Teach English

Teaching English overseas is a wonderful opportunity to live and work in an exotic location, learn new skills and really make a difference in peoples lives.

This amazing and unique experience will open your heart and mind to a world you never knew.  You’ll become a part of a global community and new culture.   Whether you’re looking for a gap year or a new life, teaching English overseas is for you!

Overview

Teaching English will also give you the chance to truly immerse yourself into a totally different culture and perhaps even learn a new language. Once you have a taste for travel there’ll be no stopping you!  Whichever country you choose to work in, you’ll have more than enough time to explore during school vacations.

Teaching English overseas will see you embark on a journey that will forever change your perceptions and understandings.  You may find it’s quite an adjustment at first, but you will benefit enormously from the knowledge you gain, the people that you meet and the places that you fall in love with.

In conjunction with top local partners and schools, Chilli Adventures currently offer Teach English Placements in Thailand, South Korea and China. Eligibility requirements vary depending on the country you choose (see eligibility) but a TESOL course is your starting point, and will provide you with all the basic skills needed to become a great English teacher overseas.   Most placements are at secondary schools with pupils ranging in age from 8-18 years.  The level of English is typically pretty low so you will not be required to do any complicated grammar teaching!  Creating lessons plans to fit the level of English of the pupils in the class is part of the experience and is a skill you’ll gain from the TESOL course and from resources provided by our local country partners.

Eligibility

Eligibility requirements vary depending on the country you choose.

General Requirements for Teach English in all countries must:

  • Be aged between 20-55 years (some exceptions made for mature 18/19 year olds)
  • Minimum of matric certificate (see below for degree requirement)
  • Be native English language speaking (This is a requirement for placement but non-native English speakers are welcome to take the TESOL course)
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Have no criminal record
  • Be independent and self-motivated. You will be required to engage pro-actively in the application process as well as research your travels and job position fully.  It is vital to understand that living and working in a new country will be challenging at times and is a learning and life experience, not simply a holiday.
  • Have sufficient funds to cover program costs and flights as well as living and accommodation costs until you receive your first stipend
  • Applicants must hold a passport from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States.

In Addition:

Placements in Thailand require:

  • Non degree holders will be required to obtain a 120 hour TESOL certification either upon arrival in Thailand or an online prior to departure from South Africa.
  • Degree holders have the option to do a 2 week  (60 hour) TESOL either ‘In-country’ or online.

Placements in China require:

  • College or University Bachelors Degree required (certificate required ahead of placement)
  • Applicants will be required to obtain a 120 hour TESOL certification

Placements in South Korea require:

  • Aged 21-40
  • College or University Bachelors Degree required (certificate required ahead of placement)
  • Applicants will be required to obtain a 120 hour TESOL certification if working in public schools in Seoul
  • Applicant must obtain a criminal background check with notary and Apostille 

Season & Duration

Teach English programs are available throughout the year with new TESOL courses starting every month and teacher placement provided on a rolling basis in all destination countries.  Having said that, applying at a time that sees you finish your TESOL course at the start of a new school year will ensure that placement takes place much quicker and less spending money is necessary.  It is also advised that if you are a young applicant or do not hold a degree, this is the best time to apply.

Thailand – New school terms start in early June and early December so the May and November ‘in country’ TESOL courses are the ones to do.

China & South Korea – New school year starts in May so you want to ensure you have your application and TESOL course completed by February / March if possible.

Contract Duration – Teachers typically sign a contract for 9 months to 1 year for Thailand although sometime special arrangements can be made for a 6 month contract.   For placements in China and South Korea a minimum of a 1 year contract is required.

 

Why Do Teach English?

It is inherent in all of us that we consistently seek more. More understanding, more recognition, more adventure and more travel.  It’s a good thing!  So, whether you’re stuck in a rut and need to get out and experience life before it passes you by or you’ve recently graduated and are just itching to see the world and gain some good work & life experience, Teaching English as a foreign language in another country is for you!

