Lea Botha

Graduation is possibly one of the most exciting times in a student’s life. It marks the end of a period of hard work and the beginning of an exciting new phase. Most students decide to look for a job, start a career in their chosen field of study and settle down into a working lifestyle. It is, however, becoming more popular for students to choose to take a gap year after their degrees. Not only is it a great way to save money to pay off any remaining student loans, it is also a great way to travel and gain life experience before settling down. Teaching English is still the most popular choice amongst graduates due to the opportunity to work almost anywhere in the world. According to the international TEFL academy, there are thousands of opportunities for certified English teachers to teach abroad. It pays well and offers exceptional benefits. China remains one of the most popular countries that students flock towards.

Its vibrant culture and excellent work environment makes it an optimal country to work in. Cities such as Shanghai offer a unique balance between traditional eastern culture and modern life. Another modern city is Beijing which is home to the Forbidden City. Xi’an is a more traditional city while still offering a wide variety of job opportunities for aspiring English teachers. Almost 300 million Chinese citizens take English classes every year which makes it one of the best job markets for teaching English abroad.

Some of the highlights of teaching English in china include free housing and free or reimbursed airfare. Similarly to China, Japan creates a stimulating work environment for many foreign teachers. Japan is also home to a culture that places great importance on teaching and teachers. It is because of this culture that teachers are expected to have a four yearfour-year degree and to be trained by a certified academy if their degree is not in English or teaching. Medieval cities such a Kyoto create a beautiful atmosphere that many teachers enjoy. Marvels such as Mount Fuji are also an attraction for those seeking employment in Japan. One of the greatest benefits of working in Japan is the possibility to be hired from home so that you have a job before you depart.

The gulf Arab states are also a popular destination for graduates seeking job opportunities. English has become one of the most sought-after languages which has caused the Persian Gulf to invest billions of dollars into their educational system. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many job opportunities for The gap year opportunities after your degree teachers in the Persian Gulf region as there are in Asia but it still offers an attractive salary and benefits to those who are hired. The job market can also be very competitive due to the limited opportunities which is why a masters or a professional background is needed for many positions.

Benefits of working in this area may include free health insurance, flights to your home country and furnished housing. It is also quite easy to gain access to Europe, Africa and South Asia from this area which creates many opportunities for travel and exploration. Teachers can also increase their salary by teaching English online. Certain academy’s such as TEFL allows certified teachers to work online from almost anywhere in the world. This option allows for flexible hours and excellent pay without leaving the comfort of your home. If teaching is not quite what you are looking for, there are many other job opportunities overseas.

For example, many countries such as Spain or Australia are always looking for seasonal, temporary employers and usually hire during harvest season. This is a great option for graduates who are planning to take a few months off before settling into their new careers. Companies such as Wine industry jobs, JobMonkey and WWOOF are more than happy to help those looking for jobs as winemakers. Another option is to apply to become part of hostel staff. Hostels are always in need of friendly English speaking employees who are willing to lend a hand especially during vacation season. Graduates can also apply to companies that will put them in touch with cruise ships looking for staff. Companies such as Lindblad- National Geographic specialise in smaller cruises and are more likely to hire graduates without experience. There are many job opportunities for graduates looking to expand their horizons and gain some life experience. There are multiple companies that are willing to help students and graduates. So why not? Maybe you can pay off those pesky student loans in the process.


Image: Elmarie Kruger

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