travel advice & savings
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auburnkw's profile picture
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I’m graduating in May with a BA in English, minor in Spanish. After spending a month in Europe this past summer, I decided I wanted to hold off a year before going to grad school. My plan is to get a TEFL certificate and teach in Europe, but there aren’t many people on my campus that can answer my questions. I was hoping this would be the place to find some answers.
1. Is there a particular certificate that is more accepted than others?
2. Are there problems for Americans getting English teaching jobs when a country could hire someone from the UK?
3. Has anyone had experience (good or bad) they’d be willing to share?

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I am looking for the same answers you are. I’ve seen TEFL and TOEFL courses highly advertised as being internationally recognised but I’m uncertain what the differences are and whether anyone has some first hand experience in teaching abroad in Europe (particularly in Eastern Europe).

Personally I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting a teaching job just because the UK english teachers live closer. There are lots of agents you can go through to get teaching placements where accommodation is subsidised, and you get contracts from 3 months up to 2 years generally. They pretty much do all the organising for you, and you often get a meet and greet service at the airport when you arrive (depending on who you go through of course).

I work at an International College at a large Univeristy so I’m working with english teachers, some of which have done the teaching abroad thing. I heard some bad stories and some good stories. I think the best thing to do is to look for a reputable teaching abroad placement agency and make sure you ask them all the important questions regarding payment, wages, accommodation, working hours, age of students and so on. Many placements offer a TEFL or TOEFL course included in their overall fee.

Auburnkw, I’m going to create a separate post to see if we can get any further answers as well. I have some specific questions I want to ask but I won’t bog down your post with them! Out of interest, where are you interested in going? The best paying countries are in the Middle East and places like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. Poland is supposed to be quite good too. check out this website which outlines the expected wages in different countries and what they require in terms of visas and qualifications:


I hope we get some good responses!

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1. In my research there is no one definitive certificate, and in fact many times they’re not even needed. Most programs I’ve found only require a bachelor’s degree in any field and come from and english speaking country (mostly: US, UK, Canada, Aus, NZ).

2. Have not come across this an issue. The only reason I can see this coming up would be for visa purposes, though the visa is usually the individuals responsibility. It would be easier for an EU member to get a work visa, though you can get around that pretty easily with just a tourist visa and leave the country for 24hours every 90 days.

3. Haven’t yet myself, though I would imagine the positive way outnumber those with a bad experience. This kind of work for the most part probably attracts the sort of people that know what they’re getting into. I’d think if you do you’re research and make sure you sign up with a reputable company/school than you’ll be fine.

He’s a good website to find work all over the world.

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Big thanks to Nadrazi for listing the job website….looks like I may give it a go!!!!


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You’d be better asking on the following forums

The simple question is Do you have an EU passport or means of getting one ie 2nd or 3rd generation Irish, Greek or British ancestry? If you do there’s no problem at all.

If not, I’m afraid the news is not positive see


Pay special attention to the third post down

"I want to clarify this to everyone and finalize the point here so you all know the harsh, but fair truth. My background is such, I lived on student visas in Europe for the past 8 years and am now in South Korea (I am an American). I left because I was broke and because of me being a North American I know the ins and outs of the EU deal. Bottom line is every year the EU is expanding and in particular consolidating, that means, every year North Americans without immediate British, Greek or Irish ancestry have basically zero chances of work within an EU country. Why? Well within the EU an employer who wants to hire you needs to prove to the respective country’s labor board that you possess qualifications that no comparable EU citizen can. That is the first incentive for ESL employers to hire on Brits and Irish, it’s easier for THEM. The other thing is that in some countries, like France, hiring a non EU actually costs the employer money in addition to the need to prove that you are better qualified than an EU person.

What employer would go through that headache and financial loss just for you. There are some countries, which are more amenable to North Americans, Portugal and Germany come to mind but forget about Italy or France or Spain or just about any other long time member of the EU. Poland, although having joined recently will often sponsor visas, but that is becoming less and less so the case (you also earn chicken feed in the Eastern Block Countries)."

By the way Nadrazis advice is totally wrong – you can’t just ‘visa hop’ in Europe anymore. Under the Schengen agreement, you can stay in Western Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Benelux, France, Germany, Swiss, Austria and the Nordic countries) for 90 days in a 6 month period. So if you work in those countries for 90 days, then leave (say to UK or Ireland which are non-schengen) you must wait three months before returning. If you return after 24 hours you better have the plane fare for being deported.

The word on the street is that Madrid is amenable to Americans without EU passports. It means working illegally but you should be fine – I knew many Americans working in Valencia without problems.

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Suggestions on the best paying areas or jobs?

Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, and end up getting charged double.

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This reply specifically regards an EU passport.

I’m third generation of British ancestry — I think, anyway.  My great-grandparents were born in Lancashire, England.  My Grandmother was born in Ontario, Canada, which makes me the 3rd generation in Canada.

If this is indeed true, can anyone point me in the right direction for obtaining an EU passport? I’m planning on traveling for a while through Europe, and I’d like to pick up some work here in there if I can.

Any info is appreciated!


Ontario, Canada

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Suggestions on the best paying areas or jobs?

In regards to teaching posts, the best areas aren’t necessarily in Europe.  The best paid places are in places like the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey as well as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong (as opposed to mainland China)
The top five coutries with the greatest demand for English teachers are:
South Korea
Visit the site I mentioned before for salary ranges: