Teaching English Abroad; 7 reasons why you aren’t yet!

When considering teaching English abroad, there are often many thoughts that run throughout your head. Lots of positives, but also lots of negatives that might hold you back. If you can conquer the fear of the unknown which is a lot of what holds people back, the world becomes your oyster. Teaching English abroad provides so many rewarding experiences that it’s almost impossible not to change for the better as a person because of it. So, what’s holding you back? Let’s look at the seven most common reasons for people  deciding not to become a TEFLer..

Language Issuesdialogue consistency

Whether you are going to move to Thailand, China, Brazil or the Czech Republic, worrying about the language is something that keeps people from teaching English abroad, however, it shouldn’t. Being exposed to a new language is a wonderful thing and the learning of it (even  if briefly) will open you up to finding about the people and culture in a new way. When teaching abroad though it isn’t necessary to know the local language as lessons should be taught entirely in English for students to get the most benefit. So learning the language will be a big plus and a great experience when fitting into a new culture, but not a necessity for your work. If you would like to know more about how to teach someone English, check out our great online courses.


Another area for concern for some is personal safety. Danger comes in many forms from traffic to wildlife to a criminal element. The media will often overplay certain incidents that can cause people to put a halt to their plans to teach English abroad. A good example is the recent coup in Thailand. If you watch the news, you’d imagine a society in chaos with tanks on the road etc. The truth is very much different. Having been in Thailand myself through three coups you wouldn’t even know they are going on. The media has a habit of hyperbole when it comes to their stories as it helps sell.
Having lived in Asia for over fifteen years, I can honestly say I feel safer here walking around at night than I would in the UK. With that being said though, you have to use your common sense. I wouldn’t rush to take up an ESL teacher position in Syria for example. Teaching English abroad is as safe as you want it to be. The main thing I see with people who first come to a country with less rules and laws than their own is often problems caused by their own doing. Sometimes people need protection from themselves. If you aren’t a reckless person, you won’t have any issue with safety when teaching English abroad.

Making Friends

Worried about if you will be able to make friends easily abroad? Don’t be! Everyone is in the same boat when it comes to moving to a new country to teach English, or any other job for that matter. It’s very easy to socialize and  the friends you make when teaching and traveling often end up being lifelong friends. You will end up with friends from all over the world and many from whichever host country you are teaching English in.

Food/ Dietfruitmix

A lot of people get set in their ways regarding their diet and worry about how they’ll adapt to foreign food. Again, unfounded fears! Now, I can’t speak for everyone as flavor and taste are very subjective, but having lived in Thailand, for example, I have never tasted such succulent mango, rich flavorful soup and delicious seafood just to name a few.   I’ll admit that there’s a week or so in which you have to acclimatise to the new food, but after that it’s fine and don’t forget you can always get you favorite western food locally in many places too. The best ever ribs I’ve had were in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Work Conditions /  Job Security

If you are used to sitting in an air-conditioned office all day then the conditions when you are teaching English abroad will be different, but different doesn’t mean bad. One of the great benefits of teaching English abroad and traveling the world is the experiences you have which will adjust your outlook on life and what is and isn’t important in the big picture. Job security in your home country can also hold you back and be a barrier to going abroad to teach English. The fear of the unknown or the “what if” in regard to job security hold some people back, but as the saying goes, “You can’t win, if you don’t play.” Get out there and try. You might be surprised.

Leaving Family and Friendsfamily-friends

I can understand people who are very close with their family and friends. Not wanting to leave the safety and security of having people around you that love you and will help you out in any situation is another reason to put teaching English abroad on hold. However one of the benefits of going abroad to teach English is the independence it gives you. You become much more self-reliant and these two things will stand you in good stead later in life.

No Teaching Experienceexperience

One area that people use as an excuse or reason not to teach English abroad is that they have no experience and wouldn’t know what to do in the classroom. This is easily overcome with an online TEFL course. A course like this will give you all the skills needed to teach English abroad successfully, so why wait!
Don’t let fear of the unknown or uncertainty stop you from teaching English abroad. It is one of the best things you could do if you are looking for a change in your life or a change in scenery. Don’t know where to  start? Find out the best places to teach English abroad.
June 6, 2015

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