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Teach Abroad To Pay Off Student Loans

The graduate class of 2022 is ready to kick off their professional lives, but for many, the first priority will be paying off their student loans. With the pressure to meet repayment deadlines, combined with a dwindling supply of entry-level positions, graduates are eager to jump at the first opportunity to make some money. For those who are not keen to spend the next year scraping by on an internship salary, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) overseas presents an alternative option to earn a decent income, gain experience, and pay off a student loan, relatively quickly.

“With countries like China reopening their borders, we are seeing TEFL teaching opportunities increasing to pre-pandemic levels. Whether graduates decide to teach for six months or three years, TEFL can put them on a path to financial freedom, and help them accumulate the experience and skills they need to stand out in a competitive job market,” says Rhyan O’Sullivan, Managing Director at The TEFL Academy, South Africa’s leading provider of TEFL courses and qualifications.

Qualified teachers can expect to earn between R190 and R560 per hour, based on experience. In addition to being higher than the usual hourly salary for an entry-level job in South Africa, there is the added benefit of choosing to live on a beach in Bali, or a forest village in Indonesia. For graduates that need to start paying off their loans within six months of their graduation, a TEFL qualification – which can be completed in four to six weeks – can help ease the pressure to meet the first repayment deadline. Based on the cost of living in their country of choice, there might even be a little left over to save.

In terms of getting overseas, graduates will have an easier time securing a work visa, which is an essential prerequisite for entry to most countries. “In many of our most popular teaching destinations, a tertiary qualification in any discipline – whether it is in the humanities or engineering – is a requirement for entry to the country. This means they have a higher chance of securing a teaching post at their top location,” says O’Sullivan.

In addition to paying back student loans, graduates will gain invaluable work experience that they can take to their desired fields. “There are multiple career benefits to TEFL, such as the development of strong communication and organisational skills, but it can also be incredible for personal growth. Moving to another country teaches individuals to become self-sufficient and self-reliant, while contributing to the growth of another country’s population. All these skills are transferable, valued in the workplace, and can help further a career in any field,” says O’Sullivan.

Offering accessible and cost-effective ways to get TEFL-qualified, The TEFL Academy provides internationally accredited and regulated online courses. The company hosts a jobs board on their website where potential teachers can browse through over 1 500 international teaching opportunities. They also offer internships, which provide a higher level of support than standard TEFL jobs, to help teachers kick-start their TEFL careers. For more information, visit