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Teach English Abroad

Explore the World. Expand Your Horizons.

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  • CIEE Teach in Spain teachers exploring Madrid
  • Teacher with group of kids in Thailand

Experience Life-Changing Adventures Abroad

When you teach English abroad, you embark on a life-changing journey of personal and professional growth while having the adventure of a lifetime. By immersing yourself in a new culture and stretching outside your comfort zone, you’ll expand your worldview and gain increased confidence to overcome challenges.  

As an English teacher abroad, you’ll positively impact your students' lives by increasing their educational opportunities, job prospects, and cultural awareness.  At the same time, you will gain valuable skills for your life and career, including foreign language proficiency, intercultural competency, and leadership abilities. 

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Why Teach Abroad With CIEE?

CIEE is the leading non-profit international exchange organization, and since 1947 we have been dedicated to our mission of promoting intercultural understanding. With our Teach Abroad programs, we provide comprehensive preparation and support to empower you to be successful and make a positive impact on the world.

As a CIEE Teach Abroad participant, you can expect: 

  • A range of program options to fit your interests and goals, from semester to full-year placements in a wide variety of locations. 
  •  Assistance with finding a teaching position at a reputable school you can trust. 
  • Pre-departure training and guidance to help you prepare for your teaching assignment and life abroad.
  • In-country support from our experienced staff, including help with logistics, cultural integration, and 24/7 emergency assistance.

What Are the Benefits of Teaching Abroad?

Teaching English abroad offers many benefits beyond just earning an income.  It’s a chance to expand your worldview and grow your skillset.  Some of the top benefits of teaching abroad include: 

1. Cultural Immersion

Teaching abroad allows for deep cultural immersion. As a teacher, you'll build meaningful relationships with coworkers, neighbors, and new friends in the local community. This immersive experience will help you successfully work with people from different cultural backgrounds.

2. Language Learning

Teaching abroad is an excellent opportunity to learn a new language or improve your fluency by practicing in real-life settings. As you help your students learn English, you'll expand your foreign language skills. It's a win-win situation for everyone! 

3. Personal Growth

Teaching English abroad can be a challenging but rewarding experience that will help you develop self-confidence, independence, and resilience. You will also form lasting friendships and create memories that will last a lifetime. 

4. Professional Development

By teaching abroad, you will gain international work experience and transferable skills that will be valuable for any career. You will develop cross-cultural communication skills, foreign language proficiency, and leadership experience that will make you more competitive in the job market and successful in the workplace. 

5. Travel Opportunities

Teaching abroad gives you the unique opportunity to travel while earning an income. Join fellow teachers and other friends for weekend trips or holiday getaways to local destinations as well as neighboring countries.  You'll have the chance to visit historic sites, try new foods, and feel the thrill of adventure. 

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Questions About Teaching English Abroad

The requirements to teach English abroad vary slightly by country, but common requirements include:

  • Native-level English fluency
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • Citizenship in the United States, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or another country where English is spoken as a first language.

Certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is required to teach in some countries but not all. Regardless of where you plan to teach abroad, TEFL certification is recommended because it will prepare you to be a successful teacher. TEFL certification is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of previous teaching experience.

Yes! You do not need to know the local language to teach English abroad. In fact, many schools encourage foreign teachers to only speak English with students. Even if your students have very limited English proficiency, you will be able to communicate with them using non-verbal communication, such as gestures, facial expressions, and other body language. 

Teaching abroad is a great way to develop foreign language skills and you’ll want to learn at least basic phrases in the local language to help navigate daily life in your new home. It’s easy to learn basic phrases in the local language with free apps like Duolingo.  While teaching abroad, you’ll be immersed in the local culture and language so there will be plenty of opportunities to develop your language skills.  You can also take language classes in your free time or participate in language exchanges with locals.

TEFL certification (or equivalent teacher training) is required for teaching English in some countries, but not all.  Regardless of where you plan to teach English abroad, TEFL certification is recommended because it will give you the skills you need to be an effective teacher.  TEFL certification is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of previous teaching experience.

