Archive | September, 2012

By Geraldine Mills

The 5 Top African Cities to Teach English

By Luc Legay from Paris, France (Le Caire) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Africa is a continent of multiple languages. Unofficial records tally it to about three thousand which are then classified to several major language families.

While many African countries live in poverty, there are nations that have been experiencing economic growth. This, in turn,  has seen a great demand for qualified English teachers for business and academic organizations. Combined with strong economies, as well as numerous educational institutions, five African cities stand out as front-runners for English teaching professionals.

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by Jason Luong

Making Friends in China – Expats? Locals? Migrants?

By Thiago Hirai from São Paulo, Brazil (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you really want to get to know China? Or are you just hear for a good time, and then it’s time to head home? Don’t shortchange yourself. Make friends with the Chinese!

Don’t spend too much time just hanging out with your co-workers or other English teachers. Sure, you’ll learn a lot from them. But you’ll learn much more having Chinese friends and those who’ve lived here for a long time.

Get to know the expat community. But don’t limit yourself to just this. The expat community in each city is actually very small. Basically, everyone knows everyone. If you screw an expat or otherwise present yourself as someone who is dishonest or just looking to earn some money before leaving, you won’t make any real friends. Word will get out. Trust me on this.

Where to meet expats? Go to an expat bar and start talking to people. Look online for expat forums and find out where they meet each week.

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By Helen Hargreave
Guest blogger from

How much Cash can I Make while Teaching English Abroad?

Being a TEFL teacher will not make you a millionaire, I repeat, you will not be stacking up on Gucci; this is no millionaire-creating career.

However, you will earn something much more valuable – the opportunity to live and work all over the globe doing something which is both stimulating and rewarding. PLUS (yes, there’s more!) you will meet some incredible people along the way – and have a bed to crash on in various far-flung destinations for your future holidays! Score.

Wherever you end up, the amazing opportunity available to you is a given, but if it’s cash that you’re interested in then that all depends on the country you pick. You have to take into consideration the standard of living, what the country’s currency is worth and also, your own spending habits. When you’re searching through TEFL Job opportunities make sure to understand that what may seem relatively little to you could actually be a pretty comfortable salary in a different country. Bottom line, it is all relative!

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by Jason Luong
Read Jason’s previous post about Finding Housing in China.

Cell Phone Service in China – Getting a Local Number

By *christopher* from San Francisco, USA (cell phone Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

You’re going to need a phone in China. Don’t bother bringing your Sprint or Verizon phone out here. They won’t work. Instead, bring an unlocked GSM phone here where you can just use a local SIM card.

If you already have AT&T or T-Mobile, all you need to do is give your carrier a call and they will provide you with an unlock code so you can unlock your GSM phone. If you don’t have an unlocked GSM phone, you buy one cheaply from Make sure whichever phone you buy, it better have Chinese language support. You’ll need to at least be able to receive texts in Chinese characters or you won’t be able to show taxi drivers where to go. Taxi drivers won’t know what you’re talking about if you show them an address written in English.

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By Helen Hargreave
Guest blogger from

Ways to Keep Safe While Teaching English Abroad

By Kevin Poh from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (Bangkok’s Khaosan Road) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re about to head out to your new TEFL job you’re probably 1) very excited and 2) packing like a maniac. However, in all the excitement about new opportunities, amazing experiences, life-changing adventures etc etc. It’s easy to forget the most important thing – your safety.

I know it sounds a bit dull, but it really is very important whilst you’re in-country to remember your well-being is paramount! Here are a few gentle reminders about how to keep safe whilst you’re teaching English abroad!

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by Jess Feehan
Jess Feehan works for Real Peru Holidays

TEFL Teaching in Deepest, Darkest Peru

By Martin St-Amant (S23678) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

As we all know, TEFL can be a great way to see the world, and Peru is one country that’s on most people’s bucket list. Whether it’s trekking to lost Inca cities, exploring the Amazon rainforest, or just enjoying tropical beaches, it’s one of those countries that’s got it all. But if you’re planning to use your TEFL skills to spend some time in Peru, where should you base yourself? We take a quick look at 3 of Peru’s TEFL hot-spots…

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by Luan Hanratty

“Time spent arguing is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.” ~ Christopher Hitchens

Is this quote any more applicable than in the language classroom? Of all the activities I have used and enjoyed, debating has to be one of the most active and beneficial. Setting up a debate creates a dynamic and spontaneous atmosphere which provides substantial results not just in students’ language proficiency but in their understanding of a topic.

The Art of Communicative Teaching

The ultimate paradigm shifter

Debates are the ultimate paradigm shifter. Students come into the room at the start of class maybe not knowing much about the subject and being heavily inclined to sit on the fence. But by the end of the class the vast majority will have considered, listened and argued enough to augment their own schema and form their own assured opinions.

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by Jason Luong

Finding Housing in China – Know the Differences

By Tangsabd (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

You will live in luxury. Maybe not by your standards. But to millions of migrant farm workers moving into the cities for work, your living quarters will be considered a luxury much more than an arm’s length away. Welcome to China, where you will automatically have a luxurious home!

You have options. The school you’re working at might offer you a dorm room. Everything will be arranged for you—Internet, meals, cleaning, etc. All you’ll have to do is move in. But this means less privacy.

You might be lucky enough to get placed in a service apartment (like a three star hotel where someone comes in to clean your room daily). This is better than a dormitory, and you get a lot more time to yourself away from other people doing private things away from prying eyes. Not every teacher is so lucky.

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by Clara Harland

Getting Over The Grammar Fear

By MyName (Bantosh) (self-made, taken in course of professional work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Eight years ago, I decided to make the move into TEFL. Even now, when asked whether this decision was the result of a vocational epiphany, I have to reply sheepishly that, no, I ended up as a teacher by accident and in the process stumbled across a job I loved. I made the move as a means of escape. I had graduated from university and had then spent most of the following two years making tea and photocopying stuff in offices, slowly building up a layer of disillusionment and cooking up plans of running away. Whittling my ideas down to ‘live in another country’ and ‘learn another language’, I decided that TEFL would offer me these opportunities and, drawn by daydreams of wandering along pretty cobbled streets and sampling cheap beer, I signed myself up to a Trinity course in Prague.

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by Ryan Mackie

Working as an English teacher in Cape Town

By Andreas Tusche (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Cape Town is fast becoming a popular city for foreigners wanting to learn English. This has resulted in an influx in English teaching schools in this picturesque city. These schools not only focus on the English language but combine classes with business techniques and travel experiences that make the most of South Africa’s mother city. Students at these establishments vary from accomplished foreign businessmen, to students, younger high-school learners and foreign expats.

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