Four Steps to Working Abroad After University - Starting in Devon
Whether it’s a gap year or permanent career, here’s why Torbay, in Devon, is the best launch pad into teaching and working abroad after university
You’ve just finished uni, and you’re still stuck in that strange teenager-to-adulthood phase where you know you should be starting your career, but something tells you that you’re not quite ready.
It doesn’t feel time to sow your wild oats and settle down into the nine-to-five routine. A few years of study under your belt, and you’re keen to see the world – but don’t want to fall behind (both career- and money-wise) your fellow alumni.
Well, what if I were to tell you that there is a way that you can build on your C.V, travel the globe and make some extra cash while you do it?
Sure – we’ve all heard of the post-uni gap year teaching abroad, but with better training and a bigger industry, English teaching is becoming way more lucrative and fulfilling for those who pursue it.
Whether it’s for a few years or a lifetime, here’s how to get trained up and gather some experience in Devon, before you take off to take on the world.
Step 1: Get qualified as an English teacher in Devon
If you’ve just finished a Bachelor’s degree, you’re already at an advantage when it comes to employability in the English teaching world.
Whether it’s in medicine or politics, having a tertiary education to your name proves that you’re able to handle a lot of the on-the-job learning that English teaching brings.
But that’s not all you’ll need. Most English language academies will also require some sort of TEFL – that’s Teaching English as a Foreign Language to the uninitiated – certificate, the most well-known and respected of which are the University of Cambridge CELTA, and Trinity Cert TESOL.
“While it is possible to get work as an English teacher abroad without a CELTA, it is harder to guarantee you can get work in a good school or for decent pay and conditions,” says Amanda Edwards, English teacher trainer in Torbay.
Lucky for your weary brain, getting one of these certificates is just an extra four weeks of study (which equates to relatively nothing after the years you’ve already put into your degree!).
In Devon, the hotspot for English teacher training is in Torbay, on the English Riviera, a laid-back coastal area made famous by Brit band Metronomy’s album of the same name. You could spend a month in Torbay to take the course, or commute there easily from wherever in Devon you’re based.
How to get to Torbay from:
From Exeter, you can take the GWR train from St David’s or St Thomas’ stations, and it’ll take you straight to Paignton in little under an hour. For those of you who own a set of wheels, a car trip to the English teacher training centre will take around 30 minutes.
Take the train from Plymouth station and hop off at Newton Abbott. From there, it’s just a quick change onto a Paignton-bound train and you’ll be at the training centre in about an hour. Otherwise, it’s just a 40-minute drive from Drake Circus or 50 minutes from Derriford road.
From Totnes it’s fairly quick and easy to get down to the coast in Torbay. While the train’s a bit of a hassle (you’ll have to change up in Newton Abbott), the 404 National Express will get you there in 10 minutes and set you back less than a couple of quid.
Step 2: Get experience in English teaching in Devon
One of the best things about getting qualified as an English teacher in Devon is that there’s no shortage of places to gain experience afterwards.
Going straight into teaching once you finish your course is not only a great way to find your feet, it also bulks up your C.V for when you go job hunting abroad later on.
The South West is a hotbed for summer camps and immersion courses for English learners from across Europe, who come for the coast, the weather, and, of course, the brilliant teachers.
“The summer and holiday seasons are most popular for visitors so there is a good amount of seasonal work,” says Edwards, “This often leads to more long term work and more opportunities.”
Most Devon-based companies usually start hiring their teachers from early April right up until late May, and most will only accept those who’ve got a good certificate under their belt.
Step 3: Finding English teaching work abroad
Whether you’re looking for a long-term arrangement, or are content with just a post-uni gap year, with the right qualifications and a little bit of experience, you can work and live virtually anywhere.
“My future plans are to work in Torbay for the upcoming summer season and to then work in Australia in 2017”, says Stephanie Crewes, former Cardiff University student.
The job market in Europe is especially booming, with hiring season normally starting towards the end of summer.
While the teacher training centre in Torbay has a lot of contacts both in and outside of the UK, the best place to begin your job hunt is online. Make sure your C.V is up to scratch with all your qualifications and experience, and get ready for a whole lot of Skype interviews.
Step 4: Let English teaching benefit your future career
Think teaching English abroad is just a semi-sabbatical between university studies and the real world? Think again.
English teaching adds a whole host of new skills to your repertoire, and looks pretty good on your sparkling CV when you hand it to potential employers.
First and foremost, it takes a pretty gallant sort of person to be able to up and move overseas. If you’re teaching abroad, that shows independence, initiative, and patience in the face of often rusty bureaucracy.
Plus, there’s the added benefit of brushing up your public speaking skills, thinking on your feet, implementing techniques and strategies, and maybe even learning another language.
While a lot of people will normally teach for a few years before moving onto their university degree-related field, some find that the industry is actually their ideal career niche.
There’s a lot more to English teaching than just English teaching: you could become a director of studies, write course books, speak at conferences, travel the world as a CELTA course assessor for the University of Cambridge, or even open up your own school.
For most of these more advanced ELT jobs, you’ll need a little bit more training behind you.
For teachers looking to further their careers, there are a number of Masters degrees available, as well as the highly sought-after Delta.
It’s a University of Cambridge diploma, known to be a ‘step above’ the CELTA, and it’s also available to study in Torbay.
“The Delta is usually required for the position of Director of Studies and training posts and is a useful qualification to advance both knowledge and career,” says Edwards, who took both her CELTA and Delta courses at the Torbay centre.
How to begin your English teaching adventure – starting in Devon
If you’re now convinced that teaching abroad is the perfect post-uni avenue, you’re in luck! Get in touch with us and we’ll help you through the whole process – from applying for a course, getting trained, and finding work at the end of it.