Top tips for raising an English-Spanish bilingual child

Long gone are the days when bilingualism was viewed as a hindrance to a child’s academic and intellectual development. Modern research has revealed a whole swathe of benefits that result from the ability to speak two languages. But while parents of different nationalities almost unconsciously give their children the gift of bilingualism, parents who share a single language must work a little harder.

young boy in spain

Benefits of bilingualism

The ability to speak two languages is inherently a good thing – more so now than ever. In an increasingly globalised world, those that are able to communicate on an international level are more easily able to find jobs, form new relationships and relocate.

According to scientists from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, bilingualism also stimulates and ‘strengthens’ the brain. Their study showed that bilinguals were far superior at processing sounds, compared with English-only-speaking participants. Other studies have suggested that bilingualism might help ward off dementia, as well as improving the area of the brain used for planning tasks and solving problems.

How children learn

For children to become bilingual, they must be exposed to both languages on a regular basis. Subsequent learning has been shown to take place in one of two ways. The first is simultaneous acquisition, which occurs when a child is either raised bilingually from birth or introduced to a second language before the age of three. In simultaneous acquisition, children pass through the same stages of development as mono-lingual children, though they may start talking a little later.

Sequential acquisition, as its name suggests, occurs when a child learns a second language after the first is already established. This normally happens after the age of three, and results in slower acquisition than a language learnt simultaneously. Children who learn sequentially may go through a quiet period, where they become almost silent as they build an understanding of the new second language.

How to teach

Whether they opt for simultaneous acquisition or sequential acquisition, parents must decide how the second language will be introduced. The most effective way of doing this is by making a new addition to the family in the form of a live-in native-Spanish-speaking nanny or au pair. Constant exposure to Spanish will soon result in the child adopting the language.

Tutors can also be used to teach children Spanish, though a significant number of lessons will be needed for them to reach fluency. Alternatively, children can be enrolled in language schools, such as www.esl.co.uk. Parents who wish to help their children can take lessons themselves, thereby providing the child with an opportunity to speak Spanish at any time.

Some parents choose to immerse children in a second language by spending time abroad. For example, children of a family that has relocated to Barcelona will quickly learn Spanish through exposure to other children.

Expat Guide to Personal Security in Spain

Most of the expats in Spain live on one of the Costas. Along the south coast, mugging and hand bag snatching is prevalent, so expats need to be aware of the need for good personal security.

The earliest experience we had of this was in Guardamar in daylight when our own personal security was put to the test. My wife, Joyce, and I were sat on a bench on the front admiring the view, when we were approached by a youth asking for the time. He was not satisfied with our reply and grabbed my wife`s watch wrist and pretended he was reading the time, but his other hand had wrapped around the straps of her handbag and he tried to pull it off her shoulder. Fortunately, it was a cheap plastic handbag and the strap snapped. When I confronted the assailant he ran off empty handed, and I fell whilst chasing him. Later on I was told that a gang of mates would have been hiding around the corner to sort out anybody following. From this moment on, my wife never carried a handbag. Only enough money needed for that day was taken out by us. Whether you live in Spain, or are a holiday maker, the advice is to carry a limited amount of cash, and only one credit card. Leave extra cash, extra credit cards, passports and personal documents in a safe location. Put anything you are carrying in a hard-to-reach place and try to avoid carrying all your valuables together in a purse or backpack.

Some find a money belt is useful to wear.

Another favourite trick was the “razor blade.” Somebody would be driving and a passenger with a blade would jump out, slash the bag handle and drive off. It is all done so fast you hardly realize what has happened.

If you drive around Spain, there can be gangs waiting at roadside cafes. They put a nail in one of your tyres to create a slow puncture and when you have driven a few miles and pull in to look at your tyre, they pull in as well and rob you whilst you are changing wheels.

The US Department of State issues some excellent advice for its citizens visiting Spain, though in reality much of it could apply to a traveller from anywhere and to any country being visited.

“ There have been reports of thieves posing as plainclothes police officers, beckoning to pedestrians from cars and sometimes confronting them on the street asking for documents, or to inspect their cash for counterfeit bills, which they ultimately “confiscate” as evidence.

