Head Overseas! Resources for Prospective ESL Teachers

After obtaining degrees in English Literature and English Secondary Education, Sean Lords packed up his bags and left to Seoul, South Korea where he lived for three years teaching English abroad. Sean has since returned to the States and is currently at work on his Master’s degree.

Perhaps you’ve spent a few months becoming increasingly disheartened with the state of the US economy and the only thing that expensive degree you poured your soul into for four years is getting you is additional layers of dust has it lays unused.  If this describes you, don’t feel alone.  Almost 80% of college grads are unable to find work in their field for up to the first year after the completion of their program.  While there is no immediate answer to this conundrum there are a few things you can do in the meantime while we all wait for the unemployment rate to fall and the economy to grow.

Each year, more and more college graduates are turning their attention overseas to see what the ESL job market can offer them.  Many of these jobs offer great ways to not only bolster a resume and give some great real world experience, they’re also excellent for paying down that student or personal loans.  Below are some of the top resources for prospective ESL teachers in their quest to find work overseas.

Dave’s ESL Café

Dave’s ESL Café is probably the Mecca of job postings related to teaching English overseas.  The site has countless jobs posted to its board each day from recruiters and schools all over the world.

Dave’s ESL Cade doesn’t stop there either.  The site also offers quite the comprehensive resource database for everything related to a teacher’s life while overseas.  From forums helping you to program your heating to information on how to properly file your taxes the data found here is top-notch.

Prospective teachers should head on over to the site and take a look at the side bar on the left side of the screen.  Here you will find several searchable tabs advertising jobs in Korea, China and other locales.

The website has come under a bit of fire for some of the behavior of the individuals who post on the forums.  Avoid this trap by just getting the information you need rather than starting a new thread.  Chances are, the question you will ask has been answered somewhere else.

Go Abroad

Coming up just behind the monolith that is Dave’s ESL Café is GoAbroad.  Go Abroad is approaching its 15 year anniversary for placing teachers in ESL classrooms as well as students in a number of volunteer positions across the globe.

Their site is easily navigable with all of the information you need right at the top.  From the landing page you will be able to click around between

  • Study abroad positions
  • Volunteer abroad positions
  • Internships abroad
  • Teaching jobs overseas
  • TEFL certification help

For teachers, simply click the “teach abroad” tab at the top of the screen and then choose which countries you are interested in.  From there, you will be presented with a list of the available positions for that country.  You will see things like salary, length of stay and any other relevant information related to housing or other allowances.

Go Abroad also features a great blog with commentary from teachers how have come and returned from their teaching jobs overseas as well as a collection of other bloggers who offer great insights into lesson planning and tips on getting through those first few days on new soil.

Footprints Recruiting

Footprints is set up much the same way as Go Abroad but offers a lot more in the way of teacher preparation.

In addition to finding the regular job postings like you will on other sites, Footprints also has a huge amount of resources for first time teachers.  From lessons planning tips and tricks to a forum type environment where you can engage with other teachers and collaborate on projects as well as what has worked for them and what might work for you.


Depending on which location you are interested in, you may need to become TEFL or TESOL certified.  This certification is a certificate that shows you took and completed a course on teaching English as a foreign language.  There are a variety of ways you can take this course from over the internet to an actual classroom environment.  Depending on your area you may be limited to one or the other.  The following are some of the nest TEFL certification names in the business.