Is it worth paying fees to teach English abroad?

Good question! My short answer is to first assess the student’s tolerance for risk. 

  1. If your student has a high level of risk tolerance, than they can make direct contact with overseas employers online or they can get on a plane and find a job when they arrive at their destination abroad. It is easy to find a job teaching English overseas (except in English-speaking or Western European countries.)
  2. If the student wants to have a less risky adventure (and many students can’t tolerate a lot of risks), then it is far better to go with an organization such as Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). They generally provide good value for your money and, most importantly, security and a verifiable track record. 

In short, when it comes to teaching abroad programs, you are often paying for the certainty of having a specific type of experience. There are many options to earn money teaching English, but the programs may be less structured, and the student might have to set up his own accommodation. Remember, there are over a billion people in the world who want to learn English, and teaching is one of the easiest ways to go abroad (and earn money). Check out Top Tips and Student Quotes: Teach English Abroad and  Top Tips: Teaching Abroad As a Licensed Teacher (for registered users) as well. 

All the best,

P.S. Check out this Quick Guide: Teaching English Overseas: A Stepping Stone To International Careers .


Full question: 

I am a college career counselor and I have a senior who wants to teach English in China. He has asked if there are any reputable programs out there that do not charge hundreds of dollars in program fees. I have no experience with teaching abroad, and would like to be able to steer him in the right direction  Does anyone out there recommend biting the bullet and paying the fee to gain the support of a program like the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) or Chinese Culture Center? Or is okay to go it alone and apply for teaching jobs through job boards?

-Grace, 45, Alamosa, Colorado