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Teach English Overseas, TEFL Certification, and Paid Teach Abroad Programs

Written By
By Sarah Vandenberg
Director of Partnerships
Edited By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
teach English overseas

Updated for 2024

Teaching abroad and education are some of the most popular and impactful international programs or internships that you can take on. Because of the great need for educators worldwide, you’re sure to find an opportunity that fits with your background and interests, your age, and your availability. Unlike traditional volunteer abroad and intern abroad programs, many teach abroad programs (especially teach English abroad programs) pay you to teach overseas and provide free room and board, especially if you have earned a Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification!

If you don’t have a background in teaching but are interested in getting involved in a teach abroad program, don’t worry: plenty of organizations will train you and give you classroom experience. Whether you want to become TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certified, build a career in education, or even volunteer for a short time with a project guaranteed to make a difference, you can make a great impact abroad and gain valuable skills along the way. Teaching English on a project in Asia, Africa, or Latin America is also a great way to travel and explore a career in education.

teach English in Latin America

While teaching English abroad is one of the most common volunteer/internship/full-time opportunities available for travelers, it’s certainly not the only teaching program you can sign up for. A few you’ll find in this list include IT and computer training, physical education, teaching other languages (such as French), and even Spanish language immersion, where you’re the student.

Read on to learn more about several affordable, high-quality teach abroad programs, internships, and TEFL certification courses available to you!

Maximo Nivel

Maximo Nivel is our top-ranked organization on Volunteer Forever and has offered affordable, international volunteer programs in Latin America to participants from all over the world since 2003. They operate many programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru, including Spanish immersion, volunteer abroad, service learning, international Internships, TEFL certification, semester abroad, and high school abroad. Every Maximo Nivel project is internationally accredited and the organization’s success is based on their commitment to the highest level of client service. Maximo Nivel is staffed by a team of dedicated professionals. They offer first-class facilities to make sure that you have the best experience possible.

teach English abroad with Maximo Nivel

TEFL Courses Abroad

Maximo Nivel has over 10 years of experience providing TEFL courses and helping teachers and travelers to work, travel, and live in Latin America. Being able to teach English is a life-changing skill that allows you to get lost in a new culture, and teach others your native language while you learn theirs. Each TEFL course is internationally accredited, meaning credits can be recognized and transferred worldwide. There are many programs through Maximo Nivel’s TEFL training, including an onsite four-week/150-hour certification, accelerated-hybrid certification, teaching business English certification, and international exam preparation certification.

Volunteer Teaching English Abroad

With this program, you’ll be immersed in day-to-day life in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru while working with students and helping improve their English skills. For two to four hours per day, you’ll teach grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, speaking, writing, and listening skills to primary, middle, and high school students. You will most likely be working in a small community center or a shelter, each of which has specific English language learning rooms. This program is specifically designed for volunteers who want a professional, accredited certification to teach English anywhere in the world. This four-week/150-hour program includes 100 hours of classroom work, 25 hours of practical teaching and observation, and 25 hours of self-study and research outside of the classroom.

Volunteer Forever - Spanish Immersion Programs

Spanish Immersion

Maximo Nivel’s Spanish Immersion program allows you to put your world travels on the fast track, augment your career skills, and even boost your grade standing at your college or university. Throughout this language course, you will work with a certified, native Spanish teacher, and will be provided with a home base where you can meet travelers from all over the world and learn more about your host country’s culture. The program includes airport pickup, program and safety orientation, a walking tour, an official Spanish language certificate, free Spanish books and materials, a free Spanish language tutoring table, free tandem conversation program, free office-wide WiFi and computer lounge, free salsa dance classes and cooking lessons, and free coffee and tea and on-site snack bar.

For more information about these projects and about Maximo Nivel, please visit

Education Internship

Another excellent way you can teach English to students abroad is through Maximo Nivel’s education internship in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru. For four weeks or longer, you’ll work alongside local teachers to gain insight into Latin American education and lesson planning for early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school students. You can choose from an ESL-specific placement, or have a variety of programs you’ll work with, all of which will give you practical experience with classroom management, leadership, and so much more. To register, you must be enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s program in education, secondary education, or a related discipline, but you do not need a Spanish language background before signing up.

