Teach English Abroad

by Jamie Littlefield
The Challenge

Positions to teach conversational English during a volunteer vacation are available in some of the world's most exotic and remote villages, in countries ranging from Ghana, to China, to Poland.

Teaching English abroad can be an adventurous, rewarding way to spend your next vacation. If you're reading this article, you have a skill millions of people across the world are longing to learn. You speak English.

Countries such as India, Japan, and Argentina require that students take English lessons while in school. But, in many places, access to fluent English speakers is limited. Children in rural or impoverished schools must rely on the kindness of volunteers who travel around the globe to teach English in their schools.

Why are children in developing nations so anxious to learn English?

  • English helps people overcome poverty: As international jobs become available in industrializing countries, English-speaking employees become a valuable asset. Some of the best paying, most humane jobs are only offered to English speakers. Disadvantaged children who learn English in school have the opportunity to secure a brighter future for themselves and their families.
  • English provides access to information: The majority of websites, technical data, and scientific articles are stored in English. Learning English opens the door to a vast world of knowledge and opportunity that is inaccessible to non-speakers.
  • English allows people to communicate internationally: English is often considered the primary language of international business, politics, and technology. From holding a meeting to lecturing in a political forum, those who speak English have a greater capacity to participate in the global community.

You can teach English to children in another country by going on a volunteer vacation. Consider spending your next vacation days teaching English courses in Vietnam, China, Peru, or another growing nation. You'll experience the culture in a way no average tourist can – and make a big difference in the lives of young learners.

How to Make a Difference I Did This!
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You don't need to have formal training or speak a foreign language to teach English during a volunteer vacation. You just need a respect for other cultures and a heart big enough to love the children you teach.

Although it isn't necessary for most short vacation experiences, some volunteers like to take a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) course before departing to their country of choice. Such courses can be taken at home through a distance learning program.

A volunteer vacation agency, such as the ones below, can make the necessary arrangements for your travel, lodging, food, and volunteerism.

  • Global Volunteers teach English to children across the globe. You can choose to vacation in China, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Romania, Tanzania, or even ethnically diverse areas of the United States. Volunteers work alongside regular teachers or teach at intensive English-learning summer camps for one to three weeks at a time.
  • Volunteer for Venezuela travelers teach English to Venezuelan children from poor families. Volunteers can teach in under-funded programs or as a part of a mobile school that offers an education to children without access to public education.
  • Globe Aware volunteers teach English to Vietnamese children during an intensive seven day trip. Volunteers also set up mobile library programs and write evaluations suggesting ways to improve the schools they visit.
  • i-to-i volunteers teach English to children in about a dozen countries, from Costa Rica to Tanzania, Ecuador, Malawi, Peru, Kenya, and more. Their volunteer experience lasts from two to twenty-four weeks and includes teacher training. Accommodations and meal arrangements vary by location.
Wherever you choose to serve, you're sure to make memories that will last a lifetime. When it's time to return home, you'll be proud to hear your young English students say "goodbye." 

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