Book Review: How to Work Overseas — The Recent Graduate’s Guide to Landing an International Job Fast by Teaching English Abroad

book cover - How To Work Overseas - The Recent Grad's Guide To Landing An International Job Fast By Teaching English Abroad

Rating:  four out of five stars

Title:  How to Work Overseas — The Recent Graduate’s Guide to Landing an International Job Fast by Teaching English Abroad

Author:  Dylan Alford

Year:  2012

Current price:  $2.99 (Kindle edition)

Bottom line:  An inexpensive, useful guide to finding an overseas job as an English teacher. Well-structured chapters and useful end-of-chapter tips make this a solid how-to book with lots of good job advice — including how to excel once you arrive at your job. It suffers a little, however, from its very brief length of just 44 pages; it could have used more content.

The Good Parts:

  • The book has excellent practical advice about how to get an English teaching job abroad, along with a list of practical steps at the end of each chapter to help you achieve your goal.
  • Teaches you how to actually save money teaching English abroad — so instead of just seeing it as a way to financce your travel, you can see it as a way to turn a profit.
  • Excellent adive about networking and business development.

The Not-Quite-So-Good Parts:

  • Very short book (I finished it in less than 30 minutes); it could have had more content for the money.
  • Useful only to native English speakers

Review:

Despite being very short (just 44 pages), this book is a great quick start to for native English speakers to explore jobs teaching English overseas.

The author, who spent seven years teaching English in South Korea, approaches the issue through an extremely practical lens. Effectively, this is a short, step-by-step guide to locating, applying to, obtaining, and excelling at teching English abroad.

The book is literally structured this way, with each chapter representing a separate step along the path to success, and each with its own end-of-chapter action items for putting the author’s advice into practice:

  • Chapter 1: Where Should I Look For Work?
  • Chapter 2. What Do I Need To Do Before I Go?
  • Chapter 3. What Should I Do Once I’m There?
  • Chapter 4. How Do I Build On My Success?

This may not seem like something novel; after all, there are a number of books out there on this topic. But what sets this particular guide apart somewhat is its focus on what to do once you arrive at your new job. The author provides advice on succeeding in your new role, networking to attract more lucrative private classes, and increaing your profit margin so that you can also save some money during your overseas experience. He also includes a useful list of resources, and even a sample job contract.

Moreover, this advice is actually quite good, speaking as someone with a couple of decades of professional & managerial experience. Following his advice will in fact make you a valuable employee as well as increase your chances of making good money teaching private classes. For example:

You have two main objectives in your first 90 days on the job: Establish yourself as a reliable and diligent member of the teaching staff at your school, and to establish relationships with as many people as you can. From the beginning, it’s important that you show up at the school early – at least an hour before your first class – to prepare lesson plans and materials for your classes. You want to be two or three days ahead in your preparation. So on Monday you’d be prepping for your classes on Wednesday or Thursday. This lets everyone at the school know that you’re organized and that you take the job seriously.

You would be surprised how many Westerners take jobs teaching English and treat it like a paid vacation. They show up late, don’t prepare for their classes and don’t really add any value for their students. You want to let everyone know that you’re there to add value – for your students, for your employer and for your co-workers.

Alford, Dylan. How To Work Overseas – The Recent Grad’s Guide To Landing An International Job Fast By Teaching English Abroad (Kindle Locations 341-343). Dylan Alford. Kindle Edition.

This good advice combined with the exercises gives me confidence that aspiring English teachers who have the discipline to follow through on the end-of-chapter action items will significantly up their odds of finding a good job.

The only big downside to the guide is how short it is — only 44 pages. The author would have done well to add more anecdotes from his own experience, or include anecdotes from interviews with other fellow teachers, to add more depth and practical experience to the guide. He also could have included additional resources in the appendix for the truly motivated.

Otherwise, however, it is a very solid guide for people with an interest in this job, and seems definitely worth the three dollars on Amazon.

Buy:  Available here on Amazon. (Note that this is not an affiliate link or an endorsement.)

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