If you are over 50 and looking to liven things up and add a bit of adventure into your life, teaching English abroad could be the perfect answer. For many people turning 50 can be a time to really consider your place in the world and plenty of people decide that hitting the road is the way to go. Sure, you can quit your job and jump on a plane to explore the world, but how about earning some money while doing it and even making a positive change to other peoples lives at the same time?
Can people over 50 really teach English abroad?
The short and simple answer to this common question is YES, there is very little stopping almost anyone of any age from teaching English overseas. Although it is true that most government-run teaching programs such as those found in Japan, South Korea, France, and Spain, have an age limit that restricts applications to younger generations, there are no such restrictions in place across most other avenues of employment in the TEFL world. In fact, many employers actively seek out older teachers as they value the life experience and reliability that they often bring into the classroom. No previous experience of classroom teaching is usually required and all the basic skills and knowledge you will need can be found via a good quality TEFL certification course.
Teaching jobs can be found in countries all over the world, whatever your age. However, there are a few specific countries that we think are particularly well suited to older teachers.
South Korea has been one of the boom countries for foreign teachers for several years and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. Right across this fascinating country you will find thousands of potential jobs in public schools, private language centers, universities and cram schools, and many employers are not interested in how many gray hairs you have on your head. Jobs here offer very competitive salaries, excellent perks, and a safe and friendly environment to live and work in. Just be aware that a university degree is usually required.
Jobs can often be secured before you leave home or you can have a look around the country first before deciding where you would like to be based. Most jobs come with free housing and many also include airfares in and out of the country. You should also receive plenty of paid holidays and a good bonus for seeing out your initial contract. The official age for retirement is 65 and most schools will not interview candidates over this age. However, it is quite common for foreign teachers to reach retirement age in private schools and still be allowed to carry on teaching.
This popular corner of Southeast Asia has been attracting foreign teachers for many years and it is not hard to see why. There are so many reasons to make this your chosen destination, from the fabulous food and nightlife, to the spectacular beaches and jungles. And on top of all this, Thailand has an excellent reputation when it comes to respecting older generations. Jobs can be found in large numbers in Bangkok, as well as other popular tourist destinations such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya. Although the potential salaries are not particularly high when compared to some other parts of Asia, you will still earn enough to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.
Jobs are best found once you actually arrive in the country, although you will find some advertised online in advance. Once you have identified the area that you would like to be in, simply contact every school and language center you can find and introduce yourself. Private tutoring students on a one-to-one basis is also a popular option in this part of the world. As with South Korea, the retirement age is set at 65, although some schools will be happy to keep you on after you reach this landmark. Finally, a TEFL certification is usually a requirement when applying for teaching jobs in any environment in Thailand.
If you are interested in living and working in Central America, Mexico is certainly one destination to consider. The big bonus of this option is that the demand for teachers is sky high, which is great news for anyone regardless of age. The job market is simply huge right across the country and vacant positions can be found at any time of the year in all the main towns and cities. The vibrant capital Mexico City is at the heart of the TEFL boom, with hundreds of employers of all shapes and sizes on the lookout for new teaching recruits. However, if the hustle and bustle of the big city is not to your taste, you will find plenty of other options to choose from.
Unlike many other popular teaching destinations there are no age restrictions whatsoever in Mexico and teachers are free to continue working for as long as they see fit. You could opt for a full-time job that allows you to live comfortably in one place, or you could take a part-time option and spend your free time exploring all the many wonders the country has to offer. One thing you should be aware of is that the potential salaries for teachers are not that high compared to parts of Europe and Asia for example. However, for many it offers the perfect place to top up your retirement fund while living in a colorful and energetic environment.
If you are looking for a destination that is a little off the beaten path, yet still offers a safe and friendly environment to live in, Ecuador could be right for you. One of the big benefits of this option is it has a low cost of living. This is one of the main reasons why it has become a popular retirement destination for many North Americans. Housing is very affordable, the climate is pleasantly warm, and senior citizens are entitled to a wide range of discounts, including half price utility bills. You will also find there are thriving expat communities in all the most popular areas, which provide a great way to meet new friends and all the help you might need to get settled into your new home town.
Your potential salary as a foreign teacher will not be that high in international terms, but thanks to the low cost of living you should find you are able to live comfortably. Ecuador is also well known for the quality of its healthcare system and its widespread and affordable public transport network. Crime is also very low in comparison to some of its neighbors. All in all, Ecuador has a lot to offer teachers who are looking for a quieter place to call home.
If you have already done some research into teaching English abroad you should be aware of the Czech Republic and its reputation as one of the most popular TEFL destinations in Europe. There is a very strong demand for teachers right across the country, although Prague is clearly at the center of the country’s love affair with the English language. Teachers living in this old-world capital can enjoy a thriving nightlife that offers something for all ages and interests. Not to mention some of the finest beers to be found anywhere in Europe or beyond.When it comes to age, there is nothing to worry about here as there are no restrictions. In fact, it is well known that there are plenty of older teachers working across the Czech Republic, including many in their seventies. The best time to find work is during September and January, so it's important to get all your paperwork in order before the peak hiring seasons arrive. One thing to note is that non-EU citizens will often find it takes some time to organize the correct visas, so we recommend using a local agency to get things moving.