Travel & Teach - Sri Lanka
If you are aiming to teach English in Sri Lanka, you’ll find a country with a colourful history. Having been occupied by both the Portuguese and the Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries, the island was ceded to the British in 1802. It was named Ceylon when it became independent in 1948 and its name was changed in 1972 to Sri Lanka. Tourism has become very popular over the past 2 decades and a major source of income, with the majority of tourists escaping the European winter and visiting the island from December to March. This corresponds with the driest season on the west and south coasts and in the hill country. However parts f the country were severely affected by the Tsunami in 2005 which destroyed the coastal infrastructure around Galle.
Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority are never far away and tens of thousands have died in an ethnic war that, despite it's conclusion in 2009, continues to fester. Some parts of Sri Lanka are still considered quite dangerous for travellers. Areas to the north and east are best avoided, as is the Jaffna Peninsula. In the capital Colombo and southern tourist resorts, theft and violent crime are often aimed at foreigners. That said, the south-western part of Sri Lanka is said to be safer now than it has been in years, and the rest of the country may re-open to tourism in the near future. We would recommend you get advice from the Foreign Office before travelling to Indonesia - http://www.fco.gov.uk/.
There is an increasing demand for learning English in Sri Lanka and is promoted by the government as a means of communication between different enthnic groups. Therefore, we would expect to see a greater demand for teachers, particularly both the paid and the voluntary sector. However, you are more likely to find paid work in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei and there is a growing industry in Vietnam and Cambodia also.
English is commonly used in government but spoken competently by only about 10% of the population. For information on volunteering, you might try World Service Enquiry, which publishes a detailed list of positions each year in different countries.
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Sri Lanka: http://www.britishcouncil.org/srilanka.htm
Sri Lankan Embassy UK: http://srilanka.embassyhomepage.com/
Sri Lankan Embassy USA: http://www.slembassyusa.org/
Sri Lankan National Tourist Office: www.srilankatourism.org
Need more info: Teaching English Abroad available through our bookshop page
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:
I have been very successful in finding work over here in Sri Lanka. I am to start teaching young/mature students twice a week (evenings) at the British Council. I feel very lucky to have gained this job as it is not easy to get your foot in the door, but as I had previously studied Airfares & Ticketing I was able to take this teaching post with immediate effect.
Overall, Sri Lanka has a lot to offer the EFL teacher and schools are always looking for staff. Even private firms and students look for private tuition...so once here it is not difficult to find work. Sri Lanka itself is a lovely country with lots of opportunity for business and enterprise, most people have an understanding of English. It is a beautiful island but can get quite hot.
Setting up home has not been too bad lots of support for expatriates but as I have family over here it has made it easier. If you can do SL you MUST!
Travel and Teach
The British Council does have a presence in Sri Lanka. Posts here are normally reserved for the very experienced and well qualified although they may be able to help with some local information and contacts. One GE graduate went to work for the British Council after completing her course and she has written about her experiences in the Student Comments section below. English language newspapers such as ‘The Island’ and ‘Daily News’ may also help and be the place to advertise your services for private tuition. However your job prospects will be improved if you can finance yourself or go through a voluntary organisation. It is not possible to arrange work with an employer on spec. If you are applying for work from outside the country, work permits are arranged by the employer, visas by the employee.
Salaries are very low in comparison with the UK or USA. Certainly you will need some money before you travel, as although living costs are low, rent for accommodation is often payable for the year in advance.
Visitors from the USA, most western European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong do not require visas. Automatic entry for between 30 and 90 days is given on arrival. Check with the foreign office before travel and gain the latest advice on the inoculations required. Medical insurance is strongly advised. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here.