Introduction to English Teaching Jobs in Eastern Europe

Choose Your Country

We suggest you read the three overview sections before reading the country pages.

These initial pages will give you the groundwork to start thinking more specifically about what type of experience you’re after.

Once you have a general idea of what living and working in Eastern Europe is all about, go to the country sections. If you have some special interest in or qualifications for a specific country – perhaps you’re of Hungarian ancestry, or studied Slavic languages in college – click to that site for a closer look at the employment opportunities there. If you aren’t sure where you want to go, think about your credentials and the type of experience you’re after. Are you an experienced teacher who prefers a highly structured environment with a heavy workload and higher earning potential? Or someone who simply loves foreign travel – the more remote the better – and isn’t interested in a lengthy or formal contract? The Czech Republic has the most highly evolved English-teaching system. Competition can be stiff, especially in Prague. Slovakia, Hungary, and to a lesser degree Poland comprise the new frontiers for English teachers in Eastern Europe, where you may not get monetarily rich, but you’ll be rewarded by the challenges of doing groundbreaking work in countries with evolving economies and changing societies.

As you read about each country that interests you, you’ll find that the first part of each section gives you an overview of the country itself, profiles a few major cities, and talks about what it’s like to live there. This is followed by the inside scoop on the teaching industry – including the job outlook, contract and visa requirements. By reading about all the countries that interest you before settling on one, you’ll be able to compare important factors like cost of living, requirements for teachers, level of competition, and types of opportunities.

Ask Yourself These Questions

Following are some questions to ask yourself as you try to decide on a country:

  • How stiff is competition for jobs?
  • How long is the typical teaching contract?
  • What job opportunities other than teaching are available?
  • When’s the best time to start looking for work?
  • How much can I expect to earn?
  • Is it better to apply by mail or in person?
  • How structured is the teaching environment?
  • What type of housing is available?
  • Are there any cultural factors about a particular country that especially interest me?

Plan Your Application Strategy

After you’ve decided on a country or two where you think you’d like to teach, plan your application attack.

It’s possible to secure a job before you even set foot on a plane, particularly if you have teaching certification.

Applying from North America is fairly easy. For each country, you can get a list of schools that hire English teachers by becoming a JobMonkey member. By sending or faxing your resume and a cover letter to these schools, you might put yourself a step ahead of your competitors. Even if you don’t land a job before leaving home, your name and skills already will be familiar to these employers by the time they meet you in person.

An alternative to applying directly to overseas schools – some of which have interview requirements that make getting hired from home difficult – is applying to sending organizations. These agencies recruit English teachers and place them in overseas schools for a fee. If you’re a bit nervous about your first overseas experience and want the comfort of someone looking out for your interests, sending organizations might be a great way to go.

Prepare to Go

Of course, all four countries have a variety of options, and hiring requirements differ for each job. In any case, set up leads, do the groundwork, and test the climate for what you want to accomplish. We know of no one who went to Eastern Europe to look for a job who could not find one within a few weeks.

This site will help you plan for the contingencies that may arise while you search for a job. Consider your options before you leave and prepare yourself for the journey ahead of time. Preparation will increase your worth in the eyes of a prospective employer.

Whether you’re planning to apply by mail or in person, it’s time to start preparing your marketing package. The job hunting tools section gives an overview on job hunting skills, including interviewing techniques and presentation.

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