My career is one that allows you to work all around the world. If you want to know about it, AMA.

My wife's taking advantage of the travel to make a living as a Youtuber.

Comments: 456 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

kmsonthedaily227 karma

how true is the “Sexpat English Teacher” stereotype? Have you ever met any colleagues who fit into that stereotype and what is your opinion on it? I only ask because I’ve come across some subreddits on here that seem to be populated by those types of people and I’m hoping that it’s not as widespread as I’ve been led to believe it is lmao

DVC888246 karma

It's definitely true that there are lots of people who are in it to meet women. In fairness, probably no more than in any other job. They just have more success because they're 'exotic'.

I've moved up the ranks a bit now so I don't see it so much.

tempcho89 karma

How hard is it to teach English as a non-native in Japan (I can see that you are a native speaker) ? I have a B.A. in English Language and Literature and 4+ years of experience teaching children.
Also, is teaching English a good long-term plan in Japan?
If not, which other of the places you worked in would you recommend?

DVC888126 karma

There are way too many people who really want to work in Japan so wages are low for entry level jobs. It's also really competitive for higher-level jobs.

As a non-native, you'll have difficulty getting a visa for a start. On top of that, you'll be competing with loads of native speakers for jobs which aren't that great to start with.

tempcho27 karma

I see, thanks for the reply!
Are the wages sufficiently high to live by yourself?

DVC88845 karma

Yes. Depending where you are, they are either just enough or comfortable. I was on JET, which is one of the better-paid options. They only hire people of some specific nationalities, though.

the_Dachshund19 karma

I am not planning on becoming a English teacher but I have a question: I have dual citizenship, one of them is from an English speaking country. Do I theoretically qualify as native English speaker for them even when I have never officially lived there?

DVC88825 karma

Hmm, good question.

Probably not everywhere but the passport is what most countries are looking for when they determine who is eligible.

tempcho2 karma

Hmmm, just looked it up. They want to do interviews face to face, understandable. Is it easier to land a job while in Japan or in their requirement countries? If I don't land a job, it will be a nice tourist trip either way.

How much money should a person carry with them when visiting Japan looking for a job?

DVC88819 karma

It's illegal to look for a job on a tourist visa in Japan.

If you found a job, you'd still have to leave the country to get your visa if I remember correctly.

For JET, you do the interview at the embassy in your home country.

igetb0red85 karma

Can you point me in the direction to learn english better? I am just awful at it... not that it is a second language

DVC888111 karma

Read and write more. If you're a native speaker then you already have all of the skills, it's just a matter of polishing them.

Also, if you're not sure how to say something, look it up. Apps like grammarly are great for drawing your attention to common mistakes, too.

gooeyjello43 karma

Do you ever find yourself mixing them all together? My grandmother would always break in the middle of a few of her Italian sentences with a word of English or two.

DVC88875 karma

Very rarely. My wife's Mexican and we speak Spanish at home. I basically never speak Japanese now so I've forgotten a lot. My Vietnamese is terrible.

str8red14 karma

How did your wife accompany you abroad? Does she have any other citizenship? How does she get a visa to move with you to new countries, and how do you afford it? Did she abandon her career in Mexico to be with you?

Also an English teacher here with a Mexican partner, who has been long distance for too long.

DVC8884 karma

If you're married, most countries will give your spouse a visa if you're working there. Generally this doesn't give the spouse the right to work. This is why she's doing YouTube and italki.

nsk_nyc42 karma

Pho, arepas, ramen, or tacos? If none what were your favorites meals from each country?

DVC88867 karma

They're all good and they're all a bit samey if you eat them all the time.


Mexico: mole

Japan: sashimi

Colombia: empanadas

Vietnam: chả cá

sicily9120 karma

What type of course did you do/ qualifications do you need? I've heard the Cambridge TEFL one is the best but it's very expensive and takes a long time (I have a degree from a UK university but in science so I think I'd have to do TEFL).

How much do you earn abroad teaching in a typical month?Do you find that you can live comfortably on your salary or do you have to supplement with savings/ side jobs? Is it usually contract work? Do you work in schools or 1:1?

DVC8882 karma

The first couple of jobs I had were while I was still at uni and then straight after. I didn't have any teaching qualifications but that wasn't a requirement with British Council (language assistant) or JET.

Now I have a masters in TESOL. I never did the CELTA.

The money you can earn depends a lot on the country you're in. Markets are very different around the world. I've always been able to live fairly comfortably and save a bit but in Mexico that required working two jobs.

mmmaria9119 karma

Where in Mexico and Colombia have you taught? How did you find those jobs? I'm a Canadian teacher having taught in South Korea, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and now Mexico and am debating which Spanish speaking country is next for me.

DVC88822 karma

I was in Barranquilla, Colombia and Querétaro, Mexico. Both are great places.

