4 Top Teaching Abroad Opportunities for Recent Graduates

Having a hard time breaking into the workforce after graduation? Gain life experience and spice up your resume with a work abroad teaching opportunity. Teaching is an invaluable skill, which is further enriched by living in another country. Apart from becoming an educator, you can consider yourself an improviser, flexible thinker and cross-cultural communicator after your stint with one of these programs.

Here are the four most reputable organizations providing teaching abroad opportunities for recent American grads:

  1. CIEE Teach Abroad
  2. The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) seeks to promote global understanding and skill development for a diverse world. Their Teach Abroad program can set you up with a salaried placement in Chile, China, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Spain, Thailand or Vietnam.

    Programs for each location vary widely in their requirements, monthly stipend, location, pre-departure language requirements, students and hours of work required. Some programs even include regular language classes in the host country or allow you to secure Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification before departure. Prices range from $1,500 to $4,100 depending on time abroad and the specific program. All programs include an onsite orientation, insurance, TEFL classes, access to staff, housing for at least the beginning of the program and a sufficient salary for living expenses.

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  3. JET Program
  4. Sponsored by the Japanese government, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program aims to promote international exchange, improve English education in Japan and foster connections between youth in Japan and around the world. The JET program is the world’s largest teaching exchange program, sending over 2,000 participants each year since the 90s. The core of the program hires Assistant Language Teachers who are designated to schools in one of 18 cities in Japan. Program participants are paid around $45,000 a year.

    There are also two lesser-known JET opportunities as Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) and Sports Exchange Advisors (SEAs). CIRs work with local government offices or related organizations and need an advanced level of Japanese language ability. SEAs assist with sports training and plan sports activities. To be chosen as an SEA, you need to excel in a certain sport, have coaching training and obtain a recommendation from the National Olympic Committee (NOC) or a government organization.

  5. WorldTeach
  6. WorldTeach was founded by Harvard students in the 80s and continues to be based at Harvard University. Its mission is to meet the educational needs of developing countries while fostering global citizens. Yearlong and semester-long participants require a Bachelor’s degree. Most placements involve teaching English, but you may also find yourself teaching math, science, information technology or HIV/AIDS education, among other subjects, depending on the country.

    Program prices range from $4,000 to $6,000 with fully-funded and subsidized opportunities only requiring a deposit ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 that’s refunded to you after the work abroad experience. These programs involve a modest living allowance and if you’re assigned to a host family, you will also be provided with meals. Prices include lodging, orientation, full-time staff, emergency support and health insurance.

  7. Colorado China Council
  8. Interested in teaching at a Chinese university? All you need is a Bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA, a couple of strong recommendation letters and TEFL certification, which you can easily get online. You usually only teach classes for 14 to 20 hours per week, but you’ll need to design your own lesson plans, including homework for your university students. Class subjects can range from American literature, history and culture to business, economics and law for those qualified.

    The program fee ranges from $2,650 to $3,550, which includes a summer training session in Shanghai. You’ll be paid a monthly stipend of $500 to $1500, which will leave you with enough extra cash to travel around China during your spare time. Apart from the yearlong support that the program provides, your university will also reimburse your airfare and make sure you have free housing, a month-long paid vacation and basic medical insurance.

Can you recommend another teaching abroad opportunity? If you’ve tried one of these programs, how did you find it?

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  1. Vinny T
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I’d recommend teaching abroad to anyone who wants to gain valuable experience and who’s in search of adventure. I’m somewhat suspicious abut programs where you have to pay for the opportunity to teach abroad. For my part, I’d start with the JET program that, I think, doesn’t force you to put money up front. Thank you Samantha for another informative post.

  2. Samantha Bangayan
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your comment, Vinny! =) The JET program is a special one where the Japanese government provides tons of support. The other programs are still reputable ones and you pay for the security, administration and experience. =)

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