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Packing up and Moving to the USA or Canada
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Irishdave



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Belfast

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:00 pm    Post subject: Packing up and Moving to the USA or Canada Reply with quote

Hey guys,

Bit of a newbie around here and to the world of teaching English as a foreign/second language and so on. I have spent numerous hours looking through your forums and reading up for my own safety. Some excellent stuff being thrown around this site and first of all, kudos to all of you putting the time and effort in to helping others.

I'm Dave and I am 24 from Belfast in Northern Ireland. Going to graduate from the University of Ulster this year with a degree in Politics. To add to that I have an A at GCSE English Level and C at A-Level as well as very good experience in sports coaching regarding rugby and "soccer" as you guys call it. Job market in the United Kingdom is pretty dire and add to that my sense of adventure I have decided that I would like to move abroad to the USA or Canada. Participating in a CELTA course is the only thing I can think of that would provide me with an enjoyable job but also a chance to experience life across the other side of the globe.

The information I have collected has given me an estimate of around 1,622 for tuition in Toronto and 1,663 in San Francisco. If you add in the fact that flights could cost anything from 300 to anything around 700 this is an expensive move to make. Not one to be taken lightly either. In terms of the course, it will be a 4 week intensive course as that seems to be the norm with accomodation and food adding a further 200 to 300 on top of that.

However, at present I have next to no figures on average wages in these areas, nor do I know what I should expect in terms of salary or length of contract.

On top of that, I have little to no idea what firms are reputable and more trustworthy than others in the USA or Canada. Obviously that excludes the odd few I have picked up from these forums so far.

I have worked for Embassy schools as an activity leader and gained some experience teaching diary writing to Korean students for one session. After that their group leader asked that I personally oversaw the rest of their classes for the diary writing area. This is what prompted me to have a deeper look into all of it. Ideally I could work for them in their centres abroad but that requires 1 years experience in the field and a first class honours degree. My degree classification with either be a 2:1 or a 2:2.

So, after all that background info, what are the other things I should consider with a move to the USA or Canada that I am overlooking?

Is it worth my time and effort forking out the money in order to do so?

Or would I be better shipping myself off to Eastern Europe were the course is cheaper and closer to home?

My head has been completely melted by all of this! Rolling Eyes
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9372
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taking a course in the US or Canada is relatively MUCH easier (despite the expense) than finding a job paying a living wage in either country Shocked
Particularly at the newbie level.

My personal experience in Canada: there are literally tonnes of qualified teachers here working for McDonald's wages. Last I heard, some scary figure like 20,000 unemployed ESL teachers in Toronto alone (not vouching for the accuracy of this number, but you get the idea).

Further, there are visa issues: why would schools jump through the time-consuming and expensive legal hoops when there are thousands of native-speaking qualified newbie level teachers with US or Canadian citizenship living all around?

Altogether, your chances of landing a job at all are far better in Central/Eastern Europe, though again the pay is subsistence level at the newbie level.
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Irishdave



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Belfast

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see fella.

Looks like my options grow smaller by the minute, which is extremely disappointing. It seems like this job market is largely the same as any other, experience means literally everything if you want the top jobs that earn you a good wage.

Trouble is, if you don't get given the opportunity, then you cannot gain the experience.

Will see what other people have to say about it, but you have certainly added substance to a few concerns of mine.

Maybe I should make employers know of my Irishness before I apply
Cool lol
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9372
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ESL/EFL in most Western countries is a pretty competitive job at a level beyond newbie pay. It's not only about experience, but more-than-newbie qualifications.

Asia is still considered the best (probably last) place for newbies to get jobs easily and make decent money. The Middle East pays well, but most decent jobs demand related MA plus experience.

So - there are opps for newbies, but if you expect 'decent' pay at the newbie level, the job market you want to target gets much smaller - most likely either Korea or China.
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Irishdave



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Belfast

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, that seems to be the case at present. Not expecting to get paid fantastically well as I am sure I can get a second job on the side or some coaching to add up.

I appreciate your advice fella and Budapest alongside Sofia are probably two places that will leap to the top of my list.....
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Insubordination



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 387
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You probably know this already, but if you don't...

You could probably get a Working Holiday Visa to Canada quite easily, as you're in the right age bracket. That way, if there are no teaching jobs, you could do something else 'less enjoyable'. Maybe you could be a personal trainer.

I recently read that there was some sort of pilot program for university students to work/travel in the USA. I can't recall the name of the scheme, but you may want to search for it.
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Irishdave



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Belfast

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey man,

Thanks for the advice there. It is something I would be interesting in doing but given that I have no actual qualifications outside of a Sport Science diploma and some good references from my coaching, finding someone to hire me on that basis would be difficult.

Ideally I would like to get away from the UK in September, I will be 25 then and looking to go straight into work.

There is nothing in the United Nations, EU jobs or in the Foreign and Commonwealth office either. Not having the experience required in Human Rights or International Relations areas in terms of professional capacity, despite those being my main areas of interest in my degree, means I cannot get those jobs just yet. Doing an internship at the UN would require a mass amount of money saved up before I get anywere near that.

As you guys can see, my options are a bit limited in order to avoid being stuck in a retail job for a few years to save up money and not kill myself through boredom and lack of a challenge.

