We have collected a number of Frequently Asked Questions from our graduates and answered them in this section. This FAQ section addresses questions relevant to teaching English abroad, and offers information about our TESOL/TESL Certification Course. Please email us with any questions not covered in this FAQ section at info@oxfordseminars.ca.

Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL Certification Course
Choosing Your Certification Course
Preparing to Go
Health Considerations Before Going Abroad
Locating Employment Abroad
Global ESL Schools Directory
Negotiating a Contract
What to Expect from Your School
Travelling with Companions
Organizing Finances
Life Abroad
Specializing Your Certification

Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL Certification Course
Choosing Your Certification Course
Preparing to Go
Health Considerations Before Going Abroad
Locating Employment Abroad
Global ESL Schools Directory
Negotiating a Contract
What to Expect from Your School
Travelling with Companions
Organizing Finances
Life Abroad
Specializing Your Certification

Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL Certification Course

1. What is covered in your TESOL/TESL Certification Course?

  • During the course, you will be exposed to a variety of concepts which include: interactive language teaching, principles of second language acquisition, multiple intelligence theory, classroom management techniques, detailed lesson planning, long-term unit planning, how to teach oral communication skills, listening and comprehension strategies, creative ways to incorporate English grammar in a classroom setting, teaching across age and proficiency levels, teaching in a multicultural setting, testing and evaluating ESL students, and making effective use of ESL teaching materials and resources.
  • This course will give you the practical techniques and the confidence to excel in teaching English as a second language abroad.
  • For a more detailed description, visit our course outline.

2. How much does your TESOL/TESL Certification Course cost?

  • Our course is competitively priced at $995. We offer various price discounts, including:
    • An Early Registration Discount - Save $100 if you register for a course and pay in full 28 days prior to the course start date.
    • A Friend Discount - If you register with a friend, you will each save $50 off the course tuition.
    • An Information Session Discount - Save $50 if you attend one of our free information sessions, and register and pay in full.
  • To reserve a spot in an upcoming course, a $95 deposit is required.

3. What happens if I cannot attend all six days?

  • Successful completion of each course is based on classroom attendance, understanding the course material, classroom participation, course assignments, the in-class practicum, and completion of the online component.
  • Due to the amount of information covered each day of the course, attending all classes is extremely important and a leave-of-absence is not possible.

4. Can I change my course registration if my schedule changes?

  • If you are not able to attend the course in which you are registered, you can switch to another course prior to the first day of the class, as long as there is room in the desired course.

5. Can I cancel my course registration?

  • Yes, you can cancel your registration completely. The $95 deposit will be retained for any registrations cancelled in the two-week period before the course start date.

6. How is your TESOL/TESL Certification Course different?

  • Convenient Course Locations
    Oxford Seminars is the only TESOL/TESL course provider offering certification courses in over 30 cities across Canada, from St. John's to Victoria and many more in between. For the latest course dates, check out our Course Locations and Dates page.
  • Comprehensive Course Curriculum
    From ESL warm-up games and classroom management techniques to second language acquisition and teaching English grammar, our comprehensive course curriculum covers a wide range of teaching skills.
  • Limited Class Size
    The small class size provides a comfortable setting with ample opportunity for you to interact with and learn the most from our highly qualified instructors.
  • Experienced Course Instructors
    Our highly qualified and experienced course instructors cover a comprehensive range of teaching skills ensuring our graduates are well-trained, marketable ESL teachers.
  • Extensive Course Materials
    As part of the extensive course materials included, you will receive a comprehensive teaching textbook by Jeremy Harmer, our industry-leading 490-page training manual, and the practical Grammar Sense 2 textbook.
  • Unparalleled Graduate Placement Service
    Our Graduate Placement Service provides assistance with finding the most rewarding teaching jobs at ESL schools around the world.
  • Exclusive Money-Back Guarantee
    Our goal is to help you find an excellent ESL teaching job abroad and we back this up with our exclusive Money-Back Guarantee.
  • 22+ Years of Industry Experience
    Established in 1992, Oxford Seminars is the leading provider of teacher training certification courses all across Canada and the US.  Join the 5,000 graduates who get TESOL/TESL certified with Oxford Seminars each year and begin your exciting adventure teaching English abroad.

7. Can I pay for my class in installments?

  • Yes, a $95 deposit is required to hold your seat in the course.
  • Full payment is required before the class starts. You are able to pay in installments up until this point as long as the balance is paid in full the day the course starts.

8. When do I have to pay the full amount?

  • The full payment for the course is required the day the class starts.

9. When will I find out the location of my course?

  • The location of the course is available approximately two weeks before the start of the course. You will receive location details by mail or email.

10. Is there a final exam at the end of the course?

  • On the final day of the in-class component, students are responsible for a practicum. In addition, the online component finishes with a 100-question multiple-choice assignment.

11. When will I receive my certificate?

  • Once you have completed both the 60-hour in-class component and the 40-hour online component of the course, you will receive your certificate.

12. Can I teach in Canada with my certificate?

  • Our internationally recognized TESOL/TESL Certification Course is specifically designed to train teachers for ESL placements abroad. It is important to recognize that a Bachelor of Education is required to teach within most school boards in Canada and that many provinces have specific requirements that involve in-depth training that is "on par" with an education degree.
  • Private ESL schools in Canada assess certification along with experience when considering candidates.
  • The best way for you to find out if you are qualified to teach in Canada is to research the qualifications of the province where you wish to teach to see if you meet those requirements. If you have a particular school that you are interested in, you should inquire at that school regarding their qualifications.
  • For Canadian ESL school contact information, including school websites, email addresses, and phone numbers, visit the "Canada" section of the Global ESL Schools Directory.

Choosing Your Certification Course

13. How do I choose which certification course to take?

  • Not all advertised TESOL/TESL courses are of the same caliber and quality. Since teaching ESL is done in a very interactive environment whereby you are constantly engaging and interacting with your students, the vast majority of online and correspondence courses are not able to properly prepare you for that classroom experience. Moreover, many courses are taught by inexperienced and often uncertified teachers and the materials you are provided with mostly comprise of a binder with poorly photocopied exercises and a few lesson plans.
  • Why Choose Oxford Seminars
    • Extensive Course Materials
      As part of the extensive course materials included, you will receive a comprehensive teaching textbook by Jeremy Harmer, our industry-leading 490-page training manual, and the practical Grammar Sense 2 textbook.
    • Experienced Course Instructors
      Our highly qualified and experienced course instructors cover a comprehensive range of teaching skills ensuring our graduates are well-trained, marketable ESL teachers.
    • Comprehensive Course Curriculum
      From ESL warm-up games and classroom management techniques to second language acquisition and teaching English grammar, our comprehensive course curriculum covers a wide range of teaching skills.
    • Limited Class Size
      The small class size provides a comfortable setting with ample opportunity for you to interact with and learn the most from our highly qualified instructors.
    • 22+ Years of Industry Experience
      Established in 1992, Oxford Seminars is the leading provider of teacher training certification courses all across Canada and the US.  Join the 5,000 graduates who get TESOL/TESL certified with Oxford Seminars each year and begin your exciting adventure teaching English abroad.