I'll be back in Mexico in the not-too-distant future but it's difficult to make a career out of teaching there if you're working for someone else. I think Colombia's a little better but the wages are still pretty bad.

mmmaria915 karma

I'm making decent money where I am currently in Mexico, but the expat community is non-existent and I'm lonely as heck, so looking to move to a more expat friendly community - any suggestions?

DVC88811 karma

I really loved living in Queretaro. There are plenty of expats and it's just a nice place to be.

It's difficult to break $1k/month, though. I ended up teaching online because it paid much better.

Rhysasaur14 karma

What is it like working as an English teacher in Vietnam? Surely it must be difficult at best?

Where were you working in Mexico? I've heard that working near the border/cartel-controlled areas is quite dangerous...

Who was the best student you ever taught (in terms of speed of learning)?

DVC88838 karma

The English teaching industry is huge in Vietnam. Salaries are very high compared to the cost of living and there's more work than there are teachers. I'm not a fan of the Vietnamese management style but I'm not sure why you think it world be difficult.

I was in Queretaro in Mexico. It's very safe there. There are some very dangerous parts of Mexico but it's a big country.

It's difficult to say who my best student has been. Ultimately the ones who do very well are the ones who study on their own so I can't take much credit for them. I have a couple now that I'm pretty sure have learning difficulties and they're not up to the standard of their classmates but that kind of makes the progress that they do make that much more satisfying.

Wave_of_terror11 karma

Was there something that shocked or really impresed you in one of those countries?

DVC88849 karma

Racism in Mexico. My wife is quite dark skinned and I'm always appalled by the comments that she gets from other Mexicans. The more I have to do with Mexico, the more ubiquitous it seems.

Heresthathamyouwant10 karma

Do you need a degree to do this? I'd like to do it but I don't have a degree. Are there routes into the profession via courses? I've seen courses advertised but I'm skeptical there will be a job at the end. Thanks!

DVC88814 karma

In most countries you need a degree for the visa.

I know plenty of people in Mexico who were teaching without degrees. I've heard Cambodia is also an option.

dpcarballo9 karma

What's your knowledge of Spanish, Japanese and Vietnamese?

DVC88829 karma

Spanish - fluent

Japanese - studied very hard, got pretty good, now very rusty.

Vietnamese - atrocious. I am studying though.

LadyEmry6 karma

Currently teaching in Japan on the JET programme. Did you ever have any trouble with rude/hard to teach students? Did you find a tactic that worked?

My second years are driving me crazy.

DVC88810 karma

Japanese kids on the whole are way better than in other countries. I had some tough classes there but they are nothing compared to Mexico and Vietnam.

There's no magic bullet, I'm afraid. Keep reading about teaching and trying the things you discover. You might never quite tame the class but you will be a better teacher for it. The really bad thing about JET is that there's no professional development or mentoring so, unless you have amazing JTEs, you're all on your own.

neowiz925 karma

Hi. How do you manage being away from family and friends? Do you ever miss them?

DVC88816 karma

The good thing is that you end up with friends all over the world. Especially since teachers move around often, you end up with a very wide network of contacts.

It doesn't bother me that I don't see them very often.

rwramire5 karma

Do you speak the native language? Is that necessary?

DVC88817 karma

It's not necessary. I always try my best to learn because it helps you to understand student errors and I feel that it's something that you should do if you live in another country.

As I've said, my Vietnamese is pretty shocking, despite my efforts.

Cornelius_Aesop4 karma

What resources do you use to search for jobs? I tell people to start with Dave's ESL Cafe, as it has been around so long and only one I can both remember and believe is still up.

DVC8886 karma

I've applied to (semi) governmental schemes like British Council and JET. Otherwise had more luck through contacts/reddit.

MrCool4274 karma

My wife use to teach English in China but we have moved back to the U.S. Do you think online teaching is still possible for her? What reputable websites do you suggest?

DVC8889 karma

I did Landi for a year and they were really good.

My wife now teaches on italki. They take a hefty percentage but she gets plenty of bookings and it's easy because the students are adults.

One project I want to do is set up a course on Braincert and market it as a freelancer. I've never got round to it but I'd be curious to hear if someone else does.

Actionbinder4 karma

As someone from the UK, do you teach your students British or American English?

I know the spelling is a pretty minor thing but there are some bigger variations in terms of like Americans saying “I got to” vs British “I’ve got to”, words that are completely different like egg plant vs aubergine and collective nouns where British English considers them plural and American considers them singular.

DVC8887 karma

I try to teach them both.

One of the big challenges is teaching them the difference between non-standard English like "I got to" and what's acceptable on a test. Some people are very fluent but because they learned everything from TV and the internet, they struggle with more formal communication, not just for tests but also professional settings.

Minamoto_Keitaro-5 karma

Its not proper American English to say "I got to" people here just can't speak their own language. It's sad.