  • Invaluable post graduate career experience – with more than 200,000* graduates unemployed this is a wonderful way to make sure that your CV stands out.
  • Opportunity to Travel extensively in and around the country you live in while teaching as well as other neighbouring countries (visa trips are a great way to see the region)
  • Competitive pay with a relatively low cost of living makes this ideal for traveling, saving money and exploring the country.
  • Experience wonderful new opportunities and meet incredible people from all over the world.
  • Gain indispensable knowledge of other cultures and religions and broaden your horizons.
  • Relatively easy and trouble free way of starting a long term career in another country if you are struggling to find a job in your home country (no previous experience or qualifications needed other than TESOL in most cases).
  • Opportunity to learn to speak another language and in so doing expand your capabilities and therefore your job opportunities.
  • Full support from the moment you land to the moment that you complete the program with full access to online teaching resources with lesson plans, flash cards and information to ensure that you become a successful teacher.

Thailand

Thailand is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to experience a rich vibrant culture and an incredibly beautiful country.  If you prize quality of life over simply earning potential then Thailand is absolutely the choice for you. With a population of over 65 million it is home to a rich diversity of people, languages, cultures, and landscapes. Thailand’s rapid growth in recent years has made it a major economic engine in Southeast Asia and one of the world top tourist destinations.  This expansion in tourism has driven an almost insatiable demand for qualified English Teachers.

Whilst in Thailand you’ll have the opportunity to experience some of the most ancient architectural styles in Thailand’s magnificent temples and ‘Wats’, and of course the glorious stretches of white sandy beaches and pristine tropical islands. Its a vibrant country which offers everything from fantastic food to majestic mountains and glorious beaches.

The Culture:  In Thailand, the culture runs deep and Thai people are incredibly patriotic, and very polite.  They tend to be quite reserved but have a good sense of humour.  They attach great importance to laughter and smiling.  In fact smiling is a symbol for the Thai way of life, which tends to be more relaxed and carefree than cultures in the West.  There is a reason why it is referred to as “The Country of Smiles.”

Buddhism is the dominant religion and is the dominant influence on Thai culture. The concept of “wai,” a way to say hello without using words, is used throughout society as an overall method of paying respect. The physical action of bowing one’s head to meet the thumbs of two pressed palms, the wai is the most significant social practice and its show of respect and in some cases deference says a lot about Thai values and customs.  Be ready to embrace a warm and welcoming family of strangers, however be patient if you are not immediately understood!

The Climate: Thailand is tropical but the climate will vary with the time of year and the region. In most of the country, temperatures are generally hot and humid, with a cooler season between November and February. March to June is a hot, dry season, with little rain. In contrast, between the months of July and October, Thailand sees as much as 98 percent of its annual rainfall.

Teaching Placements in Thailand

Thailand Placement Locations

Thailand placement locations

When teaching in Thailand, you will find that children are incredibly appreciative of their learning and education.  You will experience their warmth and enthusiasm as you try to teach them English.  As a teacher you’ll earn a very decent salary of between 25,000 to 35,000 Baht per month (approx. R8,500-R11,900).  This is considered above average and you will most definitely be able to live comfortably as the cost of living will be much lower than you are used to in South Africa (a good apartment in Bangkok will set you back about R2,300).  Many teachers also take on private tutoring lessons with some of their students which allows you to significantly increase your monthly salary (by almost a third of your existing salary in many cases).  As a teacher you’ll also get all school holidays off; this could be as many as 60 days at a time. These are often paid holidays but the amount and duration of the break varies from one school to the next.

Teachers with Degrees (any type):

All degree holders from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States of America are sponsored for work permits in Thailand.  This usually occurs within three months of arrival in Thailand. In some instances, depending on the time of the school year, the time period to work permit sponsorship might take a bit longer.  While degree holders have the option to take the shorter 60 hour TESOL course, we strongly recommend that applicant complete the full 120 hour course.  You’ll get a lot more out of the experience and will feel better prepared when it comes to standing up in front of a classroom for the first time.  It is also a requirement in many schools now and so will help make you that much more competitive when seeking a teaching placement.

Teachers without Degrees:

Non-degree holders (anyone not holding a bachelors degree at the time of arrival in Thailand) CAN teach English in Thailand, however they may not be sponsored by schools for work permits (special exemptions can be made in cases where schools can demonstrate that the applicant is very qualified but this is rare).

