This is an article for those that have graduated uni with a degree in Education, for those that have graduated and are unsure of what they should do next, or maybe for those interested in a little international experience.
Travelling the world is one the best forms education. Travelling can open up numerous career doors, both at home and abroad. The ability for one to adapt to new situations and cultures is a skill all employers are seeking. This is especially true in highly diverse countries, like Australia. School systems want to hire teachers that are open and understanding of a variety of cultures and beliefs, and there is no better way to demonstrate this skill than by obtaining international work experience.
Living in Australia we are fortunate to speak English as our first language. With globalization increasing, the demand for proficient English speaking educators to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) is increasing rapidly. Many foreign primary schools seek young Australians to teach English at their schools. They look to hire young professionals are a contract basis that are adaptable and open-minded; who do not already have stable contract back home.
If you are interested in travel and would also like some professional experience, this is certainly an option to consider. Travelling can be expensive, and this can be a great way to subsidise expenses. Often the contracts are quite flexible, giving you long weekends or plenty of holidays. The opportunity to live and work in a new city or village can be an adventure in and of itself.
Working abroad, especially in the education realm, can be a positive way to perfect a second language yourself. When you are immersed in a society it is far easier to learn their language. You are able to hear the slang of the people, phrases not otherwise taught, and regional accents. It is a good idea; however, to take a small amount of time to learn some of the language before you go. Typically, schools that partner with ESL teachers have enough English speakers for you to get-by, but your confidence will be boosted if you have a basic understanding of the country's mother tongue. There are short courses that are offered at many uni's to introduce you to a new language. There are also some online tools you can purchase. By taking an online class or learning via a CD you are able to work at your own pace and usually the discs are a fraction of the cost of classroom sessions. You can also find coupons online for some of the beginner courses.
There are many different ways you can apply to teach abroad. The best thing to do is to first get an international recognized certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language (TEFL). TEFL certificates have become mandatory for most teachers looking to work abroad, and this is certainly true for those that have very little professional experience. The certificates never have to be renewed and they can qualify you to work all around the world. These certificates can be obtained over a weekend and there are often discounts if you register with you mates. International TEFL Training (ITT) is one of the most popular training centres with offices located across the country. They specialize in offering small class sizes with highly qualified teachers. There is also a deal online for this company. Other companies include: i-to-i and CactusTEFL.
Once you have received your TEFL certificate you can look at a variety of resources for work placements. Given the breath of organisations available, and the limitless country opportunities, it is hard to recommend a specific organisation to work with. It is recommended that you do research on any school or work-placement agency before you agree to work abroad. There are many stellar schools with great but programs for their foreign teachers, but you need to be aware that there are others that are just looking to take your money or use you as cheap labour. With that in mind, finding a great school to work at should not be difficult, with a bit of due diligence.
Teaching English OS is a great opportunity for anyone looking for teaching experience, to learn a new language or to explore a foreign country. Why not take a year to gain some value work and life experience?