Monday, February 22, 2010

Teaching Business English Abroad

A great niche for English teachers is to teach Business English. If you've been avoiding this segment of the TEFL umbrella because you find it intimidating or perhaps boring, you are depriving yourself of a major source of income. I should also say that Business English doesnt have to be boring. Many people think that teaching business English involves charts, graphs and other tedious tools but it doesn't have to be that way.

In fact, as your clients already know their job and usually speak intermediate English, often they are looking for conversation lessons that might be found in a business setting. Also as many travel abroad for business they have questions that concern the local culture more than that of grammar.

Just calling an English lesson, "a business English lesson" entitles you to charge about 20% to 40% more per hour and many business English students are in search of one to one, private lessons. What could be better? To put yourself out on the business English market doesn't require much more than a TEFL Certificate. However, to get real results, meaning a string of clients, you will need some experience and usually a certificate of Teaching Business English.


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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Teaching English in E.U. Countries

Teaching English in an E.U. Country without an E.U. Passport is challenging. However it can be done. As of late, I've been receiving a lot of emails on the subject so I thought I'd offer a few thoughts. First of all, for Australians and Canadians, its possible to work abroad in countries like France and Italy for up to one year on the "Working Holiday Visa" exchange program. This program doesn't exists for Americans and on a side note, I'd like to urge Americans to write to their state senators about implementing a similar program if indeed you'd like to have such an option available to you.

For Americans, there are a few options which, depending on the EU country in question, may vary.

1. You can show up, find an ESL job, then go back to the U.S. and take care of the paperwork. Not a popular option for folks as its expensive and risky. The average school won't want to get involved in arranging such paperwork in the first place. However, if you have a university degree and a TEFL certificate, you can apply at the university level, where they are prepared to do just that to get native English teachers.

2. You can apply to become an English Teaching Assistant before you leave home. This is a government offered program and the paperwork can be arranged.

3. Registering for internships is another way to arrange long term work contracts in Europe.

4. While this item has been disputed, if you register for language lessons in the country of your choice for 6 months or more, either with a private language school or university, you'll be issued a student visa which allows about 15 hours per week of work. Although if your interest is only to work and not take advantage of the language and cultural aspect, its possible that you may not be granted said visa. The idea is that your primary goal is to be a student abroad.

A more discreet piece of advice is that no matter what your nationality, in some European countries things may not come to you as quickly as you expect so its essential to have patience when attempting to live in this part of the world. Occasionally take your eye off the end goal and remember why you want to live in that particular country in the first place. Often doing that can lead you in the very direction where you want to go.


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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

ESL Job Search Part II

One thing that may not be so obvious when looking for work in countries like France, Spain and Italy (southern Europe in general)is that inorder to succeed, one must network. One must take an interest in the local people and talk to them. Through just simple talking and taking a sincere interest in others, you can actually talk your way into a job or help finding a job or housing.

So often, people come to this part of the world so focused on just "finding a job" that they don't even pay attention to the things that make them want to live in said country in the first place. They ignore the culture and the people while maintaining their attention solely on what they want out of the situation. And often these people fail miserably because in southern Europe, its hard to have much without help from the locals. When you have developed real friends and relationships, that alone takes you much farther than any other skill you may have.

My advice is, of course, during your TEFL course you should work dilligently to secue employment but along the way, take time to get to know others and even help out. Its all about the process, not necessarily the final result. GG

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