The U.S. Embassy in Madrid has received reports of cars on limited access motorways being pulled over by supposed unmarked police cars. The Spanish police do not operate in this fashion. American citizens are encouraged to ask for a uniformed law enforcement officer if approached.

Travelers should remain alert to their personal security and exercise caution. We suggest that travelers carry limited cash, only one credit card, and a copy of their passport; leaving extra cash, extra credit cards, passports and personal documents in a safe location”

Another trick is being followed from the airport, and whilst being overtaken by the following car, they point to a flat tyre or some other problem and signal that you should pull in to rectify it. When you get out, there is no flat tyre or problem, only the robber with a knife asking for your valuables. These are usually known as “Good Samaritan” scams.

Common sense alleviates a lot of these problems e.g. when carrying your shopping back to your car from the supermarket, look around before you open the boot. It is when you open the boot and start to load your groceries that you are most vulnerable with your handbag, car keys and so on. And, when leaving your car remember if you leave items on view like luggage, cameras, laptops, or briefcases they are an easy and tempting target for thieves.

Right hand drive cars are often targeted, because only the British normally drive them, and as everybody knows we are “super rich”, so beware. The Moroccans and Algerians get blamed for most of the petty crime on the Costas, but I am sure that the Spanish are not totally blameless.

Taxi Drivers

Some of the taxi drivers are in collusion with robbers, especially coming from the airport. The driver drops off his customer and then phones the robbers advising them of how many are in the party, the address, types of luggage etc. Within hours the property has been broken into and usually passports, cameras, phones, cash and cards are taken.

Security On Villas

Alarms on villas help as they are fairly new to Spain. If your villa is alarmed and those around you are not then they will be targeted first. In Spain, by law, you should not have an outside bell on the alarm, it should be connected to an alarm company who will phone the local police to come out and check (though not always as quickly as we might like).
Good grills, which are a feature anyway, should be fitted, along with solid doors. Park off road when possible (cars left unmoved on a road for more than a month are considered abandoned by the police and can be towed away).

There are many market days in Spain and pick pocketing is rife, so carry your money, as little as possible, in a safe place with a zip up pocket or money belt (bum belts).
Do not carry valuables over your shoulder.

The Police

If you do get involved in an incident and the police are called in, the police do not take a statement at the scene, but tell you to go to a designated police station. That is where the particulars are taken, in Spanish only, so you will need an interpreter with you. I was witness to a road rage in Spain, and confronted the assailant, who was punching the elderly driver of the other car. The police were called in and they told me to go to a police station about 8 miles from the incident with an interpreter and the elderly driver, and give my side of the event. They told the assailant to get on his way. The elderly driver thanked me for my assistance but said it was a waste of time trying to pursue it.

Remember that just because the weather is hot, the people are friendly, you are in a relaxed frame of mind it does not mean you won’t be a victim of crime. Remain vigilant just as would back in the UK, take sensible precautions, and you will drastically cut down the risks of losing your possessions.

Real Estate Abroad – Get Your Spanish Dream Home!

Many “Northerners”, mostly from UK but also from other countries such as Germany, Sweden or Norway have long learned about the advantages of owning real estate in a sunny, southern European country. Amongst the top favorites for owning real estate abroad is Spain. There are many things which make it very attractive to own a home in sunny Spain.

The Spanish real estate market is not untouched be the overall poor European economy. While this is a negative if you plan to re-sell right away, it can be a big opportunity if you are looking for a cheap home or villa. All throughout Spain, from the rural areas to the busy tourist locations on the Costa Blanca, you can find real estate agents that offer incredible homes, villas and apartments at very low prices. Many of the properties come fully furnished and have all the amenities one could wish for, such as a swimming pool, air condition or a sun-roof. The properties in Spain are offered at a fraction of the cost what an equal home would cost back in the UK.

Many people from the UK purchase affordable apartments that will become their holiday home whenever they want to go on vacation. They spend most of the year back in the UK and then visit Spain for a week or two over the holidays.

The advantages are obvious: Instead of paying for costly stays and hotels, a nice apartment will wait for you in sunny Spain! Not only will you have nice real estate for holidays in a beautiful southern country: Who knows, at some time you might want to retire and Spain might be just the right place for it!