The Thai Ministry of Education requires that teachers should have at least a bachelor’s degree in order to work in Thailand.  HOWEVER, the demand is so high for teachers in Thailand, and the pool of degree holding teachers is so limited, that the Thai government does not enforce the requirement for degree holders and allows the schools to continue employing non-degree holders to meet the demand in the education sector.   In many cases, teachers without degrees teach under a tourist or education visa.  This means that teachers may be required to do border trips every 3-6 months.

All non-degree holders are required to have an internationally accredited TESOL  certificate.  Our recommendation is that you do this in Thailand when you arrive, however you may also do this online prior to departure (See TESOL courses).  South African applicants may also be required to take a TOEIC examination to verify that they are native English speakers. It is a relatively straightforward test of English language fluency and all native speakers should have no problem achieving a high score.

 

South Korea

South Korea is a rapidly developing Asian nation. It is a country with a history and culture thousands of years old but it is at the same time one of the most rapidly advancing nations on earth. Seoul is considered to be one of the fastest technologically and architecturally advancing cities in the world.  What this means is  tall skyscrapers, efficient public transport, a wide variety of things to see and do and a nation avid to learn English! With very little crime, some of the world’s best shopping, rugged mountains and friendly people, Korea is ready to make you feel very welcome.

With a population of over 48 million, the South Korean government places enormous emphasis on international trade.  A key component of this initiative is ensuring that Korean schoolchildren learn to speak and understand English (the international language of commerce) effectively. To that end, the Korean government has been steadily increasing the number of English teachers in their schools, and teaching English in Korea has become a very attractive post grad career opportunity.

There’s a very vibrant social scene and night life in Korea, and you’ll find practically any type of music playing in one of the many bars and clubs in the larger cities. Korea is also considered a shopping mecca, and since you’ll be earning a very good salary and saving money on accommodation and travel, you’ll have ample opportunity to ‘shop ‘til you drop’ at the many duty free shops in large malls.

For some people, a definite challenge to Korea can be the rather questionable food.  That said, Koreans have become fond of Western foods like spaghetti and pizza, and you can be assured that you will find these types of restaurants all over the country, even in some rural villages and smaller cities.

The salaries for teachers in Korea are VERY good. You’ll also receive the added benefits of accommodation close to your school, FREE round trip airfare, paid holidays and even health insurance coverage. This puts them above the rest in terms of potential money saving.

South Korea Teaching Placements

To be considered for a teaching placement in South Korea you need to have completed your degree (and have been issued with your degree certificate).  Degree holders typically undertake the 120 hour online TESOL course with Chilli as they are putting together their application paperwork.  Placement typically takes 1-3 months (depending on the time of year) following submission of all documentation to Chilli.  Placement will take place ahead of your departure from South Africa.

 

China

There is an incredible sense of history in China, as it is one of the world’s oldest civilizations dating back many thousands of years. Only very recently has China started to embrace the 21st Century and Western culture and civilization, so you must be prepared to be quite a novelty! Any semblance of this Western influence is likely found in the larger cities and suburbs. Living in rural China will provide a stark contrast to city life, and you must not be surprised to find houses with no electricity or indoor plumbing.

Along with Chinas move towards slowly opening up to the rest of the world, a strong demand to learn English has developed.  The children in China are very respectful and hard working and you will get a great sense of satisfaction with any minor breakthrough in class. One thing that you must ensure that you have in abundance however, is patience. English is truly still a VERY foreign language to the Chinese, and pronunciation is not easily learned!  Be prepared to work long hours, however also look forward to many public holidays and long vacations.

Salaries for English teachers in China are competitive by local standards and you may earn up to four times more than most people you meet on the street who have a family, a house and a car.  The cost of living in China can differ greatly, depending on where you live. If you live smartly however, you will be able to save good money. Remember that you must always barter and negotiate and you will almost always receive a discount if you ask for one!