CIEE TEFL’s 150-hour certification course will give you the training you need to be a confident and successful English teacher.  In this online course, you’ll join a supportive learning environment with up to 15 other students, and a highly qualified TEFL instructor.  CIEE TEFL is accredited by ACCET and recognized by the U.S.  Department of Education.

You can absolutely save money while teaching English Abroad and many teachers use the opportunity to build their personal savings or payoff student loans. The amount you are able to save will vary by country as well as your personal spending habits.

In general, there is greater potential to save money in countries like South KoreaChina, or Thailand, where salaries are relatively high and teachers receive free housing.

Teachers in Spain earn enough to cover basic living expenses. However, many teachers find ways of earning extra income, such as giving private English lessons as an English tutor. You can choose to either save extra income or use it for travel around Spain and the rest of Europe.

The length of time required to commit to teaching abroad varies by country and program, but most programs typically require a commitment of 9-12 months. This is because schools prefer to hire teachers who can provide consistent instruction for students throughout the academic year. 

There are opportunities to teach abroad for only one semester in certain locations where there is greater demand for English teachers and schools are more flexible.  For example, schools in Thailand hire teachers for either one semester or one academic year.    

Short-term teach abroad programs are also available for those who wish to serve as volunteer teachers. CIEE’s Teach in Spain Volunteer Program offers the opportunity to teach in Spain for less than 3 months. 

You should consider your personal goals and circumstances when deciding how long to commit to teaching abroad.  Keep in mind that the longer you spend teaching abroad, the more time you will have to integrate into the community, build meaningful relationships, and grow personally and professionally. In fact, many teachers extend their commitments after arriving in-country and realizing they want more time to fully experience the benefits of teaching abroad. 

In most cases, yes, you will need a work visa to teach English abroad legally. The specific visa requirements will vary depending on the country where you plan to teach and your citizenship.  Most embassies and consulates will require that you provide proof of employment as well documentation of your education background. 

CIEE provides expert visa guidance to program participants to ensure they have all the required documents and instructions necessary to successfully obtain a visa before traveling to their teach abroad destination. 

The number of hours you work per week while teaching abroad will vary by country and employer. In general, English teachers abroad who are hired as lead teachers will work full-time schedules.  This usually includes 20-30 teaching hours each week and additional time for lesson-planning, grading, and staff meetings. 

On the other hand, positions as teaching assistants abroad usually have more relaxed, part-time schedules.  For example, teaching assistants in Madrid, Spain, spend only 16 hours per week in the classroom and enjoy three-day weekends every week. 

Unsurprisingly, full-time teach abroad positions usually offer higher compensation that will allow you to save more money.  In contrast, part-time teach abroad positions tend to provide just enough income to cover basic living expenses.  That being said, part-time positions also give you the flexibility to do English tutoring on the side and earn extra income. 

Have Questions?

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Still Have Questions?

Check out our FAQ page for more answer to your questions about teaching abroad.


Further Assistance

For more help, call our team at 207-274-5783 or send us an email at teach@ciee.org.

CIEE Teach Abroad Reviews

  • "CIEE is an incredible program that provided great resources and guidance. I would recommend this program to anyone. Not only did they provide resources for the whole predeparture process, but they also have an in-country orientation which allows you to meet people and start getting to know the area you will be living."

    Rebecca L. | Teach in Spain

  • "I used CIEE to teach in Thailand for a year and it was the best decision ever! The process to teach abroad is no joke and CIEE walked me through every step of the way."

    Rachel P. | Teach in Thailand

  • "I absolutely love this program and have been nothing but happy throughout my experience so far. The program staff is extremely helpful with any and all questions! They have been a huge help throughout the entire process. I love the school I am working for and I am so thankful for CIEE for helping me thus far on this journey!"

    Joanna A. | Teach in South Korea

  • "Great program to go abroad! I feel safe and taken care of. The instructions and communication has been super clear from day one."

    Samantha H. | Teach in Spain

  • "I have had amazing adventures and made so many friends through this program and we have enjoyed it so much that we are signing up to teach with CIEE again in another country!"

    Mary P. | Teach in Thailand

Ready to Start Your Teach Abroad Adventure?