DVC88811 karma

We should try to teach language as it is used, not how some people wish it were spoken.

Using non-standard forms can be a good way to build rapport and put people at ease. This is very difficult for language learners to navigate, because it's not always appropriate.

In some instances, we have to use standard forms to show that we can. For example, if you receive a CV with lots of slang in it, you assume that the person is uneducated, not because they use slang - we all do - but because they can't identify when it's inappropriate to use it.

testyoudo4 karma

Do you ever feel trapped in the English teaching career?

DVC88811 karma

I did, then I got out and worked in student recruitment for UK universities for a while before going back to teaching.

ESL is an enormous market with much more to it than just teaching. I think it's important to keep developing your skills and not stagnate in any job because you never know what's round the corner.

NoBSforGma4 karma

Have you always worked legally? What did you have to do to accomplish that?

DVC88815 karma

Aside from my first couple of months in Mexico, yes.

Lots of paperwork, running around government offices, fedexing documents around the world etc etc. Visas are the worst thing about moving from place to place. Fortunately, teaching English means that you can pretty much always get a visa through your job. It's still a ball-ache.

PackDaddyFI3 karma

What is the pay like in Vietnam? SO and I taught in China and loved it. Great pay, saving$2000-$3000/ month with great vacation benefits. What are tutoring options like? We'd like to go at it again in the near future, but would like to escape the pollution of China if possible. How does Vietnam compare?

DVC8882 karma

Vietnam is still very polluted. The pay is good and living here is very cheap but anything is going to be a step down from China. I try to save $1500-2000 a month between my wife and I.

Lots of tutoring options and the pay is normally $20-25/hour.

lord_washington3 karma

My wife's taking advantage of the travel to make a living as a Youtuber.

I am curious. Apart from ads, how do you earn money on YouTube? Does it involve tying up with travel agencies?

DVC8883 karma

She's making $100~ month from ads. The channel gets her students in italki which makes up the rest. There's still a long way to go but she's working hard and the channel's growing steadily.

challenger19843 karma

Everybody I've talked to in Japan, both locals and expats living there have told me that everybody looks down on foreigner English teachers. Did you feel that when you were there? Do you feel that in other countries, where I'm guessing the sentiment is similar?

DVC8884 karma

I was in a smaller city and honestly, I never felt that in Japan. The sentiment exists around the world, though. It's true that many people are in this because it's easy and they couldn't get a good job in their home country.

It's a shame because some people have been doing it for years and are very well-qualified.

Slinky6212 karma

Which agency did you do for Japan? What's the initial cost to move and whatnot? Decent wage? Tell me about your Japan experience please!

DVC8884 karma

I did it through JET. I made 250,000¥ a month after taxes.

The flight and visa were paid for so I only needed enough to get through the first month.

It was OK. The job was very easy but very boring, too. I didn't have many classes and I was always just the assistant so what I actually did depended on who my Japanese co-teacher was. A lot of them just had me read out loud from the textbook.

Japan is fine. It's not really weird and exotic as a lot of people imagine. It's a developed country where the people are very nice. I never really saw it as somewhere I'd want to spend the rest of my life but it was a nice place to live for a while.

ounilith2 karma

Do you travel light? Or have you guys progressively have got more stuff to travel with?

DVC8883 karma

We sold all of the stuff we had accumulated in Mexico and now we don't own that much. It's quite good for keeping costs down because you're less tempted to buy things if you know you'll have to move in a couple of years anyway.

ScizorSisters2 karma

Where did you begin? Did you start off young learning languages and learning to become an English teacher early on? If not, what was your beginning. I tell myself that I've missed my opportunity, I want teach English in Japan. But the journey from A to B is years long, how do I find the resolve to start and stay the course?

DVC8882 karma

I always liked learning languages and then I found out about this career and it seemed to make sense

As long as you've got a degree in anything, it's not hard to get into teaching English.

AndresT702 karma

Did you like Colombia?

DVC8883 karma

Yes. Colombia is amazing. I hope to visit again soon.

SevenSixFiveFourrr1 karma

I did some EFL teaching in the past but it was always in countries whose major language used the Roman alphabet. What particular challenges come from your students having had no contact with the target language's alphabet, in the cases of Japan and Vietnam for example?

DVC8886 karma

Vietnam uses the roman alphabet, just with lots of diacritical marks so it's not an issue.

It makes it a little bit more challenging to learn a new alphabet but roman letters are so common, I think most people already have some exposure to it.

Thinking about it the other way around. Learning katakana and hiragana for Japanese are easy. You can understand and use them within a week. I'm not as fast reading them as roman letters but it's not an impediment at all. I guess it's the same for them.

misunderstood_peanut-16 karma

Why do so many bald white losers become foreign english teachers?

DVC88815 karma

We've got to pay the bills somehow.