Home / TEFL Internships vs TEFL Jobs

If you’re a newly qualified TEFL teacher or are about to be very soon, you might wonder what the next step is for you and your TEFL career. As we’ve seen, there are many options in TEFL. Once you’ve got that TEFL certification, the world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the adventure and figure out what you want to do with it! Of course, two trendy options are getting your foot on the job ladder and starting your career with a job in TEFL vs a TEFL internship. Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on your circumstances and goals. We’ll go through each so you can decide about your future TEFL path!

TEFL Internships

What is a TEFL internship, first of all? Training (in TEFL or any other field) is when you work for a company (or school) as a trainee to gain initial or extra experience. A TEFL internship is no different from any other one you might have heard of; you work somewhere to learn the ropes and get the lay of the TEFL land.

What are the advantages of doing a TEFL internship?

Cut down on the job-hunting time!

A significant advantage is that you don’t have to spend time looking for jobs in different schools or cities. You usually make one application (or per country), and the organisation will match you with a position. This cuts out a lot of stress. If you’re the type of person that feels overwhelmed by choice, this is made for you, and you don’t need to worry about which city to choose. You often state your preferences, and then you are placed somewhere. When looking for a job (in any field), the most time-consuming part is hunting!


One of the most significant advantages of a TEFL internship is receiving continued support. This starts right from when you make the application to during the placement and even after if you need additional support. If this is your first outing into the world of TEFL or teaching, this is a massive benefit for you. Receiving help and guidance from your TEFL company will take away any stress. They will also help you with eligibility and help you to decide which internship you are most suited to or most qualified for.

This support will also extend to getting your visa if required. This is helpful for those who hate any documentation task! You can be sure it will be done correctly, too, and there will be no hiccups! Getting a work visa can be a stressful experience, so having help with this is a huge advantage!

Support is also a lifesaver if there are any issues during the programme. Thankfully, these are often few and far between, but it’s always reassuring to know that you have someone to help if you have any problems. With internships, this is often both from staff in the office and staff on the ground of the country you have travelled to. There is often a support team or a contact at the school you can visit if you have any concerns. If you go it alone, you must also troubleshoot any issues yourself!

Tips to stay safe while travelling
Welcome on arrival

Carrying on from the support you receive, you will likely have some orientation when you arrive for a TEFL internship. This will involve meeting your fellow teachers (an easy way to start making new friends!), getting to know the school where you will work and even some TEFL classroom inspiration.

Arriving simultaneously as a group of teachers who will be your colleagues for the foreseeable future is a mechanical bond you’ll form. You will then form connections and friendships from this. It’s a big plus! If you go it alone, you might need extra effort to make friends, which will take some time. You might also be the only new teacher in your school.

Suppose you travel further from home, for example, to Southeast Asia. In that case, this orientation often includes cultural training to help you settle into your new life and what to expect from your students and the locals! This again takes away a lot of stress, gives you time to feel comfortable and immediately gets you bonding with your colleagues – an essential when starting a new life in another country!

Get experience!

This is one of the most important things about doing an internship. It’s an excellent way to gain experience teaching if you don’t have any. They are often for newly-qualified teachers, so you can be accepted more quickly and start clocking up the TEFL hours. If you don’t have any teaching experience, then an internship might be the right option. Once you have the experience, you will have a broader range of jobs to apply for and will feel much more confident about your teaching!

You’re also likely to receive more feedback on your teaching, allowing you to improve your practical knowledge. Many internships offer further training on classroom methods and techniques and a mentoring programme where you are paired with a more experienced teacher. This period can be invaluable for you to find your TEFL feet and feel ready to tackle any class!

Shorter time commitments

If you’re unsure if a specific country is for you or even a traditional TEFL job in the classroom, an internship can be the perfect way to test this out for yourself. You can easily find 6-9 month or even 3-month summer placements! If you’ve other commitments, this also works well for you, as you don’t need to spend too much time away. If you fall in love with TEFL and your host country, you can decide to take the plunge after completing the internship, having made some connections and gaining some experience and knowledge!

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Trusted partnerships

Any internship you take with a trustworthy TEFL company will have been researched, tried, and tested! TEFL companies form enduring partnerships with schools abroad, and their representatives often personally check out the schools and programmes. This means you can trust that you’ll work for a reputable school. If you’re concerned, check out the reviews from the internship from previous interns!

Taking a TEFL internship can help if you’re nervous or a first-time teacher. It takes away many scary or stressful things, such as visa worries or having someone to turn to for help if needed!

Our most popular internships include:

Finding adventure in Italy!

An exciting time in Spain!

Having the summer of your life in Germany!

A far-off adventure in Thailand

And many more!

Getting a TEFL job

So, what about the other options available to you? Just like with other professions, getting a TEFL job often means you search for positions yourself, apply and, hopefully, interview! If you get a job abroad, you usually book your flights and off you go! You arrive and get yourself sorted, and start your new life!


The most significant advantage of going straight for a TEFL job is financial. You will start earning a full wage from the start. Internships might include a monthly allowance or accommodation, but it usually doesn’t pay you as much as you might make having a contract as a full-time employee. If finances are your motivation right away, getting a TEFL job might be the way for you.

This is especially important if you have more experience or more qualifications in TEFL or further; internships usually offer a set stipend, regardless of background. If you aim to get a job, your salary might be altered depending on your educational experience.

The Challenge and Freedom of Independence

Moving abroad alone is a massive challenge that will make you proud of yourself and your capabilities. If you’ve always been excited about TEFL possibilities, then the thrill of choosing where you can go and when might just be enough to get you working right away! Some people thrive on going alone, making decisions, and independently travelling the world.

Less supervision

This is a real negative for some, but for others, it might sound like a dream. If you like to find your own feet and work out things independently, then a TEFL job will often be more suitable for you. Figuring out stuff for yourself gives you time to find your teaching style. You might also feel less nervous if you don’t have someone mentoring you. That’s not to say that the school you choose to work for won’t have their orientation or monitoring, so it doesn’t mean you’re left to your own devices!

There’s no one correct answer regarding TEFL jobs or internships; within that, there’s no correct answer as to where you should go or what you should do. Every teacher has their preferences and circumstances, meaning that the choice has to be made by you and right for you. If you’re new to teaching, an internship has severe benefits regarding stress levels and organisation. However, if you’re confident and a more independent traveller, diving into education immediately might be the right path for you!

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