14. What qualifications do I need to take this course?

  • The Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL course is open to anyone who is:
    • 18 years of age or older;
    • a native speaker of English, or a non-native speaker with fluent English abilities;
    • open-minded about living and working in a new environment.

15. Will this TESOL/TESL course help me to find a full-time job?

  • Oxford Seminars' TESOL/TESL/TEFL Certificate demonstrates to employers that you are familiar with both the theoretical approaches as well as the practical techniques required to be a successful ESL teacher. We back this up with our exclusive Money-Back Guarantee.
  • Throughout the course, Oxford Seminars' instructors provide useful approaches to all stages of the job search process. If students require further assistance, they can fully utilize our exclusive Graduate Placement Service. As long as you are open-minded about where you want to teach, Graduate Placement will be able to assist you in finding a job placement in another country.
  • Having overseas teaching experience is a unique asset that differentiates many of our graduates and gives them a competitive advantage when applying for other jobs upon their return to Canada. Graduates who are planning to continue in the education field find that their overseas teaching experience becomes a valuable asset when applying to teachers college.
  • Furthermore, younger graduates without extensive prior work experience discover that their overseas teaching employment becomes invaluable in opening doors to job opportunities and career choices in Canada that were previously unattainable.

16. How do I register for the course?

17. What do you mean by "Internationally Recognized" TESOL/TESL certificate?

  • Regardless of your educational background, initial exposure to the professional field of TESOL/TESL is essential to give you the confidence needed to succeed in academic ESL fields.
  • Currently, there are no international standards for TESOL/TESL qualifications as there is no international governing body for TESOL/TESL Training Programs. Courses vary in content and contact hours in the classroom, with some (mostly online courses) having no “in-class” exposure.
  • Certification is the formal recognition given to participants who have completed studies in training programs focusing on TESOL/TESL, applied linguistics, studies in second language acquisition, English for Specific Purposes (ESP), ESL literacy, and English for Academic Purposes (EAP). All legitimate employers require teachers to be trained and certified. Thus, if you want a good job in the more competitive markets, you should take a TESOL/TESL certificate training course. A recognized certificate is essential in the highly popular teaching locations.
  • Oxford Seminars' TESOL/TESL Certification Course is held all across Canada and the US. Our graduates have successfully found placement since 1992. Employers in overseas schools have become familiar with Oxford Seminars' high caliber teachers and often contact us looking for qualified ESL instructors. Employers have confidence that our graduates have received practical, engaging, and authentic contemporary TESOL/TESL training that has effectively prepared them for overseas ESL teaching positions.
  • Oxford Seminars' TESOL/TESL Certification Course is detailed, comprehensive, up-to-date, and effective. Our highly skilled Job Search Advisors offer years of field experience to enable graduates of our course to be placed in one of the thousands of teaching positions in various locales around the world!

18. How can I get support when using PayPal to register for a course?

  • In order to make our online registration process more convenient we allow our students to register with their PayPal account.
  • Information concerning PayPal issues can be found at https://www.paypal.com/. PayPal's website offers instant message and email support. Students can also call PayPal at 1-402-935-2050 (Monday through Friday 4:00 am PST to 10:00 pm PST and Saturday and Sunday 6:00 am PST to 8:00 pm PST).

Preparing to Go

19. What should I bring?

  • Clothing
    • Weather/Culturally appropriate clothing.
    • Conservative teaching attire.
  • Documents
    • Passport
    • Appropriate visa
    • Your original degree (if applicable)
    • A copy of your transcript
    • Health insurance
    • Passport sized photos
  • Money
    • Bring enough money to support yourself for at least one month. Depending on the pay period of your school it might be up to six weeks before you receive your first pay cheque.
    • Some schools will offer you a start-up stipend; others will offer you a loan. If funds are a factor in your travel, you should discuss these with your Job Search Advisor who can recommend countries that may best meet this need.
    • Try to bring funds in the currency of the country to which you are travelling; however, depending on where you are going, it might be difficult to obtain prior to your departure. If this is the case, most international airports will have a currency exchange kiosk.
    • Traveller’s cheques can be cashed at most international banks and foreign exchange kiosks; however, the bank may charge you a user fee.
    • ATMs are available in most large cities, and they give you funds in local currency. However, the fees can be high and they might not give you the best exchange rate.
    • Credit cards are a better option. They often do not charge international user fees, and have fair exchange rates.
    • Before heading abroad you should speak to a representative of your bank to ensure that your cards are internationally recognized and to find out exactly what the user fees will be on your debit and credit card.
    • Finally, you should set up Internet banking before you leave. This way you will be able to easily monitor your accounts while abroad, and pay any outstanding bills.
  • A Guide Book
    • A good guide book will have embassy locations, maps of larger cities, clearly marked subway routes, addresses for restaurants, affordable accommodations, and expatriate hotspots.
  • A Phrase Book
    • If you do not speak the language of your teaching destination, you may want to consider bringing a phrase book. A good phrase book will be organized in a logical manner and have a pronunciation key.
  • Prescription Medications
    • If you are on long-term prescription drugs, such as asthma medication, consult your doctor before leaving.

20. What are the restrictions and guidelines for admissible items on airplanes?

  • As security restrictions vary from country to country, and are subject to change, it would be prudent to confirm policies before travelling.
  • Please remember that even if you are just transferring within a country, you must pass through their customs and are, therefore, subject to restrictions in their country.
  • For up-to-date information about Canadian security measures, refer to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

21. Is there anything that I should not bring into my destination country?

  • Obviously you should not bring anything illegal. In addition to this you have to be aware that each country has its own restrictions, especially on items such as fresh fruit, alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription drugs. Check with the embassy/consulate of your destination country before leaving.

22. Where is my Embassy?

23. How much luggage can I bring?

  • In general, you can bring two suitcases and a carry-on. Your suitcases will need to be under a certain weight. It is important to keep this in mind because if your luggage is over the allotted weight, you will have to pay an overweight fee. Check with your airline for luggage policies.

24. What is culture shock?

  • Culture shock is a physical and emotional response to the change of situation, culture, and climate that you may undergo while travelling and upon arrival in your new country of residence.
  • Culture shock has four basic stages: the initial excitement and elation of travelling and starting a new career; the inevitable let down which can involve feelings ranging from irritability and homesickness to preoccupations with health and insomnia; an adjustment to the host culture; and finally acceptance and even biculturalism.
  • However, you should be aware that individuals deal with each stage differently, and these stages can come and go throughout your entire trip.

25. Travel Warnings

  • The international situation is constantly changing. For your own safety, we recommend that you keep an eye on the news of the country in which you are interested.
  • For the most updated travel information, check www.voyage.gc.ca. You can sign up to have updated warnings emailed directly to you.

