GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - School's out forever and you've had your leavers' party.
Indeed. There are many more young people than you think that don't know exactly what they want to do with their lives after school. Not everyone has their study plans and preferred profession precisely mapped out for them.
If you're one of those who are not quite sure how you'd like to see your world unfolding after school, you probably fall into one or a combination of the following:
- You might simply feel like a total break from everything, including thinking and planning after slogging away at school before you embark on a career. (School with its multi-layered challenges can take it out of you.)
- You yearn for adventure and have an urge to see the great wide world out there after the relatively confined regulatory parameters of secondary schooling.
- Maybe you don't quite know which career you wish to follow yet and primarily need a period of free contemplation to weigh up the odds after being taught how and what to think for the past five years.
- Or perhaps you want to have a gap year to do all of the above, but you can't afford to not earn anything for so long or you need the funds to travel abroad.
In this case, first prize would be to find a relatively easy job that's quick to qualify for, that offers ample opportunity to travel overseas, meet lots of new people, acquire first-hand knowledge about other cultures, expand your mind and get paid well in foreign currency.
There's a limited number of options that tick all these boxes. One of them is TEFL (acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and its offshoot Tesol (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages). As the names suggest, the courses are especially geared to teaching people abroad who do not speak English as a first language.
Once you have the TEFL/Tesol certificate you can teach English anywhere in the world with the help of the International TEFL community, which functions as a massive global family. It's a great way to travel to your dream destinations and earn money at the same time. And even if you don't, you can do worse than learning how to communicate better in English for any job application.
Depending on the level of qualification you want to have for TEFL, the courses range from four weeks to three months and vary from full-time at campus, to part-time with a one-week practical, to a purely online module combined with practical training for people who prefer to teach English from home (which can be done from any destination on earth).
Although several countries also require a tertiary degree to teach abroad, there are others that don't, especially in Asia.
"Depending on their qualifications, most of our graduates are teaching in Asia with some in Europe, the Middle East and even elsewhere in Africa," says Knysna TEFL school CEO Michiel Coetzee. "Asia has become one of the most popular destinations for TEFL teaching as it offers high salaries, mostly free accommodation, culture diversity, exquisite food, low living costs and study opportunities. Vietnam, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Laos and many more islands in the region make Asia the ideal place to teach English and travel to a magnitude of places."
China is one of the most sought-after teaching destinations for the good salaries and exotic culture, diverse foods, and natural beauty. Travelling around China to dream destinations on school breaks is also very affordable.
Given this and the salaries on offer, many teachers with bachelor's degrees plus TEFL save enough money to buy a car, a small apartment or put down a large deposit on a house on return to their countries of origin.
An added advantage is that TEFL Teacher Placements forms part of the Knysna English School service, so you're not left to your own devices after qualifying. TEFL Teacher Placements is a professional recruitment agency that guides the placement of qualified TEFL teachers in overseas countries. Because the demand to teach in Asia is so high due to the safety, high income and low living costs, this division has branch offices in China and Vietnam.
Apart from advice and guidance on living and travelling abroad, qualified TEFL teachers are also assisted with applying for and requiring visas, document certification (including apostilising and notarising), medical reports (including advice on medical insurance and cover), CV assistance (as well as help with cover letters, mock interviews and introduction videos), how to obtain a sim card, phone apps and VPN information, opening a bank account overseas and dealing with money transfers, advice on apartments and related contracts (or any other contracts).
The Knysna TEFL school will ensure that your flight is tracked, you arrive safely at your destination and are picked up from the airport or train station on your arrival, armed with a Free Living guide containing hundreds of tips from teachers living abroad.
Knysna English School also does group bookings and offers a variety of accommodation options for Edu-travel student groups who want to improve their English proficiency. It compiles packages that will suit your budget, including home stays with carefully selected families. The school also hosts a variety of social programmes showcasing what Knysna and the Garden Route have to offer, with a range of activities that suit all budgets and interests.
If you just need to jack up your English to ensure entry into the job market, Knysna English School is also for you. They offer a variety of English courses that will ensure that your command of English and communication skills are up to par and don't hold you back.
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