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The Return Of The Gap Year

  • 3 min read

Over 11-million South Africans are fully vaccinated, making them eligible for travel to at least 52 countries around the world – without having to quarantine on arrival. For high school and university students considering their options for the year ahead, taking a gap year is back on the itinerary. From the beaches of Mexico to the rainforests of Brazil, young people with a sense of adventure can opt to teach English as a foreign language overseas, as a way to earn money, gain experience and live abroad – all at the same time.

“South Africa’s removal from the UK’s travel red list has signalled to other countries that it’s safe to accept locals through their borders for work and leisure purposes. For students who feel they’ve missed out on life due to lockdown restrictions, after being stuck in one place for almost two years, a gap year is the perfect opportunity for a post-Covid adventure,” says Tom Gibbons, Director at The TEFL Academy, South Africa’s leading course provider of teaching English as a foreign language.

With local unemployment rates at an all-time high, taking a gap year can help ease the transition from studying to working full time. English teachers working abroad learn transferable skills, such as time management, self-sufficiency, communication, and leadership – which can boost their employability and help them stand out from other candidates without work experience.

To secure a job overseas, prospective teachers require a TEFL qualification – the globally accepted qualification to teach English abroad. “While a university degree gives you access to a wider variety of jobs in different countries, it is not a strict prerequisite to landing a role in your dream destination. Many countries in South America, including Brazil and Colombia, take on teachers without university degrees,” says Gibbons.  

When studied full time, a TEFL course can typically be completed within four to six weeks. Those interested in seeing the world can take advantage of upcoming Black Friday deals to purchase their courses now – at a discounted price. “There are some scams out there, so check out reviews and testimonials online to verify that the company you’re purchasing from is legitimate before you hand over your money,” says Gibbons.

The rise in availability of online teaching jobs also lends itself to digital nomad lifestyle. “If you are looking for a more flexible schedule and freedom of movement, before settling into a full-time role, there is the option of teaching English online. This can be done from anywhere in the world, provided you have a strong internet connection and a quiet place to teach in,” says Gibbons.

Offering accessible, flexible and cost-effective ways to get TEFL qualified, The TEFL Academy provides internationally accredited and regulated online courses. The company also offers a dedicated 30-hour Teaching Business English course for those wanting to update their existing skillset. For more information, visit