What Volunteers Say

Maximo Nivel inspired me to leave my comfort zone and approach life with a “go-getter” attitude. By volunteering in different clinics and schools, I had the opportunity of meeting some of the most content and humble people, which led me to believe the a simple truth that money doesn’t buy happiness, kindness does. Thank you Maximo Nivel!


International TEFL Academy

Do you want to get paid to live abroad as a professional English teacher in a country like Spain, Thailand, or Costa Rica? Are you looking for the best TEFL training and job services? If so, you’ve come to the right place! 

Founded in 2010, the International TEFL Academy (ITA) offers the gold standard in TEFL certification for teaching English abroad & teaching English online. They provide the finest internationally accredited TEFL courses both online and in-person in 20+ locations across the globe. ITA certifies 5,000 people per year, and their graduates teach in over 80 countries & online. Their primary commitment is to provide the highest quality training and services to their students, helping them achieve the goal of securing a great job and enjoying the experience of a lifetime teaching English abroad and online

Earn your TEFL certificate and teach English abroad with ITA

All ITA TEFL courses – including online TEFL classes –  include live practice teaching & employ a state-of-the-art curriculum taught by highly credentialed and experienced instructors. In addition, all ITA students receive lifetime job search assistance that includes personalized guidance from our team of expert advisors. To learn more & begin your journey, download your free TEFL Guide now.

Teach English in Mexico

With an abundance of cultural and natural diversity, Mexico offers international volunteers all you could want, including ample work opportunities and the chance to practice Spanish every day. You must have a 4-year degree, along with TEFL certification, to obtain a job teaching English. Cities with the highest demand for foreign teachers include Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Puebla. Similar to teaching jobs elsewhere, hours range from 20 to 25 per week. 

teach English abroad

Teach English in Japan

Japan uniquely blends traditional and modern aspects, appealing to many teachers with its technological advancements and historical heritage. Teachers often enjoy smaller class sizes, enabling personalized teaching and better student understanding. Learning Japanese and engaging with the local community enhance cultural immersion. Japan’s safety, cleanliness, and efficient public transportation add to its desirability as a teaching destination.

Begin your teaching adventure by gaining your TEFL certification with the International TEFL Academy in Nagoya. This intensive four-week course covers teaching methods, cultural understanding, and classroom skills. It includes 16 hours of teaching practice, lifetime job search assistance, and access to a vast alumni network.

Guaranteed Job Placements

The International TEFL Academy (ITA) offers lifelong career support, including lifetime job search guidance from pre-departure to post-employment. This enhances global teaching prospects through ITA’s extensive network and strong reputation. ITA’s courses meet global standards, thanks to partnerships with international accrediting bodies.

Their Asian job programs guarantee placements in countries like Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Eligibility includes specific citizenship, a clean criminal background, a Bachelor’s degree, and at least 120 hours of TEFL certification. ITA accommodates placements for individuals, friends, and couples.

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170-Hour Online TEFL Certification

If you’d like to earn your TEFL certificate before traveling, check out ITA’s 170-hour online course, which includes 150 hours of online lessons plus 20 hours of live teaching practice with ESL learners. This 11-week, state-of-the-art course can be completed part-time (usually with 10 to 12 hours of training per week) and includes optional Young Learner and Business English modules. This course covers basic principles of teaching, grammar, classroom management, error correction, lesson planning, use of visual and audio aids, teaching group classes, conversational English, and much more. Once you’ve completed this class, you will be qualified to become a full-time, paid English teacher abroad – learn more here!

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) offers a range of affordable volunteer teaching abroad programs designed to increase access to education and improve literacy in under-resourced areas. With 46 teaching programs across 31 destinations, IVHQ provides ample opportunities for both experienced educators and first-time volunteers to contribute meaningfully to education.  Whether you are a qualified teacher or just starting, IVHQ’s programs allow you to work alongside local teachers to improve English literacy, build vocational skills, and enhance career prospects for students. 

