December 3, 2012 @ 2:31 pm - posted by Liz

So you’re thinking about teaching abroad during your career break but don’t know anyone whose trodden that path or even if you’ll like it?  Check out this video from a REAL teacher talking about his REAL experiences.

Due to the Irish recession, Chris couldn’t find well paid work in his home country, so he decided to do what many Irish have done in the past, and take a sabbatical to work abroad.  But, not as the stereotype low paid Irish manual worker,  but teaching abroad as a well paid ESOL teacher.

Teaching abroad was a great move for Chris as he has a passion for  travelling and loves the English language, so, after he finished his English degree he enrolled on a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) course.

After he qualified he moved to Spain.  While Spanish students have a reputation for being a challenge to teach, Chris loved every moment of it.  After Spain he relocated to the exotic Far East and is currently living and working in.

Chris’ future plans include living and working in South America and Africa.

Want to see more videos from actual English teachers living and working abroad, check out the links underneath this video.

Other Teacher Videos

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

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

3. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) – CELTA 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.

Glossary of 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.

Chris  – Transcript

So I graduated from university; with a degree in English and History and those are two areas that I really love doing but I knew that the career path was probably quiet difficult.  There wasn’t much work out there the economy was just about to collapse in Ireland because of the banking crisis and I didn’t want to go through the path of getting jobs through people you knew and I started, ending up working in bars and working for my parents.  But eventually that was, I knew that wasn’t the career break for me so I did a CELTA course and it, I spent a few months working to save the money, did the four week course in a small school just in the college town where Id been living and the course is quiet tough its four weeks of intensive work and I was working part time to try and pay my way, pay my rent so it was a lot of early mornings, long days in the classrooms and working in the evenings in a bar then trying to do the course work and homework and it felt like I was in school again.


Well to find a job I tried ringing and sending emails and sending letters to Spain because that’s where I wanted to go on my Sabbatical, particularly Seville in the south, and I was having no luck, but I was really fortunate I landed in Spain with no plan.  I had a place to stay because I knew some friends, or friends of friends and they were great, they put me up and I arrived and I was really tired and it’s a new city and I went to bed and I got woke up early the next morning with a phone call, the phone call said would you like, or are you still available to work?  And I said yes, and they said can you come to Spain Its actually my first morning, I’m right here, and they said come, can you be here in half an hour, and that was my first job.


The first time I entered the classroom I felt very nervous, I felt that I was a fraud, that no-one, these children would pull me apart.  Fortunately my first experience, in the work experience was observing the Director of Studies in the school that I was starting with, a class that I was about to take the next day, but they didn’t know that yet, I was just a teacher sitting at the back, and they were a class of 12-13 year old Spanish students and I remember all of them to this day, because the next day I walked in, and  tried everything that I could, that I thought I’d learned before from observing the Director, but it was just a personal relationship that I built up with the kids.  They didn’t know I was inexperienced and I tried my best to hide it, so I don’t know how successful I was but I had a great class and then the scariest moment was directly after that I had to teach a class of teenagers, and these were young 15 year olds, very gregarious, very confident, Spanish teenagers, which, from teachers I know that have taught around the world, there’s something about Spanish teenagers that can be scary.


I don’t think I’ve any regrets of travelling because its something I really wanted to do and I’m hoping that no matter what the future holds this will stay strong for me, this will be an advantage I’ll have or an adventure or memories that I’ve lived on the continent of Europe, that I’ve lived in the Far East and that I’m going to travel, I’m going to South America soon, I’m going to live in Africa, I’m going to live in these amazing places, and I’ll be the person whose lived in these places.


I would recommend doing this as part of, with any of my friends and family, if they find themselves not knowing what to do next or wanting to see or wanting to be challenged, wanting an adventure, wanting to do something different, do a CELTA course, do the training, do the four week one because It’s the best insight into a classroom you can possibly get from a short course.


Those moments when you think what the hell have I done have happened but they’ve been brief and fleeting.  I think, in Vietnam I think its happened maybe once or twice when I first arrived when your making friends and your trying to find a place to live and your trying to deal with the traffic, the food and the language.  When things have happened, that have made me have to go home in a hurray and that has been a rush I’ve cursed and hated being so far away from home with family, people I’ve love when they need me.  I’ve had to get on a few planes to take me home for funerals that have made me really sad.


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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