job opportunities are, anyway.
“Thailand is a very cheap country and travelling is inexpensive, plus it is so big that it will take you a long time to just travel the country itself before you start travelling to neighbouring countries.
“If you are anything like me, and you cannot sit still and want to see and explore as much as possible, do it and you won’t look back. I would, however, recommend having a degree to make life a little more convenient and less expensive.”
If you’d like to find out more about how you could be ‘living the dream’ like Schalk, here are the most common questions about teaching English as a foreign language abroad as a South African:
How can I teach English abroad with a South African passport?
The majority of schools will help you organise a working visa once you have accepted and signed a contract. This is usually done at the embassy of the country in South Africa – for example, the Thai embassy in Cape Town. You might need to cover this cost but the school will help you with the paperwork and may refund you the cost.
In other countries it is common practice to enter the country on a tourist visa. Once you have secured a job you can apply to convert your visa to a working visa once you are already in the country. There are currently 104 countries which South Africans can enter without a visa.
Rhyan O’Sullian, the Managing Director of The TEFL Academy, says: “Those considering a life abroad can leverage the power of the South African passport to scope out their dream destinations, get a feel for the local culture, meet up with potential employers, and plan living arrangements.”
Of course, there are some countries which are harder for us to work in than others. The big ones are the European Union and the UK. Unless you have a UK or EU passport, it can be difficult to find a job there. However, there are programs – like ConversaSpain – which allow you to volunteer to teach in exchange for food and lodging, which negates the need for a working visa, but still allows you to live in the country.
How can I afford to teach English abroad?
We’ll be honest: you do need money to start off your TEFL career – but it’s probably not as much as you might think. A TEFL course from The TEFL Academy will set you back approximately R10 000 for an online Level 5 course and R13 000 for a combined Level 5 course, but there are usually specials which can drop the prices to as low as R3 500 and R5 000! Flights will probably cost you about R10 000 (depending on the destination and the time of year). And then you need living costs for the first month or so until you get to enjoy your first payday.
Use a website like numbeo.com to figure out the living costs in whichever country you want to go to, and you’ll have a good idea of how much money you’ll need. Don’t forget to factor in the upfront payments for accommodation and any costs related to dress code, school supplies and commuting.
How much will I earn?
How much you earn depends entirely on where you are working and living and where you are teaching. Every TEFL job is different when it comes to teaching contracts and packages.
For example, many South Africans jet off to South Korea to teach English, usually because of the money. While you work hard – about 30 hours a week – your teaching package is likely to be very generous. Teaching packages in South Korea often include accommodation, flights, health insurance and an end-of-contract bonus. With salaries of around R20 000 – R40 000 a month, if you don’t live a very extravagant life you can save a fair chunk of that.
Other countries might offer lower salaries with fewer benefits, but the cost of living is low – so you end up saving anyway. The choice is yours – do you want to work to save money or do you want to work to enjoy a really nice lifestyle in a foreign country?
What are the best countries to teach English abroad for South Africans?
The TEFL Academy has done some research on this, and we’ve found that the most popular countries for South Africans to teach abroad are China, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, and Spain.
Is living abroad safe?
Let’s face it, South Africa is not exactly a safe place to live. Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Gqeberha ranked in the top 50 most dangerous cities in the world. This means the majority of countries around the world are safer. While that may be a very sad state of affairs, it means that you are likely to feel safe wherever you go.
The bottom line is, are you ready to change your life? Chat to us today to find out more about our TEFL courses and how we can help you have the adventure of a lifetime.
The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.
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Name of course Description Online Level 5 TEFL Course 168-hour Online Level 5 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Online Level 3 TEFL Course 120-hour Online Level 3 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Top-Up Courses 30-hour Online Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English and Teaching Online & 1:1 Courses 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours of webinar teaching practice course (Learn about classroom management and Q&A with a TEFL expert) Observed Teaching Practice Course 40-hour observed teaching practice course
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- We are ELEARNING FUTURES LTD (trading as The TEFL Academy) a company registered in the United Kingdom.
Registered company number 13725845, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL.
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- These Terms shall commence upon the date you receive a confirmation email from us to accept your order and
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- The duration of the TEFL Courses shall be as follows:
Name of course Duration Combined Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 3 TEFL Course 6 months 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours Top-up courses 6 weeks Observed Teaching Practice Course 2 years
- If you need a course extension, this can be arranged at a fee. Please contact [email protected] or call +1 347 434 9694
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- The fees for extensions are set out below.
Extension type Extension fee pre-expiry Extension fee post-expiry Level 3 & 5 TEFL Course 30 day extension $66 $84 Level 3 & 5 TEFL Course 90 day extension $96 $114 Top-up Course 30 day extension $36 n/a Observed Teaching Practice Course No fee No fee
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Name of course Price Combined Level 5 TEFL Course $ Online Level 5 TEFL Course $558 Online Level 3 TEFL Course $348 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course $220 Top-up courses $195 Observed Teaching Practice Course $275
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- As part of some TEFL Courses you will be required to prepare and submit assignments. If you do not pass an
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awarded a pass grade in.
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possible need for re-submission.
- Please be aware that if you have not completed all required assignments and allowed sufficient time for
marking before your end-date, you will need to apply for an extension.
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cannot thereafter seek to resit the exam.
11. Failing the Course
- The TEFL Academy offers a guaranteed pass, or your money back guarantee. You can retake the exams as many times as needed in order to pass. If you fail to achieve a pass on any assignments after your third attempt we will provide you with a full refund. A full refund will not be provided in accordance with clauses 11.4 & 11.5.
- Native speakers of English will typically be above the minimum standard of English for this course.
- Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (Advanced), as a minimum to commence the course.
