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What will an English degree get you overseas?

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What will an English degree get you overseas?

Postby Benj » March 5th, 2011, 11:36 pm

I'm going back to college to finish up an English degree. Possible even finish up a minor in writing. I was wondering what kinds of jobs that will get someone overseas. Also, where do you apply for jobs overseas?
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Postby Grunt » March 5th, 2011, 11:43 pm

An ESL job that will most likely pay reasonably well and get you out of the cubicle hell that is corporate America.

Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit if you have an actually degree in English as it is your ticket to ride anywhere in the world.

If you need further clarification on this topic, feel free to ask as I have researched it at some length.
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Postby The_Hero_of_Men » March 5th, 2011, 11:47 pm

Grunt wrote:An ESL job that will most likely pay reasonably well and get you out of the cubicle hell that is corporate America.

Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit if you have an actually degree in English as it is your ticket to ride anywhere in the world.

If you need further clarification on this topic, feel free to ask as I have researched it at some length.



I also want to get my TEFL/TOEFL certificate one of these days. Would I be able to get it if I am currently in college (I attend a 2 year school)?
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Postby Grunt » March 5th, 2011, 11:54 pm

You can get them online lol! EDIT: the primary factor here is NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER! The ESL cert is just icing on the cake.
Last edited by Grunt on March 5th, 2011, 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Benj » March 5th, 2011, 11:55 pm

Grunt wrote:An ESL job that will most likely pay reasonably well and get you out of the cubicle hell that is corporate America.

Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit if you have an actually degree in English as it is your ticket to ride anywhere in the world.

If you need further clarification on this topic, feel free to ask as I have researched it at some length.


I would like to know more about ESL jobs. I don't see myself as much of a teacher, but that seems to be where the English degree heads.

I just want to get a job in an area that will provide me with a great social life, as well as allow me to earn money to pay off my student loans.
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Postby Grunt » March 5th, 2011, 11:56 pm

I would not really consider overseas ESL as "teaching". More like day care.
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Postby Benj » March 6th, 2011, 12:05 am

Good point.
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Postby Jackal » March 6th, 2011, 12:54 am

Grunt wrote:I would not really consider overseas ESL as "teaching". More like day care.

Perhaps it's like that in some countries, but I wouldn't generalize. I do real teaching in my ESL classes. Europeans are especially serious about education.

Most people think, "Oh, teaching English to foreigners is easy: you just walk in, smile, chat a bit, and everything will work out okay," but the reality is that it's often much tougher than that. You need to be professional and prepared if you want to do this over the long term, and you need to be able to hold the interest of your students or else you'll just wish that you could crawl under a rock and die everyday. A lot of people just teach English abroad for one semester or one year and then decide that it's not for them because either 1) they are uncomfortable being away from their native culture for so long and can't adapt or 2) they don't want to have to talk in front of dozens of foreign students each day.

While it doesn't require much intellect to teach ESL, it does require a strong will, creativity, and public speaking skills.

Benj wrote:I just want to get a job in an area that will provide me with a great social life, as well as allow me to earn money to pay off my student loans.

Teaching ESL in most countries doesn't pay very much, so you might not be able to pay off your student loans if you have large monthly payments. But I think ESL teachers make the most in South Korea and the Arab countries.

A teaching job is also no guarantee of a great social life. You might teach at a school where only a few of the other teachers speak English and the other teachers might very well be too busy with their own lives to do much with you. Also, the other teachers won't necessarily be young women. They might be old women.

You can certainly have a good social life as an ESL teacher, but there's no guarantee. You have to put in the effort yourself usually.
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Postby Think Different » March 6th, 2011, 1:29 am

Jackal wrote:
Grunt wrote:I would not really consider overseas ESL as "teaching". More like day care.

Perhaps it's like that in some countries, but I wouldn't generalize. I do real teaching in my ESL classes. Europeans are especially serious about education.

Most people think, "Oh, teaching English to foreigners is easy: you just walk in, smile, chat a bit, and everything will work out okay," but the reality is that it's often much tougher than that. You need to be professional and prepared if you want to do this over the long term, and you need to be able to hold the interest of your students or else you'll just wish that you could crawl under a rock and die everyday. A lot of people just teach English abroad for one semester or one year and then decide that it's not for them because either 1) they are uncomfortable being away from their native culture for so long and can't adapt or 2) they don't want to have to talk in front of dozens of foreign students each day.

While it doesn't require much intellect to teach ESL, it does require a strong will, creativity, and public speaking skills.

Benj wrote:I just want to get a job in an area that will provide me with a great social life, as well as allow me to earn money to pay off my student loans.

Teaching ESL in most countries doesn't pay very much, so you might not be able to pay off your student loans if you have large monthly payments. But I think ESL teachers make the most in South Korea and the Arab countries.

A teaching job is also no guarantee of a great social life. You might teach at a school where only a few of the other teachers speak English and the other teachers might very well be too busy with their own lives to do much with you. Also, the other teachers won't necessarily be young women. They might be old women.

You can certainly have a good social life as an ESL teacher, but there's no guarantee. You have to put in the effort yourself usually.