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer with Buddhist Monks

Online TEFL Course

Additionally, volunteers can opt to complete an internationally recognized online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course at a discounted rate, which provides valuable training and enhances the teaching experience.

Destinations and Programs

IVHQ offers a wide range of teaching programs in countries around the world. Some of the popular destinations include:

IVHQ’s programs are designed to provide a fully hosted experience, including accommodation, meals, orientation, and ongoing in-country support. This holistic approach ensures volunteers can focus on their teaching responsibilities without worrying about logistical details.


Intern Abroad HQ

Are you an Education major looking for international internships to gain real-world career experience? Intern Abroad HQ, the sister organization of International Volunteer HQ, offers highly affordable and flexible international Education and Teaching internships that allow you to manage a classroom, support disadvantaged communities, and improve access to education globally. These internships not only provide practical experience but also help you cultivate cultural intelligence, expand your global network, and develop essential soft skills.

Early Childhood & Primary Education Internships

If you’re passionate about helping young students receive the best possible start, an internship in early childhood and primary education will equip you with the skills needed to work in kindergartens and primary schools. Intern Abroad HQ offers placements in Seville, Spain, and Arusha, Tanzania, gaining invaluable experience in early childhood education.

Youth Development & Education Internships

In addition to teaching English, you can assist with subjects like math, science, geography, history, computing, and music, depending on your expertise. In Cusco, Peru, the Youth Development & Education internship allows aspiring educators to help youth reach their potential outside formal education settings. For those looking beyond Latin America, Cape Town in South Africa also offers Youth Development & Education internships, providing opportunities to support students in various educational settings.


Diverse Education Internship Opportunities

Intern Abroad HQ offers a variety of internships tailored to different educational fields and interests:

Intern Abroad HQ’s Education internships are designed to maximize impact and learning outcomes. With flexible and customizable programs, you can tailor your internship to meet your specific career goals or academic requirements. 

Whether you choose to intern abroad or remotely, you’ll gain invaluable insights into culturally diverse education practices and styles of learning. Start your journey with Intern Abroad HQ and make a global impact through education.

Discover the perfect teaching internship and apply today!

What Volunteers Say

What can I say about my time in San Jose, Costa Rica? I initially chose to go to San Jose to see a different rhythm of life. I chose IVHQ because of their great ratings for support. I’ve traveled before, and I can attest that I will be using IVHQ again! First, they have an orientation, and and the in country NGO that has super friendly staff ready to help out with anything and everything you need. Having the right support and preparation, in and out of country, is critical. IVHQ did an incredible job in that area. The placement was perfect for me. I’ll never forget a moment of my time teaching English in La Carpio. My host mom truly became my MOM over my two weeks in San Jose, and by the 2nd week, I truly felt like I hit my stride with the city.



A top-rated volunteer and teach abroad organization that was founded in 2006, GoEco provides lots of opportunities for you to launch your ESL teaching career or simply experience what it’s like to teach English abroad. 

teach English abroad with GoEco

In their first 12 years of operation, GoEco sent more than 15,000 volunteers abroad, so you know they have lots of great connections. After you complete the course, they can help set you up with a paid teaching placement overseas.

Want to see what it is like to teach English abroad? Check out GoEco’s programs below. Though they’re volunteer placements (not paid jobs), you’ll have a great experience and get to build your resume.

Volunteer in Child Care and Teaching in San José 

Immerse yourself in meaningful volunteer work, spending 3 to 4 hours a day, Monday to Friday, on projects ranging from teaching English to planning creative workshops in music, dance, and arts. As you enhance your childcare and teaching skills, experience the warmth of Costa Rican hospitality through a homestay with half-board, fostering cultural exchange. Additionally, weekends are free to explore San José and its captivating surroundings, making this a holistic volunteer adventure.


Teach, Surf, and Skate in Cape Town

Volunteer at a surf and adventure club for children from disadvantaged areas in Cape Town. Teach life-saving skills like swimming, surfing, and skating while exploring the beauty of South Africa. Gain experience working with children, enjoy group tours of Cape Town and immerse yourself in local culture. This program includes a two-day orientation, a traditional South African barbecue, and opportunities to join extreme activities on weekends. Make a difference while enjoying an adventurous experience!

