5 benefits of choosing a TEFL internship

The TEFL internship is one way that newly qualified teachers can get themselves quickly from graduation to the classroom. Coming in all shapes and sizes, these programs will invariably offer up to six months of experience abroad. They are particularly popular in countries like China and Thailand, where the demand for English language experts is high, but can also be had in South America, Europe and Africa. In this article we’ll take a look at five of the top benefits for teachers who opt to apply for internships, rather than go direct to schools straight away. Enjoy…

TEFL internship
Altea, Spain | © Roger Davies/Flickr

Immersion from the get-go

Whether it’s spitting on the streets of Shanghai or getting used to siesta times in Spain, one of the major aspects of heading elsewhere to TEFL is the culture shock that a new destination brings with it. While that’s not eliminated by taking a planned internship, it’s certainly mitigated. How? Well, most internships will offer some sort of cultural introduction program, which should help you get used to the curious nuances of your adopted home. Some will even offer gratis language courses, so you’ll be able to get to grips with the new lingo and begin to chat with the locals when you’re not on the clock. In short, it’s just a nicer, less-daunting way to touch-down on fresh soil.

You get guaranteed experience

Anyone who’s anyone in the world of TEFL will tell you that there’s one thing that turns the head of prospective employers more than anything else out there: Experience. You might have the beefiest, most amazing qualification you can muster, or have graduated top-of-the-class – a veritable Einstein of the grammar and vocab world – but if you don’t have that hands-on experience of working in the classroom then you still might struggle to nail the top positions. That’s exactly where the benefits of a TEFL internship come in, by offering recent graduates guaranteed teaching experience for up to six months; fully supported and in a tried-and-tested environment. After that you’ll be better armed to approach other positions and have already honed in on the skills you need to develop and what you’re really good at. Nice.

TEFL internship
Koh Samui, Thailand | © Arnie Papp/Flickr

Because it pays

Okay, this one will need a little qualification. Most TEFL internship opportunities with most all TEFL companies will end up costing the participant money (offset on all the awesome experience and support they receive, of course). However, some will offer payment and stipends, financial support with flights, relocation and accommodation, making them virtually as economically viable as a standard teaching position. Take the myTEFL Thailand internship, which pays out almost $1,000 USD per month for the full duration. I’m not sure if you’ve been to the Land of Smiles, but that should be plenty to help you enjoy the shimmering beaches of the Andaman, the hill towns of the north, and the buzzing bars of Bangkok!

TEFL internship
Rainy Night in Thailand | © Kyle Simourd/Flickr

To meet fellow teachers

It can be a daunting business, leaving your home for an all-new destination somewhere halfway across the globe: no one for company; those home comforts far away. A TEFL internship can work to make the landing a little softer, by offering teachers the chance to join a group of people who are all in the same situation before heading away. The upshot is that your TEFL adventure becomes about much more than just a new career direction, but also a way of forging new friendships and finding a little niche of likeminded folk in your adopted home.

To test the waters

If you’ve completed your TEFL qualification (with myTEFL, of course!) but are still unsure if teaching English abroad is going to be the right career direction for you, then a TEFL internship might just be the right option. With the average durations of each program around five to six months, they can be a great way to get a feel for what the profession is like, if you’re naturally suited to a place in a foreign classroom, or even just to try out the destination you had in mind. It may be that you decide TEFL simply isn’t for you (we hope not, but hey, it happens). Or, you might think a different country will be better. And the best case scenario? Well, you fall in love with where you are and stay there, exploring and adventuring forever!

TEFL internship
Teacher | © Julien Harneis/Flickr

If you’ve been on a TEFL internship and have anything to add to this list, or any other thoughts about the programs, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below! Alternatively, you can read more about myTEFL’s own internship programs.

Leave a comment

19 − sixteen =