We know what you’re thinking: “If I invest time and money in getting TEFL certified, that means I have to go abroad to make it worth it.” While a TEFL certification can unlock endless ways to travel, we understand that not everyone is ready to pack up and ship out right after completion.
If your readiness (or lack thereof) deters you from getting TEFL certified, we have one piece of advice: don’t let it. Of course you should get as much out of your certification as possible, but that doesn’t mean that you have to move abroad right away.
There are as many opportunities to use your TEFL certification at home as there are countries in this world! In fact, people who are qualified to teach English as a foreign language are needed on domestic soil now more than ever. Across the country, TEFL teachers bridge cultural divides between Americans and immigrants and help to foster more tolerant and harmonious intercultural relationships. In light of today’s political climate, it is up to the public sphere to achieve these goals.
So how can you use TEFL to contribute to society and without going overseas? Here are 5 ways to use your certification on your home turf:
1. Assist English programs at your university. There are thousands of non-English speaking students on campuses across the country looking to improve their language skills. You can use your TEFL certification as a student volunteer or a paid teaching assistant, which could help you pay your way through school!
2. Teach at an English literacy program, school, or summer camp. You know what they say: just because you speak English doesn’t mean you know how to teach it. All of these types of programs constantly seek paid workers and volunteers to help foreigners improve their English. Your TEFL skills are invaluable in these specialized classrooms!
3. Teach English online. Online English programs are more popular now than ever. Teaching through an online platform can help you to experience a country from the comfort of your own home. You’ll still get to connect with locals and learn what life is like through their eyes, all while helping them in a big way (and making some cash!).
4. Utilize your cultural competence in any profession. It is no secret that international experience gives you an edge in the job field. They respect and seek out people who are interculturally competent in order to promote innovation and better interpersonal relations in the workplace. In an ever-globalizing world, being able to work with people from all walks of life is a must!
5. Host international exchange students or work for an inbound exchange program. Living with a TEFL-certified host is a HUGE bonus in any exchange experience. While most host families help with English, they don’t necessarily know how to teach it. Plus, if you’re not ready to move abroad, hosting foreigners or working for an inbound exchange program brings the country to you! This can also be a great source of supplemental income.
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Just like that, we’ve eliminated all excuses to not get TEFL certified even if you're reluctant about moving abroad. Whether you’re not ready to live in a foreign country, haven’t saved enough money, or simply don’t want to uproot your life in the U.S., rest assured that there is ample opportunity to use your TEFL Certification right here at home. You can make a full-time career out of teaching English in the U.S. or use it to earn some money on the side.
Remember, your contributions in your home country are just as valuable as the ones you make abroad. We need you now more than ever, TEFL teachers! Help your country to create a more tolerant, accepting, and culturally competent world.