26. Can I avoid culture shock?

  • Culture shock is not something you can necessarily avoid, but it is something that you can work through. Each individual experiences culture shock in a different way, so the approaches to dealing with it can vary. Here are some ideas:
    • Before travelling, educate yourself about the culture and customs of the area to which you are moving. For country specific information please review our Country Information Section.
    • Once you are in your new country, try to meet people. A great way to do this is by signing up for a language course, or by joining a team, a club, or a gym. Building a social group abroad can be integral to your success.
    • Get to know the area in which you are living by learning where the grocery store is, finding a place that serves western meals, etc.
    • Travel around the area on weekends. Try the local food, and get to know the local people outside of your classroom.
    • Keep a journal of the new and interesting things that you experience each day.
    • Remember to keep a positive attitude, an open mind, and do not forget to bring your sense of humour.
  • In the end, dealing with culture shock is the same as dealing with any other big change in your life: it really depends on you.

Health Considerations Before Going Abroad

27. Will I need to have a medical to get my work visa?

  • There will most likely be a medical required. This will usually entail:
    • Blood tests for STDs, Hepatitis A, B and C, Tuberculosis, etc.
    • A routine medical – eyes, ears, lungs, heart
    • Urine tests for pregnancy, STDs, infections, etc.
  • Visit Visa and Travel Documentation for more information

28. Why is a medical required and what happens if I fail?

  • A medical is required by law in most countries in order to obtain a working visa for several reasons.
    • The first is for the safety of the population. SARS, the Bird Flu, the H1N1 Virus, and the West Nile Virus have brought the reality of global epidemics home.
    • The second is because you will most likely be provided with medical insurance, so they simply want to be certain that you are healthy. They do not want you leaving a week after you arrive due to medical problems.
  • The consequences of failing a medical depend on where you are and why you fail. If your sickness is curable you will probably be allowed to take medication at your own cost, and then retake the medical.
  • If you have a more serious illness you may not be granted a working visa.

29. What are the difficulties when travelling with prescription medication?

  • The laws on prescription medication change from country to country.
  • When travelling with prescription medications please follow the steps below:
    • Ensure that the medication is legal in your destination country. Do this by checking with your local consulate or embassy.
      • Find out how much medication you are able to take with you.
      • Bring enough of the prescription to cover your needs for at least two months.
      • If your contract includes medical coverage, find out if medication and check-ups for pre-existing conditions are covered.
    • Research the country to ensure that they have modern medical facilities. In most metropolitan areas you will be able to find an English speaking doctor. Contact other foreigners in the area to ask them about the facilities.
    • Get as much information as you can about your medication. In some countries you might find medication with the same name but a different function. Be prepared to explain to your doctor exactly what you need. Research this carefully before you leave.
  • For information about travelling with prescriptions, please refer to www.voyage.gc.ca

Locating Employment Abroad

30. How does Oxford Seminars' Graduate Placement Service work?

  • The Oxford Seminars' Graduate Placement Service provides free job search assistance anytime after you have completed the course.
  • We have developed and maintained partnerships with reputable organizations and schools abroad to provide our graduates with access to employment opportunities worldwide.
  • You will receive an email detailing how to initiate your service. The Graduate Placement Service helps our graduates in the following ways:
    • Connecting them with reputable schools and recruiters abroad
    • Providing tips on negotiating contracts, and how to recognize a great contract offer
    • Assisting graduates in creating an ESL specific resume and cover letter
    • Providing valuable job market information
    • Informing graduates about important steps to take before going abroad
  • The key to a successful placement is knowing what is best for you based on your personal interests, finances, education, travel expenses, and of course, the job market. This means you should determine your needs and conduct some preliminary research to ensure that your education and experience is relevant to the market in which you wish to teach.

31. What does the Oxford Seminars Graduate Placement Service include?

  • The Oxford Seminars Graduate Placement Service helps graduates in the following ways:
    • Assisting graduates in creating an ESL specific resume and cover letter
    • Providing graduates with valuable job market information
    • Informing graduates about important steps to take before going abroad
    • Providing tips on negotiating contracts, and how to recognize a great contract offer
    • Connecting graduates with reputable schools and recruiters abroad

32. How specific can my location choice be?

  • While your Job Search Advisor will do all possible to assist you in finding a teaching position in your ideal location of choice, it is important to be open to opportunities based on the ESL market, your qualifications, and your background. The more open and flexible you are about where you would like to teach, the more likely you will find a position.

33. In which countries does the Graduate Placement Service have contacts?

  • We have many contacts around the world. We have helped our graduates find jobs teaching English in dozens of countries around the world such as Korea, China, Japan, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Brazil, and many other countries.

34. I want to teach in the European Union (EU). Do I need an EU passport?

  • In order to work legally within the European Union, as in any country, you will need a work visa, unless you possess a valid EU passport.
  • It is possible to get a working visa in the EU without an EU passport; however, the process is difficult and expensive for the schools. Few schools are willing to go through this process and many are not comfortable with hiring teachers who are applying from overseas. Some EU countries will hire ESL teachers without EU passports; however, you will likely be working “under the table”; illegally, on a tourist visa.
  • It is worthwhile to see if you are eligible to obtain a Working Holiday Visa. Please consult your nearest Embassy or Consulate for more information.

35. What is the easiest way to start teaching in the European Union (EU)?

  • For ESL teachers holding EU passports, it is recommended that you travel to the area in which you hope to work and start contacting schools with your application. Some teachers find that with persistence they are able to obtain a teaching position when applying from Canada.
  • Non-EU ESL teachers will likely have to travel to the area in question and apply in person for positions, trying to secure employment “under the table”; work on a tourist visa that may in time lead to a work visa. It should be noted that this is a short term solution, and Oxford Seminars does not condone working in this manner.
  • Contact the nearest embassy of the country in which you or your parents (in some cases, grandparents) were born and inquire as to whether you qualify for an EU passport. You can obtain a passport by completing a form online or in person, having it signed by a Notary Public, and paying a processing fee. Please be patient when applying, as passports can take a month or longer to obtain.
  • Some EU countries have a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) relationship with Canada. If you are eligible for WHV, you may be able to secure employment in countries such as France, Belgium and Italy without EU citizenship.

36. What counts as teaching experience?

  • Teaching experience generally means actual classroom experience. However, some schools will consider tutoring, coaching, and training as teaching experience; in other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, teaching experience will have to be in an actual ESL classroom.

