If you are interested in travelling to a non English speaking country to teach people to speak English, one of the most common acronyms you will come across is TEFL. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. While not the most widely spoken language, English is certainly the world language for business, and as such, many nations choose English as a second language. Consequently there are plenty of opportunities for native English speakers to teach the language around the world, making it a great skill to be able to use as part of your gap year.
4-week onsite TEFL certification training with guaranteed job
Gap Year Provider: SEE TEFL, Thailand
SEE's Ministry of Education licensed 4-week onsite TEFL certification program with 6 observed teaching practices in local schools allows new teachers to step into the EFL classroom in any country with an EFL teaching industry and teach effectively and confidently.
Teaching and Youth Development in Cape Town
As a teaching volunteer in Cape Town, you will educate, support and empower children who come from disadvantaged township communities. This is an exceptional opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world, while also contributing to the future of it's poorest citizens.
Affordable Volunteer Abroad Programs from £120
Africa, Asia, South & Latin America
IVHQ provides safe, responsible, and extremely affordable volunteering placements in developing countries all over the world. Each year we place thousands of volunteers on our programs abroad, making us one of the world's most trusted volunteer organizations.
Learn a Language Abroad
Argentina, Bolivia, China, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, Vietnam
Why not learn new languages in a diverse community in the developing world? With help from our teachers you will improve your speaking, reading and writing skills through one-on-one tuition and group sessions. There will also be plenty of opportunity to practice your new skills with your host family
Paid TEFL Teaching Internship in Thailand for 4-5 months (1 semester)
SEE's paid internship includes pre-arrival and 2 weeks of onsite training before placement in a provincial school for 1 semester. Training is conducted by SEE in Chiang Mai. There are two intakes each year. These coincide with the start of the Thai academic semesters in April and October.
Go Make A Difference in Tanzania
Go Make A Difference in Tanzania (Go MAD) is a small independent Christian charity headed up by experienced leaders, some of whom have led groups to Tanzania for 23 years. We offer people the chance to visit Tanzania and get involved in community development projects.
Camp Counselor Abroad
We’ve been running English camps for French children since 1993! With multiple locations across France, American Village Language Immersion Camps welcome thousands of kids each year. Our caring, fun, and professional counselor team is a part of what makes our camp so loved by our campers!
Affordable Overseas Volunteer Programs From £150
Plan My Gap Year is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK. We provide the worlds most affordable, need-driven and supportive short-term volunteer programmes in Africa and Asia. Our programmes start from just two weeks in duration right up to six months.
Teaching Jobs Abroad
South Africa, Tanzania, Nepal, Romania, Brazil, Chile, China, Thailand
The demand for English teachers around the world is astronomical, take China, where there are 350 million people learning the language at any given time. Combine teaching and TEFL courses or volunteer in sports or childcare projects to create a rewarding adventure and experience!
Teaching in Livingstone, Zambia
Join us near the 'Adventure Capital' of Africa, Victoria Falls, and offer much-needed teaching assistance at under-staffed Zambian schools. This is an opportunity to give individual attention to children who really need it, assist local teachers, and to gain some valuable teaching abroad experience.
Wildlife Rescue Centre in Java Indonesia - Orangutans, Gibbons and sun bears
Join as a volunteer at our wildlife rescue centre in Yogyakarta in the centre of Java. The centre has over 200 animals and is actively rehabilitating 80 of them. In February 2017 we released 20 animals including 8 pea fowl and snakes. You can also help with our school clubs & community programm
Volunteer with the Maasai Tribe in Tanzania
Work with one of Africa’s most iconic tribes, the Maasai, near Africa's highest mountain - Mount Kilimanjaro. Your support will give members of the tribe who have not had access to education as a child a second chance at education in adulthood, and empower them to earn an income for their family.
Teaching Jobs Abroad
The demand for English teachers around the world is astronomical, take China, where there are 350 million people learning the language at any given time. Combine gain valuable experience teaching and a qualification with our TEFL courses.
Teach English Abroad
A Projects Abroad teaching placement is ideal for anyone who would like to make a positive contribution across the developing world. Your role will include working with local schools, NGOs or universities, where you will find yourself taking classes or teachers with lessons.
Gap year TEFL training, certification and school placement
SEE offers a 4-week TEFL certification onsite training program with teaching practices at local schools or a paid TEFL teaching internship for 4-5 months in a Thai provincial town school. The 4-week training course offers a job guarantee and the internship offers a guaranteed placement.
Teach English around the world
If you want to volunteer to teach English then we could send you to Costa Rica, Bali, Peru or Kenya! We have access to lots of programmes where the work you do will make a real difference to the children you teach. Find out more here....
