When I graduated from college, travel was my top priority. I regretted my decision not to study abroad, and hoped to mitigate that regret by looking for travel jobs after graduation. Thankfully, there were copious opportunities to work abroad, especially in teaching.
For most American students with limited foreign language skills and few connections abroad (dual citizenship, etc.), the most popular route to travel jobs is to teach English. This was the route I chose; I managed to secure a position with a small English immersion summer camp in the south of France.
English fluency is a much-sought-after skill all over the world. This opens up numerous teaching opportunities, which break down into three main categories: compensated long-term teaching, short-term opportunities, and uncompensated programs.
Compensated Long-Term Teaching
Compensated long-term teaching opportunities usually last an academic year (9 to 10 months), and are available all across the world. Because you’ll get compensation, though, employers expect more from you. Employers will want you to have a qualification like a TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages), TESL (teaching English as a second language), or TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate.
If you’re still in college, check to see if your university offers a certification process; it will be enormously helpful if you’re hoping to secure a long-term English teaching position. The cost of these programs, however, can exceed $1,000. Non-certified alternatives are rare, and when they do exist, they are highly competitive. These include programs like the Fulbright Program.
These positions rarely require certification, so they make great travel jobs. Because I didn’t want to spend time and money on a course, and wasn’t sure I wanted to work abroad for more than a few weeks, this is the route I chose. Summer English language immersion camps are common, and I found a position with NACEL American Villages in France. I worked for about eight weeks, and received compensation that included full room and board. Other similar programs include Switzerland’s TASIS, Italy’s ACLE, and Croatia’s Camp California.
For me, this option would have been a last resort. Unlike the other two options, you will pay for these opportunities, but may be compensated. Some programs, however, will be uncompensated, and that’s especially true for short-term opportunities. But if you’re not having luck securing other travel jobs, and really want to teach English abroad, programs like CIEE and LanguageCorps make a lot of sense.
Keep in mind that English isn’t the only teachable skill you probably have. As a college graduate, you’ve taken the SAT, and maybe some AP exams. These experiences can also lead to interesting travel jobs. I, for example, considered teaching SAT prep to kids in South Korea with FLEX College Prep.
My experience teaching English to kids in France provided an amazing experience, tons of fun, and lasting memories. If you’re looking for travel jobs for post-college, teaching English is probably one of the easiest routes to a job abroad. Luckily, the options for teaching English vary widely, which ensures you’ll find exactly what you want. Whether it’s Europe or Southeast Asia, a school or a camp, you’re sure to have life-defining experiences while working abroad.
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