Ampawa, two hours outside Bangkok, is a little-known destination for foreigners, and well worth the trip for its friendly floating market and the giant river prawns cooked to order and delivered to your door by boat.
How do you define the intense assault on your senses that is Thailand?
It is vibrant, crazy, impossibly romantic, quirky, hilarious, spiritual, – and corrupt. There are many countries, which can claim these adjectives as theirs, but in Thailand you get to experience all of them every day, and it is the intensity of this, which makes the country so unique and, for many visitors, unforgettable.
Teaching English is one of the biggest and most important industries in the world. TEFL teachers help shape communities, help us to have an increasingly globalized world and help build the leaders of the future throughout the globe. Yet despite this, we know relatively little about who these people are!
By Leandro Neumann Ciuffo (Happy hour Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
As I flew into Dublin in 2011 after teaching in Japan for 11 years I was naturally excited with the prospects of a new life in my own country. I’m from Northern Ireland and don’t speak Gaelic, but had no fear of culture shock for the first language spoken here is English. Previous visits to the capital city had been as a child to its wonderful zoo and periodic weekend trips from London for friends’ weddings. I was so naïve as I entered a lion’s den of corruption, illegality and unlawfulness.
Near mainland Europe (good for easy relocation to Spain/France when things go all pear shaped) and served by ‘low cost’ airlines (e.g. Ryanair).
So, if you’d like to teach English in Ecuador you must first ask yourself some fairly searching questions…namely are you a beach bum, a mountain lion or a machete wielding jungle explorer? The good news is that Ecuador, despite its small size, is perfectly formed and offers all three distinct terrains for you to call home. What’s more, if you’re a bit of a floozy on all sides as myself, you can easily reach all of these completely distinct landscapes within a few hours’ drive from the monstrous capital city of Quito, neat ey?
From the Amazon to the Galapagos, Ecuador is a country full of natural wonderment and cultural delights. It’s a country that one can fall in love within a week, yet spend a lifetime to understand. One of those rare places whose future looks as fascinating as it’s past. It is of no surprise then that it is somewhere that I would personally recommend as an ideal place to teach English.
By M ALATTAR ALATTAR (originally posted to Flickr as عَمار ياكويت) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Typical working conditions
Kuwait is a Gulf Arab country at the western edge of the Persian Gulf. Known for the Persian Gulf War I of 1991, it is a member of OPEC and has one of the highest wealth per capita of any country. You might think that there is a great deal of money to be made in Kuwait, but this country is very selective about whom it permits to work and you must do some homework before you apply for your visa. This country is famous for its partnerships with American universities as they attempt to recreate higher education institutions similar to those in the U.S.
Sitting on a plane headed for Shanghai in September 2011 the same thought ran through my head over and over… “Am I totally insane?”. This was quickly followed by another thought, “Well if I don’t like it I will just turn around and come back.” Fortunately for me and my husband we DID like it, something that is proved by the fact that nearly 3 years later we are still there, teaching EFL at a University in China.
Where do you want to work?
For anyone considering this move there are a number of things to be considered carefully. I will try to outline some of the things you might want to weigh up before you embark on an Asian adventure.
Firstly be aware that China is big, very very big. I know we all know this but getting a grasp of the vastness is really hard even when you live there, and it is almost impossible to understand this before you arrive. Therefore, it is advisable to get acquainted with the map and the location at least of the main big cities when looking for a job.
By Neil Root
Neil Root is a writer and London based English Language teacher with 10 years experience.
By Christos Vittoratos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
You get the job abroad over the phone usually. Very few language institutions will travel to the UK to interview you (except perhaps Middle Eastern universities who recruit in bulk and the JET programme), and even fewer will pay for you to fly over to attend an interview. One, two or three phone interviews and you’ve got an offer. You’re excited, perhaps it’s a country or city you’ve always wanted to live in, or the employment package seems good. Well done, but keep your expectations realistic.
Vienna the City
Vienna is charming, delightful and appears regularly among the top 5 cities to live in worldwide. Vienna embraces the new world in ways that often surprise newcomers (e.g. the Live Ball, Conchita Wurst, Rainbow Parade) whilst cherishing its Imperial past. Yet Austria has been governed by Socialists for decades.
The prospect of working abroad can be a nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing experience for a lot of people. Uprooting one’s life and leaving behind a support base of family and friends is a life-changing decision, but one which my girlfriend and I decided to make in the summer of 2013. After completing our 120 hour TEFL certificate we immediately began the job hunt. Ever ready for new experiences, we decided to look at teaching in Indonesia, as we had already traveled around much of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. We were rewarded with two early morning Skype interviews, one for positions in Solo, Java; the other for positions in Makassar, Sulawesi. The latter city we knew nothing about, apart from reading Lonely Planet’s description of it being an “unnerving place”. After much deliberation, we decided to go for the path least trodden, despite the fact that the school, Fluo Institute, had no website and very little online presence. So it was with TEFL certificates in hand, slight trepidation and much praying that it wasn’t a scam, that we left rainy old England at the beginning of 2014 for a year’s long teaching contract in Makassar. It would turn out to be the best decision of our lives.
Images by David Brown
Chile means adventure. Safe enough for you to be spontaneous, exotic enough to excite – Chile is the perfect place to earn some cash, live reasonably well and, once acclimatized, travel further into the wilder parts of South America.
Persuaded by a friend, who was travelling with me, I borrowed $1000 and booked a flight, one way. Neither of us had planned for the trip, but we had studied on the same TEFL course and acquired some basic Spanish after living in Barcelona for a couple of months. We wanted to experience somewhere that wasn’t so international though, where being an English teacher was a novelty not the norm.