As China opens its doors to commerce, trade and to the West, it will experience  many different changes and challenges. Those wishing to catch a glimpse of this emerging superpower should not pass up this chance to work there. There is a tremendous focus on internationalism and learning English in China today. You too can be part of that excitement!

TESOL Options

“TESOL” means Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.  Whilst “TEFL” means Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

They are both terms used to describe the teaching of English to non-native English speakers.  Depending on where you learn and where you teach, the practice of teaching English as a foreign language can be referred to in many different ways (TESOL, TESL, TEFL, EFL, ESD and sometimes even ELF!).

These terms are most commonly used in relation to demographic information and in the end they may mean exactly the same thing! One thing remains constant though; a good TESOL qualification will open up English Teaching positions anywhere in the world.

What’s involved in a TESOL Course?

A TESOL course is a training program designed to give you the skills and confidence you need to teach English as a subject to students whose mother tongue is any language other than English. For some countries you don’t need a TESOL qualification (i.e. Thailand if you have a degree), however a TESOL course is strongly recommended in order to provide you with the key skills and confidence needed to teach English to foreign learners. You’ll be taught how to make lessons interesting, how to aim your lessons at different student levels and how to motivate your students so that the really want to learn. These are essential skills and you’ll find them invaluable when you start your TESOL career.  The length and depth of TESOL courses may vary and combine both online and practical teaching experience ranging from 20 hours up to 140 hours of training.

Where can I take a TESOL course?

TESOL certificate courses are available online as well as at language schools across South Africa. Most language schools offer full-time TESOL courses that typically take 3-4 weeks to complete. Part time or online courses take a little longer but will allow you to qualify without having to resign from your job or impact your studies.  If available, often the best option is to do a TESOL course upon arrival in country as this allows you to learn the peculiarities of that specific country at the same time as adjusting and getting to know the country and other English teachers upon arrival.  Chilli Adventures offer an excellent ‘in country’ TESOL course that takes place in Thailand each month upon arrival. It’s a fantastic way to gain skills quickly and settle in as part of a larger group. We also offer both 120 hour and 60 hour online TESOL’s if that works better for you (click here apply & enroll).  Your educational background along with the country that you plan on teaching in will determine whether you require a TESOL qualification but as we said previously, they are highly recommended.  Chat to your Chilli program co-ordinator for more guidance.

How do I Apply?

To apply for Chilli’ Adventures Teach English program, simply follow these easy steps:

  • Attend an Information Session with your local Chilli Adventures program co-ordinator and get clued up on all aspects of the program
  • Apply online and agree to Program T’s & C’s and receive your Application Pack containing additional documentation that must be completed and your program fee invoice
  • Pay your application deposit R950 (use your full name as a reference).
    Note: Application deposits are refunded in full if you are not accepted onto the program by Chilli
  • Attend an interview with a Chilli Adventures program co-ordinator in your area, or over Skype. Your acceptance will be confirmed at your interview
  • Decide on your TESOL option – Online is great and will save you time but we strongly recommend the in country course if you’re heading to Thailand
  • Submit additional documentation including qualifications, copy of passport and medical form and complete your program fee payment
  • Book your flight and get your visa granted with the help of your Chilli program coordinator
  • Attend a pre-departure meeting  in person or over Skype
  • Jet off for a LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE!

Note: A great deal goes into the application process.  You’ll need to ensure your application is of a high quality and stay on top of submitting your paperwork and attending subsequent interviews if applicable.

Terms & Conditions

Please Speak to your Chilli Adventures Program co-ordinator for program specific terms and conditions.

Program Costs

The program fees payable to Chilli Adventures for the Teach English program are as follows:

  • Application Deposit – R950 – Payable prior to interview.  Fully refunded if not accepted onto the program
  • Program / Placement Fees (Thailand, China or South Korea) – R6990 
  • TESOL Training – Pick your course – Payable prior to departure.
    • In country 120 hour TESOL Course (4 weeks) Thailand – R7600
    • In country 60 hour TESOL Course (2 weeks) Thailand – R4800
    • Online 120 hour TESOL Course – R5800
    • Online 60 hour TESOL Course – R3200

* Note: Pricing is updated monthly in line with co-operating agents and / or currency fluctuations.  Please contact Chilli for the most current pricing and read Program T’s & C’s for full details.

