So many teachers have been asking me “can I teach English abroad during Covid 19?” In this blog post, we’ll take a look at teaching English during Covid. This includes quarantine, vaccines, health insurance, teaching programs and more.
While the Covid 19 pandemic has certainly changed the way teaching English overseas looks. However, it is still possible to teach English abroad in 2021.
DISCLAIMER: Health guidelines and restrictions are constantly changing due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Please check with official government websites for health information before teaching abroad. I am not a doctor, I am only speaking from my experience living abroad.
Teach English Abroad During Covid: Quarantine & Covid Tests
To begin, some countries, for example South Korea, have made 10 or 14 day quarantine mandatory. You must enter quarantine upon arrival in the country.
You might have to quarantine in a hotel or government facility. Often, this is at your own cost.
TIP: I recommend setting aside some money for quarantine as part of your pre-departure process. Even if the country where you want to teach doesn’t have quarantine right now, they may have it in the future. It’s always best to prepare.
You may also be required to show a negative Covid 19 test before boarding your flight. Some countries will require this test 48 or 72 hours before your flight. Factor this into your pre-departure plans.
Vaccines & Medicine
Before teaching English abroad, I always recommend visiting a Travel Doctor. Travel doctors prepare you with the vaccines and medicine you’ll need.
If you are American, you can check out the CDC profile for the country where you’d like to teach. This profile has information about required and recommended medicines and vaccines. Here’s an example of Thailand’s profile on the CDC website.
For example, before I taught in Costa Rica, I got boosters of some of my childhood vaccines. I also got malaria pills for working or traveling in remote areas.
As the Covid 19 pandemic has progressed, so have the availability of vaccines. Each country has different rules and regulations around these vaccines. You need to be aware of this before teaching abroad.
Some countries are beginning to rely on “vaccine passports” to let foreign workers and tourists into their countries.
Keep up-to-date with official vaccine advice in your home country as well as the country where you’ll be teaching. You can do this by checking official government websites.
Travel & Health Insurance
I’ve gone to the hospital 3 times when teaching abroad – on 3 different continents! Get some travel insurance or make sure you have health insurance in the country where you’re teaching.
Some schools will offer health insurance as part of your contract. I still recommend getting travel insurance to cover you from the moment you leave your country until you begin your contract.
I also recommend getting travel insurance if you are planning on traveling and teaching as you go. Some companies offer worldwide insurance if you aren’t exactly sure where you’ll be located.
During the pandemic, a lot of insurance companies have changed how they pay for medical costs related to Covid 19. Some policies will not cover anything related to Covid 19. Make sure to read the policies carefully before signing up.
I personally do NOT recommend World Nomads. I had a horrible experience with them on my last long international trip. I would not recommend them to anyone due to the way they treated me.
In contrast, if you are located in Australia or New Zealand (like I currently am), Columbus Direct Travel Insurance has always provided me with top notch cover and customer service.
Columbus Direct was one of few providers who was able to cover me when I traveled back to my home country of the USA for a visit. They also refunded me quickly when I needed to cancel my coverage due to flight cancellations because of Covid 19.
Can I Teach English Abroad During Covid 19 As a Language Assistant?
Surprisingly, many language assistant programs have still hired teachers in both 2020 and 2021.
If you’d like to learn more about language assistant programs, then check out this video.
While some country borders are closed to foreigners, many English teachers are still able to enter because of their visa. If you are itching to travel after months of lockdown, this is a great way to do it.
Be aware that you may be confined to one city or one country once you begin your teaching contract. This is due to local restrictions. Consider this carefully before teaching abroad. Remember that restrictions can change at any time.
Also, 2021 is seeing an increased number of applicants for teach abroad programs since many people didn’t teach abroad in 2020. Get your applications in on time and as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
I expect this trend to continue for the next few years as many people “missed out” on going abroad in 2020 or 2021.
School Health & Safety Policies
During the Covid 19 pandemic, English teachers have had some issues with health and safety policies in their schools.
For example, some teachers didn’t get full pay when had to quarantine due to having Covid. This also happened when teachers had to quarantine because they were a close contact.
Also, many foreign teachers weren’t offered Covid 19 vaccines when their local co-workers were. Some language assistants are still waiting for vaccines.
Additionally, many teachers found that schools didn’t provide them with proper PPE. Some people who only had one fabric or N95 mask to use for the ENTIRE MONTH.
It’s important to ask your school or program about their Covid 19 health and safety policies. Do this before signing the contract to make sure you feel safe at school.
The Covid 19 pandemic has changed the way all of our lives look and teaching abroad is no different. Gone are the days of weekdays spent in school, evenings teaching private classes or going out and weekends spent traveling and meeting new people. However, if you are looking to get abroad, teaching abroad is still very much an option. Demand will continue to increase as restrictions are lifted.
If you need any help starting your teach abroad adventure, check out my private coaching programs.
Teach Abroad Recommendation Program – find out which teach abroad program or pathway is best for you. This is based on your preferences and qualifications! Save time and start your teach abroad adventure right.
1:1 Teach Abroad Coaching (for Beginners) – new to teaching abroad? This 5-week coaching course will get you from overwhelmed to teach abroad ready! Learn how to choose a country, pass job interviews, find jobs and gain confidence before going abroad.
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