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African countries which might tempt the adventurous TEFL teacher include Tunisia, Cameroon, Cameroon, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. Tremendous variety is on offer in terms of climate, activities, local facilities and customs - not to mention the fantastic wildlife parks, and truly stunning historical monuments.
Even in the Francophone countries, where French is the official second language, amongst the younger generation there is much greater enthusiasm for English. Hence, there are plenty of opportunities for teaching.
Quite unlike Europe, for those wishing to teach in a state or private school, there is not the requirement for a PGCE. You will need a TESOL qualification and, in the case of state schools, it is worth checking whether they require an undergraduate degree and any teaching experience.
There are plenty of language institutes and they are certainly worth approaching. In the public sector one can expect large classes, with students of varying degrees of ability, and also various ages within the same class. Also things can be a shade primitive: In some instances one can expect literally to be living in one mud hut, and teaching in another.
Hence, an attraction to the ‘quaint’ is an asset, along with the desire for adventure. Wages will seem very low, conditions often rather primitive, but people come to Africa for the experience of a lifetime, and are seldom disappointed.
It is best to contact the consulate of any given country in your country of origin to enquire about work permits and what you can and cannot do under your tourist visa. Proof of professional qualifications, references and CVs or resumes should be prepared and one should be ready to make them available.
With all this said, once one is off the beaten track, it is not the case that visa regulations are strictly enforced. One should be mindful of what one’s tourist visa entitlements are, and consider how practical it is to renew one’s visa through cross-border trips.
Tunisia offers fabulous Roman ruins at Carthage, once the master of the Mediterranean, not to mention Roman spas still in use. Cameroon offers fantastic wildlife parks as well as beautiful deserted beaches. Mozambique has charming colonial architecture, world heritage sites, islands and again beautiful deserted beaches. Senegal boasts its sophisticated capital, Dakar, which if you tire of you can make your way to sparsely-populated beaches, or even take in some of the famous bird watching. South Africa has a truly magnificent array of activities on offer, from going on safari to climbing mountains, to getting in a cage surrounded by great white sharks. A truly remarkable country. Tanzania has its exotic capital Zanzibar, and rightly famous wild life parks to boot.
A modicum of preparation prior to setting out will pay dividends. Think of not one country, but the continent of Africa. You may come to value mobility once you hit this part of the world. Hence, it is a very good idea to contact all of the African embassies in your country of origin, enquiring about teaching and visas, and see what you get back. You will find that you have a nice big file folder of leads and information, but will vary from country of origin to country of origin, African embassy to African embassy.
For many, getting a job will mean knocking on doors - hence, the need for one’s certificates, etc. Local telephone directories detail universities, schools and language institutes, etc, which are often only too willing to interview candidates. Highly-qualified, and more importantly, well-turned-out, organised and enthusiastic teachers are in short supply. If they like you they will most certainly find some teaching for you!
Hence, one of the best and most realistic propositions is to build a working life based around constructing a portfolio a few hours here and a few hours there, bearing mind that revenue from ‘privates’ can double a teacher’s income, one should always be on the lookout for private students, whatever one’s employment or visa status. The market for those wanting private tuition or conversation practice is huge, and potentially very lucrative, therefore, not be neglected. Give yourself time to build a portfolio of work. This is best safeguard to both your income, and employment status.
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