Package

Your Program Fees to Chilli Adventures Include:

  • Program application assistance: We will provide you with full assistance in completing your application as well as regular updates on the status of your application as it is processed.
  • Personal interview: In order to assess eligibility, address all questions as well as assist with documentation, your Chilli Adventures program co-ordinator will conduct a personal interview with you.
  • Entry visa: Chilli Adventures will advise on, assist with the completion of and review your visa application as well as assist you with all supporting documentation needed to submit your visa paperwork to the relevant consulate.  *Note: consulates charge a fee for visa processing.
  • Letter of invitation (if required): This will be provided to you in order to facilitate your visa application.
  • Assistance with your travel arrangements: Chilli Adventures will assist you with your flight bookings to ensure that you get the best possible fares.
  • Pre-departure Orientation Meeting: To ensure that everything has been taken care of, last minute questions are answered so that the transition into your new country goes smoothly.
  • Airport pick up: You’ll be picked up and taken to your accommodation when you arrive  (Thailand only)
  • Accommodation assistance: Help with booking and housing arrangements will be provided upon arrival.
  • Job placement: Your placement at a quality school or college will be organised prior to departure (South Korea and China) or follow TESOL completion (Thailand). Please note that preferred location, whilst taken into consideration, cannot be guaranteed.
  • Visa support: Upon arrival you may need to switch to a work visa once placement is confirmed.  Full assistance will be given in this process by in country agent.
  • 24 Hour emergency support: Help and Advice throughout your stay as well as freephone number for emergencies, day or night.
  • Negotiated salary:  You will earn a full salary as a teacher in line with your teaching position and experience.  See break down for each country.
  • Cultural excursions and welcome dinner (Thailand only): Allowing for emersion into the rich local culture

South Korea / China Only:

  • FREE furnished housing, FREE round-trip airfare, FREE health insurance.  Restrictions may apply.

Additional Costs

In addition to the program fees that you pay to Chilli Adventures, you must also factor in the following * additional costs:

  • Return flight overseas – Approx. R6,500-R9,500
  • Visa processing costs – Approx. R450-R900 (depending on Single or Multiple entry visas)
  • Mandatory medical insurance – chat to Chilli for a competitive quote
  • Spending money for use upon arrival – Minimum. $1300
  • Accommodation costs:  Payable upon arrival depending on country

* Note: Prices may change in line with cooperating agents and / or currency fluctuations.  Please read Program T’s & C’s for full details.

Expected Earnings

The good news is that teaching English in any one of the countries offered allows you to make a good wage relative to the local cost of living.  This allows you a good standard of living with opportunity to either save money or travel extensively during your vacation time.  Plus remember, the increase in your skill base and life experience (and not just your bank balance) is the real winner!

Thailand

  • You will earn between 25,000 – 35,000 Thai Baht per month (R6,750 – R9,400).
  • Some placements offer medical cover

South Korea

  • You will earn between 2,000,000 – 2,500,000 Million South Korean Won (R11,100-R16,650) per month
  • Fully furnished accommodation and flight allowance

 China

  • You will earn between 8,000RMB and 16,000RMB (R10,500-R21,000) per month
  • Some Placements offer medical cover and / or free accommodation and airfare allowance

Cost of Living

You must take sufficient start up funds to at least cover the cost of your accommodation, housing deposits, food and travel until you receive your first pay checque.  Funds required will depend on the destination country and compensation package agreed upon with your prospective employer.  You will be provided with a full outline of costs at your pre-departure orientation meeting and final briefing sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lots of questions buzzing through your head? This may help you out!

Q: Is the Teach English program right for me?

A: If you want to see and experience a new culture, enjoy working with others and have an open mind then Teaching English could be for you.  A degree is not necessarily required depending on the country you are looking to head to (LINK Eligibility)

Q: How safe is it in Thailand?

A: Extremely safe.  Like anywhere it is recommended that you remain alert and keep valuables safe.

Q: What islands placements are there in Thailand?