Another option is if you buy a home or apartment in Spain cheap and then rent it out to other holidaymakers. This can be quite lucrative if you get a good deal on a place such as on the beautiful Costas in Spain. While you will own a nice place in a great country, you will in addition have a good income each month from your rental fees. The agencies will normally take care of everything, like finding tenants and collecting the rent. The real estate agencies usually offer maintenance services as well, this means they will look after your property when you’re back home and you don’t have to worry about anything.

Many real estate agents that offer holiday homes and other property in Spain are originally from the UK, so language will rarely be an issue. Chances are you will find a real estate agent that can advise you with all questions you might have. If you indeed plan to relocate and retire in Spain (a good idea, by the way!) the agents often can give you helpful advice in regards to all the formalities and paperwork required. Owning a property in Spain will be a fantastic option if you are tired of the stress and the poor, rainy weather back home!

Danielle is a real estate expert and has extensive knowledge in how people can find homes using estate agents Glasgow. She enjoys helping people find their dream home!

Top Things to Arrange Before Emigrating

So you’ve decided to take the big step of moving abroad, you’ve managed to find a new job in your chosen country if necessary and you’ve informed your nearest and dearest of your plans. But what do you need to do next?

Preparing to emigrate can seem like a daunting prospect, but you needn’t let practical considerations spoil the excitement associated with a great new adventure like moving overseas. Just put together a checklist of the tasks you need to complete before you go and make sure you tick them all off before getting on the plane.

Here are some of the most important things to get sorted:

Your property

It might be stating the obvious, but deciding what to do with your current property and finding somewhere to live in your new country needs some careful consideration. You might want to sell your house if the move is going to be permanent, but if you plan to return in a few years then renting it out could be the better option.

Of course, you’ll also need to find somewhere to live in the new country, so make sure you devote plenty of time to this too. Speak to local real estate agents to find out what’s available, and thoroughly research your chosen area on the internet so you know what to expect.

When it comes to buying a place overseas, seeking the advice of a currency exchange specialist for sending payments to another country is often a wise move.

Your money

Think about how you’re going to manage your finances when you’re living in a new country. Opening an international bank account is advisable, as you’ll probably need to conduct transactions in different currencies.

You also need to consider your existing savings and investments. Would you benefit most from changing a sizeable chunk of your money into the new currency, or keeping it in sterling?

Having to sort out unpaid bills and cancel direct debits once you’ve moved will be a major headache, so make sure you bring your council tax, utility charges and any other payments up to date before you go. Also, don’t forget to cancel any redundant direct debits and standing orders with your bank.

Your documents

It’s a good idea to get all your important personal documents together well in advance of your moving date, as you never know when certain information will be needed. Compile paperwork such as employment references, driving licences and other key documents, and ask your doctor and dentist for copies of your files.

Schools

If you’re taking your children with you, then you need to make sure their education does not suffer as a result of the move. Do your research on local schools and make sure you register your children in plenty of time.

Remember that education systems vary significantly from country to country and there may be some aspects you’re not familiar with, so it’s worth taking the time to find out as much as you can.

Pets

Your pets may need health documentation if they’re making the move with you, so do your research and find out what the entry requirements are. Some countries may insist that your animals are quarantined for a period and others will require them to have inoculations.

How British Expatriates Can Make Money Online

Due to an unfortunately limited amount of opportunities in the United Kingdom, many Brits have opted to relocate abroad. A greater amount of jobs on offer in a variety of different fields have led many to view working abroad as a great opportunity to start or sustain a career. However, not everybody working abroad is paid healthily. There are many expatriates who find themselves on lower wages. The solution for these Brits is the internet. Here are a few ways expatriates can make money online.

Content Writing

The internet is a machine that runs on content. From blogs on technology products to articles on football, the internet feeds off writers. While much of the written content online is non-paid and done purely for the love of writing, there are plenty of paid writing opportunities online if you know where to look.

Due to the art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google ranks websites higher due to the amount of quality written content affiliated with the company and the keywords used in the content (amongst other metrics). Therefore, there are a range of companies seeking writers to produce content related to their businesses.

Scour the web for content writing jobs and search employment websites such as Reed for content writing opportunities.

There is also a range of writing opportunities through writing product reviews. ConsumerSearch.com for example pays freelance writers a minimum of $350 per article for reviewing a product. However, you will need good writing skills and thorough researching capabilities.