37. Will my age affect my ability to be placed?

  • Oxford Seminars has successfully trained thousands of graduates of all ages and the Graduate Placement Service works diligently on every graduate's behalf to find them suitable placements.
  • If you are a mature teacher, it is best to research the retirement age in your countries of choice to ensure that you are eligible to work there. You may be required to purchase your own medical or travel insurance and most positions will require a current medical examination. While many of Oxford Seminars' mature graduates have found their life experience and past work experience to be an asset when searching for a position, age (especially for those over 55) will affect your ability to be hired.
  • Online forums and blogs are often great sources of information and can be found easily by conducting an online search

38. I am not a native speaker. Can I still teach ESL?

  • While many non-native English speakers have successfully completed Oxford Seminars' course and have found placement abroad, most find their first ESL teaching position in their country of origin. With the benefit of this initial experience, many are able to find subsequent employment in other countries.
  • Your ability to find work outside of your home country will often depend upon the competition for the position that you are pursuing. School directors usually prefer to hire native English speakers rather than non-native English speakers, regardless of experience.
  • It is important to keep in mind that in order to qualify for the working visa in many countries, you must be a native English speaker and a citizen of an English-speaking country.

39. I do not have a university degree. Will this affect finding a teaching position abroad?

  • Some schools accept candidates with a college diploma or high school diploma in light of the value of native English ability and TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification. Among other countries, Oxford Seminars graduates who possess a high school diploma or college certificate have found teaching positions in China, Mexico, and Turkey.
  • However, while some schools do accept candidates without a bachelor’s degree, most schools/recruiters require candidates hold a Bachelor of Arts minimum in any discipline.
  • Some countries prefer that candidates apply for positions in person, allowing them to assess the level of competency. Some countries/schools seek experience. While applying in-country using a tourist visa, schools are sometimes willing to sponsor teachers for a working visa. It is important to keep in mind that there is at times stiff competition for ESL teaching positions with candidates holding a BA or higher having the advantage.

40. When do overseas schools usually hire?

  • A large number of overseas private language schools hire teachers on an as-needed basis any time of the year. Often, they are willing to hire you immediately to replace a teacher who has just left or a teacher who is about to complete their contract. Most of these contracts are for a minimum of one year. Our Graduate Placement Service has numerous job openings year-round and assists our graduates in finding teaching positions every month of the year.
  • Private language schools which run summer programs tend to hire in the late spring which is ideal for university students looking to work right away. Many summer camps only last a few months and thus involve short-term contracts between May and August.
  • Government programs such as JET (Japan), EPIK (Korea) and NET SCHEME (Hong Kong) hire a few months before the academic year starts. Keep in mind that public schools, colleges and universities generally begin in September (Northern Hemisphere) and in March (Southern Hemisphere).

41. I have a criminal record; will this affect my ability to be placed overseas?

  • A criminal record can affect your ability to find employment abroad.
    • A country may refuse you entry if you have been convicted of certain offenses.
    • A potential employer may decline your application if you have a criminal record.
    • It may be difficult to obtain a working visa abroad if you have a criminal record.
  • Check with the embassy of the country in which you are going. They will be able to give you more information about your particular circumstance.

Global ESL Schools Directory

42. What is the Global ESL Schools Directory?

  • The Global ESL Schools Directory is the most comprehensive online database of ESL and International schools worldwide. Including more than 50,000 schools in over 150 countries, this directory is your key to thousands of teaching English as a Second Language jobs. It is a listing of ESL schools only and is not intended to replace the Graduate Placement Service.

43. How does the Directory work?

  • Graduates of Oxford Seminars' TESOL/TESL Certification Course have complete access to the Global ESL Schools Directory to aid them in their search for ESL teaching jobs abroad. If you are a graduate and would like access, you can either contact your Job Search Advisor directly, or call us at 1-800-269-6719. Be prepared to provide information related to your Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL Teacher Training Certification Course registration.

44. Is the information in the Directory up to date?

  • Oxford Seminars makes every effort to update the Global ESL Schools Directory at least once per year. If you have new, updated information, please contact us at esldirectory@oxfordseminars.com.

45. Are the schools in the Directory prescreened by and affiliated with Oxford Seminars?

  • Because the Global ESL Schools Directory is for informational purposes only, it does not reflect the positions currently available through our Graduate Placement Service, and therefore, schools listed may not be associated with Oxford Seminars. Each school listed in the Directory was open and operating as of the date entered; however, none of the schools listed have been screened by Oxford Seminars for contractual legitimacy.
  • When you are ready to teach overseas, your Job Search Advisor will do everything in his/her power to help accommodate your requests and aid you in your search.

46. Will my Job Search Advisor help me apply to the schools listed in the Directory?

  • Your Job Search Advisor will help with formatting your resume and cover letter to ESL industry standards as well as help review your contract and provide advice; these are just two of the large benefits of initiating your Graduate Placement Service. However, the schools listed in the Global ESL Schools Directory are not affiliated with Oxford Seminars in any way, and as such, your Job Search Advisor cannot assist you in applying to the schools within the Directory.

47. Are there specific teaching positions listed in the Directory?

  • The Global ESL Schools Directory is not a job board, meaning that specific positions with specific schools are not listed. The aim of the Directory is to list as many schools as possible in the ESL industry around the world to give a more complete picture of the TESOL job market worldwide and to provide comprehensive information for graduates who are searching for positions on their own.

48. Does access to the Directory guarantee me a job?

  • How the information in the Global ESL Schools Directory is used is entirely up to the user. If you choose to access the complete school information in order to further your search for an ESL teaching position, you have a better chance of obtaining the type of employment you want. Access to the Directory alone does not guarantee jobs; it is a tool provided to assist you in searching for opportunities on your own.

49. How will access to the Directory help me get a job?

  • The Global ESL Schools Directory will provide you with comprehensive, up-to-date contact information for ESL schools around the world. Utilize your access to the Directory to obtain information about schools in your desired countries; this will make the application process smoother for graduates seeking positions on their own. As well, graduates can view a school’s website or qualifications to ensure that they meet the requirements for teachers at a particular location.

50. How long will I have access to the Directory?

  • Access to the Global ESL Schools Directory will never expire, which means you can use it to find your first, second, even third ESL teaching position if you choose. As a graduate, if you continue to use the email account you are registered under, you will continue to have access to the additional school information.

51. How do I get my password?

  • To create your account and receive access to the Global ESL Schools Directory, you must be a graduate of the Oxford Seminars TESOL/TESL Teacher Training Certification Course. On the last day of the in-class component, you will receive an email from Oxford Seminars. By clicking the link contained in the email, you will begin the process of setting up your My Oxford Seminars account.
  • The page that you are directed to will ask you to create your own password. This is something you set yourself, and should be kept confidential. Once you have confirmed your password by re-entering it, click the "Submit" button, and you will be logged into your My Oxford Seminars account. By selecting "ESL Directory", you will be ready to begin opening doors to ESL teaching jobs worldwide!

52. Can I still use my Directory account after receiving the "Schools Viewed Limit Exceeded" error message?

  • There is no limit to the number of times that the Directory can be viewed. However, to ensure that our service is not abused or used for fraudulent purposes, the system may impose limits from time to time on a user's activity. If you receive the “Schools Viewed Limit Exceeded” message and are unable to view additional school information, try using the Directory again at a later date.
  • You can still see all the schools you have recently viewed, including additional information, by using the “Recently Viewed Schools” link at the top of the page.

