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Tips to Teaching Abroad: Getting a TEFL Certificate

Updated: Jul 4

There are countless ways to travel and live abroad long-term. For me, my first avenue into this lifestyle was teaching abroad.


When I first started diving into ways to build a travel centered life, I was deep into the interwebs. I saw things like volunteering on farms and working for international organizations like the Peace Corps, but teaching abroad was living rent free in the back of my head.


Before finishing my engineering degree, I had already applied to four programs that would allow me to live and teach abroad.


I was playing no games.


My first teaching experience was in Turin, Italy where I volunteered as a English Teacher’s Assistant in a local high school for three months. In this position, I received zero compensation. In fact, I paid to participate in the program. Yes, your budget travel bestie spent some coins 😂 

Jash smiling in a classroom
Teacher Bae in Turin, Italy (2019)

And it was money well spent! Months turn into the catalyst that evolves into my current lifestyle. Being able to completely immersed myself and a new culture and environment open my eyes to a new way of life. Having the best Host family and school also made the decision to continue teaching abroad that much easier.


Upon returning to the States, I immediately started planning ways to make teach abroad a career. That led me to a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification. 


A TEFL certification and a bachelors degree are typically the two educational qualifications schools look for abroad. As a native English speaker with these two qualifications you will have a plethora of options when it comes to teaching abroad. I personally interviewed for positions across the world including Maldives, Japan, Senegal, Thailand, China, South Korea, Mexico and more!


Getting a TEFL certificate was probably the easiest thing I’ve done besides becoming a certified babysitter when I was 13. A quick 120-hour class gave me the ticket to travel around the world. Whether you’re looking for a gap year, sabbatical, or a lifestyle change, teaching abroad can be the answer.



Jash sitting by the pool in Haiti
Enjoying the beauty of Haiti after teaching (2021)


To be clear, getting a TEFL certificate is not mandatory, but it definitely can help. You don't have to have an education degree or any degree at all, but the certification can show future schools and organizations that you're serious. Taking initiative to obtain the skills and tools that will help you in the classroom looks good on the resume and gives you something to pull on during interviews if you've don't have any direct experience.


When I got my TEFL certificate it took me about six weeks to complete. That’s probably longer than the average person because I was also working a part time job & traveling. It cost a little over $100, but I know people that have paid less and even nothing at all. People have even told me that they used Groupon to purchase their course. I wasn’t hip at the time, but I’m paying it forward anyway you can save some coins... 🙃


With my company, I was able to work at my own pace, have a tutor readily available that responded within 24 hours, and I got to keep all of my course materials. It was definitely worth it for me because it wasn’t just a gap year.


One certificate helped me secure positions on three different continents!


In my course, you get a physical copy of your certification and a PDF version emailed to you. You also will have access to numerous resources to help you find a job and connect to other teachers around the world! So, if teaching abroad is on your bucket list what are you waiting for?


Get the exact company I used to get TEFL certified and a step by step process to teaching abroad in my Guide to Teaching Abroad.



Although I’m no longer teaching, this method is living abroad will always hold a special place in my heart. The students, colleagues, and memories will forever be part of my story.


Those three months in Italy turned into three years of joyriding through different classrooms around the globe. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it was definitely a transformative experience for me and led me to where I am today.



Drop any questions you have in the comments 👇🏾



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