You will also find more opportunities if you learn how to write in another language. Learning how to write in widely used languages such as Spanish, Arabic or French for example opens up a plethora of additional opportunities. .

Advertising

If you have your own website you’ll probably be aware that by generating a half decent amount of traffic, you could earn quite a few quid. Simply conjure up a traffic generating website and monetize your site (monétisez votre site) by placing other business’s advertisements onto it.

Music

Being a musician may seem like a farfetched pipe dream, but the internet is filled with success stories of music artists who either started off generating a fan base online or actually purely sold records online without the help of a record label.

If you’re a decent music artist, try posting your music unto different indie blogs throughout the web, as well as social media networks such as Twitter and YouTube. Songs can be sold on iTunes, Google Music, AmazonMP3, Spotify and a host of other websites and platforms.

One drawback is that you might actually need to be pretty good or get very lucky.

Stuart Daniels is a British freelance writer and SEO.

Five Things to Consider When Retiring to Spain

1. Don’t Forget the Traveling Family (and Friends)

You may be leaving your country behind, but no matter what distance you go you will not be able to leave behind the memories of your friends and families. The older one gets, the more they appreciate the loved ones in their lives. When choosing a Spanish house to retire in, consider what its location and amenities offer to visiting relatives. Living near an airport will make it easier on your future guests to book trips to come visit you. Does your new town offer eventful things for the younger people in your life to enjoy like museums and swimming pools, or are there nearby natural landscapes to enjoy like the beaches?

2. Know the Annual Climate Changes

Spain has the complete gambit of seasons. While the country is particularly renowned for its warm and temperate summers along its Mediterranean coastline, some regions of Spain can reach uncomfortably hot and humid summer temperatures. Consider different regions of Spain before retiring; the southeast contains more semi-arid areas while the interior can get very cold in the winter. No matter where you end up in Spain, you will likely want to be sure your home has both an air conditioner and heater installed in the main living room and the main bedroom. You won’t be using either all year, but you will find them a boon to have in the peak summer and winter months which exhibit extreme temperatures in both directions.

3. Know the Medical System Inside and Out

While Spain’s public health care system is quite good, as a UK retiree, obtaining health insurance can be a wise option, particularly if you are at all unsure of your ability to become a beneficiary of Spain’s health care. Health insurance will grant you access to the private health sector where the quality and time access to direct health care is better. For those who do not speak Spanish fluently, one is more apt to be able to find English-dominate facilities in the private sector. Your health, if it has not already, will become your number one concern in your retiree years, and as such it is important for you to feel confident in your health care access.

4. Finding Community

For the expat retiring in Spain, this may be the last home you will ever want to buy. Be sure to locate to a place that has more to offer than charms; find yourself a community. In retirement, you will find you suddenly have a ton of time to yourself. Locating a home within an area with a high concentration of English-speaking expats is a great way to easily find yourself in a supportive and interesting group of neighbours. Ask your realtor about local clubs or meet-up groups in prospective neighbourhoods who offer organized outings like day trips or bridge nights.

5. Learn the Language

Before retiring to Spain, or any country for that matter, it is very important to consider first learning the language. From visiting the local food market to talking to your neighbour about the weather, being able to communicate with the people around you will become increasingly important. You will not want to simply stay locked behind your front door for fear of non-comprehension. Your retiring years are not your dead years. Get out and learn the language and enjoy the local culture.

About author

Will Vicary writes about expat life, life after retirement and topics such as de-risking and auto enrolment pensions.

Why Spain Offers the Ideal Golfing Environment

Every weekend, thousands of British golfers head to their local club in order to renew their regular battle against the course, the conditions, their friends and of course themselves. Anyone who has played golf on a regular basis will know all about the frustrations that this wonderful game can bring, but they will also acknowledge the addictiveness that it holds, a fact that is usually enough to bring them back every seven days or so.

If you ask most UK players about their experiences, the chances are the inclement and unpredictable weather conditions will feature prominently in many of their stories. For many, there’s nothing more unpleasant than being out on the course in the middle of a sudden downpour of heavy rain, especially when it’s accompanied by a mad scramble to find their waterproofs at the bottom of their bags.

