Steps to be an English Teacher Abroad- Easy and Simple

Step 1:

Research programs that get you TEFL certification. Many of the programs will also provide assistance or help to get a job abroad. Premier TEFL is on such program that gives you certification as well as training.


Step 2:

Think about your top choices in countries. Do your research. Look up everything about the new country. Peter and I generally skip this step which is why we worked in Caracas, Venezuela during one of the worst times in their economic history and a brink of violence. List them in order from wanting to move the most to least. What experiences do you want? If you want local friends, look up on how people treat foreigners. Although this is a stereotype, it will at least open your eyes to how a good percent of people think.


Step 3:

Say yes to a job.


Step 4:

Contact the embassy to the country you are moving to. Prepare all your paperwork. The Visa process is the most stressful. You think the American government works slow. Kuwait and Venezuela both are extremely slow compared to America. China is generally quicker in all government offices. Many countries require health checks and some require STD checks.


Step 5:

While preparing paperwork, keep in contact with the school. Request to speak to team members. Request to speak to any teacher. Get a general idea of what you are walking into.


Step 6:

Find out what you need to pack. Many countries do not have or offer what America or western cultures have available. What are you most items? Is shipping accessible in the country you are moving to? How long do shipments take? Peter love his Yorkshire tea. Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea Bags, 240-Count I make sure we have a half year supply when we go over. This gives enough time before shipments can arrive, which has more Yorkshire tea. Believe me, after a long workday having a comfort makes it feel normal.


Step 7:

Decide if you are a two suitcase kinda person or do you need everything. I met both kinds of teachers. Peter and I are two suitcases type of people. Get vacuum air bags and begin packing. Start with things you need but you don’t use daily or weekly.You may want to consider getting TSA locks. 4 Pack TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Locks for Suitcases & Backpacks – Black Also, here are some great ideas for suitcases. U.S Traveler Rio Carry-On Lightweight Expandable Rolling Luggage Suitcase Set – Royal Blue (15-Inch And 21-Inch)


Step 8:

Tie up loose ends in America or the west. Or tie them up as best as possible. The less you need to worry about the better.


Step 9:

Skype accounts need to be ready. Speak to family and friends how you want to keep in contact.


Step 10:

Finish packing. Throw a going away party or meet up for dinner. Saying goodbye is always the hardest but this is what you need to get used to as an international teacher.

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TEFL Certification Reviews – Get It and Go!

1. Premier TEFL

This site gives a search for overseas positions and also has an online TEFL certification.

1. Go Overseas

This site provides a search engine for teaching English abroad as well as programs abroad you can use to get your TEFL. Ths is great for young adults looking for a change while they travel. Although many Americans do not take a GAP year, this is a great way to have a gap year and still continue learning about yourself and teaching. Double check the TEFL programs that they require 10 hours in the classroom and 120 hours of studying. This is so you have enough practice and theory to be successful in the classroom. I loved that this site is not an online program but helps you find a program in the country you want to live in.

2. Go Abroad
Like, Go Overseas, this is a search engine to find where classes are offered and where jobs are. They do not necessary give guidance and you do not need to pay. Well, you pay for your TEFL certification.

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Steps To Be An International Teacher- Easy and Simple

Working and finding a job abroad can be daunting. Although in reality, it is much easier to move to another country than to another state. My family all the time tells me of jobs or teacher shortages in other states. However, I think the cost of living is usually higher than abroad. I also know teacher internationally gives me an allowance for housing or free accommodations. The school does all the hard thinking and work for an international hire. As long as the school is honest and transparent, teaching abroad is less paperwork and way less stressful inside and outside the classroom.

 Step 1:

Make sure you graduated as an Education Major and you have your degrees. Also, you should have your transcripts. The schools want 2 or 3 years of experience. They take years of experience from your home country as well as less desirable international teaching jobs. Schools that do not want the 2-3 years of experience may need a lot of new teachers. This means the school is new or the school is run more like a business. This either suits a teacher or you find the way administration handles situations awful. Some schools require 2-3 years of experience because of the country’s visa policy.

Use TIEonline for job postings. You can also join other agencies that help get international jobs like Teachanywhere or Search Associates.

Check the school’s reputation onInternational Schools Review. It gives a review of all international schools.

Another way is to join International School Fairs. I have never gotten a job this way. However, this is a popular way amoungst international teachers.

