Travel & Teach - Bangladesh
If you like a TEFL challenge then teaching English in Bangladesh could be for you.
Like much of the Indian subcontinent, Bangladesh has a long history spanning thousands of years. But in spite of long term efforts to improve the economy, Bangladesh is still a poor, overpopulated nation. Agriculture remains the key area of employment with well over half of the population employed either directly or indirectly in this sector. But agriculture and the economy are all subject to nature, and frequent cyclones and floods often cause havoc. Indeed, Bangladesh is a country in great need. Many people are landless and forced to live on and cultivate flood-prone land, which means that water-borne diseases and water pollution are key health issues. Added to that, Bangladesh has problems with deforestation and severe overpopulation, making it one of the most challenging places to live, let alone teach.
As with India, there is no integrated EFL industry in Bangladesh. Indeed, while English is in demand, few people can afford to pay for English instruction, so it is difficult for private sector schools to flourish. The issues highlighted above mean that English and other education takes second place to basic survival. The country is poor and it is difficult to obtain a visa due to the high degree of bureaucracy involved in the system. Therefore Bangladesh is not one of the more popular destinations on the EFL map.
That said, there are still opportunities for EFL teachers, particularly if you are prepared to fund yourself and work on a tourist visa (at least initially). While EFL teachers cannot work in the state sector, there are opportunities to find private work in English-medium schools. Qualified teachers often end up involved in teacher training. If you do choose Bangladesh as your EFL destination, be prepared for large student numbers, perhaps accompanied by less than adequate resources.
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Bangladesh: http://www.britishcouncil.org/bangladesh.htm
Bangladeshi Embassy UK: http://bangladesh.embassyhomepage.com/
Bangladeshi Embassy USA: http://www.bangladoot.org/
Bangladeshi National Tourist Office: http://www.parjatan.org/
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It might not sound real, but I have heard of people that find Dhaka so unfamiliar and strange on their first arrival that the thought of flying back out crosses their minds.
However as time goes by, you realize Dhaka is an interesting city and has the common characteristics of the big cities of the developing world. In fact many traditional things are fast changing and giving way to modern styles. any visitor would be struck by the noisy streets, large numbers of people (it’s very over populated), colorful female outfits, the smell of different spices, and the big interest of “Bengalis”. On the dark side, Dhaka has its misery and poverty too.
Regarding teaching here – you can be quite well paid if you work for an international organization or an international schools.
As for the traditional Bangladeshi students, well, there are various kinds. Some are extremely respectful of age, experience and authority, which teachers certainly represent here. Indeed, tradition and culture also makes Bangladeshis reluctant to challenge authority and this tends to make them shy of openly giving their opinion, asking questions and speaking in general. But with the right approach and techniques, these tendencies can be broken down.
Overall, Bangladeshis are open-minded, respectful, friendly and helpful people, ready to engage with the world. If you have any experience of working in Bangladesh and would like to share it with us, please add a message to our blog on this page.
Travel and Teach
As there are few private institutions and advertising is costly, we rarely see jobs appear in the UK press or indeed on the Internet. In common with many poorer countries, the best way to secure a position is to arrive in the country and keep your ear to the ground for opportunities. Although working on a 3-month tourist visa is illegal, it is sometimes considered the only way to get started in Bangladesh, because of the length of time it takes to process work visas. The British Council has an office in Dhaka and recruits its teachers from London. They also employ teachers on an hourly basis as demand dictates. As with India, it is possible that you will find some willing pupils who you can exchange lessons with in return for food and accommodation. The cost of living is very cheap and there are also inexpensive housing opportunities. If you do wish to obtain a position before you travel, the best hope is to contact a voluntary organisation and you can obtain a full list from World Service Enquiry, which publishes a detailed list of positions each year:.