Different Teaching Abroad Opportunities

Different Teaching Abroad Opportunities

For Canadians there are multiple opportunities to teach abroad. I thought it would be useful to learn and write about some of the different opportunities to teach abroad!


Unpaid Opportunities

Student-Teaching Abroad
Many teacher preparation programs have study abroad opportunities that are affiliated with universities. There is a huge variety with the locations, length and expectations of the students within these programs. Some programs are directly linked to a course and students are assessed in different ways, usually involving a mixture of reflective writing and discussions. With student-teaching abroad, students are not paid and generally incur the cost of travel. These opportunities are generally organized by faculty members and involve an exchange or relationship with an international university.

This project centers on teachers who have taught abroad as student-teachers with the program Teaching Across Borders (TAB). Even within TAB there’s so much diversity in experiences as every country has different expectations of the students. For example, students who go to Vietnam often do more teaching whereas students who go to Brazil do more observation. TAB is not graded or part of a course, therefore there is no requirement for a certain amount of teaching to be completed. However, students do still complete two courses online while abroad.   

Study-Travel Programs

Separate of post-secondary institutions, many organizations advertise teaching and travel abroad opportunities. For many of these programs, minimal qualifications are necessary and participants pay to participate. A key part of participating in these programs is to do your research and understand who the sponsor is, the finances involved in the trip, critically review the programs of study and the ethics of the trip (ensure that there is no unethical voluntourism occurring).

Paid Opportunities

International Schools

International schools are schools that promote international education. Therefore, these schools usually follow a different curriculum than the countries national curriculum. There are many Canadian International Schools that follow a Canadian Provinces’ curriculum and they can be found here. There are also schools that are specific to each provinces’ curriculum – here’s the list for accredited international schools which follow the Alberta curriculum. To teach at these schools teachers must meet the teacher certification requirements in Canada. It’s different for each province, but generally this means completing a degree in a teacher preparation program. As well, teachers may teach a variety of subjects, not just English.      

Teacher Exchanges

There are teacher exchanges that are organized by Teacher Associations. For Alberta, the Alberta Teachers Association organizes short term and long term exchanges which can be found here. To apply for these teachers must have a Permanent Alberta Teaching Certificate, a permanent teaching position and approval of the board and administrators. Much like student exchange programs, you will swap places with a teacher from another country and the teacher will take your place here.    

English as a Second or Foreign Language Teacher

Native English Speakers are privileged to have numerous opportunities to teach English abroad (even without any teaching experience or teaching credentials).

Government Sponsored Programs

Many countries have government sponsored programs to have native English speakers teach at public schools. Two of the more popular ones are EPIK (English Program in Korea) and JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme). I personally was part of the EPIK program, and that is how I taught at 4 different public schools during my time in Korea. Usually you co-teach with teachers. A degree is usually required for these programs and sometimes a TESOL certificate as well. However, although teaching experience helps with the application, it’s not required. You will get paid as well and it’s a stable job since it is funded by governments.     

Private Schools

There are also many private schools that hire native English speakers as well. Similar to study-travel programs, the key is to do your research. Many schools could be scams or unsafe. In Korea, there are numerous Hagwons (Private Academy’s) to teach at, but if you end up at a you won’t get paid and can end up in a very tricky situation. However, there are numerous opportunities to work at a private school and in many cases a teaching degree is not a requirement.  

Those are some opportunities that I’ve found and know of. Are there any that I’ve missed?

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