Where can I teach English abroad as a non-native speaker?

Many of the world's biggest and most lucrative markets for English language teachers are typically restricted to native English speakers only. Destinations such as Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, are all great options for native speakers but not for thousands of other qualified teachers whose first language is not English. But don't despair; there are still plenty of exciting destinations all over the world where non-native English speakers can confidently apply for teaching positions. In countries where restrictions on nationalities are in place, the term 'native English speaker' generally refers to teachers from the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Other countries where English may be the first language, such as India or the Philippines, are generally not accepted.

Where can non-native speakers teach English in Asia?

As the market for English language teachers is huge right across Asia, there are plenty of opportunities for non-native English speakers. One of the most popular options is Thailand which has a fascinating culture, world famous cuisine, stunning tropical beaches, and a consistently high demand for teachers year-round. To be eligible for a work permit you need to reach a certain standard of English, either 600+ on the TOEIC test, or 5+ on the IELTS test. A four-year degree is also necessary. A TEFL certification is not an official requirement but it is likely to improve your employment chances as a non-native speaker. Another popular option in the same region is Cambodia. Here there are even fewer restrictions making it a good choice no matter where you were born or what qualifications you have. Salaries are not typically large when compared with some neighboring countries, but it offers a good chance to gain valuable classroom experience while living in a rich and vibrant culture. Although non-native speakers do not qualify for a work visa in China, the huge market for teachers means there are always options to be explored. Teachers from all over the world will find employers willing to bend the rules in order to fill vacant positions. One common method is for the employer to provide a business visa, although this does mean you are working illegally and liable to be deported if caught.

Where can non-native speakers teach English in Latin America?

Latin America has endless opportunities for non-native English speakers as most countries have few official restrictions and plenty of available jobs. A TEFL certification is usually required, but as long as you are in the country ready to work, that is generally the only thing needed to guarantee employment. There are significant markets for language teachers of all nationalities in countries throughout the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

Where can non-native speakers teach English in Europe?

Options for non-native speakers to teach English across Europe are generally quite slim. However, teachers who have a passport from a country within the European Union may be in luck as they are free to work in other member states without a permit. One possible option for non-Europeans is Turkey, although a four-year degree is required and you may also need some previous teaching experience. The best approach is to arrange a Skype call so you have an opportunity to convince the employer that your language skills are sufficient for the job.

How can I improve my job prospects as a non-native English teacher?

If you are a non-native English speaker there are a few things you can do to increase your employability. Although it is not an official requirement in every country, gaining a TEFL certification will improve your teaching skills and show potential employers that you are serious about being a language teacher. Another effective way to impress employers is to show them that you have previous experience in the classroom. Before leaving home you can volunteer your services in community centers or language schools to practice your skills in a genuine classroom environment. Being able to prove your English language ability is also highly recommended. Showing an employer that you have a high score on either the TOEFL or IELTs tests could go a long way to convincing them of your suitability for the post. Similarly, by meeting the employer in person or over Skype you have the chance to demonstrate your language skills and dismiss any concerns they may have regarding your accent.