3 of the Edgiest Places to Teach English
3 OF THE EDGIEST PLACES TO TEACH ENGLISH
Okay, so teachers of English as a foreign language are often the adventurous type – otherwise why would we spend our life going and living in new, unfamiliar and exotic places? It’s fair to say that most of us have a wanderlust and enjoy the thrill of a new environment.
But for some of us, we like to push it to extremes. So if you’re looking for somewhere totally, totally off the beaten track, with a little more risk than most, then here are three of the ‘edgiest’ TEFL destinations in the world. Note that we’re not including countries currently experiencing civil wars or conflicts, out of respect for the seriousness of the situation.
Somalia is a coastal country in the horn of Africa. It’s a troubled nation with a history of civil war, coups, terrorism, and piracy. If you want to take it on though, it’s still possible to teach there.
At present, the Foreign Commonwealth Office advise against ALL travel to Somalia, so that’s something of a bad start. There’s also no consular assistance so you’re…pretty much on your own. Ok, we’d better say right now that we’re absolutely not recommending that you go work in Somalia. But there are jobs. One school that we found, Abaarso, offers a great package including round-trip airfare, a $250 a month stipend, which in Somalia will go quite far, housing, and meals. This school in particular works hard to guarantee safety of its students and pupils, and is located in a relatively more stable part of the country, the semi-autonomous Somaliland.
That said, the high risk of terrorism, kidnapping, ‘limited to non-existent medical facilities’ (The UK Government’s words, not ours), and armed militias make it by far the edgiest TEFL destination. Find out more at Wikitravel.
2. NORTH KOREA (DPRK)
The demand for TEFL instructors is everywhere, even in the hermit kingdom. While it’s safe to say you won’t be teaching Mr. Jong-Un, there are opportunities to live and work in the world’s most mysterious and secluded country.
While there’s not a lot of positions, there’s probably not a lot of applicants. You’ll have to endure constant surveillance, and it’s likely that you’ll be threatened with jail at least once (from what we’ve read anyway). The Telegraph recently ran an article stating that a tour service was looking for volunteers to teach in Pyongyang, but if that doesn’t tickle your fancy and you’re looking to earn some cash to spend on…whatever there is to do on a night out in Pyongyang, keep an eye on the British Council website, there are jobs from time to time!
Of course, before you think about your personal freedom, and the possibility of being held ransom, there’s also an ethical dilemma…do you really want to contribute to a country with a record like the DPRK?
Colombia is certainly not on the same level as Somalia, but it remains something of a dangerous place to teach TEFL. That said, there is a growing community of teachers in the country, especially in the capital, Bogota.
While the country has a threat of kidnapping, violence, robberies, druggings, and more, the foreign office for the UK still advise that most visits are trouble-free.
Living and working in Colombia will require you to be vigilant, follow safety precautions, and be careful about where you visit and who you associate with (one travel tip is ‘be wary of new friends offering you cigarettes’) you’ll be rewarded with a reasonable salary, beautiful scenery, and a climate unlike any other.