Teaching abroad has a long list of expenses. Airfare, hotels, certification… It can be a bit daunting when you realize your dream of teaching English might cost more than you make in several months at your current job. Then maybe you look at the salaries of TEFL teachers abroad in US dollars, factor in your student loans or other debt, and the prospect may seem downright impossible without financial assistance or a winning lottery ticket.

I’ve got a secret for you: It isn’t impossible. It’s doable. People just like you, in the same situation, have achieved it.

Here’s how:

Go East

If you’ve been disconcerted by the low salaries you’re seeing online for jobs in Latin America or the high cost of living in Europe, you’re simply looking in the wrong places. Those locations aren’t out of reach but they’re going to be pretty challenging for someone with a tight budget.

In Asia, however, you get the best of both worlds. Low living expenses and high wages, at least in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. You’ll make enough to live on and then some, allowing you to save money or make a few loan payments back home.

But wait, I hear you saying. What about airfare to Asia? Isn’t that expensive?

It sure is, but many employers will reimburse you. They want certified teachers that badly; they’ll soak up those initial expenses just to get you there. They often provide housing, too.

And speaking of certification, you don’t have to get one of the onsite TEFL courses that costs over $2,000. They’re great if you have the cash and the time but they’re not required. Not for many employers in Asia, anyway. South Korea only requires a 100-hour certificate, whether online or classroom. You can get our 100-Hour Professional TEFL certificate for around $400.

Some people simply aren’t interested in Asia or they’re only focused on other parts of the world. That’s fine but remember that your expenses are going to be higher. If you’re on that tight budget, you’ll be much better off taking that job in Asia. You’ll be able to save, making it easier when you decide to pursue that dream of teaching elsewhere, and you’ll be getting experience, helping you to qualify for jobs abroad. It’s a win-win!

Let’s recap: To teach in Asia, you’ll just need to fund your certification course, which could be as inexpensive as a few hundred dollars. You can then find a job willing to pay for your airfare and provide you with a salary that will allow you to live abroad comfortably. At the end of your first contract, you’ll have some money saved and you’ll have experience, so it will be far easier for you to find a job in any country around the world that interests you.

You don’t have to let finances hold you back from your dream of teaching English overseas. Get the process started today and you could be living abroad in a matter of months!