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Discover what TEFL teaching can unlock in you

Article by Zaytoen Domingo

Zaytoen Domingo

Posted: August 14, 2019

Are you interested in gaining classroom skills and an internationally recognised TEFL qualification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) while travelling the world? 

You’ll never forget the first sea of eager faces. You’ll never forget your first class, your first lesson and first word game with the children. 

The noise levels escalate. The excitement dances around the room. They’re all waiting for you –  to say something, do something, start something. 

Your first teaching role stays with you forever. 

If you choose TEFL teaching you can experience all of this and travel at the same time, while gaining professional and life skills. TEFL teaching is special.

Why should you consider TEFL teaching?


You might be playing snap, teaching grammar, practising pronunciation, learning country names or brainstorming new vocabulary, but every lesson makes an impact on your students. 

While in the classroom, you are their teacher, their leader, their luminary and motivator. It’s a magical feeling: full of reward, new relationships and challenges. 

But let’s be realistic. It takes huge commitment and practice to become a TEFL teacher, and to command a room of learners. 

You’re probably new to the country, to the profession and to your students. It doesn’t get much more challenging than that! However, the lightbulb moment, when a child learns a new word, or when a student communicates using phrases you’ve taught them, is worth all the hard work and effort: for you, and the learner. 



Standing in front of a class can be nerve wracking and full of surprises. No two teaching days are the same! But, the variety of challenges you face in each lesson, and seeing learners progress, can result in some of the most enjoyable volunteer teaching experiences. 

Not only that, but you could also be planning your next lesson in one of the most remote and beautiful locations in the world.

With TEFL training, you can explore new cultures and work alongside communities. While learning about their education and ways of life, you’ll also develop your own personal and global citizenship skills, such as: 

  • self-confidence
  • presentation skills and public speaking
  • decision making
  • empathy
  • initiative
  • organisation and communication.


How do you become a TEFL teacher while travelling?

You don’t need previous classroom experience to become a TEFL teacher. Good quality TEFL training provides you with all the English language knowledge, in-classroom experience, and teaching strategies you’ll need to thrive as a teacher.  

You can do a course before you go travelling, or earn your TEFL certification by completing an education internship abroad. GVI offers TEFL teaching internships in Thailand and Costa Rica. These six month teach and travel opportunities are a great way to begin a teaching career, while travelling to new places and immersing yourself in local culture. 



Once qualified, you can choose where and how you teach. TEFL teaching jobs abroad can be found with formal classes, local kindergartens, primary or secondary schools, smaller tutoring sessions, adult education or more conversational classes. 

Whatever you choose, you will be providing education, fun and leadership, while learning and progressing yourself.

How does TEFL teaching impact local communities?


Teaching English as a second language allows you to really make an impact on individuals and their communities. As a TEFL teacher you can support Engish education in a range of settings as you travel the world.

You will be contributing to improving education in communities with fewer resources or opportunities. Education is essential for breaking down the barriers of poverty and inequality. Your teaching will help enable your students to increase their future employment and academic opportunities. 

This positive change contributes towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) around good health and wellbeing, gender equality and quality education.  

What other options are there for volunteer teaching abroad?


If you want to have a taste of life in the classroom before committing to TEFL, you can apply for shorter teach and travel internships in India, Fiji, Ghana, or Laos. These teaching programs offer practical teaching experience, assisting teachers and preparing and delivering some lessons. 

What language games can you whip up with a moment’s notice? How many different ways can you practice pronunciation? Which songs are going to help you instil a sense of learning and progress in a class of thirty? 

Take the leap and see what you’re capable of, and what you can unlock in yourself.

Apply for TEFL training and help create opportunities, while fulfilling your travel dreams.

Emily Shelton is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here

By Zaytoen Domingo

Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.
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