1. Get TEFL certified
There is an abundance of English teaching jobs (TEFL) abroad, and some that require no certification or prior experience. However, proper TEFL certification can be your meal ticket to longer-term jobs or opportunities with prestigious foreign schools. You can easily find opportunities without this certificate, but having it will assure you a fair shot at every open teaching opportunity and also looks great on your resume. It proves to schools that you are serious about teaching and will give you a foundation off which to base your curriculum and teaching techniques.
2. Don’t spend all your time with fellow foreigners
Although it is tempting to cling to those that share a common language or culture, I encourage you to get out and meet the locals. If you spend all your time with your fellow travelers, you may miss interesting aspects of the culture. During the time you spend working your TEFL abroad job you will meet new people and form new connections. Make the effort to break out of what seems familiar.
3. Try to learn the language
Learning the local language will make your experience all the richer, both for you and for the people you will be working with. Not only will you gain a certain degree of independence if you can navigate your host-city on your own, but you will also form more personal connections with the people if you are able to understand what they are saying and can contribute to the conversation. In the future, you can apply these language skills, either on another TEFL job abroad or to your resume for a future job. If you have no background in the language, you may consider taking a few classes before you leave for your trip or find a tutor once you arrive.
4. Keep an open mind and try new things
More than likely, the country you are headed to is going to have a different culture than your own. Take your free time to explore your surroundings. Attend a cultural event or eat at a local restaurant. You may not like everything you try but it will make for good stories and you will always remember the experience. Sign up for classes and immerse yourself in the traditions and customs of the culture, you may find yourself making new friends and discovering new hobbies.
5. Get out there
Signing up for a TEFL abroad job is exciting, daring, and at times, scary! You be completely overwhelmed by the new sights, sounds, and language, but resist the urge to barricade yourself in your room. The people you meet on your new adventure will inevitable invite you out. Whether it be to eat a meal with a family in the country side or explore the night life of your new host-city: GO! Taking part in new experiences will help you acclimate to your new environment. You will need a way to unwind and relax, so when someone invites you to take part in something, do it. Even if you don’t enjoy yourself, you will have a story to share with the folks back home.