Step 2:

Think about your top choices in countries. Europe generally does not supply housing. The Middle East and Asia generally pay the better salary versus living expenses. South America and Africa generally pay a salary where you come out even. Also, I like living in obscure places. So sometimes it is knowing what countries have to offer and what you want. Kuwait, for example, is one of the easier countries as the first international experiences. The main reason is they have everything you may think you need. Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse and much more. If certain comforts are needed they most likely have the same brand or similar quality.


Step 3:

Say yes to a job. Sometimes this is the hardest part. International schools like to give you a short timeline. Breathe and reflect if the country a good fit and if the school is a good fit. Ask for more time if you need it. Be honest with the reasons why you need time. I find when I tell them I have other interviews and want to see other offers first, the school does wait.

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Checklist for Moving to A Foreign Country- Easy to Follow

Moving abroad can be hard. Especially saying all of those goodbyes can break hearts. But this checklist makes packing for you new and exciting adventure easy. Remember, ask what products are in the country and what you can find. The less materialistic you are the easier it is to live anywhere.

      1. Passport with at least 6 months validity. (You can always get a new passport once you move to a new country at the USA Embassy. Make sure you fill the new job’s requirements. Sometimes they would like at least a year.)
      2. Clothes for the seasons you will be living in. I always found I could buy clothes abroad. China is harder the heavier you are or for bigger sizes. I could only find form fitting clothes there and during my time in China, I preferred baggy clothes.
      3. Keep all important documents in two places. I bring a folder with me with ALL my health checks and documentation. Copies of my passport, birth certificate, Social Security, Credit Cards, and anything else important. I also keep a copy at home. Therefore, if something happens I have two copies made and can fix any paperwork dilemmas quickly. I never needed to thus far. But you never know. I know many countries want you to get an STD check. Clicking the link, you get $10 off your purchase.
      4. Figure out the top 5 things you can’t live without. Ask if you can find these products or brand names in the country your moving to. If you can’t bring at least a 6 month supply. If shipping is not good, bring a 10 month supply so you have those items and feel comfortable and at home.
      5. Money to exchange or local currency. I would say about 300 to 500 dollars for the first month of working can have you be fairly comfortable and depending on where you move can help set up a few things such as new furniture (if you are a nester) or pieces of artwork. This will come with time but it is not to not feel like your waiting for a paycheck.
      6. Ideas and plans for travel. As an international teacher, you get more breaks than I feel my United States friends do. You also have enough money to get in a few international destinations check off the bucket list. Having a few ideas of what you want to see is great. Air tickets are cheapest about 8-6 weeks before travel. Also, check what kind of visas are needed for tourists and most of the time this paperwork can be done in a host country. If not get VISAs over the summer for your bucket list destinations.


    1. Charity thinking: Ask the school if there is something the local teachers need. They love getting goodies from their international teacher friends.
    2. Ask the school if school supplies are needed to purchase. What can you find in the country? What would you need to bring?

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Questions to Ask in Interviews?- Be Prepared

The Interview

Please come prepared with questions. Do you have any questions? What do you want to learn about us? What do you want to know about the school? Do you have questions about the country?


Interviews can be scary. You get nervous. You really want the job and you start to feel like you can’t it after a few rejections or when the school ghosts you. But really interviews should just be the time you let who you naturally are shine. I have found the more relaxed and open I was in an interview, I got along and understood administration better and worked better with them. The interview process should be looked at as a dating prospect. You both need to like each other for the dates and eventually a marriage to continue. In the international circuit, once you don’t like a school or a school doesn’t like you, the job change happens quickly.



Being mentally prepared with questions is ideal. Peter and I write all the questions we want answering. We make sure we at least have 15 questions ready. Sometimes, the school answers most of them but you have enough to seem intelligent, prepared and that you equally care about furthering this relationship.

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Teaching in Venezuela- The Good, The Insane, The Danger

I will miss Venezuela when I leave in June. However, protests, economic disaster, tires burning as road blocks, and the fear of being robbed will not be missed.


To say the least, my two years teaching in Venezuela have been exciting. I had a near mugging experience at 7:00 AM waiting for the school bus to drive up the hill to take me to school. I was worried about my fiance who was misdiagnosed and the medicine that we found made his health worse not better. I had the class labeled, “the worst in elementary.” I had a student write “Miss Kristina es punta,” on a falta lleve form which is a reflection form given to the Ministery of Education and child services here. I had my card rejected a bunch of times after waiting 1 or 2 hours for food.