This is one of the reasons why golf in Spain has become so popular among the expatriate community, as well as travelling Brits who are on the lookout for the finest golfing holiday locations. In most areas of Spain, the weather is kind enough all year round to make that regular Sunday four-ball a constant pleasure. Playing with the sun on your back week in week out is almost unimaginable for UK-based players.

In recent decades, the Spanish golfing scene has changed beyond all recognition, undoubtedly spurred on by the international success of players such as Sergio Garcia, José María Olazábal and of course the finest and most enigmatic of them all, the late great Severiano Ballesteros. The country is now rightly regarded as a major player in world golf, and it has the venues to prove it.

Power or placement?

For newcomers to Spanish courses, there are several immediately noticeable differences from the more traditional British venues. For example, most UK courses, especially the parkland and heathland varieties, generally feature tight, narrow fairways, but a sizable number of Spanish tracks tend to be more open. However, this doesn’t therefore mean they are any easier.

Standing on the tee-box, especially an elevated one, a new visitor could be forgiven for thinking all he or she has to do is open the shoulders and go for glory. On many courses in Spain, the inclusion of strategically-placed bunkers, ditches and water hazards means that accuracy is just as important, perhaps even more so, than power. As always, a little care can go a long way towards registering a good score.

And once you’ve managed to get your ball onto the putting surface, you should avoid any thoughts that you’ve already done the hard part. Thanks to hard ground and a baking sun, the greens are generally very firm and exceptionally quick. Many first-time visitors find their putts fly past the hole during the early part of their rounds, as they become accustomed to the pace. You have been warned!

David Rice is a UK golfer who always enjoys playing on continental Europe. He works for comparecarhire.co.uk.

Things You Need To Know When Emigrating

Perhaps it is a new job opportunity or you simply need a change, immigrating to a new country is literally a life changing time for you and your family. During the process of moving your mind is on a million things and there are more lists that you have minutes in the day. So how do you make the move while staying sane and ensuring you cover all your basis?

Number One – Check Your Passports

The first thing you need to organise is your passports, if you have children you need to decide on whose passport they will travel under. Remember you need to plan ahead, the home affairs department gives you a guideline on the time frame it will take to get your passports, but there is no certainty in it.

Therefore, apply for your vista a minimum of six months ahead of time, that way you ensure that you passports will arrive on time and there will be no additional stress and drama placed on your family.

Number Two – A Place To Stay

Once you have made the decision to move and have got your passport application process under way, it is time to focus on living accommodation, you do not want to find yourself in the process of having to find accommodation when you arrive in the new country.

Another thing you need to take into consideration is the season in which you move. For instance, it is an easier process to move during the summer months as you do not need to contend with the rain, wind and snow when unpacking – there is nothing worse than having to sleep on damp mattresses or couches.

Number Three – Your Children

Moving effects your children more than you think, you need to reassure them during the moving process and ensure that they have a school to attend early on so that they do not miss out on important school work. Remember your child will be leaving their friends and everything that keeps them feeling secure. Setup a Skype or email account that your child can contact their friends from, this will help ease their stress levels and ensure they do not feel completely isolated.

Number Four – The Lingo and The Rules

A big hurdle in moving is the language barrier. Ensure that you read up on the lingo of the new country. Another thing you need to take into consideration is the rules and regulations of the country that you are emigrating to. For instance, is there a dress code men and women need to adhere to.

To conclude, use these four steps to ensure that you make the transition into your new life an easy one. Moving is an exciting time and should be treated as such, ensure that you plan ahead and minimize the stress of the move.


 

I am Greg Jones, a water delivery agent for a bottled water delivery company. In my line of work I often see people moving into new homes and over the years I have heard about the stresses of moving. This article is my way of helping those moving during this time with a four step plan to make the move a little easier.

5 Top Tips for Packing up and Moving Abroad

Moving abroad is different from simply moving home. There are extra levels of stress and preparation that comes into the count. However, by following some easy tips you can significantly reduce the stress levels of the move.