Wildlife Conservation in Malaysia - turtles, tigers, scuba diving
We manage several conservation and community projects in Malaysia. Join us in the Perhentian Islands on our coral and diving research project or our turtle project. We have 2 tiger and rainforest conservation projects one in Merapoh and the other at Royal Belum State Park. Contact us now.
Australia, Canada, Thailand, China, Romania, New Zealand
Chose from instructing, hospitality and support roles in one of our Canadian ski resorts. Experience the Aussie Outback or the cosmopolitan city of Sydney or Auckland. We offer the chance to earn money teaching in China or Thailand.Travel, gain experience, get to know the locals and enhance your CV!
Looking for something else? We have plenty more gap year ideas to inspire you.
Thanks to an education system that has historically held us back on learning other languages, it is perhaps not surprising that many English people do not have a second language. Teaching English as a foreign langauge (known as TEFL) and being able to speak a second language well, is a very valuable skill and one that will stand you in good stead when it comes to job applications. Most of us probably list being able to speak a foreign language high on our wish list, but beyond downloading a free language app on our smart phones, or borrowing a language book from the library for a few weeks before we go on holiday, not many of us get around to doing anything about it. A good TEFL course can change that!
Our TEFL internships allow you to combine valuable teaching experience with an amazing adventure in a beautiful new country. Before you head off, you'll be fully TEFL trained and when you arrive, you'll get all the support you need from our in-country teams.
You may also see reference to TESL Teaching English as a Second Language, ESL English as a Second Language, EFL English as a Foreign Language, ESOL English for Speakers of Other Languages, ELT English Language Teaching TESOL Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages... with no internationally agreed standard, the list is almost endless and reads like a Monty Python sketch. The only major differences are that TEFL is designed for people who want to go into a country where people do not speak English, TESOL can also be for people who want to teach non English speakers who are living in English speaking countries. And TESL would be somewhere between the two - you teach people to speak English in countries where a good chunk of the population already speak English as a first language.
While a degree in English, or a teaching qualification may well be sufficient for some positions, and a positive requirement for many schools in Western Europe, a recognised TEFL qualification, which will enable you to teach English in a school, workplace, or the home, to students whose first language is not English. This will also vary country to country as some places will have much higher demand for teachers and will not be so concerned about recognised qualifications. It is worth knowing that while qualifications can be an important consideration for companies or public bodies looking to employ you, they will also be interested in how you interact with the students. A native English speaker with great interpersonal skills but not qualifications may do a better job of teaching a class than someone with many certificates but little experience of the role.
You may decide to gain an internationally recognised TEFL qualification to assist your gap year job search. This is a popular move and other than the ability to speak English, you do not usually require any previous qualifications or experience in order to take a TEFL course.
As we have already seen, there are a lot of different ways to describe the practice of teaching English to people who do not have it as their first language, but there are as many if not more different accreditations and affiliations for the TEFL courses that companies provide. The TEFL course providers try to align themselves with companies and bodies who provide this accreditation, to give their courses more credibility. Anyone can set up and offer a TEFL course, but who is to say they are any good. That is where the accreditation comes in. Unfortunately, anyone can also set up a TEFL accreditation company. Some accreditations are better than others so it is worth doing your research before handing over your money. The genuine companies will be able to demonstrate previous success and provide you with detailed advice about their courses and whether they would suit you. There are plenty of great companies out there, offering great courses that will further your career and experiences, just keep an eye out for the rogues. And if you already have an idea of where you will be teaching English, it may be worth asking your potential or future employers which TEFL courses they recognise.
Once you have decided to take a TEFL course you will need to decide how to study for it. One benefit of the internet has been the development of distance learning. It is quite possible to take a full TEFL course online, allowing you to qualify at your own pace and in your own time. Alternatively you may wish to join others, and get more experience of a classroom environment by taking a location based TEFL course. Many companies also recognise that people work Monday to Friday and may not have time to fit in a course during the week, so they have designed courses that fit into a weekend. Twenty hours of teaching and training and you are qualified. Perfect.
OK, so what is involved, what do you have to do? During your course, you will likely cover all or some of the following: writing skills, literature, task based learning, linguistic structures such as words, phrases, verbs and tenses and understanding sentence complexity. Basically, you will be taught how to approach the teaching of English to your future students, to be their teacher, organiser and motivator. You will be shown how to make your teaching methods meaningful and memorable. TEFL courses are not difficult, but they do make you think about how to teach and give you very valuable ideas for when you find yourself in a room full of people who do not speak your language.
The world is your lobster. Any country you can think of that does not have English as its main language will have opportunities for English teachers. If you are looking for somewhere with high demand, try China or Japan. We list a couple of English teaching gap year opportunities below.