Travel, Teach and Make Money, Is It Possible?

Published May 28, 2019

You’ve heard the stories of people taking off to teach English in Japan, or Italy without any prior teaching experience. You can do it too, in fact, you can make money teaching English just about anywhere. Here’s what you need to know about this mystical lifestyle of earning a living while traveling and teaching.

It’s All About Giving an Education

These programs seem like heaven for anyone who wants to travel, but you do need an interest in teaching. If you hate the idea of teaching, you’ll start to hate the travel that comes with it. Fortunately, you can disregard any horror stories you’ve heard from your friends that are teachers. The kids in foreign countries where you could be teaching often have a deep-set desire to learn. In many countries children that don’t want to attend school, don’t go. In the countries where children are expected to attend, foreign languages are often reserved for older classrooms. Either way, you should want to teach as much as your student’s want to learn, or more.

Personal Health Concerns

Yes, you should speak with your doctor before you accept any job abroad. You can plan out which country would require fewer vaccines, and which may have lesser risk. If you’re ready to accept a job, and only need to schedule a check-up and the necessary vaccines, make your doctor’s appointment. Seeing your physician, or a general practitioner over going to a vaccine clinic can help you resolve a lot of outstanding questions. Questions about the risk of exposure to new illnesses or whether to drink bottled water exclusively are all things that your doctor can address.


Do you need certification? No. Should you get one? Yes. The proper certification, accepted by the more competitive programs, is the “Teaching English as a Foreign Language” certification. Often abbreviated as TEFL, this certification will gain you access to the better-paying teaching jobs.

Find a Program That Works for You

If your dream is to travel to China, don’t accept a position with a program that is going to send you to Japan. It’s not “close enough,” and the promise that you’ll be able to go to your dream destination later can’t be guaranteed. You should also look for a program that gives you flexibility. Once you have your certification, you can also teach online. Some programs allow you to teach English as a foreign language online outside of your program obligations to make money on the side.

Get Help from Government Programs

Many governments are happy to have English speaking natives in their classrooms. English is a complex language that seems so natural to English speakers until they start to teach it. So often, people who have English as their second or third language can’t teach it effectively. Countries including Japan, Chile, France, and China have programs to help support putting native English speakers into their classrooms. Additionally, these programs often offer more help to those who are working in areas that need it most.

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