1.   Make a plan

The very first thing to do is to create a plan. Think about where you are moving to. What kind of country is it? What will you need when you are there? How long are you planning to move for, or is this for good? Is your passport up-to-date? Will you need additional documentation to live or work there? All these elements must be considered well in advance of your move so that you have enough time to apply for documentation that might be necessary as well as making other arrangements, including the regular moving elements such as cancelling phones, gym memberships, saying good bye to family and friends and setting up bank accounts in the new country. The last thing on this list is important to consider. When moving, it is normal to spend quite a bit of extra money while getting settled. If you cannot arrange for a bank account in your new country until you have a registered address, you might want to make special arrangements with your current bank to avoid expensive overdrafts or charges for using your card abroad.

2.   Decide on what to bring and what to leave

The difficult part of moving abroad is that you might have to leave a lot of your belongings. It is important to be critical as to what you will need once moved. If you are moving to a country where the weather is warmer all year around you can significantly reduce your moving load by selling or placing winter items in storage. By sorting these things into two separate piles ‘keep’ and ‘sell/store’ before you go out to buy your moving supplies you avoid spending money on boxes you will not need and too many meters of bubble wrap.

3.   Get supplies

Moving abroad often means that you are covering a larger travel distance on your moving day than a regular move. Therefore your boxes should be stronger, your items should be wrapped in more tissue or bubble wrap and your electronics are put at more risk of breaking. It is therefore very important that you get the right supplies before you move. A moving company can often help you with finding the best supplies for your items, and some will even go out and acquire it for you.

4.   Medicines

It can be easy to forget that you are packing for a move, and just pack the regular supplies that you bring for a holiday. Book an appointment with your doctor. This will help you make sure that you have all your prescriptions, and the doctor can often advice on what you should bring with you and what will be available where you are moving to. Ask your doctor to write a letter about any existing medical condition and health that you can take with you to your new doctor. This will help pass on medical information that might not be in your records.

5.   Bring a piece of home

When moving abroad you will experience homesickness at some point. It happens to everyone, no matter how nice your new home and life is. At these times it is nice to have a piece of home with you. This can be something edible, something you like to wear that represents your home country or perhaps photographs or music.  Having these things with you can make your new house or apartment a home away from home, and you will not feel as far away from your family and friends.

Ingunn is a Norwegian living in the UK and has experience with moving homes as well as moving abroad both on her own and with the help of removal companies.

Make English Work for You

When the travel bug bites it tends to bite hard. Unfortunately, travelling the world, or even small sections of it, is quite expensive. Even if you come from a country with a strong currency, it’s difficult to stretch your savings to several months of pure adventure. This gave rise to the working holiday, where youngsters (and the not so young) take short-term semi-menial jobs so that they can save up for the next leg of their trip. But rather than slaving over restaurant dishes, sweating in construction sites and smiling grimly at restaurant patrons, many people opt to take up teaching; specifically TEFL) Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  Teaching English Courses  English is increasingly recognised as the global business language, which means that countries in which English is not the first language are clamouring for English teachers. In some cases, they aren’t too picky about the qualifications of these teachers, in which case you can get away with a relatively basic TEFL course. But as more TEFL teachers enter the market, countries have become pickier and some now only consider people who have more formal qualifications, such as CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  CELTA courses are more in-depth than TEFL courses, although they cover similar topics. They are also more tightly regulated, as only Cambridge University registered and accredited course providers may teach CELTA courses. As an added advantage, CELTA courses have international recognition.  A basic outline of CELTA and TEFL courses includes:      Language skills     Teaching skills     Lesson planning     Setting tests     Creating learning materials     Navigating learning environments  Where Can I teach?  The answer is pretty much anywhere.  The most popular destinations for TEFL teachers include Korea, China, Czech Republic, Italy and Brazil (Kelly Lalonde, matadornetwork.com).  But you can also ply your trade in Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Italy, Chile, Malaysia and Cyprus. Benefits of Teaching Abroad  The most obvious is the flexibility to travel. You don’t have to stay in one job for a particularly lengthy period of time – it depends on the contract. If you are bound to one country for six months to a year, you get to experience the culture on a much deeper and more personal level. After all, you need at least a year to see all that Thailand has to offer.  You grow as a person as you experience new cultures. Your mind broadens, your perception of people widens, you gain greater appreciation for all walks of life, you make lots of friends, you learn new languages and you learn skills that will stand you in good stead no matter what you decide to do with your life. Skills like patience, tolerance, resilience, determination and self-confidence. You also learn self-reliance as you usually don’t have anyone else to help you solve your problems. There Are Some Disadvantages      You won’t earn as much as a fully qualified teacher.     Depending on the country and on the school, you might have to teach on weekends – Saturdays at least.     Loneliness is always going to be a factor. You’ll eventually get over missing your family and friends back home, but if you move around a lot you’ll have to get over missing all the friends you make in each community that you’ve lived in.  How Do I Get Teaching Jobs?  You can just arrive in a country and search the classifieds or look online. But there is always the danger than you’ll end up in a dodgy school that exploits inexperienced foreign teachers.  It’s usually best to use an agency, at least for your first couple of jobs. Agencies will help you with things like work visas, accommodation and contracts. But, you need to choose your agency carefully, because there are also those out there looking to fleece inexperienced travellers.  Many people find that they enjoy teaching English so much that they make it a lifelong career, completely indulging their travel bug and, occasionally, applying their skills at home.  Photo credit  This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Now Learning, an education portal in Australia that promotes online education courses, including English for Specific Purposes (TESOL) and diplomas for teachers’ aides.When the travel bug bites it tends to bite hard. Unfortunately, travelling the world, or even small sections of it, is quite expensive. Even if you come from a country with a strong currency, it’s difficult to stretch your savings to several months of pure adventure. This gave rise to the working holiday, where youngsters (and the not so young) take short-term semi-menial jobs so that they can save up for the next leg of their trip. But rather than slaving over restaurant dishes, sweating in construction sites and smiling grimly at restaurant patrons, many people opt to take up teaching; specifically TEFL) Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Teaching English Courses