Be prepared in some European countries for snobs, who will tell YOU, the native speaker, that you don't speak "correct" English, even though they themselves are not good English speakers. For example, I had one bitchy Czech woman argue with me that the "proper" way to pronounce the word "sweater" is "sweeter". I know she assumed this, because the Czech word for it is "sviter", an obvious cognate, but gimme a break! Oh, and get used to the crap about American English not being "correct" English. To some folks, only the King's English is acceptable. Like I said, snobs....
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Postby globetrotter » March 6th, 2011, 6:48 am

With an English degree you can get a job in most nations and emigrate and find work.

Obviously teaching ESL would be top on the list, also teaching at university in Mexico or South America is doable.
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Postby globetrotter » March 6th, 2011, 6:53 am

Jackal wrote:Teaching ESL in most countries doesn't pay very much, so you might not be able to pay off your student loans if you have large monthly payments. But I think ESL teachers make the most in South Korea and the Arab countries.

A teaching job is also no guarantee of a great social life. You might teach at a school where only a few of the other teachers speak English and the other teachers might very well be too busy with their own lives to do much with you. Also, the other teachers won't necessarily be young women. They might be old women.

You can certainly have a good social life as an ESL teacher, but there's no guarantee. You have to put in the effort yourself usually.


Who cares about the other teachers?

He can socialize with the locals.

His salary to cost of living ratio will be very favorable in Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and all Middle Eastern nations. If he goes in to the Uni tract he can earn $2,000 a month USD equivalent in Mexico or South America. ESL only in MX and SA is a low paying job, Thailand does not pay well either.
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Postby globetrotter » March 6th, 2011, 6:56 am

Grunt wrote:You can get them online lol! EDIT: the primary factor here is NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER! The ESL cert is just icing on the cake.


Native Speaker from the list of nations they approve of.
4-yr degree, BA better, English and/or TEFL best
CELTA certificate

Most applicants I see recently have a degree and a CELTA here in China.
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Postby Jackal » March 6th, 2011, 2:40 pm

globetrotter wrote:Who cares about the other teachers?

He can socialize with the locals.

Yes, I agree. But to me, it sounded like he expected some guarantee of a social life from the job itself, and my point is that that doesn't always happen.

Some guys come to this forum and then get upset when we tell them that there isn't a 100 percent chance of success when going overseas. They then get angry and have no desire to go because they were only willing to leave for a perfect situation, but the reality is that there is no perfect situation.

RedDog wrote:Be prepared in some European countries for snobs, who will tell YOU, the native speaker, that you don't speak "correct" English, even though they themselves are not good English speakers.

Yes, that happens sometimes, but this also varies, so one should refrain from making sweeping generalizations based upon only one or two experiences. Different schools feel differently about American English. At the school where I currently teach, they have an American civilization course and a teacher who specializes in American English, so the other teachers don't have a problem with American English there.

It is a fact, however, that the best ESL textbooks currently come from England, so this can sometimes be a little bit awkward for an American. Also, mainland Europe is much closer to England than to America, so it's understandable that they emphasize British English in their curriculums more.
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Postby Benj » March 6th, 2011, 9:28 pm

Jackal wrote:
globetrotter wrote:Who cares about the other teachers?

He can socialize with the locals.

Yes, I agree. But to me, it sounded like he expected some guarantee of a social life from the job itself, and my point is that that doesn't always happen.

Some guys come to this forum and then get upset when we tell them that there isn't a 100 percent chance of success when going overseas. They then get angry and have no desire to go because they were only willing to leave for a perfect situation, but the reality is that there is no perfect situation.

RedDog wrote:Be prepared in some European countries for snobs, who will tell YOU, the native speaker, that you don't speak "correct" English, even though they themselves are not good English speakers.

Yes, that happens sometimes, but this also varies, so one should refrain from making sweeping generalizations based upon only one or two experiences. Different schools feel differently about American English. At the school where I currently teach, they have an American civilization course and a teacher who specializes in American English, so the other teachers don't have a problem with American English there.

It is a fact, however, that the best ESL textbooks currently come from England, so this can sometimes be a little bit awkward for an American. Also, mainland Europe is much closer to England than to America, so it's understandable that they emphasize British English in their curriculums more.


You are correct in seeing that I would like a social life derived from both a job and the locals. And I'm always interested in what the education systems in various countries think of us Americans.

However, I'm thinking more of immigrating to Europe, than anywhere else. I don't expect life to be perfect. After all, isn't America supposed to be the most perfect country in the world :?: :?

However, I kind of suck talking in front of classrooms of people. I'm wondering if there are other areas that an English degree could come in handy? At the very least, can it provide a foot in the door towards other profession?

As far as snobs go, most people overseas come to my home state of Wisconsin to speak "proper" American English. Or, that's the impression at least. I guess I would have to educate any snob on that fact.
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Postby globetrotter » March 6th, 2011, 11:04 pm

Benj wrote:However, I kind of suck talking in front of classrooms of people. I'm wondering if there are other areas that an English degree could come in handy? At the very least, can it provide a foot in the door towards other profession?

As far as snobs go, most people overseas come to my home state of Wisconsin to speak "proper" American English. Or, that's the impression at least. I guess I would have to educate any snob on that fact.


They won't notice if you teach in Asia or South America.

American Standard English is spoken in Iowa, Northern Missouri, and Eastern Nebraska, but Wisconsin is close enough.

The Pacific Northwest has a reputation within the USA as having a "non-accent" and often is the source of call centers or hires for recording voice messages for computer systems, PSB's, etc.
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