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Happy Travel and Teaching Abroad Without TEFL Certification

Teaching Traveling: How did a Canadian couple find jobs teaching abroad when they didn’t have teaching degrees nor TEFL certification? Read and learn from Nick and Dariece, “Goats on the Road.” Take it away, Dariece!

Dariece: We are Nick & Dariece, a 20-something couple from Canada. About 4 years ago, we decided that our current professions weren’t for us anymore. I was a paralegal at a law firm and dealing with the stresses that came along with the job could take years off of my precious life.

Nick was a printing press operator and the graveyard shift hours and chemicals he worked with could literally take years off of his life. As you can imagine, this did not seem ideal to us. We decided a change in lifestyle was in order and we sold everything, saved as much money as we could and planned a trip around the world!

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Planning our trip around the world.

We were focused on SE Asia, India and Sri Lanka. At this point, being a teacher hadn’t even crossed our minds, we were enjoying the freedom of travelling. When we got to Laos, we saw an opportunity to volunteer teaching English to teenagers and we jumped on the chance! It was only for a few hours, but that experience made us think that we could potentially be English teachers one day.

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Me & Nick at the top of a volcano to watch sunrise! Bali, Indonesia.

After 13 months of travelling the world, we went back to Canada for one year… to the same jobs! We saved like we’ve never saved before because we knew we wouldn’t be coming back to “normal” jobs ever again.

We set off on another epic trip. We left in February, 2011 and have been travelling ever since. This trip has taken us from Europe to Africa, The Middle East to Asia and into the Caucasus countries.

budget backpacking

Happy children outside of a church in Vilanculos, Mozambique.

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Us on our way to the Thorong La Pass high in the Himalayas, Nepal.

While we were backpacking through Myanmar we came across the little Village of Naloy. A woman from Taiwan had set up a very basic school, and by school I mean 30 or so village kids sitting on a tarp on the dirt, pigs & chickens running around and villagers gathering around to watch a lesson.

We were invited to volunteer with her and help out in any way we could. It was such an amazing moment in travel for us! We spent 8 days there for about 5 hours each day. We really got to know the children and the village leaders.

We spent each night there having home cooked meals in their small bamboo thatched home, a truly memorable experience for us. The kids were adorable and the whole idea of this little village school was fantastic.

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Our wonderful class in Naloy Village, Myanmar.

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It was so hard to say goodbye to the village students in Naloy, Myanmar.

We left Myanmar with a full heart and smiles on our faces. We knew that we would really enjoy being English teachers. We continued on backpacking the world as planned. Our savings started dwindling at the year-and-a-half mark, right about the time we were in Hong Kong about to go to China.

We had heard that it was easy to get a teaching job in China and we decided to send out some resumes to schools that were looking to hire (check out the job board on ESL Dave).

We sent out emails on Friday and on Monday our inbox was full and our phone was ringing off the hook! Turns out China really wanted us… even though we don’t have university degrees or TEFL certification as required in most countries.

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Travelling through China while sending out resumes for an English teaching job.

We ended up signing a one year teaching contract in July, 2012. We have been living in Yangzhou, China since then and are currently at the 6 month mark. We love living here and the teaching experience has been one we’ll never forget.

Our students are adorable, the hours are great, the pay is pretty good and the joy we feel when we see those precious little faces looking at us is priceless.

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Me with my 3 adorable kindergarten students. Yangzhou, China.

Teaching English overseas is the perfect job for those who want to make money while still feeling like they are travelling and experiencing new cultures. It’s a job that you can do all over the world!

When our contract is up in July, we will be taking some time out to backpack through Mongolia and Central Asia and then searching for our next teaching English job. We don’t have a particular country in mind, we’ll just go with the flow and see what comes our way, so exciting!

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Nick with one of his primary level classes. Yangzhou, China

If you thought you weren’t qualified enough or don’t have the right degrees and certificates, think again. We received an extensive, paid training program when we got to China.

This saved us time and money and taught us everything we needed to know about classroom management and teaching English to young learners. There are many countries that will let you teach without this paperwork.

If we can find somewhere, so can you. It’s time to leave the mundane routines of home behind and try something fulfilling and new!

For more about Teaching English in China see our other articles:

Teaching English In China: Getting Started FAQ’s

Teaching English In China: FAQ’s About The Job

Why We Love Living In China

About The Authors:

Nick & Dariece Avatar

Nick & Dariece have left everything behind in search of cultural experiences, beautiful beaches and off the beaten path adventures. They call themselves Goats On The Road and their website for budget backpackers encourages others to pack their bags and leave the ordinary behind. Visit Goats On The Road and get excellent tips for the adventurous budget backpacker!


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