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Travel, Teach, Live in Asia

How to Teach English in Laos
By:Lucinda Harper

Southeast Asia has a significant demand for learning the English language and Laos is quickly becoming a popular destination for those wishing to travel abroad to teach. A TEFL or TESOL certification is one of the most important factors for anyone who wants to begin teaching English abroad. TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is an international certification that is required before beginning a position as a teacher. This certification is fairly easy to complete, taking no more than a few months.

The TEFL Institute, a widely recognized certification program, offers comprehensive courses and a flexible schedule for completion. According to the TEFL Institute, "once you have achieved your TEFL certification through TEFL Institute, you will be able to get a paid job in another country and live the life of a local citizen."


Apply to the TEFL Institute to sign up for a mandatory 120-hour instruction for TEFL certification. Certification can be completed through a full-time four week program or a part-time two month program. Some classes are also available online. A TEFL credential is mandatory for anyone to teach English abroad in most situations. Completion of the certification with the TEFL Institute helps to ensure job placement.

Apply through the TEFL Institute for country placement after completion of the TEFL certification. Those wishing to teach in Laos should specify this country request on job placement applications. Begin interviews for the position of an English language teacher in Laos.

Pursue alternative programs specific to Laos. Independent schools, such as 21st Century School of English teaches business English in Laos. Other part-time English teaching jobs may be found at Vientiane College and Rattana Business College in the capital of Laos.

Accept the best job offer, and complete the specific requirements of the institution of your employment. This can include passport or visa applications and background checks.


Anyone applying for a work visa must first have a job offer. The organization offering job placement will generally file the work visa for the teacher.

The U.S. State Department states that a passport and visa are required for travel to Laos, but a tourist visa can be obtained upon arrival to the country. A visa may also be obtained through the U.S. embassy in advance.

TEFL-credentialed teachers without job placement may travel to Laos under a tourist visa for up to 30 days to find English teaching jobs on their own.

Tips & Warnings:

It is possible to teach English in some countries without a college degree. The TEFL certification is acceptable training for some countries.

The Openmind Project (see Resources) has information about teaching English abroad, as well as volunteering, ecotourism and many other educational study-abroad programs in Laos.

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