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Whether you're an international student or a student looking to gain work experience overseas, we can help.

Working abroad

By taking a job abroad, you’ll gain incredible work experience you won’t find anywhere else—and experience a new country while you’re at it.

Did you know?

Canadian students may also qualify for the International Youth Internship Program.

Before you leave

When preparing to travel or work abroad, you must review UVic's travel checklist and check off all 7 steps.

Note: If you are planning to travel to a destination that is under an official travel advisory (even if it's your own country), you'll be required to complete and submit UVic's Special Authorization to Travel Form. The review and approval process may take up to 6 months, so plan accordingly.

Teach English abroad

You don’t need a certification to teach English abroad, but having one of the following will give you more options and higher pay.

  • TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) means teaching English where English is not regularly spoken, such as in a classroom in Korea or Taiwan
  • TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) means teaching English in an environment where English is spoken outside the classroom, such as teaching English to new immigrants or international students in Canada
  • TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) means teaching in teacher training programs for people whose first language is not English. It’s often used as a generic term to include all types of English language classes, including TESL and TEFL

Where to get certification in Victoria

  • UVic Linguistics offers an Applied Linguistics Diploma. This one-year program is for students who already have a bachelor's degree and want to specialize in teaching English or another language as a second language
  • UVic Continuing Studies offers a 120-hour TEFL training course: TEFL for Native Speakers of English
  • private companies in Victoria may also offer local TESL training. Search "Victoria TESL/TEFL/TESOL."

You can find an ESL teaching job before you go, or find one once you’re in the country. Both options have benefits and drawbacks. Do your research once you’ve chosen a country.

  • Europe: Southern Europe, including Spain, Portugal and Italy, needs qualified ESL instructors. Eastern Europe is also an ESL hotspot, especially in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Remember to factor in the cost of living.
  • Asia: Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are the most popular countries for ESL teachers, and offer the highest salaries (and higher living expenses). Other in-demand regions are China, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Indonesia.
  • South and Central America: Growing economies and more disposable income mean more teaching opportunities in South and Central American countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru. However, salaries in general are not high (although living expenses may be much lower).
  • Africa: Many African countries appreciate volunteer ESL teachers, but paid positions are rare.  As a volunteer, your food and lodging will likely be covered but you’ll need to pay other costs yourself.
  • Middle East: Public institutions and private schools hire ESL teachers in places like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Lebanon. They offer higher wages if you have professional credentials.

Your résumé for an ESL teaching position should be straightforward, without abbreviations or acronyms. Emphasize your:

  • teaching experience
  • education
  • knowledge of other languages
  • international experience
  • general people skills

When you email your application to a potential employer, copy and paste your résumé into the message instead of submitting it as an attachment. 

In an interview, you’ll need to speak clear, standard English (no slang or jargon). You should also dress semi-formal, as many countries have stricter dress and behaviour standards than Canada.

More options for working abroad

As an au pair, you can experience a new country and gain practical household and childcare experience. Normally, you’ll live with a family and get free room and board and a small salary in exchange for your services.

The safest way to find an au pair position is to go through a reputable agency. This means that if your host family situation doesn't work out, they’ll help you make other arrangements. You can find many agencies through an online search, or meet with a career educator for advice.

Once you’ve settled on an agency, check its reputation through the Better Business Bureau or the consulate of the country you plan to work in.

Finding an international job

Explore opportunities through GoinGlobal (subscription sponsored by UVic Co-op & Career).

Working in Canada

If you’re a full-time international student, you may be able to work for Canadian employers while you complete your degree at UVic. 

If you’re a part-time international student or you’re studying in a short-term program like an English Language Program, you are not permitted to work in Canada. 

Always refer to the following websites for the most current information:

What you need to work in Canada

All international students must have a Canadian work permit before you can accept a job in Canada. 

Only authorized representatives are legally allowed to provide immigration advice to international students. This means that UVic staff are not permitted to help you with your application. 

You must have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada. You must apply in person for your SIN at a Service Canada office.

When you’re hired at a new job, your employer must ask to see your SIN card. You must show your SIN card, or proof that you have applied for the card, within 3 days of your start date of employment.

Be very careful about who else you give this number to. You should never provide personal information like your SIN or your birthdate to anyone, except for payroll and employee records. You should not include this information on your résumé, cover letter or any other documents you submit to your employer.

On-campus SIN

If you’re eligible to work on-campus only, you must apply for a SIN once you have a job offer on campus. To get your SIN, you’ll need to provide an official employment contract signed by you and your supervisor.

Off-campus SIN

If you’re eligible to work off-campus, you must apply for a SIN once you have your off-campus work permit. You will need to provide your off-campus work permit when you apply for your SIN.

In some cases, international students may be eligible to do volunteer work. However, not all types of volunteer work are open to you.

Read carefully about volunteering on the Government of Canada website before you start any volunteer work.

Learn how to succeed in the Canadian workplace

More resources at UVic

Resources in Victoria