If you need to work while you’re travelling to finance a long-term trip, getting a qualification to teach English to speakers of other languages is a good place to start. In this episode, Craig and Linda talk about the benefits of Celta and TESOL. It follows up on a previous episode, teaching for long-term travel to talk more indepth about various qualification options.
We get a lot of emails from people asking how we fund our travels, including this one from Conrad:
My name is Conrad and I’ve had my mind set on traveling and backpacking for a long time now. I’ve been wondering: how do you pay for the travel and accommodation costs? Do you find a job, work for a few months to earn some money, before moving on to your next destination? What kind of job do you usually do? How do you earn money to keep going for an extended period of time?
At the moment we make more than 95% of our money teaching English as a foreign language (EFL), English as a second language (ESL), English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or any other strange combination of letters which means teaching people English.
An ESOL qualification will allow you to teach in private language schools or in government schools in some countries. If you want to make a serious go of English teaching, we recommend a CELTA or Trinity TESOL. They are the two big names in ESOL qualifications and, when added to a University degree, will pretty much ensure you are qualified for any ESOL job. That said, you don’t need a University degree for many of the jobs out there.
These qualifications are normally awarded after a full-time four-week course involving lectures, assignments and practical classroom time.
Both the CELTA and the Trinity are quite pricey, but well worth the investment in terms of opportunities, especially if you want teaching to be a main income stream or something you can pick up anywhere with few problems in getting a job.
There are also good online and short-term courses available (along with lots of cowboy operations). I’ve heard good things about i-to-i which can also arrange interesting volunteer and paid work opportunities when you’ve finished your course. They offer a free trial of their online TEFL course.
If you don’t want to get any qualifications, but you want to do some teaching, you could try finding one of the many Summer and Winter Camp opportunities that allow you to “volunteer” as a native English speaker in return for accommodation and food allowances. Some of these opportunities include a short course in English teaching before your contract begins to ensure you have some idea of what to do.