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ESOL & CELTA: Teaching English Abroad on your Career Break or Sabbatical « Career Break 360
November 15, 2012 @ 9:02 pm - posted by Liz

 Been made redundant?  
Going no-where in your job?
Not sure what to do next?
Want to take a Career Break and travel the world but not sure how you’ll afford it?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to reevaluate your life and take action.  You only live once therefore you need to enjoy life.

Lizi was made redundant from her highly specialised job and there was no way she was going to find anything similar.  The only thing to do was to take a Career Break and re-train.

But in what?  Teaching English abroad had always appealed to her so she did a CELTA course and embarked on a career as an ESOL English Teacher.

Her first job was in Mexico, but since then she’s worked in Taiwan and Vietnam.

IF you’re thinking about a career break or Sabbatical but not sure if ESOL and CELTA is the right path for you, watch Lizi’s video to find out more about teaching English Abroad on your Sabbatical.  Also check out the other videos from actual teachers beneath this video


1. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) – CELTA Teacher Interview

2. Teaching English in Vietnam, Far East: CELTA TEFL Teacher

3. Teaching English Abroad in Vietnam, Far East – TEFL Teacher Interview

4. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) – CELTA Teacher Interview

This industry loves it’s acronyms, so we’ve done a quick glossary of some of the more used terms.


ESL stands English as a second language
is the use or study of English by speakers with different native languages which is also called ESOL.

ESOL Stands for English for Speakers of Other Languages

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language.  There are many different TEFL course, from 40 hours online through to 120 hours attendance.  The CELTA is the best known qualification in the world.

The Cambridge CELTA is a four week very intensive TEFL course that gives you practical and academic experience as well as a recognised certificate if you pass.  As well as 6 hours teaching practice, you also clock up a lot of hours observing others teaching.  This is a demanding course, therefore the pass rate is much lower than many of the shorter courses.  It was previously known as CTEFLA and the ‘RSA Certificate’

Trinity Cert TESOL
The Trinity Cert TESOL, like the CELTA is a four week very intensive TEFL course that gives you practical and academic experience as well as a recognised certificate if you pass.  Like the CELTA, you will get 6 hours of observed teaching practice and many hours observing others teaching.

Lizi Transcript.

I decided to do my CELTA because I’d been working for the Ministry of Defence in London for about 14 years and I was made redundant in the first lot of redundancies in 2008.  My job was so specialised that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get another job in the MOD or in the Civil Service as a whole.  So I decided I had to do something different and I’d been kicking about the idea of being a CELTA teacher for maybe five or six years, decided it was the perfect opportunity to re-train.

I did my CELTA in Mexico which was lovely. Lots of sun, sea, sand.  Since Mexico I’ve also taught in Taiwan and presently I am teaching in Vietnam.

The best thing about teaching is one that sounds a cliché but it is getting somebody who can’t speak any English and after three, four, five months, being able to have a conversation with them and knowing that partly it’s down to you.  It gives you a real sense of job satisfaction.

One thing I’ve found very frustrating is they don’t acknowledge conditions like ADHD or Dyslexia or Dyspraxia, so you have a child in your class that is clearly struggling and in the UK they would be able to receive help and here, because of the culture, they just tend to just ignore it and think that the child is stupid, and that can be quiet distressing as a teacher.

I miss my friends and I miss my family, but otherwise I don’t regret leaving at all.  I really enjoy what I’m doing.

I would defiantly recommend my friends and family doing something like this.  You get to travel the world and you’ve got a skill that you can use anywhere and I’m just so fortunate to have that and I would say to anybody do your TEFL qualification.  You can go anywhere and get work and well paid work normally as well.  In Taiwan I got to travel all round the country and it was great.  It’s really nice you get to meet local people, you get to see places that you otherwise wouldn’t see and as soon as they know you’re an English teacher they want to come up and start talking to you and practicing their English with you.  Also I have a much better standard of living than I would if I was living back in the UK.  The most frustrating thing is the bureaucracy. If you want anything done it takes forever you need about 20 different types of paper, stamped by 20 different government departments and frequently you do have to pay a bribe.

About Liz

At the age of 39, Liz quit the 'Corporate World', downsized her life and followed her heart. Upon her return she set up CareerBreak360 with Robert to help others achieve their Career Break dreams.

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