Although it feels like Venezuela handed me a terrible hand, there are so many awesome memories too. It feels like sometimes you need to take 5 bad things in Venezuela for the one magically, awesome life experience to happen.

I got free cake and shots at a bar when I was trying to ask if it was appropriate for me to buy shots for another table (because it was a lady’s 50th birthday party). I went on my first yacht on a girls weekend and got a ton of sun and swimming in crystal blue waters. Also, got to see dolphins up close! I attended a beautiful dinner with my best friend Daniela and her amazing husband. The chef was amazing! I went to my first Marine Ball. I went to a Marine House Party. I got to travel through Belize, Curacao, Cuba, and Brasil. I become closer to my finance and got engaged in our favorite steakhouse restaurant.

Why Don’t I just Leave?

Every placement will hand you a deck of cards. You will have great moments and you will have terrible moments. Venezuela, if you make dollars, has many possibilities to great moments but you need to keep an open mind through all the terrible moments. Empathy really affects you in Venezuela. You learn quickly that the majority of the country is struggling, yet you can pop to the steakhouse and get a delicious meal for two, including drinks, for $30 dollars. But that same $30, is one person’s monthly salary. INSANE!


My finance also got extremely sick at the end of last year. The lack of resources doesn’t hit you until someone you love needs medicine and medicine is just not there. Americans take medication for granted. Yes, America has a flawed system. The hit TV show, where a teacher turns meth dealer to pay his medical bills, highlights the flawed system we have. But, I couldn’t just throw $300 dollars at someone to make Peter get his medicine tomorrow. I had to rely on strangers willing to give up a part of prescription that they traveled to Miami for or the people that traveled to Colombia in order to have the medications. I had to rely on the generosity of others. Thank God Venezuelans are very generous people.

The locals is a huge reason why I did not just pack all my bags and live once Peter was so ill. They were so helpful and really go me through the tough time of spending 3 hours daily finding a medicine that was nowhere to be found. They spent hours talking to me and visiting Peter and me in the hospital. I was an emotional mess and they made sure I got time to spend it with Peter. I love the locals here.


The TakeAway

Find out as much information about the country you are moving to. Find out about the culture. Find out about the current economic climate. Find out about how the government is run. Find out about the weather. Find out what American stores exist in the new country. Find out which foods you can find and which one’s you can’t. Find out how banks work and how you pay cell phone bills. Ask about any information. There are so many horrible news stories about Venezuela but living here I can create an equal amount of happy stories. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask to talk to teachers there. Ask to talk to local teachers there. Ask why the teachers before left. Gather as much information before you decide if the school or country is right for you.


I love and adore my experiences in Venezuela but I am glad I am leaving now.

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How to Teach English In China- Simple First Steps

“Mom, I am moving to China.”

I said this sentence to my poor mother one morning in May, about 7 years ago. I have not lived in the United States of America since my first move.

“Are you nuts? Kristina, please tell me you are kidding!”

I spent the whole night before researching different ways I can get to China. I used WorldTeach but there are plenty of over websites that offer a quality service.

How Should I Teach English?

While I worked in China, I always wanted 90 percent of my lessons having students speak. I usually liked showing a funny cartoon to get the kids laughing. Next, I would teach 5-8 new vocabulary words. Afterward, we play a game. I have the game modeled before we start. Finally, the students will have a normal conversation with a partner trying to use the vocabulary.

Let Me See That In Action?!


Key Vocabulary words: Train, Bicycle, Car, Truck, Bus, Limo, Moped, Motorcycle

I show these words with pictures via a powerpoint.

I supply a few sentence starters.

“Today, I came to school on a/the _______________.”

“I need to get my ______ cleaned.”

“My ______ needs to go to the shop. It is broken.”

“I need to ride the _________.”

“I took my ________ to work.”

They practice copying my sentences and putting in the different vocabulary words is extremely beneficial.


GAME: If I am teaching a smaller class, I enjoy playing memory. The students match a picture and the word. For more advanced students, I have them use the word in a sentence. I give extra sweets if they make their own sentences.

Another game which I found useful and fun is called hot potato. You play hot potato as normal. However, when you stop the music, whoever has the ball or “potato,” needs to use a vocabulary in the sentence.

For more advanced learned, I enjoyed playing 21 questions. I gave them a list of potential questions and ten to fifteen minutes to think of some more questions. They asked and tried to guess which key vocabulary word I was thinking about. As the students improved, I had students come up and pick the secret word.

