Teaching English abroad offers an opportunity to see the world

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"South African passport holders can access 104 countries visa-free to earn an income." Photo: Marco Lopez/ Unsplash
"South African passport holders can access 104 countries visa-free to earn an income." Photo: Marco Lopez/ Unsplash

The lockdown is finally over. For South African passport holders looking to spread their wings or seek better employment opportunities internationally, the world is open again. 

Now, aspiring English teachers can once again travel to various countries, some even visa-free.

This is an opportunity to see the world without the cost and hassle of long embassy queues and visa paperwork.

Read: Job hunting after high school? Here are some options for a great start to your career

Knowing just how hard it is to find employment opportunities in our country, Rhyan O'Sullivan, Managing Director at The TEFL Academy, says that this is also an opportunity for local passport holders seeking teaching opportunities abroad.

Those considering a life abroad can leverage the power of the South African passport to scope out their dream destinations, get a feel for the local culture, meet up with potential employers, and plan living arrangements.

O'Sullivan says that there are several reasons why South Africans are interested in finding work abroad, starting from earning potential to safety, lifestyle, and a lower cost of living.

He notes that foreign English teachers typically make enough to save between 30 and 40% of their salaries after expenses, allowing them to cover their bills while still enjoying the culture and lifestyle of their chosen country.

The globally accepted qualification to teach English abroad is a TEFL qualification and full-time students can complete this accredited course within four to six weeks.

After finishing the course, you can plan a trip to your new home ahead of time before making the final decision, signing your contract, and making the big move, says O'Sullivan.

Also read: 'A weight off my shoulders': Local teen accepted to three Ivy League universities

According to O'Sullivan, TEFL certificate holders seeking employment in countries that do not offer visa-free travel for South Africans will need to secure jobs at a school in their country of choice first and this is relatively easy given the high demand for English teachers abroad.

After that, he says the TEFL certificate holders would have to work with the school and relevant embassy to secure a working visa to go abroad.

O'Sullivan says that even though most visa-free countries do not require more than a passport to clear customs, certain countries may request other documents, such as proof of onward travel, before allowing you to enter.

It is also important to note that Covid-19 travel restrictions still apply in some destinations, as outlined by the restrictions mapping tool developed by travel website Skyscanner, says O'Sullivan.

However, those who have been fully vaccinated and can show proof thereof generally do not have to quarantine on arrival – although a Covid test may be required, he added.

For more information about TEFL, visit their website here.

Warning: Anyone travelling for work must check the country requirements etc, and beware of scams.


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Note from the editor: This article was updated to avoid any confusion related to visa-free travel and international employment. It's essential to always check each country's visa requirements before travelling for work or leisure.

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