If you had to describe Europe with one quote from a film, what would it be? The Genie’s line in Disney’s Aladdin says it all: "Phenomenal cosmic powers...Itty bitty living space." This is because Europe is a relatively compact continent encompassing 44 nations, a tapestry of varied cultures and languages, and a diverse array of landscapes, ranging from snow-covered mountain ranges like the Alps and Pyrenees to varied coastlines along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
For those planning an extended journey, the typical approach would be to lay out an extensive and exhaustive itinerary of countries, cities, landmarks, and points of interest to visit. However, if you are contemplating a more permanent shift as a TEFL teacher abroad, you might need to try a different approach.
Selecting a base
As a TEFL teacher, your profession should grant you sufficient financial flexibility to explore Europe during your leisure time. However, constantly changing jobs each month would not be practical, as it would require a significant expenditure of money and energy on job applications and interviews. Instead, opt for a location that can serve as both a home base and a launching point for your travels. Choose a country that facilitates relatively easy access to neighbouring nations and offers promising job prospects.
1. Venturing away from your base for the first time
With your training and job secured, and after some exploration in your chosen country, you may be ready for a change. If you’re still getting used to your new life abroad, take it easy and stick to visiting countries that aren’t too far from the country that you have chosen as your base.
2. Exploring a life-long dream destination
Many individuals have a specific dream location they have always wanted to visit. It's the place where you envision your most relaxing vacations and thrilling adventures, even if you haven't set foot there yet.
3. Seeking a change of scenery
The more countries you check off your travel bucket list, the more destinations you may add. You might develop a "craving" for something different and off the beaten path—something that pushes you beyond your comfort zone, leading you to uncover marvellous and often underrated places.
4. Discovering the unfamiliar familiarity of certain countries
Irrespective of your origin, certain countries tend to be more popular than others, perhaps due to their captivating cultures or their renowned cuisine. Some countries are a staple in the bucket lists of many travellers, and France is one of them.
Globally known mainly for its rich culture and refined culinary style, France boasts a rich array of landscapes. Are you fond of the sea? You can choose between the inviting Mediterranean shores and the refreshing Atlantic coastline. Are mountains more your cup of tea? Take your pick between the majestic Alps and the picturesque Pyrenees.
Given its diverse offerings, leaving France can be a tough decision. If you opt to stay, keep in mind that there are abundant opportunities for teaching English in this country. Typically, larger cities provide a broader array of language schools, but smaller French towns allow for a more relaxed pace of life and a deeper immersion into the local culture, where it is easier to pick up the local language.
Teaching in France (or in other European countries)
Many European countries have several aspects in common when it comes to TEFL job opportunities and teaching environments. Here are some similarities:
High Demand for English
English is widely recognized as an international language, and there is a substantial demand for English language instruction in many European countries. This demand is driven by the need for English in business, tourism, education, and international communication.
Most European countries require TEFL teachers to have a TEFL or TESOL certification. This certification ensures that teachers are adequately prepared to teach English to non-native speakers. The specific certification requirements may vary from country to country, but having a recognized TEFL qualification is generally essential.
Depending on your country of origin, many European countries, including France, require TEFL teachers to obtain work visas or permits to legally teach English, especially if they are not EU citizens. This process typically involves meeting specific requirements, such as having a job offer from a language school or institution. Some countries may also require background checks or health checks.
Varied Teaching Environments
TEFL teachers in Europe can find diverse teaching environments, including public schools, private language schools, universities, and businesses. The choice of teaching environment often depends on the teacher's preferences and qualifications.
In many European countries, TEFL teachers can earn competitive salaries, especially in Western and Northern European nations such as France. Additionally, some countries offer additional benefits like accommodation, transportation, healthcare, and holiday pay. Indeed, workers in France enjoy 11 paid public holidays a year.
Some European countries, particularly those with a strong tourism industry, may have seasonal variations in hiring. For example, there may be more teaching opportunities during the summer months when tourists flock to these countries.
Many European countries provide language support for TEFL teachers, such as language courses or resources to help teachers learn the local language. This can be beneficial for integration and communication with local communities.
European countries usually have a wide range of teaching materials and resources available for TEFL teachers. Schools often provide textbooks and curriculum guidelines, making lesson planning more manageable. Due to the popularity of French, for example, there are a wealth of French-to-English and English-to-French resources available online.
Teaching and travelling in Europe
Europe represents the ideal destination for individuals committed to extensive travel, eager to maximise every moment of their journey. More importantly, it provides the chance to launch a new career teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) abroad. It offers an opportunity for international English teachers to integrate travel into their busy schedules. Look no further if you want to teach English, Europe is waiting for you.
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