As you can see, I just take basic games that we love to play and add a spin of language with it. The students in China highly enjoy learning through interactive methods. I know from experience, mainly older teachers are still using drill-and-kill methods and it is very hard for the children to love school.

TIMESAVERS for specializes in printable, often-used classroom forms, report card comments, spelling activities, practical teacher tools, worksheets and downloadable teaching materials designed to save teachers valuable time.


Would You Go Back Again?

In a heartbeat! There are some flaws in rural China, but I loved the celebrity status in these parts you get. Remember, many Chinese people have never seen or interacted with a foreigner, so it is very intriguing to them. I had many children asks me for pictures in supermarkets.  However, when I was in Beijing, no one cared that I wasn’t Chinese.

  • Interaction with Chinese students
  • Fun life experiences
  • Can save money
  • Living in another completely different part of the world
  • Locals are extremely friendly
  • Locals love when you try to learn Mandarin
  • In smaller cities, children use the street as a bathroom
  • Squatty potties
  • Loud spitting noises
  • Personal Space Issues

Ways To Get You To China

  1. Worldteach
  2. TeachAnywhere
  3. TIEonline
  4. TeachAway
  5. Search Associates
  6. Impact Teachers
  7. Ready to Teach
  8. Premier TEFL
  9. Love TEFL


Recruitment Agencies Worry Me, What Else Can I Do?

Other ways is to google for bilingual and international schools in China.

For example, these are the international schools in Beijing. I took this list from Wikipedia.

I sometimes research a city I want to teach at and apply directly to the school. Most of these schools will ask to apply through other means such as TIEonline or other application processes. During the interview process, you can tell a lot about a school if they are forward with the package and information they provide you.


Would You Go To China?

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International Teachers Vs. English Teacher

International Teacher vs. English Teacher- Which is Better?


Quite frankly, the first question is are you already a certified teacher? If yes, being an International Teacher is a better opportunity. The different between an English Teacher (usually just teaching Oral English Literacy) and an International Teacher is skill and training. You need significantly less training to go abroad and teach English. While to be an International Teacher you need the same training as you do to teach in the United States or Britain.


Teaching English Abroad

What Do You Need

Teaching abroad requires a lot more than a checklist. It requires a mindset. You are a jet setter. You want to see the world. Teaching abroad can be a great way to earn while you take a gap year or a new career path.

  • TEFL certificate
    • A way around getting a certificate is to join the program WorldTeach. They did not require any experience. This is a volunteer opportunity. The year-long placement pays you enough to buy food. If you choose a summer program you pay to attend. However, they do a little training at the beginning of each session. Year-long placements receive longer training. My training in the summer sessions was two days. The supervisor of each placement has experience working in that country. So they can help explain what is going on and help you create lessons.
    • If you want to get paid, you need to earn a TEFL. This requires some studying! Are you ready? Costs are around 300 to 500 dollars. TeachAway, another program that gets English Teachers abroad offers a course before they send you to foreign destinations. (Another post will come soon with possible certification and courses offered online.
  • Visas: You will need a visa for whichever country you choose
    • You will also need a Federal Background Checks (the date should be after the letter the company or school invited you),
    • health checks with a doctor’s note for approval, and your vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Valid Passport (at least for 6 months- usually to obtain a Visa)
  • Picking A Country
    • Europe Problems
      • You are usually an Au Pair
      • Want many years of experiences
      • Openings are hard to find
    • Realistic Expectations
      • Asian countries (The Far East)
      • South Korea treats English teachers the best.
      • Middle Easter Countries pay ver well too. (Make sure you get accommodations)
  • Year-long contracts available
  • Teaching local population

Continue reading “International Teachers Vs. English Teacher”

Review of World Teach

World Teach was a fantastic experience. I was humbled by fundraising. I was humbled while working in China. And at the end of my month journey, I told my supervisor, “Get me a job and I will come back!”

World Teach was very helpful getting you information. They were a great program to get your feet wet. I would recommend a summer program first to anyone unsure if they should international teach. Summer programs usually cost the volunteer money. However, I enjoyed the process of fundraising. It challenged me. I hate begging for money and I did not want to feel like I was doing that. Summer programs also last a shorter amount of time. I never missed home during the time of the summer program. So this could be a great step if someone is unsure they will like working in a foreign country with new friends. Continue reading “Review of World Teach”