English is increasingly recognised as the global business language, which means that countries in which English is not the first language are clamouring for English teachers. In some cases, they aren’t too picky about the qualifications of these teachers, in which case you can get away with a relatively basic TEFL course. But as more TEFL teachers enter the market, countries have become pickier and some now only consider people who have more formal qualifications, such as CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

CELTA courses are more in-depth than TEFL courses, although they cover similar topics. They are also more tightly regulated, as only Cambridge University registered and accredited course providers may teach CELTA courses. As an added advantage, CELTA courses have international recognition.

A basic outline of CELTA and TEFL courses includes:

  • Language skills
  • Teaching skills
  • Lesson planning
  • Setting tests
  • Creating learning materials
  • Navigating learning environments

Where Can I teach?

The answer is pretty much anywhere.

The most popular destinations for TEFL teachers include Korea, China, Czech Republic, Italy and Brazil (Kelly Lalonde, matadornetwork.com).

But you can also ply your trade in Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Italy, Chile, Malaysia and Cyprus.

Benefits of Teaching Abroad

The most obvious is the flexibility to travel. You don’t have to stay in one job for a particularly lengthy period of time – it depends on the contract. If you are bound to one country for six months to a year, you get to experience the culture on a much deeper and more personal level. After all, you need at least a year to see all that Thailand has to offer.

You grow as a person as you experience new cultures. Your mind broadens, your perception of people widens, you gain greater appreciation for all walks of life, you make lots of friends, you learn new languages and you learn skills that will stand you in good stead no matter what you decide to do with your life. Skills like patience, tolerance, resilience, determination and self-confidence. You also learn self-reliance as you usually don’t have anyone else to help you solve your problems.

There Are Some Disadvantages

  • You won’t earn as much as a fully qualified teacher.
  • Depending on the country and on the school, you might have to teach on weekends – Saturdays at least.
  • Loneliness is always going to be a factor. You’ll eventually get over missing your family and friends back home, but if you move around a lot you’ll have to get over missing all the friends you make in each community that you’ve lived in.

How Do I Get Teaching Jobs?

You can just arrive in a country and search the classifieds or look online. But there is always the danger than you’ll end up in a dodgy school that exploits inexperienced foreign teachers.

It’s usually best to use an agency, at least for your first couple of jobs. Agencies will help you with things like work visas, accommodation and contracts. But, you need to choose your agency carefully, because there are also those out there looking to fleece inexperienced travellers.

Many people find that they enjoy teaching English so much that they make it a lifelong career, completely indulging their travel bug and, occasionally, applying their skills at home.

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Now Learning, an education portal in Australia that promotes online education courses, including English for Specific Purposes (TESOL) and diplomas for teachers’ aides.