53. What is the difference between the information in the Directory and Country Information?

  • The Global ESL Schools Directory is a listing of thousands of ESL schools worldwide. This listing is provided for our graduates to use on their own behalf when applying to teaching jobs abroad. The Directory is intended for informational purposes only, and is not intended as a replacement for the Graduate Placement Service.
  • Oxford Seminars' Country Information offers both general overviews of countries around the world as well as detailed reports on specific ESL teaching destinations. The general overviews cover areas of interest such as contracts, typical weekly teaching hours and other information relevant to a specific region. The detailed reports offer information on living conditions, salary expectations, visa regulations, culture, climate, holidays, and other information relevant to teaching English in a specific country.

Negotiating a Contract

54. What should I look for in my contract?

  • Split shifts – Some ESL teachers do not work straight through the day but may instead work in the morning from 8am-12pm and then in the evening from 4pm-10pm.
  • Sick days - Schools that pay by the hour do not often pay for sick days. If you are paid a salary then you should expect a certain number of paid sick days.
  • Reimbursement for airfare - It is important to know which countries typically supply this benefit and ensure that it is included on your contract if it is standard.
  • Overtime - The contract should detail how many hours you will be expected to work and should state an hourly rate for any additional teaching time.
  • Accommodations - Your contract should state whether or not the school will provide you with paid accommodations. If they do not, then it is common for a school to provide you with help finding accommodations.
  • Key money (mainly in Japan) - In some countries, landlords will ask for key money which is often the equivalent of anywhere from three to six month’s rent. This is not a security deposit, but rather a form of gratitude.
  • Transportation - It is important to know how far away your accommodations are from the school in which you will be teaching. If your housing is relatively far away, many schools will subsidize a scooter or a bus pass.
  • Preparation time - The school may require that you prepare for your classes during office hours held at the school.
  • Extracurricular activities - Compensation is not usually provided for extracurricular activities. Many contracts will state a maximum amount of extracurricular hours you are expected to work and may pay you overtime for additional hours.
  • Healthcare - If healthcare is not included in the contract, it is a good idea to look into private health coverage prior to departing.
  • Holidays - Your contract should state the holidays during which you receive time off. Depending on where you go, there are many different and exciting local holidays to celebrate!
  • Transportation from airport - Your contract should indicate if a representative from your school will meet you at the airport or if you will be responsible for arriving at the school on your own.
  • Private tutoring – It is important to confirm with your employer whether or not private tutoring is acceptable.

55. I have decided to look for work on my own. Can the Graduate Placement Service still help me?

  • If you decide to secure employment on your own behalf, there are still a number of things that the Graduate Placement Service can assist you with.
  • They can supply you with a list of online resources, websites, chain schools, and lists of language institutes in your countries of choice, as well as access to the Global ESL Schools Directory. They are also available to look over the contract that you have been offered and will guide you through the negotiation process.
  • Your Job Search Advisor is available to assist you throughout the application process. They will not only assist you in composing a great ESL focused resume and cover letter, but are also more than willing to offer useful advice on applying to and working in your countries of choice.

56. What should I be aware of when applying for teaching positions on my own?

  • Our Global ESL Schools Directory is a great resource for conducting your own job search.
  • On occasion, fraudulent teaching opportunities circulate through the Internet and appear on job boards. While at times easily detectable, some are well camouflaged. If a contract sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Keep the following in mind when searching for teaching positions on your own:
    • Never send money to schools or recruiters. If a school asks you to send money to secure your housing or pay for your visa fees up front, be wary. Contact the country's embassy in your area to determine the cost and correct procedure for obtaining a work visa.
    • Protect your identity. Some schools will ask you to send your passport information page to ensure you meet the visa requirements of their country. This is a legitimate request, however, until you are certain of the school's legitimacy, simply block the passport number on a photocopy of your passport and send that in order to provide them with the information they require. Once a school is screened and a contract is signed they may need the passport number to process your work visa.
  • Oxford Seminars' Graduate Placement Service has established trusted relationships with recruiters and schools in many places around the world so our graduates can find safe and reliable teaching positions.

57. Will trying to negotiate a contract make me a less desirable candidate?

  • When considering a specific teaching position, it is important for you to determine which are the negotiable versus non-negotiable factors of your contract. While being curious about the finer details of the position, questions should be carefully placed in terms of timing and of whom they are asked. For example, asking a recruiter about whether or not there are windows in the classrooms is misplaced timing and is asked of the wrong person. Questions should be categorized as “need to know” (needing answers before you sign the contract) versus “curiosity” (you would like answers if possible after the contract is signed), and asked accordingly.
  • You will not get everything you want in a contract. List the items that are important to you. Reflect upon what you want in your contract and what you consider to be acceptable. You will most likely get something in between. Keep in mind, however, that the more you attempt to negotiate, the less desirable you are as a candidate.


58. How can I get a working visa?

  • The process of obtaining a visa is different for each country. Often, you must apply for a working visa from outside the country in which you intend to work. Some countries even require that you apply for the visa from home.
  • In general you will need a letter of intent from your employer, a copy of your contract, return airline tickets, a copy of your degree and transcripts (if applicable), your passport, your birth certificate, another form of identification, two passport size photos, and a fee.
  • Working visas can take anywhere from one day to six weeks to process.
  • For more information regarding work visas, contact the nearest consulate or embassy of your target country. Visit Embassypages.com for a complete directory of the world's embassies and consulates.

59. Can I work on a spousal visa?

  • This depends on the country.
  • For instance, if your spouse is Japanese, you can legally work in Japan on a spousal visa. In other countries you may have to apply for a secondary working visa. If your spouse is also a foreigner, you will need to secure a separate working visa in most, if not all, countries.
  • Contact the nearest embassy/consulate to find out the exact requirements. Visit Embassy Pages for a complete directory of the world's embassies and consulates.

60. What is a Working Holiday Visa (WHV)?

  • A Working Holiday Visa is an agreement between Canada and another country that allows Canadian citizens to go to that country to work and travel. In turn, Canada allows citizens of that country to work and travel in Canada.
  • Most of these agreements are for the period of one year and often have an age limitation (generally 18-30).
  • Japan and France are popular countries for Canadians to teach English on the WHV.
  • To find out where Canada has WHV relationships, visit http://www.anyworkanywhere.com.

61. Can I work on a student or tourist visa?

  • It is possible to work on a student or tourist visa; however, this practice is illegal.
  • In Asia, many schools will ask you to come on a tourist visa, especially if there are time constraints involved. The school will secure you a work visa upon arrival. This practice may require you to do a visa run to a nearby country. If this is required, the school should be responsible for the cost. You should research this thoroughly prior to your departure.
  • In some countries (like those in Latin America) it is very difficult to obtain a working visa, so working on a tourist visa is common practice. Tourist visas are usually valid for about 90 days depending on the country that you are travelling to.
  • There are many downsides to this practice:
    • It is illegal and, if caught, a teacher can be fined and perhaps deported. In some countries the fine will be charged to the school.
    • You may be required to leave the country often (approximately every three months) to renew your visa; this is commonly known as a visa run.

