Is the money you pay them worth it?
A while back I started to really look for teaching jobs abroad. ESL or not, find jobs aboard can be a pain in the ars. There are ways to apply directly to schools, and then there are paid agencies that do all the work for you.. I was referred to educators overseas through a friend who worked in Hong Kong for two years. The website has a membership fee for premium access to certain jobs. However, they also have a free posting board. I applied to a dozen jobs on their positing board and I received many responses back. I ended up being hired by the school directly and I didn't have to pay any money up front. Other sites include Daves ESL cafe and TOTALESL
That's it right? I'm hired! Well not so fast Billy. I had to do a ton of paper work for this position. That included: three trips to the Chinese consulate (I'm still not done there), one trip to the New York State Department in the city, another two trips for notaries at local banks, two more trips to the county seat for authorization and many long lines at the post office. Ive had many forms turned back to me weeks later from the school saying that something was incorrect on them and they need to be fixed in order to be processed. I swear its because China doesn't want me there. But it has been such a headache. I would have preferred to have a lot of this stuff done for me to give myself some piece of mind.
With the agency, you might have to send them some papers to recruiters, and you'll probably have to go to the consulate a few times too. However, they'll make sure all of your work is correct as soon as they get it. Most people I spoke with were very particular in their requests. You can find agencies or companies all over the internet. I believe CIEE is a popular one.
But sometimes all this work can lead to a better understanding of how things function in other countries. One thing I know is that China's mail system could use an update. Sixteen days later and my letter still hasn't arrived. Now I have to express the darn thing for a whopping 60 bux. Did I mention this is the second time I sent it? Good thing is that 60 bux in China is a weekend out. They also have hundreds of thousands of people all doing the same thing as you so don't feel like you have priority over anyone else. Since I've been able to solve all these problems on my own I know have the wisdom to handle other stressful situations I may encounter. I'm not saying this is worth the headache. Heck Id pay the money if I had it for someone to scratch my back everyday, but being able to work through these stressful, time consuming, tasks can only make you better prepared for the uncertainty that lies ahead.
Also, a big perk of applying for these jobs directly is that you don't need to pay for a 140 hour TESOL course. Thats basically a scam. Especially if you already are a teacher! Sometimes these classes may cost $600!. If your lucky, your school with give this training free of charge. But usually a bachelors degree and being a native English speaker is enough to get a job. you may end up getting paid more than others.
Who knows what the cost difference of things may have been in the end. Do Whatever you please, but make sure you have a good amount of time on your had and a lot of stamps. Good luck in your searches