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U.S. Citizenship means fewer job opportunities?

Posted: 21 Sep 2009, 03:23
by smeeby
Hi. I am a U.S. citizen, TEFL certified, hold a Bachelor's degree from a top University in the States, as well as a significant amount of work experience after college. This summer I started looking for work teaching English in Spain and Italy. After sending my resume to employers as well as sitting in many personal interviews, I was told that I was very qualified and well-liked, but that I cannot be hired by their school because I am not an EU citizen and it would be illegal for them to hire me. I do not understand why TEFL websites do not warn US citizens before paying and going through the course that there is no way of working in Europe. I have told the employers interested in me that, If I were to be hired, I could start applying for a work visa and they said that it would take too long and that I could not get paid until the Visa was issued so I would be working unpaid and that there was also not a 100% chance I would be issued my working visa. This just seems so unfair to me. I am very qualified and passionate about teaching. Please give me any advice you might have for me. I do not want to give up and go back home to the States but I am running out of time and money!!!

Re: U.S. Citizenship means fewer job opportunities?

Posted: 22 Sep 2009, 13:44
by Doogs
Have you considered teaching outside of Europe? It's a shame, but I can understand the reasoning behind it. Europe is awash with European TEFL teachers who need neither Visas nor work permits, so it's easier and cheaper for the language schools to hire them.

The flip side of that is that it is damn near impossible to get a job teaching in Mexico, because many language schools won't entertain anyone without an American Accent. Also some schools in Asia discriminate in favour of American accented teachers. Of course no TEFL course providers are going to tell you in advance that you won't get a job in Europe, they want your money.

It's a big old world out there, and there are vacancies for TEFL teachers all over it. Perhaps it's time to broaden your remit.

Re: U.S. Citizenship means fewer job opportunities?

Posted: 22 Sep 2009, 21:13
by RobJames
IS there a way around this visa problem? For example, if you were a student in Spain/Italy perhaps you can still work some 20 hours a week? That seems to be the law in UK for non- EU resident students. In this case you could get a student visa and work, perhaps even do one on one tuition. Being a student in the country has the added benefit that you would get contacts and exposure to other students who may need language help.

Another thing to consider is perhaps your language skill for the countries. Can you improve this? Would you consider getting a job in a bar to improve your language and get your foot in the door and then begin teaching?

I hope this helps, if all else fails then perhaps you could consider a country where there is greater demand and less supply of teachers. I am sure there are lots of UK people who want to work in Spain already, so it wont help competing with them unfortunately.