62. I am a citizen in a country where English is not the first language. Will this affect finding a teaching position overseas?

  • While many graduates born in a country where English is not the first language have successfully completed our course and have found placement abroad, most find their first ESL teaching position in their country of origin. With the benefit of this initial experience, many are able to find subsequent employment in other countries.
  • It is important to keep in mind that in order to qualify for the working visa in many countries, you must:
    • Hold citizenship in an English speaking country
    • Be a native English speaker
    • Have been born in an English speaking country, or
    • Have had at least 12 years of formal education in a country where English is the primary language
  • With this said, there is still hope for finding gainful employment overseas. Certainly the more positions that one applies for, the better the chances are of finding a suitable position. Applying for positions in person is advantageous as potential employers will be able to assess your level of proficiency and you will be in a better position to fully promote yourself and your skills.

63. Why is it more difficult to get working visas in some countries than others? How can I find out about getting a visa in the country in which I wish to work?

  • How one country will treat its foreign workers is often reciprocated. For example, if Canada does not have a visa arrangement with citizens from Malaysia, then, typically, Malaysia will not offer visas for Canadians.
  • In most cases in order to qualify for a working visa you need to have secured employment and produce proof of that employment. Usually a letter from your employer will suffice.
  • Each country has different regulations when it comes to issuing valid working visas. For more information regarding the issuance of work visas, contact the nearest consulate or embassy of your target country. Visit Embassypages.com for a complete directory of the world’s embassies and consulates.

64. I received my degree from a country where English is not the first language. Will this affect finding a teaching position overseas?

  • It is important to keep in mind that each country has different requirements in order to qualify for a working visa. Generally speaking, in order to obtain a working visa you must:
    • Be a native English speaker
    • Have been born in an English speaking country, or
    • Have had at least 10-12 years of formal education in a country where English is the primary language
    • Hold citizenship in an English speaking country
  • In the case of a person born and raised in an English speaking country but having obtained their university degree in a country whose official language is not English, some countries will be unable to process a working visa for them.
  • With this said, there is still hope of finding gainful employment overseas. Certainly the more positions that one applies for, the better the chances are of locating a position. It is worth considering applying for positions in person as potential employers will be able to assess your competency and you will be in a better position to fully promote yourself and your skills.

65. I have been asked to have my documents legalized. What is involved in this process?

  • In order to ensure your documents will be recognized by the government and/or school that you are applying to teach in, there are some basic steps you should undertake:
    • Contact the closest consulate of the country where you will be teaching to determine what is required. The procedure may vary depending on the province in which you live and the consulate closest to you. Typically if the foreign country has an embassy within your province, you can have your documents authenticated at the provincial level. If there is no embassy in that province, your documents will need to be authenticated at the Federal level by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
    • Ask your school director/recruiter (after ensuring they are legitimate) what steps you should take to apply for this visa. They will often be able to provide you with a detailed outline of the procedure/requirements.
    • The documents will likely need to have one or more of the below processes:
      • Apostille: This process applies to some countries but in Canada, the process of authentication and legalization are equivalent to obtaining an Apostille.

      • Notarized: A member of the notary public signs a photocopy of your document attesting the signature/seal on the document is true and genuine. This process is the cheapest, fastest, and most common so you may want to have this done before applying for jobs. It is also a preliminary step for the next two processes.

      • Authentication: A government official in the Department of State Office provides an official declaration that the signature of the notary public as true and genuine.

      • Legalization: The embassy of the country where the document is to be presented declares and accepts the signature, seal, or stamp appearing on the document as genuine.
  • The two websites below give information for residents of Canada or various other countries so they can determine where to get authentication and/or legalization, as well as the procedure and cost:http://www.apostilleinfo.com/canada.htm and http://www.alscanada.ca/en/about-our-services/document-authentication.aspx.

What to Expect from Your School

66. Will there be resources?

  • Unless you are volunteering, your school will typically provide you with the basic necessities you need to teach a class:
    • Text books/Reference materials
    • White board/chalk board/markers/erasers
    • Curriculum
  • Most schools will provide you with the above materials as well as other useful materials such as: flash cards, worksheets, story books, ESL games, etc. Some schools may have language labs and Internet learning for students. If you are volunteering you may want to consider bringing helpful tools like chalk and flashcards.
  • For more ideas on teaching resources, visit our ESL teaching resources page.

67. Will there be a curriculum?

  • Your school should provide you with a curriculum.
  • More established schools and chain schools will definitely provide you with a curriculum and sometimes even daily lesson plans.
  • Newer and smaller schools will be more apt to change their curriculum. As you grow more confident in your role as a teacher, you may be asked to revamp or recreate the curriculum. This could be a great opportunity to expand your skills base.

68. What are the usual class sizes?

  • Class size depends on the school.
    • If you are teaching in a private school, you will probably not have more than about 20 students in a class. Sometimes a class can be as small as two or three students.
    • If you are teaching in a public school, your classes might have as many as 50 students. If this is the case you will probably be provided with an assistant or a co-teacher.
    • If you are teaching in a university or college, your class sizes could be quite a bit bigger. Again, you will probably be provided with an assistant or a co-teacher.

69. What age groups will I be teaching?

  • This depends on the school you are in and the stipulations of your contract.
  • It is common for ESL teachers to begin their career by teaching children.
  • There is also a strong market teaching English for specific purposes (ESP), such as business English.

70. Will I have to team teach?

  • This will depend on your contract.
  • You may team teach with another foreign teacher, but it is more likely that you will be working with a local teacher. Generally, this teacher will speak both English and the native language of the classroom. This teacher will often be in charge of classroom management, homework, and drills.
  • Some schools do not require team teaching.

71. Will there be a native speaker in the classroom?

  • If you are working with young children at a beginner level, there will often be a native speaker in the classroom. If there is not, then there will be a native speaker nearby.
  • In most Asian countries, foreign teachers are assigned a bilingual ‘secretary.’ These people will help you with any problems that might arise.
  • Most schools prefer you not to speak the language of the country, and thus, you will need to learn to communicate with miming, pictures, and expressions.
  • Visit our ESL Teaching Resources page for ideas on classroom techniques and games in an ESL classroom.

72. Will I have to sing and dance?

  • If you are working with young monolingual children, you will find that this method may work to your advantage. If you are not comfortable with this, you might want to bring children’s songs on a CD or flash drive from home.
  • Visit our ESL Teaching Resources page for ideas on classroom techniques and games in an ESL classroom.

73. How many hours a week am I expected to work?

  • The number of hours you are expected to work will depend on your contract. In general, teachers work between 20-30 hours per week, plus preparation time. Classes are generally 50 to 60 minutes in length.

