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Can Americans teach English in Europe?
- When researching your options for teaching English abroad, you may come across articles stating that it is difficult or even impossible for Americans to find work in Europe. However, the good news is this is simply not true, as there are plenty of great opportunities for American teachers in many countries throughout Europe.
- Due to the huge numbers of people learning English in Europe, there simply aren?t enough teachers from within the EU to fill all the available positions. To meet this demand, language schools across the continent look towards native English speaking Americans who possess a TEFL qualification. Every year thousands of US citizens find teaching jobs in major cities such as Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Moscow, and Prague.
- In Western Europe there is a strong preference for British English in some countries, and excessive bureaucracy also makes it harder for US citizens to legally find work. However, countries such as Italy, Spain, and Germany all offer large job markets and good opportunities for non-EU teachers. The French and Spanish governments even operate programs to recruits classroom assistants for their public school systems.
- Eastern Europe is perhaps the best region for non-EU citizens to find work as it has a strong demand for TEFL qualified teachers, and also a lower cost of living than many countries in the west. The Czech Republic has long been a popular destination, while countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Russia also having growing markets.
- Another country that is well worth considering is Turkey. As it is not a member of the European Union, Turkey is a great option for American teachers as there is no bias towards teachers from EU countries. It also has a great climate and a fascinating culture that blends both European and Middle Eastern influences.
- The majority of jobs in Europe are filled following a face-to-face interview, so it is essential that you are on the ground in the country of your choice at the right time of year. For most language schools across Europe, the main hiring season runs from September to October. During this time, thousands of schools are looking to fill positions that were vacated at the end of the previous school year. January is also a good time for job hunting in many countries. Exceptions to these hiring periods include Russia and Turkey, where schools tend to hire at any time of the year.
- For countries such as Turkey, Russia and Poland, it is generally necessary to apply for a work visa in advance from within your home country. Elsewhere, the norm is to simply arrive in your country of choice on a tourist visa. In some countries, including hotspots such as Spain and Italy, it is common practice for teachers to work with nothing other than a tourist visa. This is not technically legal but is extremely common and there are rarely any repercussions for foreign teachers. Alternatively, in countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic, you will have a work permit processed locally once hired.
- Another option is to enroll on a language study program in your chosen country. Often this will include a student visa that also allows you to work up to a certain number of hours per week.