A reader wrote:
I are interested in completing a CELTA course in order to teach English in the UAE. Would it be better to study the CELTA in the UAE or in London where I currently live?
I know you’ve previously recommended to study in the country in which one wishes to teach, but would studying in the UAE limit our prospects in other countries?
Will completing the course in London look more attractive to employers globally? Considering the cost implications London would be the preferred choice.
It is almost always better to take an in-classroom course in the country in which you first intend to teach.
While it may seem more cost effective to take it where you are currently located, taking your course there does little or nothing toward your end goal of landing a job in the UAE.
Taking your course in the UAE immediately gets you into the environment and on the trail of good jobs.
Better TEFL schools will have employers coming by the school looking for you. That won’t happen in London. It will quite likely happen in Dubai.
For most people a TEFL cert or a CELTA, etc is a tool to get the job they want, not the end goal. So purchase the tool that gets you closest to your goal, a course in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE.
No one will really care if you took the course in London, Dubai, Saigon or even Yangoon. In fact, when they see that you took it outside your home country, they will see that you can survive and thrive in a culture different than that of your home country. To me that is a bonus.
Employers, not infrequently, have difficulty with people who have not yet lived and worked outside their home country. It is a very real risk factor in hiring. Some people get homesick, others just can’t adapt. It is an unknown factor that adds risk to a hire.
If you are already living in the culture where you want to be hired, it greatly reduces that perceived risk by the employer.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Taking a certificate is usually tied to an employment goal. If you are taking an in-classroom course, take it in the country where you wish to teach. You’ll be closer to your goal the moment you step off the airplane.