74. Is there a dress code?

  • Many schools have a dress code for teachers. The code itself will depend not only on your school but on the country. For the majority of schools, a dress code will mean casual but conservative dress. However, for some schools this might mean a suit and tie.
  • It is best to take your cue from other teachers working at your school. You may find the rules within the school a little more lax than in the dress code itself.
  • If you are volunteering then you are often encouraged to dress in a casual manner to ensure a comfortable classroom for the students.

75. Will I be observed?

  • You will most likely be observed during your training period. This is common in Canadian classrooms with Canadian teachers as well.
  • If at all possible, you should try to observe other teachers not only during your training period but throughout your teaching career in order to continually improve your skills.
  • You can expect to be observed through the duration of your teaching career. Though this might seem intimidating, it is actually a great way to improve on your teaching skills. To be more comfortable, make sure you are consistently well prepared for your lesson. Visit our ESL Teaching Resources page for resources on teaching ESL.
  • The senior teachers who observe you will provide you with feedback for improving your teaching style.

76. Do I need to bring teaching resources?

  • It is always better to be over prepared than under prepared. Many ESL classes will have the traditional blackboard/whiteboard with few extra resources, while other, more advanced schools will have CALL Labs (Computer Assisted Language Learning), Internet resources, online collaboration, and other technological tools. Most schools will fall somewhere in between. It is best to prepare by asking other current ESL teachers within the organization as to what type of resources are available and what is lacking.
  • We recommend that you bring:
    • A reliable grammar source book and other resource information, as some overseas schools do not have adequate resource libraries or Internet access.
    • Current cultural information about your home country. Many overseas students wish to know more about Canadian lifestyles and culture. This could include: music, magazines, books, newspaper articles, information about holidays, etc.
    • A teacher’s box. This could include: stickers, markers, cards, dice, small currency (coins from another country are always interesting to children), etc.

77. What if my students do not speak English at all?

  • Typically, when you have students who do not have English language ability at all, you will be assisted by a native speaker with some English ability.
  • If an assistant is not available, you will have to use other means of communicating your ideas to the students using gestures, photographs, drawings, and pantomime.
  • A skilled ESL teacher may be able to utilize a more advanced student to communicate ideas in their native tongue which will instill confidence and a sense of responsibility in the “assistant” and create a more collaborative classroom.

Travelling with Companions

78. Can I bring my family?

  • You can, of course, bring your family with you overseas, but there are things to consider before you do:
    • If your contract includes accommodations, it is probably based on the assumption of single occupancy. You should discuss this with your school’s director. Most likely your school will help you and your family find suitable accommodations, even if they will not pay for them. Depending on the school and the country, they may grant you a stipend to put towards rent.
    • If your children need to attend school while you are abroad, you should look into the cost and location of schools prior to your departure. The Council of International Schools will give you information about schools in your destination city.
    • In most large cities you will be able to enroll your child into a local bilingual day care. You may also be able to hire a nanny when you arrive. Again, these are questions you will want to ask your contact before arriving.
    • Generally your spouse will not be able to work legally, unless he/she also obtains a working visa.
    • Bringing your family overseas with you is a great opportunity for you and your family to see the world. This could be an especially good opportunity for children to learn another language and culture.

79. Can I bring my pets?

  • You can bring your pets if you like, but there are several things to consider before you make this decision.
    • Your pet should be up-to-date with all shots and vaccinations. Research which vaccinations are necessary for the country in which you are considering working.
    • Depending on the country you are going to, your pet might need an import permit (even for transfers). Check out the requirements of both the local government and the airline that will be importing your pet.
    • Flying with an animal can be very expensive for you and stressful for the pet. Depending on the airline you might not be able to see your pet for the duration of the trip.
    • In general, and with the exception of certified service dogs, pets will most likely have to travel in the cargo compartment.
    • Most countries will require a period of quarantine. In Taiwan your pet will have to stay quarantined for 25 days. In Japan, the quarantine period is 40 days.
  • Some schools are unwilling to accommodate teachers with pets, especially in the case of a large dog. Be sure to communicate your desire/intention to take your pet with you before signing a contract.
  • Contact the embassy of the country to which you are travelling and any country you might be transferring in for more information about bringing your pet overseas.

80. I want to teach and travel with my friend/partner. Can we share an apartment?

  • Many contracts will try to place teachers with their partner/friend/spouse to alleviate culture shock and ease the teacher’s transition to the foreign environment.
  • If you and your partner are not married, you will need to keep cultural norms in mind. In some countries it is illegal for a man and woman who are not related or married to live together. However, as long as you are discreet about your situation, most landlords will not make it an issue.
  • If you are travelling as a same sex married couple, your marriage will be recognized in countries like Belgium, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, and some US states; however, in many countries your relationship will not be recognized. Please carefully research the country in which you plan to travel.
  • For more information please visit http://www.voyage.gc.ca.

Organizing Finances

81. How do I deal with my finances (i.e., taxes and bank accounts) when working abroad?

  • There are several tax options to consider when living abroad and returning home. These options depend on factors such as:
    • How long you have been away
    • How much money you made
    • Your marital status
    • If you have dependants
    • If you paid taxes in your host country
    • If you claimed non-residency status in home country
    • If you have assets such as bonds and properties
  • Taxes
    • You have several tax options that should be explored before you leave. You will also be required to file taxes when you return home.
    • Because taxes are dependent on your personal situation we highly recommend that you speak to an accountant before you leave. If you cannot speak to an accountant, you should contact Revenue Canada before you depart.
    • We also recommend that you contact your bank before leaving. They will be very helpful when you are putting your financial affairs in order. Securing a safety deposit box for your valuables and leaving an extra key with a trusted party is recommended.

82. Do I have to inform the government that I am leaving?

  • Whether or not you should contact the government prior to your departure depends on your personal situation. You should consider:
    • How long you will be gone, as the length of your stay abroad will affect your taxes, and your right to receive government sponsored health benefits and pensions.
    • If you have properties or holdings in your home country.
  • We recommend that you thoroughly investigate your own situation before leaving and contact an accountant for advice.

83. How can I send money home?

  • Sending money home internationally is generally a simple process, though possibly a bit expensive.
  • You can wire money to an account back home through all international and most national banks, Western Union and Thomas Cook wire transfers. This process may take up to two weeks to complete.
  • Many banks will have English transfer forms; if not, you might want to bring a companion who speaks and reads both English and the language of the country.

84. What should I do about my debts at home?

  • Set up your bills through Internet/telephone banking.
  • Inform your creditors if you think you will miss one or two payments while you are setting up overseas. A simple phone call will save you many headaches a month or two down the line.

Life Abroad

85. Will there be other foreigners at my school?

  • The likelihood of teaching with other foreign teachers is quite high, as ESL schools hire native English teachers for quality control and marketing purposes.
  • Most overseas placements are in major city centres where there is a thriving expatriate community.

