Teaching English is one of the most (if not the most) popular way to earn money while living outside your home country. If you’re a college grad who’s fluent in English and thinking about teaching English abroad, you might already know that a TEFL certification is one of the key ingredients in qualifying for the best English teaching positions all around the world. With a mix of your TEFL, English skills and bachelor’s degree, you’re well on your way to your next teach abroad adventure. Right? Not so fast. The reality is there can be a small bump in the road for those of us who don’t hold a citizenship from what are traditionally considered native-English speaking countries. That’s the US, Canada, UK Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, if you’re wondering.
Visas for non-native speakers looking to teach English abroad
Visa regulations in the UAE, for example, require candidates to hold a passport from one of these countries. Now this may seem a little unfair to you if you’re from an English-speaking country that didn’t make that list and we totally agree! But as with anything in life, there are some things you just can’t control. Visa regulations is certainly one of them. So, let’s pick our battles and talk about where exactly you can teach as a non-native English speaker with a TEFL certification and why it’s well worth taking the leap in the first place!
Where can I teach English abroad as a non-native speaker?
Don’t worry - although there are some select countries where English teaching jobs are reserved strictly for native English speakers, hundreds of candidates from all over the world take the OISE TEFL certification course every year and qualify for great-paying English teaching jobs abroad.
While you may not be able to set your sights on the UAE just yet, you can certainly qualify for a number of vacancies in incredible ESL destinations like Cambodia, Thailand, Columbia, Mexico and many more countries in Central and South America, Europe and Southeast Asia. As the number of students learning English continues to trend upwards, the demand for teachers will only continue to do the same. The projected number of English language learners in China alone is set to increase by over 100 million by 2020. Combine that with the increase in demand the world over, it’s safe to say there will be plenty of ESL jobs for teachers of any nationality.
Will teaching abroad as a non-native speaker actually enhance my future career prospects?
Absolutely! The skills, experience and qualifications you’ll bring to any future role as a non-native speaker with teach abroad experience are sure to be high on every employer’s wish list, namely:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Bilingualism (or even multilingualism!)
- Proven English proficiency
- International work experience
These are just some of the most in-demand skills and qualifications that you, as a job candidate, will be able demonstrate to future employers, regardless of the field you're in. Why’s that? Remember, the job market is more competitive and globalized than ever before. Employers are looking for job candidates who can successfully navigate cultural and linguistic borders. So, if you’re looking for ways to gain an advantage over other candidates, being bilingual is one of the hottest skills you can offer potential employers. What’s more, English is the global language of business. As a result, proof of English language proficiency could give you that competitive edge in future job applications. What better way to demonstrate your top-notch English language capabilities than by pointing to your past experience working as an English teacher?
Why we recommend TEFL certification for non-native speakers
Need more advice on whether TEFL is right for you? Check out our earlier post to help you figure out whether you should get TEFL certified. When you’re done, don’t forget to check out our step-by-step guide to choosing the right TEFL course for you. If you’re still not quite sold on the benefits of taking a TEFL course as a non-native speaker, remember that by getting TEFL certified and qualifying to teach abroad, you’ll be able to:
- Refresh and solidify your understanding of English grammar, reading and writing skills
- Develop key communication and people management skills that will help you take on leadership roles in the future
- Prove your ability to adapt to different and challenging environments to prospective employers
Seems like a pretty good way to invest in your career to us!
Here’s our hot take: You’ve also learned another language from scratch, which means you’ll have already have more insight into what your future students may be going through. It’s safe to say you’re already a standout ESL teaching candidate! If you’re competing against native English speakers, though, you need to show that you can add something extra that they can’t. So why not demonstrate that by getting the very credential that illustrates your capabilities as an English teacher abroad? Get started on your TEFL certification today and take the first step towards the best years of your life.