9 Ways to Make Money Abroad as an English Tutor
As a trailing spouse, it seems like the easiest way to make money quickly is to teach and tutor English.
Okay, okay, I have only been an expat for two months. Another caveat: obviously tutoring English will not be as easy in a country that already speaks it. BUT, in just these short two months, I have been involved in three different ways to teach English, and it seems that the demand is real and profitable.
Teaching is a calling, and for some reason I was not called to be a bona fide teacher. However, until I figure out what I want to be when I grow up, being an English tutor is a great way to challenge myself (creating lesson plans, measuring results and connecting with students), network with others, learn more about Croatia and make a little spending money.
Yes, I will be here for two years, so it seems natural that teaching English is a viable career. But being a short-term English tutor can also give you extra money to prolong your travels! On vacation for a week or backpacking for a summer? Try a few of these tactics so you can spring for the sixth course at dinner or try the rock climbing course. A little prep work and a few hours of your time may give you the extra cash you need to make your trip exceptional. To get you started, sign up to for access to a library of free tutoring and traveling resources here!
1. Start an English Book Club at a Local School
After two weeks in our new country, I was offered the chance to tutor at the local French and German school. Parents wanted their children to get more exposure to English, so the school created an after school English book club. For an hour, I read a story, we talk about vocabulary words, we play games and the kids draw pictures based on a topic. I work with beginners, but you could designate any language level for your group.
In your city, connect with administrators at the local international private schools to see if there is any interest. Typically, these schools have a few hours a week of English class, but the students do not get much more exposure to practical English. If the school does not want to sponsor a paid program, find a way to advertise your English book club to the parents through a take-home flyer, bulletin announcement or parent e-mail.
2. One-on-One English Lessons
Through my network at the school, I met a former Economics professor who recently retired. Now that she has free time, she wants to focus on her English so she can better converse with others and travel. The older generation in Croatia either learned German or Russian as their second languages. My student speaks Croatian, Italian and German, and now that English has become so prevalent, she wants to add that to her repertoire.
Use your connections in the foreign city to find people interested in private lessons. This could be a family member of a friend, teachers at schools, local travel guides, children of foreign diplomats and those in the hospitality industry.
3. Host an English Conversation Group
Currently I host an English Conversation Group on a volunteer basis, but I have a feeling it could be a paid program in the wider market. My group was created through the International Women's Club Zagreb, and I stumbled into it after another American had an abundance of people sign up.
These groups are casual and usually involve coffee and snacks. Participants already speak at least elementary-level English, and the goal of the group is for them to practice it in conversation. Your role as the facilitator is to help the group speak correctly, gather reading material that is interesting to them and provide a safe environment for practice.
4. Create an Online English Class
Like in-person classes and tutoring sessions, an online English class allows you to help others learn English through reading, activities and practice. The benefit of having your course online is that you can reach a wider audience (regardless of where they live) and you can make money faster by increasing your class size.
Be aware, though, that the bigger your class the harder it is to develop your students. The best way to avoid this is by creating a class of students with similar proficiency levels, interests and goals.
5. Teach a Seminar in English
Although this job may not literally be a tutor, you can make a huge impact on others by teaching a seminar on a popular subject in English.
For example, if you are staying in a coastal town that relies on the tourism and hospitality industry, you could create a seminar that teaches others what American tourists expect on a trip, key American phrases and marketing techniques.
Or, you could offer to be a lecturer at an existing seminar. If you have a medical background, find a local conference and talk about a relevant subject. Not paid? Ask for a night at the hotel and meals for that day!
6. Teach an English Writing Course
There are millions of aspiring writers out there who want to write books, articles, news and online content. Those who speak a foreign language often want to write in English to reach a wider audience, so you can teach them how.
Attract students by partnering with local universities, joining Meetup groups and contacting professional organizations. Use referrals or offer group discounting to fill up your class. There are tons of free resources out there to practice writing, so you can easily create a course curriculum.
Don't want that commitment? Contact local writing teachers to see if they need a substitute and offer to guest lecture for one class.
7. Be an Editor
Similar to the last job, you can help those wanting to communicate in English by being their editor. Edit their writing for grammatical errors, spelling and overall structure. As a native English speaker, you can refine their message to land better with consumers.
This job can be even easier (and more profitable) online. Find prospects in Facebook groups, on Pinterest, through their advertising or by visiting company websites. To narrow your research, focus on a niche (salon owners, bloggers, Airbnb renters, etc.). The online aspect gives you geographical and time freedom.
8. Guest Post on Travel Blogs
Have experience teaching English abroad? Write about it! As thousands of other Expats look for ways to make a living while living overseas, your experience can appeal to a blogger's audience.
For example, I visited a blog called Chasing the Donkey dozens of times before moving to Croatia. Like me, thousands of other people who want to travel or move to Croatia use this blog as a resource for everything from travel recommendations to learning local phrases. An article about finding jobs as an English tutor might be appealing to the blog's audience.
Conversely, you could offer to write articles for foreign blogs about traveling in the United States. Give them do's and don'ts, share key phrases and language patterns or create a video demonstrating English pronunciations. Find out what readers want, then pitch that to the blog owner.
9. Translate Other Languages
So maybe you are more cultured than I am and you speak more than one language fluently. This opens up the door for ways to support students from the first language to English.
If your city hosts tour groups from other cities, offer to accompany the tour guide as a translator. Host an immersive course where for three hours a day for a week you take travelers around the city. Connect with local diplomats to see if they need a translator or connect with the government of your second language to offer yourself as a translator when they travel to your new city. Offer to translate local menus into English. The possibilities open up immensely when you look for translating opportunities online.
Have you had success as an English tutor abroad in a way not listed here? I would love to hear it! To stay up-to-date with our expat, traveling journey, be sure to subscribe to the Traveling Newbies newsletter HERE to keep up with our updates and get access to a free library of tutoring and traveling resources!
Love to all,