86. Will I be able to eat "Western" food?

  • Major city centres will have large Western chains. There will likely be local Western restaurants, pubs and grocery stores run by members of the expatriate community. Before leaving, check your travel guide, as it will probably list resources in your area.
  • Also take a look at our Country Information section of our website, which includes a section about eating in other countries and approximate food costs.

87. I am a vegan/vegetarian. Will my diet be a concern?

  • Many overseas cultures also adhere to vegan/vegetarian diets and often will have fresh produce available for home cooking, and many restaurants will cater to special dietary needs.
  • It will be useful for you to be able to express yourself in the language of the nation. Expressions such as, “Does this contain meat?,” “I’m a vegetarian,” and “Can you recommend any dishes?” can be very helpful.

88. Can I drink the tap water abroad?

  • Research your destination country prior to your departure. Speak with a local teacher (which is a common way of getting answers to many of these questions) about the quality of the potable water (also called drinking water) in the specific area to which you are going. In many countries it will be necessary to drink bottled water, as foreigners who are not acclimatized may not be able to tolerate it.

89. Does my country of choice have suitable health facilities (i.e., modern hospitals, English speaking doctors and dentists…)?

  • Many major cities around the world have modern health facilities and often have English speaking doctors. However, rural areas might lack proper facilities. In some areas it might be necessary to travel to a major city centre for medical attention.
  • Some countries will not have modern facilities and equipment; however, it would be prudent to research the countries in question and find out if they do have proper medical facilities. Contact the nearest embassy and inquire as to the medical facilities and their reliability. It is recommended that you speak to teachers in the area and discuss their experiences.

90. Can I get my own apartment?

  • You may choose to find your own accommodations; however, in a foreign country searching and negotiating for a new apartment can be rather daunting and will require assistance.
  • Some schools will help you in this process. Other teachers may be able to assist you as well.

91. What is the cost of living for most ESL teachers?

  • Most overseas teachers are paid generously for the country in which they are working. Often, ESL teachers are paid three to five times more than local teachers.
  • The cost of living depends upon your lifestyle. How much entertainment do you need? Do you cook at home or prefer to eat out? Do you plan to travel on every vacation/holiday/weekend, etc?
  • Depending on how you choose to live and the expenses you have at home (i.e., student loans), you should be able to afford a nice apartment and a good lifestyle. Depending on the country you are in, there is an opportunity to put away some money as well.
  • For more information, visit our Country Information section, where we have included the Economist's "Big Mac Index" which is a credible, reliable, third-party cost-of-living index.

92. Will I have access to transportation?

  • Many overseas placements are in major metropolitan areas which have excellent public transportation.
  • Often, the school will provide you with accommodations that are within walking distance of the school, and if not, they may provide assistance in finding suitable transportation.
  • Some contracts will require you to have a driver's license or the ability to operate a moped or motor-scooter to travel from site to site. Again, it will all depend on where you are teaching and the contract and country conditions.
  • Visit the Transportation section included in our Country Information section of the website for specific countries' modes of transportation.

93. Do I need to know the native language of the country that I am travelling to?

  • There is no need for you to know the native language for the classroom (it is often discouraged to speak the native language in the classroom); however, knowledge of the native language will make your transition and adjustment to the foreign country much easier outside the classroom and help to alleviate culture shock in your day-to-day activities.
  • It is recommended that you take a language survival course and/or purchase a phrase book before you leave your home country.

94. I am a woman travelling alone. What measures can I take to ensure that I have a safe and enjoyable experience while teaching abroad?

  • Travelling alone can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Here are some tips to help keep you safe on your journey.
    • Research the country that you are travelling to. Knowledge will be your best tool. Know where you are going, and how you are getting there. Get directions before you leave your hotel or hostel.
    • Be aware of local customs concerning the social roles of women and what is considered appropriate dress. Being respectful of local customs could mean a safe and a problem free trip.
    • Leave expensive clothing and jewelry at home. These items could be lost or damaged during your trip. They could also flag you as a potential victim of robbery.
    • Make sure your school has made arrangements to pick you up at the airport and drop you off safely.
    • Be alert and move about with confidence – avoid appearing as a tourist.
    • If travelling at night in a car, keep the interior lights off.
    • Whenever possible remain in public places.
    • Do not announce that you are travelling alone. You may consider wearing a wedding band to make yourself seem less vulnerable. If possible, vary your daily routine and routes taken.
    • Keep your purse close to you at all times. Choose a purse that is made of strong material, and has a latch or a fold over the zipper. Do not carry your travel documents in your purse. Use a money belt or something equally as hidden and safe.
    • When walking on a sidewalk or roadside, put your purse on the opposite shoulder of the passing traffic.
    • Photocopy two sets of travel documents: one for you to keep, and one for your family.
    • Keep family or friends updated on your itinerary and set times to call/chat online with them.

Specializing Your Certification

95. Can I upgrade my TESOL/TESL certification?

  • After taking our course you are eligible to upgrade your certification to up to 220 hours with our Specialization Modules.
  • Once you complete and pass a module, an updated certificate will be issued, showing the specialization and additional hours.

96. What specialization modules do you offer?

97. What specializations are best suited for which particular countries or regions abroad?

  • While each specialization will provide you with tools that you can use regardless of where you decide to teach, some specializations are better suited to certain areas of the world.
    • If you have prior business experience or are particularly interested in teaching adults in the business sector, Teaching Business English will assist you in accomplishing this goal. This specialization is particularly useful in many Latin American and European countries as well as in China and Japan.
    • Teaching English to Children provides you with a better understanding of how to work with children and provides you with many teaching aids. Teaching monolingual children, though fun, can be a challenge. Since it is common for first time teachers to work with children, especially in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China, this can better provide you with the necessary skills and confidence to communicate and work with children.
    • Teaching TOEFL Preparation is a great specialization module if you are interested in teaching in Asia, particularly in Korea, China and Japan, especially if you are interested in private tutoring. This specialization is also a great way to refresh your grammar skills.


98. There are so many acronyms associated with this industry. What do they signify?

    • Teaching English as a second language/English as a second language
    • English is the second language of the people you are teaching. English is spoken in the country where you are teaching (i.e., you are teaching in English in Britain).
  • TEFL
    • Teaching English as a foreign language
    • English is taught as a foreign language to people who live in a country where English is not spoken (i.e., teaching English in Brazil).
    • Teaching English to speakers of other languages
    • This is a North American term that covers both EFL and ESL instruction. It is also the name of a teachers’ association.
  • ESP
    • English for specific purposes
    • This term refers to the focused learning of topics ranging from business English to TOEFL. Oxford Seminars offers specialization modules on these topics.
    • Test of English as a foreign language
    • This is an academic based standardized test given to English language learners.
    • A high score on this test is required for entry into most Canadian colleges and universities to ensure that a foreign student is competent and fluent in English.
    • Test of English for international communication
    • This is a standardized test required in many international work places. It focuses on vocabulary and communication skills.