Ok, so my girlfriend and I are extremely interested in going abroad to teach in a few months, around September. We're both very flexible with geography, but we'd like to make as much money as possible to pay off student loans. We're also fairly broke, and don't have any kind of TEFL certification. I know that it's possible to teach without anything official, but I would like the security of knowing what I'm getting into with an organization I can trust, and that most likely means certification (not to mention the resume boost it would give). To give you an idea of my financial situation, I'm living close to paycheck-to-paycheck, and am considering a loan to pay for a plane ticket if my parents can't front the money. I would just need to know that I'd be able to save enough to pay it back reasonably fast and then some.
The thing is, we found an excellent program in Taiwan that our friends are in currently, and they're able to save ~$800USD a month. The program gives you on-the-job TEFL certification 10-days before you start the job, and pays for a hotel in the meantime. It also sounds like they have a wonderful network in place to find long-term housing/roommates. AND, they specifically have a box to check on the application if you're planning on going with someone, and from our friends' anecdote they can attest that the program is good about keeping couples together. AND, they offer a small but interest free loan for startup costs in the country.
This seems like a very unique opportunity! However, I personally am not sold on it yet. I like the idea of Asia, but I would really want to immerse myself in the culture of whatever place we end up in, and I'm just not sure I would be able to learn Mandarin Chinese, as I've never taken any lessons before. I would feel much better about learning almost any other language but Mandarin is supposed to be insanely hard. That being said, we might just go with it because of all the other perks, but I want to know what's out there first.
Do you folks know of any similarly-situated programs? Really, anywhere in the world as long as she and I can at least work in the same city and live together. But I'd like to know that I would be able to save at least some money over the course of 12 months after the cost of a plane ticket (and possibly certification if it's not covered by the program) have been figured in. Oh and 12-hour long, 6-day-a-week work days are a turn off.
This may or may not help but I'm close to fluent in Spanish and would love a job in a spanish speaking country if it paid, and my girlfriend is proficient in Thai. I also love the Japanese language. And South Korea is appealing because it seems super lucrative and interesting and they've got a lot of English speakers, but we're afraid of long work hours and a possibly prohibitive startup cost.
Thank you for any and all help!!