Can I teach English abroad for the summer?

When it comes to teaching English overseas it is typical for schools to look for a commitment of 10 to 12 months from their potential teachers. However, if you only want a short-term position that fits into your summer break, there are certainly opportunities that might work for you. In some cases you will find schools or language centers that are happy to hire teachers on a short-term contract, but in reality most teachers looking for a short deal are better off looking at English summer camps or volunteer positions.

Can I teach English in a summer language camp?

During the summer months English language camps pop up in a number of different countries throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America. Working in one of these camps typically involves around one to two months of teaching students that could be aged anywhere from primary level to university level. Despite the short nature of these jobs, they can still give you some invaluable experience that will allow you to improve your teaching skills and develop your confidence in the classroom. Any kind of practical teaching will also look good on your CV/resume when looking for future employment.

Are there different types of summer camps that hire English teachers?

English summer camps come in several different categories, largely depending on where you are in the world. The overnight or away camp is the most common type you are likely to come across. These camps are essentially residential style arrangements where the students stay in cabins or tents for a set period of time. In many away camps the focus is on indoor and outdoor activities where the students and instructors use only English, although actual English lessons may also be taught in European camps in particular. Wherever the camp, the main intention is to go through as much of the day as possible using nothing but English, whether during sports activities, arts and craft sessions or even mealtimes. Students in this environment can range from 8 to 18 years old and the average stay is around two weeks.

The day camp is another type of summer camp that is more common in urban areas. The daily programs in this environment are usually similar to the away camp, except that the students do not stay overnight. These camps generally run from around 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the teachers typically stay in a nearby apartment that is often shared with fellow teachers from the camp. Another less common style of camp that you might come across is a university camp that operates entirely on campus. The teachers run a variety of activities throughout the day and then stay on site overnight. In this environment the students may or may not stay on campus. The university style summer camp is most popular in parts of Asia, particularly China.

Where are summer camps held, and what are the requirements for teachers?

The largest number of English summer camps operate in Europe, particularly in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Employers in this area of TESOL typically look for younger teachers between 20 and 30 years of age, although camps in Asia are often happy to take on teachers above this age bracket. In many cases the positions are filled by teachers who are on a summer break from a school or language center in the same country as they are familiar with the needs of local students. However, it is rare to find all the positions filled in this way, so many camp organisers advertise vacant positions online in advance. Jobs in summer camps do not normally pay a big salary, although you can expect a stipend of around $200 to $300 per week plus accommodation and meals.

Can I volunteer as an English language teacher during the summer?

One popular alternative to English camps is to volunteer as a teacher during your summer break. Charities who look for TESOL qualified teachers operate in countries all over the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and the less developed parts of Latin America. Typically, these opportunities exist in areas where few teachers venture as paid jobs are thin on the ground. If you are looking for a real adventure that will also help people in need, this is certainly something worth considering. Volunteer posts vary in length, but generally last between one and four weeks, although longer term positions are often available.

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