As of today, there are thousands of Americans living in Europe. The majority of them are there for job purposes, and one of the main jobs they hold is teaching English. Teaching English in Europe will always be a source of employment for those wishing to live abroad, since the value placed on native-speaking teachers in Europe is extremely high.
The information below is designed to help you start thinking along the lines of becoming an English teacher in Europe. Consider these facts before you begin your job search, and the process should go much more smoothly for you.
Choosing a country
Your first step after deciding to teach English in Europe should be to decide what country you'd like to teach in. This is a difficult decision and should involve a great deal of research on your part.
The fact is, every country in Europe has different requirements for their teachers, and it's much easier to find a job in some countries than it is in others. For example:
Germany is in great need of native English teachers, and getting a residency permit for teaching English in Germany is a fairly simple process. You do need TEFL certification and a secured job before you can receive a permit.
France is very popular among TEFL graduates, and job competition is fairly tough. Surprisingly, knowledge of business will get you further in your job search in France than will a solid knowledge of teaching. The French tend to hire English teachers at a business or corporate level, and the more you know about international communication the easier it will be to find a job.
Greece is rather difficult to break into, because visa requirements and red tape can be somewhat complicated. You won't find many TEFL teachers in Greece because the permits to work are so hard to obtain.
Italy is even harder to break into than Greece, unless you are an EU citizen. Americans are usually not hired for English teaching jobs in Italy, and if they are it must be proven that they can bring something to the job nobody else can. Few companies and schools are willing to hire Americans because the process can be costly and time consuming.
As you can see, the country where you choose to teach should be chosen carefully. Although ideally you should pick a country you love and wish to spend time in, your primary deciding factor should be whether or not you can obtain a job. Unless you have a job lead already, you should be prepared to do hours of research before settling on a course of action.
Before you begin the process of finding a job teaching English in Europe, we highly recommend that you graduate from college and get TEFL certification. While these things are not considered requirements in every European country, the majority of countries count them as great advantages, and you'll have a much easier time getting hired.
Your course of study doesn't particularly matter; you simply must have graduated from a four-year college with a degree in some subject. As for TEFL certification, it can be earned in a number of ways. Most colleges and community schools offer TEFL programs. You may even be able to become certified through a mail-in schooling program or over the internet. TEFL certification gives you the skills you will need to cope with teaching English to non-native speakers in a classroom setting. Whether or not it helps you land a job, the information you learn during TEFL certification will be invaluable in your classroom experience.
Our best advice for those wishing to teach English in Europe? Do your homework. Be prepared to analyze and compare various countries before making a decision. Once you've chosen a destination, you should have a working knowledge of the native language and a good idea of what life in that country will be like. After all, it will be your home for at least the next year.
Teaching English in Europe is a truly amazing experience, and one that every adventurous person should have. The trick to success is to be as prepared as you can... and then get ready to expect the unexpected.
By Michelle Simmons