Navigating teaching opportunities and adventures in Europe doesn’t have to be difficult. There are some simple steps that you can follow to ensure that you land yourself a teaching role that will help you both find your feet in a new culture and fund those weekend trips you’ve been dying to take.
The best part is you can get started before you’ve even booked your flights. So, let’s take a lot at exactly what you need to do, and what kind of timeframe you’re looking at.
The first and most important step of them all is getting yourself TEFL qualified. This will open the door to a world of opportunities you may not have otherwise had, as most schools will request this qualification from prospective teachers.
A safe pick is the 120-hour course, which is the industry standard. You can complete it at your own pace, either online in the comfort of your own home, or at a local training centre. The course itself consists of a variety of modules that cover topics from grammar to teaching methodology.
You’ll get to work with an experienced tutor who has first-hand experience in the teaching industry and the opportunity to observe lessons to finesse your teaching style. You could also choose to undertake additional advanced courses in areas such as Business English, teaching young learners and even online teaching practice.
Pick a place
The location you opt for to teach English in Europe will depend on what your goals are and what kind of lifestyle you enjoy. If you’re money-oriented and have already gained some teaching experience, consider looking into Germany where you may find higher-paid roles. Some knowledge of the language can also go a long way when it comes to landing a job.
For those more suited to a slower pace of life and a warmer climate, Spain is a great option. There are hundreds of language schools across the country that you can apply to and locals are known to be welcoming regardless of whether you’ve got a handle on the language yet.
Alternatively, if art and city breaks are what you’re after, France could be the place for you. The majority of teaching jobs will be in the bigger cities such as Paris, Nice and Lyon. Additionally, 2024 marks the 150th anniversary of the impressionist movement, so there will be plenty of cultural events to attend.
Look into opportunities
Most European countries will have similar job opportunities for English teachers, but be prepared that some roles will require more experience than others. A great gateway role is to start at a language school. Here, you’ll only need a TEFL qualification and previous experience isn’t always a must for your application to be considered.
Another option you could look into is working at an international school. Many of these positions are often well-paid and come with additional perks. The only catch is that more often than not, they will usually require applicants to hold some kind of formal education qualification.
If networking is your thing and you’ve already got some experience under your belt, then striking out on your own as a freelancer could be the choice for you. There’s good money to be made in teaching Business English, especially, so it may be worth thinking about making it your niche.
Know the requirements
If you are not an EU citizen then you will most likely require a work visa to work in Europe. This is something that your employer can sponsor. Should this be a requirement for your entry, your best bet is to apply to established international schools as they may be more likely to offer sponsorship as opposed to smaller language schools.
Work visas are typically valid for one year, and many countries will offer you the option to renew but be sure to double-check the policies for this in the European country you’ve decided to work in. Alongside an employment contract, some other visa requirements may include proof of professional qualifications and even health insurance.
Do your research
Your research shouldn’t stop at the bureaucracy you may need to wade through. By reading up on your destination of choice before your arrival you can make sure that your transition into your new life in Europe is as smooth as possible so you can focus on teaching and adventuring.
Groups on social media are a great way to connect with fellow ex-pats living in Europe so you can get their insight into the best areas to go apartment hunting as well as any tips to avoid making any cultural faux pas.
It’s also useful in terms of finding out about local events and activities so that you have an idea of where you might be able to meet new people with similar interests to you. While you’ll most likely find fellow English speakers at the school you opt to work in, this could help you step outside of the English-speaking bubble and get to know some locals.
Make the most of it
One of the biggest advantages of working as an English teacher is that you’ll typically get weekends off – though be aware that some language schools request Saturday availability – and summers. To make the most of this time, be sure to nab yourself a year-long contract as opposed to one that only covers the academic year, so you get a paid summer.
When adventuring in Europe, in particular, you get the bonus of great transport links that can take you to new countries in only a matter of hours. Whether you opt for short-haul flights or train rides, your time off can be spent exploring different cultures with ease.
Remember to plan your trips with the varying climates across Europe in mind, though. Summers in Spain can be sweltering so it’s not the ideal time to visit landlocked cities like Madrid. Winters in parts of Finland, meanwhile can get as cold as –50, so perhaps save that trip for spring. For more travel tips to enjoy your trips to the fullest check out tourinplanet.com.
Overall, regardless of where in Europe you choose to call home while you’re teaching, getting around is so easy that the possibilities for adventures are endless. Whether it’s a weekend spent strolling along the Seine and museum hopping or eating gelato on a volcanic beach in the south of Italy, all you’ve got to do to make it happen is teach.