Students may test their English level here: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/content.
- Students found not to have a C1 level of English will likely fail the course and not complete the
qualification. However, it is up to each prospective student to determine for themselves whether or not they
wish to commence a course even where they do not have a minimum of C1 level English. For the avoidance of any
doubt no refund will be provided for a student failing the course in any circumstances.
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- Where an assignment marker finds evidence that indicates that plagiarism may have occurred within a submitted
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the submitted assignment to the source it is believed to be plagiarised from. The Internal Quality Assurance
Manager will make an assessment as to whether they consider plagiarism to have occurred. In the event the
Internal Quality Assurance Manager decides that plagiarism has occurred, they will prepare and provide to you a
detailed report outlining the reasons for their decision along with a letter explaining your removal from the
course. Should you wish to dispute this decision, you can do so in accordance with The TEFL Academy’s Appeals
policy for students which can be found here.
- If you do not pass an assignment after submitting it up to three times in accordance with clause 10.2 you will
be deemed to have failed the course. Should you wish to dispute this decision, you can do so in accordance with
The TEFL Academy’s Appeals policy for students which can be found here. If you fail the course due to not passing your assignments you will be provided with a full refund.
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- Our internship/volunteer opportunities and the jobs posted on our jobs board are provided by third parties.
Although we will endeavour to assist students, we accept no liability for the actions or conduct of any
- The TEFL Academy endeavours to ensure all assignments are marked promptly. However, there can be delays in
busier times or due to moderation requests from our accrediting body. The TEFL Academy accepts no responsibility for any loss or other circumstances resulting or arising from such delays.
- The TEFL Academy accepts no liability, nor shall it have any liability whether in contract, tort, under
statute or otherwise, for any loss or additional expense arising for students where they fail the course whether
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13. Complaints Handling Policy
- If you have any questions or complaints about the TEFL Course, please contact us. You can telephone our
customer service team at +1 347 434 9694 or write to us at [email protected] or The TEFL Academy, Suite 101b, 21-22 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL, United Kingdom.
- If your complaint is not dealt to your satisfaction with you may make a complaint to the course accrediting
body. You can find the contact details for the accrediting body in the The TEFL Academy’s Appeals Policy which
can be found here.
- Our staff have the right not to be subjected to aggressive, abusive or offensive language or behaviour,
regardless of the circumstances. Examples of this behaviour include but are not limited to; threats of physical
violence; swearing; inappropriate cultural, racial or religious references; rudeness, including derogatory
remarks. The TEFL Academy practises a zero-tolerance policy in relation to such behaviour. All students are
required at all times to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner including in their dealings with other
students, staff and external organisations. Disruptive or antisocial behaviour could result in being asked to
leave the course.
- Any student who fails or is removed from the course by failing to meet the academic standards or through being
found guilty of plagiarism will be removed immediately from the course without refund.
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Academy uses your personal information.
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- Any claims made in connection with these Terms shall be subject to English law and all proceedings shall be
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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Where we use another organisation, we make sure that your personal information is protected and remains in our control.
- We also, in certain situations, share personal information with government bodies and law enforcement bodies. Where we do share personal information with these types of organisations we’ll make sure it’s protected, as far as it is reasonably possible.
We’ll use your personal information to send you direct marketing and to better identify products and services that interest you. We do that if you’re one of our customers or if you’ve been in touch with us another way (such as registering to attend an ELEARNING FUTURES LTD event).
This means we’ll:
- create a profile about you to better understand you as a customer and tailor the communications we send you (including our marketing messages);
- tell you about other products and services you might be interested in;
- try to identify products and services you’re interested in; and
We use the following for marketing and to identify the products and services you’re interested in.
- Your contact details. This includes your name, gender, address, phone number, date of birth and email address.
- Information from cookies and tags placed on your connected devices.
- Information from other organisations such as aggregated demographic data and publicly available sources like the electoral roll and business directories.
- Details of the products and services you’ve bought and how you use them.
We’ll send you information (about the products and services we provide) by phone, post, email, text message, online banner advertising. We also use the information we have about you to personalise these messages wherever we can as we believe it is important to make them relevant to you. We do this because we have a legitimate business interest in keeping you up to date with our products and services. We also check that you are happy for us to send you marketing messages before we do so. In each message we send, you also have the option to opt-out.
We’ll only market other organisations’ products and services if you have said it is OK for us to do so.
You can ask us to stop sending you marketing information or withdraw your permission at any time.
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD retains personal information in line with our corporate retention requirements. Your data will be stored within the European Economic Area (“the EEA”) (The EEA consists of all EU member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). However, in some circumstances, part or all of your data may be stored or transferred outside of the European Economic Area (“the EEA”). You are deemed to accept and agree to this by using our site and submitting information to us. If we do store or transfer data outside the EEA, we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your data is treated as safely and securely as it would be within the EEA and under the GDPR. Such steps may include, but not be limited to, the use of legally binding contractual terms between us and any third parties we engage with, and the use of the EU-approved Model Contractual Arrangements. If we intend at any time to transfer any of your data outside the EEA, we will always obtain your consent beforehand.
Right to access personal information
- Under the law, any individual has a right to ask for a copy of the personal information held about them. This means that you can ask for the information that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD holds about you. This is known as the right of ‘subject access’.
- When making a request you will need to give us:
- a request in writing (by post or by email)
- We may need to ask you to provide:
- proof of your identity
- proof of your home address
- any information that we reasonably need to locate the information you have requested (for example details of the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD offices or staff that you have had contact with and when)
We will not start looking for your information until we receive all of the above. In order to submit your request, or for help making a request, please contact us.
Rights concerning the processing of your personal information
- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.