1. You don't have a job, nor do you have any unique skills that could get you one.

  2. You don't have roots. No spouse. No dog. No nothing.

  3. No one will care if you leave the country for at least a year.

  4. You need to get away from those "persistent men" who keep sending you threatening messages about a union between your kneecaps and a crowbar.

  5. If your mother asks you one more time when you're going to get married, you'll go postal.

These are all fantastic reasons to leave the country. And lucky for you, you possess a very important skill that is in high demand abroad. What do you have that the rest of the world wants? The answer is: your ability to read this article. Yes, you speaker of English you, that language of yours will take you far... as long as you're willing to teach your talent to others. You don't even have to know the language of the country you're traveling to.

But just because you're a native speaker doesn't mean that you'll be an effective English teacher. So before you go and devote - minimum - a year of your life to teaching English, you better read this article and learn exactly what it involves.


There are thousands of reasons that people have for wanting to teach English; knowing yours will help you decide where you'll end up. But we're going make a disclaimer first: almost everything will depend on the program you participate in. Salary, location, benefits, time commitment, requirements - it'll all depend on the organization that ships your carcass to wherever you're teaching. So with that in mind, here are some general items to think about:

  • SALARY. If you are working for the money, then you better find a new job - the salary ranges from $0 (for you kind volunteers) to as high as $50,000 per year. There are exceptions, of course; if you're ready to sign up for 2 years in Saudi Arabia, the rumor mill places the highest paying jobs at around $75,000 per year. However, you'll live in an American village, separated from the native population. Without alcohol. Or any nightlife. But hey, they've got great fitness centers. The point is, this is not a way to make oodles of cash. However, you might get side benefits, such as scholarships to help pay for your college tuition (the Peace Corps offers this).

  • LOCATION. Again, it depends. But consider that in most of the world, big cities are much more expensive to live in than small towns, so if you're trying to save some money, you might be better off staying away from teeming metropolises. Also keep in mind that the really poor villages of this earth won't be able to pay you high salaries, so if you need to save up, then you may be better off trying to teach English in an elite private school.

  • BENEFITS. This is a recording: it depends on the program. Some places will offer you health care, which would be a great addition. But there are cultural benefits, such as learning a new language and culture, and getting the chance to travel.

  • TIME COMMITMENT. Most programs require at least a one-year commitment (what, you gonna skip out on the kiddies before they even learn to say "hello"?), so be prepared for it.

  • REQUIREMENTS. Do you need to be a certified teacher? We won't say that it's required per se - most programs require them, some don't. However, if you are certified to teach, it's much easier to nab a job (and a higher paying one, at that). Also realize that if you speak the native tongue of the country in which you teach, then more doors will open up to you.

We have many links which will detail many different programs that range the spectrum of all of these considerations, but before we give 'em to you (they're in Step 3: Secure a job), you should write a list of what you're looking for in a program. Do you only want to go to one specific part of the world? How important is it to you to be in a huge city (which is more expensive, but also has more doctors and more to do)? Is money a large factor? Can you handle a relatively small salary in exchange for tuition money? And will these questions ever stop?...