Teaching Assistant Position in the Galapagos Islands

Empower local children to reach their full potential through English language education. You’ll get to create and organize activities designed to stimulate English practice. When you’re not teaching, explore the Galapagos Islands (they’re as beautiful as advertised).

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad offers quality, affordable volunteer programs to travelers worldwide. In the days before the internet, smartphones, and budget airlines, an English university professor and some overseas colleagues had an idea: What if young people could become international volunteers? They could learn new skills and contribute to communities at the same time. That was over 25 years ago and Projects Abroad has never looked back. It has expanded to include offices around the world, and with more than 600 trained staff members it is considered one of the world’s leading international volunteer organizations.

Volunteer for refugees with Projects Abroad

The team prides itself on providing high-quality, hassle-free placements that have a real impact on everyone involved. Staff are all either in-country locals who are trained and supported, or ex-volunteers, who’ve been there, experienced the projects, and seen what a difference they make.

The organization believes international volunteering and internships provide a defining experience for young people as they move from adolescence into adulthood, and its staff knows the work it does transforms communities. Their goal is to make the world a better place, one volunteer at a time.

Teaching Abroad

Projects Abroad believes that everyone deserves an education. In the communities it works in, it is empowering people and giving them the tools to build better futures. Like all of its offerings, the teaching projects focus on long-term, sustainable solutions. As a volunteer, you’ll focus on teaching English and encouraging students to practice speaking with you. At some projects, you’ll help improve literacy, working with struggling students in small groups using provided materials to create resources like flashcards and games.

Projects Abroad is not only focused on the students. You’ll give teachers the extra support they need in the classroom, and share new teaching techniques. In Peru, for example, you’ll be able to help local teachers improve their English through a training program Projects Abroad runs every year in Cusco.


Here are some specific Projects Abroad teaching programs:

There are also opportunities to teach other subjects like IT in Sri Lanka, and South Africa, and also Sports Coaching in Jamaica. 

You don’t need a TEFL certification or any qualification to join. You’ll work with teachers and Projects Abroad staff will be there to teach you what you need to know. You’ll also be able to attend regular workshops to get ideas and help with challenges. This is a great way to get practical experience in the classroom and with lesson planning. You’ll find that you’ll improve soft skills like communication and planning. Learn more about teaching abroad here.

African Impact

African Impact’s volunteer teaching programs in Africa offer a unique blend of rewarding work and adventurous travel. By partnering with local foster care homes and pre-schools, volunteers provide essential support to children from 6 months to 7 years old. Teaching volunteers assist local teachers in various educational settings, from early childhood classes to adult literacy programs, creating lasting and sustainable change in under-resourced communities.


Program Opportunities


TEFL Certification and Teaching Internships

African Impact offers TEFL teaching internships in Zambia and Zanzibar, providing the perfect opportunity to complete your TEFL certification with practical teaching experience. These internships allow you to support local communities by teaching English in various settings, from primary schools to adult literacy classes. Gain your TEFL certification while making a sustainable impact and enjoying adventures in Africa.

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

Established in 1989, IVI is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering. With over 35 years of experience, IVI has developed trustworthy partnerships and a deep understanding of local needs. Teaching abroad with IVI provides a unique opportunity to gain classroom experience while giving back to developing communities. Whether you are an experienced teacher or a complete novice, IVI’s programs offer a fantastic chance for cultural exchange, skill development, and personal growth.

IVI’s Global Teaching Projects

Apart from just teaching English, IVI offers teaching programs with unique opportunities and challenges.

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in Australasia & the Pacific

Here are some examples:

These are just a few of the many countries where IVI operates. Each destination offers a unique cultural experience and the opportunity to make a positive impact on local communities.

Paid Overseas Teaching Internships

IVI also offers TESOL-accredited paid teaching internships. These internships provide a great way to gain teaching experience while earning a salary. The TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification is highly valued and recognized worldwide. IVI offers the ATA TESOL Foundation Course, an award-winning online program designed to take around 60 hours. This course is self-paced and can be completed from anywhere with internet access. 

