Want to teach abroad? Try teaching English online first.

Eager to see the world and explore different countries, landscapes and cultures?

A couple weeks of vacation a year might not quite cut it, then.

If you’re planning on teaching abroad this year or next, though, here’s our advice:

If you’ve got a few hours free in the early morning or on weekends, it’s well worth giving online English teaching a go first.

Whether you’re working or studying, full or part-time, teaching English online is a great (and super flexible) way to work around the world, save for the move abroad, get some relevant experience for your teach abroad resume. Or, if you have some nagging doubts about this whole teaching English abroad thing, it’s the perfect chance to figure out whether it’s the right move for you in the first place!

Read on to find out more:

You can work your way around the world - without the hassle of getting a visa.

teach english online

The world is too big to stay in one place forever, right? You want to live the dream - travel the world, set your own hours and fund yourself along the way.

The digital nomad lifestyle is gaining huge traction for a very good reason. Working on the road could be the solution you’ve been looking to make long-term travel attainable for you at long last. If you don’t want to commit to one job or living in one country for a prolonged period of time, then an online English teaching job could be the perfect remote gig for you.

Usually, you need a working visa to teach English abroad. In lots of countries, being granted a visa involves lots of jumping through hoops and all sorts of tiresome paperwork, including a medical check.

Teaching English online, however, takes visas and all that annoying red tape out of the equation. So long as you continue to pay taxes in your home country, you’re not technically working in the countries that you visit along your travels. All you need to teach English online is a decent internet connection, your laptop or computer and, more often than not, you can easily teach remotely with just a tourist visa.

Best of all, the cost of living in places like Bali, Thailand, Argentina Mexico, Hungary and Portugal is a whole lot cheaper than, say, Toronto or Chicago. Meaning the money you can make teaching English online will stretch a whole lot further than it would at home.

Watch this: A day in the life teaching English online >

Teaching English online doesn’t just help you be more location independent, though…

Teaching English online can also make enough money to cover your startup costs for your move abroad.

teach english online

Let’s be real here. Moving abroad to teach can be an expensive process. Homesickness and language barriers aside, there's a lot of logistics that go into dropping your life and moving halfway across the world.

Let’s say you snag a teaching job abroad that helps with housing and airfare costs. Great! But there’s other stuff you’ll need to stump for before you hop on that plane, like getting TEFL certified.

Not to mention everyday living expenses, like food, cell phone and entertainment, that can all mount up well before that first paycheck actually hits your bank account. At a minimum, you’ll need to bring enough cold, hard cash to get you through the first 4 - 6 weeks, along with a contingency fund in case of a rainy day.

And if you need to cover your own rent and utilities, plus health insurance, you’ll really need to bump up those savings. Which can be a tough ask when you’re fresh out of college and broke. Or already renting in an expensive city.

This means that if you’re looking to teach abroad sometime in the next few months to a year but you’re light on funds, then you might want to look at a flexible way to earn some extra money on the side.

Enter teaching English online.

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You can find out if you even like teaching English in the first place!

teach english online

This one’s pretty important. We know you’ve probably read a lot of overwhelmingly positive stories about how incredible and life-changing teaching abroad is (we have our fair share of these on the blog - here’s one for starters). But let’s face it - teaching, in general, isn’t for everyone and is certainly not a step to be taken lightly.

Most English teaching job contracts overseas are at least a year and finding a job in the first place is a fairly big time (and financial) commitment. Getting TEFL certified is one way to ease the transition. But what if teaching kids just isn’t your thing and you find yourself in a classroom in some far-flung location, teaching English grammar 25 boisterous five-year-olds?

You’ll have spent a whole of time, money and effort to get there in the first place. It’s difficult to back out at this point without:

  1. Leaving your students down
  2. Losing your visa status
  3. Heading back home with your tail between your legs (and a massive dent in your savings)

Anyone who’s taught young learners understands the battles you have to fight to get kids to pay attention and consistently do their work. Adult learners, on the other hand, are usually a little more self-motivated and serious about the whole learning-a-new-language thing. To figure out which age group suits you best, you can test the waters a little with the numerous online English teaching jobs out there working with all age levels.

You’ll have a killer resume for English teaching jobs abroad.

teach english online

Not all English teaching jobs abroad require you to have teaching experience - the minimum schools usually require is a bachelor’s degree, native English fluency and an ESL teaching certification.

But there’s no getting away from the fact that having direct experience teaching English language learners will not only better equip you to help your new students. It’s also far and away the best way to stand out from the crowd as a superstar candidate for the best-paying teaching positions abroad.

Love the idea of a job you can do from anywhere? Apply today to learn more about teaching English online with VIPKID, including upcoming jobs, requirements, work environment and more.