Travel & Teach - Portugal
Portugal has joined Spain and Italy as one of the ‘hottest’ EFL destinations in Europe.
Thanks largely to EU money and an increase in tourism, the country has experienced an economic boom. Being an excellent host for the Euro 2004 football championships also helped and the demand for English is growing. This is because more and more people can afford to send their children to private English classes and there is a corresponding demand for business English as well, as Portugal does more business internationally.
Portuguese students of English also speak with a surprisingly good accent in marked contrast to their Spanish counterparts. But don’t be fooled - Portuguese itself is a tricky language to master. Although it looks similar to Spanish on paper, the pronunciation is quite different. Indeed, if you speak French you may have an advantage in learning the Portuguese language.
Most of the teaching follows the academic school year. If you are looking for work on the spot then the best time is in September or January. Work opportunities are more limited in July and August, where it is simply too hot to work, and it is not uncommon for factories to shut down for a couple of weeks in the summer. It will seem like the general population has decamped to villas and apartments in the Algarve, or gone off to visit relatives in France (trivia – did you know that Paris has more Portuguese inhabitants than Porto, the second city in Portugal?)
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Portugal http://www.pt.britishcouncil.org/index-e.htm
Portuguese Embassy UK http://portugal.embassyhomepage.com/
Portuguese National Tourist Office, http://www.portugal.org/index.shtml
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Global English students are working all over the world with their accredited TESOL certificates. Find out
how TESOL training from Global English has made a difference to their lives:
Deborah do Carmo
I have a group of 6 (aged 8 and 9) children in Faro each Wednesday for 2 hours (we have an "intervalo" in between) ...and we are going full blast and having real fun in the process. Then I have a private student whom I teach twice a week in São Brás de Alportel. 12 weeks ago, he could not speak a word but … it is amazing what you can achieve with a motivated one-on-one student. His wife is German and speaks English quite well (but has no patience to give her husband tuition) and she tells me that all the English clients at the restaurant they own are really impressed with the English speaking chef!! It's great to deliver a service that is used daily.
I can see great potential in the Algarve for adult one-on-one tuition. The children are great and I have already been asked to do a summer course …and I will eventually concentrate on the mobile private adult market together with the translating I do.
Teaching in Portugal is very interesting and, as everyone knows, the Portuguese learn foreign languages quite easily. Although I have had some teaching experience, it has not been enough to be able to provide much information, especially since I have only worked in one institute.
What I can say is this: the weather is great, the people are friendly and the pay isn’t too bad. You can count on an average salary of between € 600 to € 1000, depending on the institute you work for. If, instead, you would prefer to work in a private school, you could earn a little more.
Accommodation can be a little expensive but what foreigners usually do is find roommates (which is relatively easy to do). The prices of apartments / rooms start from €130 (for rooms) up to €400 (for apartments) depending on the location.
All in all, Portugal is a fascinating country and you will find that good English teachers are much needed, especially now that the government has decreed English to be one of the most important languages to be learnt and has made the study of English compulsory for all students starting from kindergarten.
Travel and Teach
When looking for work you’ll probably have more success in the commercial and industrial cities in the central and north, rather than in the Algarve in the far south, where many go for holidays. But if you have a desire to work in the Algarve then a speculative application to teach in one of the growing number of schools that are serving the tourist industry may be successful. There are 3 times more private language schools in Portugal than there were 10 years ago, which means that there is much more opportunity for new TESOL teachers.
Due to the increasing popularity of Portugal, it is far easier to obtain work on the spot. Initially, expect to make up a full timetable (22 hours +) by working part time at a variety of Schools or Institutes. In common with timetables across Europe, your lessons are likely to be spread out across the day. This could mean teaching a businessperson in a factory before work at 8am, having the afternoon off and starting lessons again at 5pm, teaching younger learners and finishing at 9pm. Once you are established and have proved yourself it will be easier to gain a full time contract with one school. By then you may have gained enough contacts to freelance, which is more financially lucrative.
Some of the major towns and cities where private language schools are numerous include Leiria (a growing commercial centre 100km north of Lisbon), Lisbon itself, the picturesque university town of Coimbra or Porto in the north. On arrival, try English bookshops and the Portuguese yellow pages for lists of schools.
When you apply for a job, ensure you highlight any commercial (business) experience or any contact with children. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here. In addition to your Global English TESOL certificate you will often need a degree and perhaps some teaching practice or teaching experience. A driving licence would be handy, especially if you are teaching business English, as teachers may be expected to commute to their classes.
For EU nationals it is relatively easy to obtain the necessary paperwork to live and work here. A residence permit can be gained locally after you have been in the country for 3 months. For this you may need a confirmation letter from your employer and proof that you have somewhere to live. But don’t hold your breath for all this to happen – be prepared to spend some considerable time standing in queues. For non-EU teachers, the bureaucracy involved in hiring makes it difficult to secure a contract unless you have lot of experience. But it is possible and we know of several non-EU passport holders who are working successfully there. Flights and accommodation are rarely included in first year contracts, but sometimes you will be able to negotiate these into your deal if you stay on with the same school.