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The TESOL course is suitable for anyone interested in teaching English, from total beginners to experienced teachers looking to enhance their skills. It’s particularly beneficial for those seeking international teaching opportunities, wanting to transition to a career in education, or aiming to improve their teaching methodologies and classroom management techniques.

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) offers a variety of teaching volunteer programs that not only enhance the education of students but also provide volunteers with invaluable cultural experiences and personal growth. 

Volunteer Forever - Sri Lanka

These programs are available in numerous countries including Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Vietnam, Thailand, Ghana, Peru, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, the Philippines, Bali, Morocco, Nepal, Uganda, and India. Volunteering with VolSol not only allows you to share your knowledge and skills to aid the growth and development of underprivileged kids but also offers a chance to immerse yourself in diverse cultures and backgrounds. The experience can significantly boost your confidence, enhance your resume, and provide valuable teaching experience. Requirements to join these projects include being at least 17 years old, having an open and flexible attitude, and submitting a clean criminal background check. No professional teaching qualifications or TEFL certification are necessary. Upon successful completion, volunteers receive a Certificate of Completion, marking their contribution to global education.


What Volunteers Say:

“I had an amazing time in Thailand teaching Buddhist monks English, traveling, and exploring Thai culture! The whole experience also felt safe and comfortable (if something completely out of one’s comfort zone can still be called that)! I really enjoyed everything that happened to me, and am really happy that I made a decision to go! The Volunteering Solutions team was also responsive and welcoming during my experience, and was frequently checking up on me so that I don’t have any issues!”

Maria K, Buddhist Teaching Program, Thailand

Global Vision International

Global Vision International (GVI) offers volunteer teaching abroad programs with a twist: for students, their programs may enable you to earn academic credit and graduate faster. Alternatively, if you are more focused on building your career, consider GVI’s teach abroad internship program in Thailand, which includes TEFL training as part of the experience (TEFL certification is in very high demand by employers). Before jumping into the “real world” right out of college, this is a wonderful career booster and opportunity to experience the world and see what it is like to teach in another country. While this is not a paid opportunity, you will get so much more from your experience as you learn about Thai culture, create lasting relationships, overcome challenges, and improve your own skills in independence, leadership, and responsibility. After your internship is complete, you may be offered an opportunity to work for GVI or another selected partner in Thailand or other locations around the world.


This program includes pre-departure and onsite support, 24-hour emergency phone, orientation and training, shared accommodation during training, welcome dinner and other meals during orientation, transport to placement, assistance finding accommodations near your placement, GVI t-shirt, local SIM with Thai phone number, long-term experienced staff, and much more.

For more information, please visit

Short-Term Teaching Internship in Fiji

GVI offers many different teaching programs for travelers who want to volunteer abroad or intern abroad – including this short-term teaching internship in Fiji. Through this placement, you’ll work in a rural school and the surrounding community of the Dawasamu District to plan educational activities for children while building your skillsets and expanding your teaching experience. During your internship, you’ll provide English, math, and art lessons, oversee sports activities, and even help with adult education classes, all while getting a leg up on your career and exploring one of the world’s most beautiful island nations. During your free time on weekends and evenings, you’ll be able to visit beaches, take a scuba diving course, and much more.

teach English abroad with GVI

What Volunteers Say

This really was a trip of a lifetime. My 6 week stay in South Africa was the first time I had done anything like this and certainly the first time I had been abroad on my own. I had a great time and experienced so much whilst out in the bush. The sights and sounds of the African bush are something you can never forget, nearly 3 years on and the memories are so vivid it’s like i was there last week. The staff both in the UK and in the field were excellent- very supportive, enthusiastic and clearly loved their jobs. In fact I have never met such passionate people and they really made me determined to finish my degree and follow in their footsteps. Overall it was an amazing trip, worth every penny, and I would 100% do it all over again!


Want to know more about teaching abroad? Check out these articles:

Volunteer to Teach and Build Schools around the World

10 Unique Places to Teach Abroad!

A Guide to Teach Away and Alternatives

Become a certified online English teacher: Your step-by-step guide