Doing this kind of job is sort of my last option, although at least I am a bit passionate about doing it and very interested in the unique challenge it will offer me.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9372
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, you're definitely employable as an English language teacher in Central/Eastern Europe (dependent only upon certification). Added advantage: opp to learn Russian or other language. I've a friend in the US Foreign Service who started this way.

Just that wages are not lavish.
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Majuro



Joined: 21 Oct 2008
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did my CELTA in Vancouver in 2002. I chose to go abroad right away but some of my classmates hung around and looked for work in the city. They found most schools asking for at least 6 months Canadian work experience to be considered. A lot of them already had several years experience working in Asia, but employers seemed to be really hung up on having Canadian experience. Our CELTA tutors told us we should start volunteering at immigrant settlement organisations right away to build up our experience.
One classmate of mine had already done 2 years with the JET program in Japan. It took her several months to find a job after completing her CELTA and then it was only a 9-month part-time substitute position.
Like another poster said you should just take out a working holiday visa, go over and see what you find. Maybe you'll get lucky and get a teaching position, but if not you still have the right to work at another job and extra time to work out sponsorship.
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Irishdave



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Belfast

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Again, you're definitely employable as an English language teacher in Central/Eastern Europe (dependent only upon certification). Added advantage: opp to learn Russian or other language. I've a friend in the US Foreign Service who started this way.

Just that wages are not lavish.


Yea man, I am probably re-thinking Europe now. I have a contact in Bulgaria whom I looked after at camp last summer and his father is on a board of a school. Well, to that affect lol

I will need to learn another language, preferably French for the UN or EU as that is the other language they predominantly use.

An internship with the United Nations is probably my best option for that line of work.
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Irishdave



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Belfast

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Majuro wrote:
I did my CELTA in Vancouver in 2002. I chose to go abroad right away but some of my classmates hung around and looked for work in the city. They found most schools asking for at least 6 months Canadian work experience to be considered. A lot of them already had several years experience working in Asia, but employers seemed to be really hung up on having Canadian experience. Our CELTA tutors told us we should start volunteering at immigrant settlement organisations right away to build up our experience.
One classmate of mine had already done 2 years with the JET program in Japan. It took her several months to find a job after completing her CELTA and then it was only a 9-month part-time substitute position.
Like another poster said you should just take out a working holiday visa, go over and see what you find. Maybe you'll get lucky and get a teaching position, but if not you still have the right to work at another job and extra time to work out sponsorship.


Hey man,

Thanks for the response. I won't feel as secure going over and doing that, mainly because I have a school friend who went over to Canada and has struggled to get a job and hasn't been able to get home as a result.

Europe seems to be the more than likely destination at present but I needed to get some advice on the USA and Canada first before I narrowed down my options to 1 or 2.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 854
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Canada is not going to be a great place for you to find work (if you find any, I would be surprised). To be honest, an Irish accent can be difficult for some ESL students to decipher.

That being said - have you considered Quebec? The market is a bit more open for ESL teachers in Quebec because as you know, the official language is French. Perhaps it would be a good way for you to learn French as well if that is what you want?
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fraup



Joined: 27 Dec 2004
Posts: 87
Location: OZ (American version)

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the U.S. you need a master's in TESOL, linguistics, or "a related field" to get a college position. My M.A. was in German, plus I have a CELTA, and I've been teaching part-time here for about 5 years. The adjunct (part-time) life is difficult and many have to piece together work at 2 or 3 different institutions to make a living. A lot of colleges aren't hiring; we just hired a couple of new part-timers who are teaching 2 courses a semester, about $2600 per course.

I'd say take advantage of your EU passport, get your CELTA in Budapest at IH as I did, and look around Eastern Europe or Korea for experience.
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Irishdave



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Belfast

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

santi84 wrote:
Canada is not going to be a great place for you to find work (if you find any, I would be surprised). To be honest, an Irish accent can be difficult for some ESL students to decipher.

That being said - have you considered Quebec? The market is a bit more open for ESL teachers in Quebec because as you know, the official language is French. Perhaps it would be a good way for you to learn French as well if that is what you want?


Actually, I have been told that my accent is not a problem when teaching such things.

The Korean group I had last summer had no problems and the various other nationalities had no problem in understanding me. As long as I didn't go into deep Irish slang I was ok Laughing
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Irishdave



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 25
Location: Belfast

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fraup wrote:
In the U.S. you need a master's in TESOL, linguistics, or "a related field" to get a college position. My M.A. was in German, plus I have a CELTA, and I've been teaching part-time here for about 5 years. The adjunct (part-time) life is difficult and many have to piece together work at 2 or 3 different institutions to make a living. A lot of colleges aren't hiring; we just hired a couple of new part-timers who are teaching 2 courses a semester, about $2600 per course.

I'd say take advantage of your EU passport, get your CELTA in Budapest at IH as I did, and look around Eastern Europe or Korea for experience.


Thanks for the advice, it is looking very difficult to get a job in the USA or Canada area. Best I stick those on the list of places to go on holiday lol

Will have to check the International House prices for Budapest, the course prices I have researched may be different and that would change my financial arrangements.

Hopefully I will be elligible to work in a Bulgarian private school in Sofia, the pay there is pretty good from what my contact has told me. He is probably my most reliable contact out there.
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