A: You may be placed in Phuket or Samui however these positions are limited and are rarely the better paid jobs.

Q:  What are the age groups you will be teaching?

A:  Any age from primary school to high school.

Q: Do schools provide lunch?

A: Yes, some do but not all.  This will depend on each individual employer and their policy.

Q: What kind of traveling costs are there on a day to day basis in Thailand?

A: Taxi’s can range from 60-150 Baht for a 15-30 minute trip. Motorbike taxi is roughly 50 baht. Public bus transport in Hua Hin is roughly 20 baht per day.

Q: What would my working hours been and how many days per week will I work?

A:  You’ll work approx. hours per day, but only about 4-5 actual “in class” hours. Monday to Friday is a typical work week.

Q: Are there sports after school that you have to attend or teach?

A: Not so much sports but many schools have concerts, cultural festivals and after school activities every now and again.

Q: After I’ve completed my work contract can I still travel in the country or do I need to leave right away?

A: You can stay as long as you like as long as you maintain a legal visa status.  The good news is that you can extend your contract if you choose.

Q: How long is a working visa valid for?

A: Twelve months but you’ll need to report to immigration every three months.

Q:  What type of visa will I need?

A: In Thailand you’ll start off on a tourist visa, and then convert to a Non Immigrant B.  For both South Korea and China you’ll enter the country on work visas.

Q:  Will I understand the kids that I’m teaching?

A: On the TESOL course you’ll learn the basics of Thai language and commands you would need in the classroom as a teacher.  For the most part though you’ll be speaking English to the kids not Thai.

Q: What is possibility of second job to make more money?

A:  Yes, it is very possible.  You can as much as double your salary if you work additionally in your free time.  Additional work can be negotiated through your employer or done privately.

Q: What is the deal with medical services and insurance?

A: Some schools provide medical insurance.  However you should check on this and purchase travel insurance if it is not included.

Q:  What is telephone and internet connectivity like?

A:  Really good and inexpensive and there are many places to assist you with this process. You should be up and running within the first couple of days.

Q: What is the dress code for teaching?

A: Casual-smart. Typically collar shirts for men and conservative dress for women.

Q:  How difficult is the TESOL course? Is it possible for me to fail it?!

A: It will take some focus and attention but most people do very well.  Instructors are available to help if you are struggling and will spend more time with you to ensure that you pass.

Q: Do schools prefer an online TESOL or in country TESOL?

A: Definitely the in country TESOL.  There are a number of reasons for taking a full TESOL before you begin teaching, even if you already have a degree:

  • Thai culture and Thai lessons
  • Network of friends
  • Closer teacher / trainer relationship
  • Thai children are unique and practical training gives the applicant an opportunity to get to know how to work with Thai students.
  • Volunteering in Thailand with a non-profit English Camp is offered as practical experience on the course and a great way to gain additional skills.It looks great on your teaching CV! It also gives you the confidence to teach to your best ability!

What our fans have to say…

The Teach English program will change your outlook on life!

“Very impressed by the staffs’ capabilities and their professionalism. Everyone was very friendly and willing to help. Impressed”

Thailand is an exciting place to be, it’s filled with different experiences, new food, new people, different cultures and new modes of transport. It is a tad overwhelming at first but that is inevitable with a new travelling experience. I love it!

There is so much more that I still have to see, experience and buy. My story has only begun in Thailand and I am keen to find out how it will all play out! I really enjoyed the orientation week, which encompassed the Thai culture, learning how to cook Pad Thai and visiting the elephant sanctuary that was truly a momentous experience for me.

I loved the team who taught the TESOL, well done Yolinda, Annile, Mike, Jaco and Paang!”   Mamotena Maema

“Thanks a million for preparing me so well for my first teaching job in Thailand. I really enjoyed Paramjot’s [Thai language instructor] Thai language lessons, Mike’s Thai culture presentations and of course, Jaco’s never ending fun in the classroom. What a month! I wish I could do it all over again. Now time to start my new job in the small town of Bang Len, just outside Bangkok!”  Liam Kelly

“Instructors did a great job. Lessons were fun as well as interesting”