Teaching ESL Abroad

This week's blog is written by Jenna, who currently teaches ESL while living abroad. From beginning her journey with the TEFL program in Prague to teaching English online through VIPKids while traveling through Europe, South America, and, soon, Southeast Asia, she's found an awesome way to live and work all around the world.

If you're interested in doing similar work, email Jenna at jennajones.2494@gmail.com, check out her VIPKids link here, or use her code: JENNA0047.

This series will be featuring people who are working online, volunteering for their stay through sites such as Workaway, getting free stays through house sitting, are self-employed, etc.! We hope their stories inspire you to create and share your own! If you have found a way to travel long term and would like to be featured in this series, please email marketing@travelwc.com.


Hey, y'all! My name is jenna.

I graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelors of Arts in May of 2016. I first got started traveling in college when I did a summer study abroad program in Rome. Like most who study abroad, I loved it! Despite the fact that my Italian was sub-par and my host mom was not afraid to share that with everyone... I was hooked and wanted more. I began telling everyone that one day I’d live overseas, and that it would be something I would always regret if I didn’t do it. Of course, people thought I was crazy or unrealistic. But flash forward to today and I’m working on year number three!

My life abroad officially started a year after graduation when I decided I was ready to take the leap. I wasn’t 100% sure how I wanted to do this but I’d heard about many people who teach English around the world. So, I started asking around. Eventually, I landed on Prague, and after much research I decided to pack my bags and move. Solo. I was ecstatic! My parents, on the other hand, not so much. In September of 2017 I boarded that plane and have yet to look back. I began my foreign adventure by taking a 4 week TEFL (Teaching English as a Foregin language) course in person in Prague. I figured this would be a great way to meet people and get started in a new city. This certification process taught me how to teach English. Which may sound silly to native English speakers, but how many of y’all actually know ALL of the tenses in the English language or how to explain why it's a big blue chair and not a blue big chair? Don’t get me wrong, I'm sure someone here does, but I definitely didn’t. I also had no clue how to teach English to beginners nonetheless to explain conditionals to more advanced students. The course taught me how to do just this. Every day I went to class in the historical center of Prague, ate lunch at local markets, and later held my first classes teaching REAL students. By the end of the course I felt prepared to teach, despite the fact that I do not hold a degree in education.

After four intensive weeks, I was out on my own. Time to put what I learned to practice and get a job. Let me tell you, starting in Prague was one of the best decisions I could have made. The unemployment rate is very low, and unlike in the US I found a job within a week. I started off teaching private lessons to Czech students in their homes or in nearby cafes. Then, I heard about online teaching. This is what I currently do. I have maintained this job for two years and it has funded my travels. I have now been to 23 countries and have taught in 7. Last year, I was working in Spain in two high schools and at the moment I am traveling around South America. After a holiday back in the States I plan to hit Southeast Asia!


I currently work for a company called VIPKid. I have an extremely flexible schedule which I love! Want to take two weeks off and travel to Italy? Andiamo, let’s go! Want to spend Easter in Budapest? Sure, why not!

I work as an independent contractor. This means I am able to set my own hours and therefore, my own time off. In Prague, I worked VIPKid full time with private lessons on the side; in Spain I did it part-time. Now, I work as I travel.


Most of my students are Chinese. I have occasionally taught students from other countries or even Chinese students who live in other countries, but normally my students come from China.

The age range is 5-14. So, yes I teach littles and it can be fun! I also teach older kids which I enjoy more because you can have real conversations. My students can change daily, but I also have regulars who I have taught since I started. And seeing their progress is amazing! You get this feeling of “Wow, I taught them that!” Of course, they have English classes at school but still. It’s pretty rewarding.