While many prominent English teaching markets like Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE favor native English speakers, non-native English speakers with the right qualifications need not be disheartened. There exists a plethora of countries eager to welcome TEFL qualified teachers regardless of their native language. A few top recommendations for non-native English speakers seeking teaching positions include:
These countries value the skills and unique perspectives that non-native speakers bring, ensuring ample opportunities for those keen to teach abroad.
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As the market for English language teachers is huge right across Asia, there are plenty of opportunities for non-native English speakers. One of the most popular options is Thailand which has a fascinating culture, world famous cuisine, stunning tropical beaches, and a consistently high demand for teachers year-round. To be eligible for a work permit you need to reach a certain standard of English, either 600+ on the TOEIC test, or 5+ on the IELTS test. A four-year degree is also necessary. A TEFL certification is not an official requirement but it is likely to improve your employment chances as a non-native speaker. Another popular option in the same region is Cambodia. Here there are even fewer restrictions making it a good choice no matter where you were born or what qualifications you have. Salaries are not typically large when compared with some neighboring countries, but it offers a good chance to gain valuable classroom experience while living in a rich and vibrant culture. Although non-native speakers do not qualify for a work visa in China, the huge market for teachers means there are always options to be explored. Teachers from all over the world will find employers willing to bend the rules in order to fill vacant positions. One common method is for the employer to provide a business visa, although this does mean you are working illegally and liable to be deported if caught.
Latin America has endless opportunities for non-native English speakers as most countries have few official restrictions and plenty of available jobs. A TEFL certification is usually required, but as long as you are in the country ready to work, that is generally the only thing needed to guarantee employment. There are significant markets for language teachers of all nationalities in countries throughout the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Options for non-native speakers to teach English across Europe are generally quite slim. However, teachers who have a passport from a country within the European Union may be in luck as they are free to work in other member states without a permit. One possible option for non-Europeans is Turkey, although a four-year degree is required and you may also need some previous teaching experience. The best approach is to arrange a Skype call so you have an opportunity to convince the employer that your language skills are sufficient for the job.
If you are a non-native English speaker there are a few things you can do to increase your employability. Although it is not an official requirement in every country, gaining a TEFL certification will improve your teaching skills and show potential employers that you are serious about being a language teacher. Another effective way to impress employers is to show them that you have previous experience in the classroom. Before leaving home you can volunteer your services in community centers or language schools to practice your skills in a genuine classroom environment. Being able to prove your English language ability is also highly recommended. Showing an employer that you have a high score on either the TOEFL or IELTs tests could go a long way to convincing them of your suitability for the post. Similarly, by meeting the employer in person or over Skype you have the chance to demonstrate your language skills and dismiss any concerns they may have regarding your accent.