The idea of living and working in Western Europe is attractive to a lot of English teachers. Who wouldn’t want to surround themselves with such enormous quantities of amazing food, delicious wine, history, art, and culture? Unfortunately, non-EU citizens often have difficulty finding TEFL work there because it is expensive and time-consuming for employers to sponsor them for the necessary work visa. Schools prefer to hire UK citizens and may not even consider hiring anyone else. Still, if your dream is to work in Western Europe, I recently heard a few tips for making it happen from an employer in France.
1. Private tutoring. The most common way to find teaching work in Western Europe is to advertise yourself as an English teacher and take on private students. This can be an inconsistent income and only a temporary job, since you would be doing this on the 3-month tourist visa, but it can still give you the means to live where you like.
2. Be proactive. Apply at schools in person and offer to pay their costs for the work visa. You might even offer to organize the paperwork and complete as much as you can on your own, taking the burden off of the school staff. This may not be common but showing this kind of initiative could be enough to earn you that job.
3. Get a student visa. If you sign up for French lessons in Paris, for example, the school may be able to assist you in getting a student visa. This type of visa still makes you legally employable and your odds of finding a job go way up!
4. Open your own English school. This may require some significant savings and business know-how, but if you’re truly dedicated to living and teaching in Europe for the long haul, it could be the best, most rewarding option!