An increasing number of recent college graduates are training to teach English overseas after struggling to find work in the United States.
Susana Arellano graduated in May with a degree in international business. She began looking for a job even before graduation but has had no luck.
"It was really hard for me to try and find a job because I don't have the experience that most people want in international business yet" Arellano said.
Arellano's now enrolled in a classes at San Diego State University to get a certificate in teaching English as a second or foreign language (TESL/TEFL). While she's looking for a teaching position in Italy or Western Europe, she could easily get a job in Asia.
"Most of my friends only have part-time jobs," Arellano said. "But next week I could have a salary and my own place in Japan."
Demand is strongest from Asia, where economic growth remains strong in certain countries. SDSU's Van Hillier is a teacher trainer and has taught English all around the world. He said that certified candidates have had no problem finding work.
"We have had a 100 percent placement so far for all the students who have chosen to go overseas," said Hillier.
Hiller said teaching overseas requires maturity and flexibility, since many teaching destinations are located in countries where few people speak English. He also added that 50 percent of his students have never traveled outside of the United States before they began the program.
SDSU and UCSD both offer certificate programs through their extended studies division. SDSU has doubled their number of classes in the past two years. UCSD saw enrollment double between Summer 2008 and Summer 2009, and enrollment is up 25 percent just from summer to fall.
English teachers can expect to make about $2,000 per month. While that may not be a lot, there are other financial incentives. Housing is often provided, so teachers don't need to pay for rent, and the IRS does not require U.S. citizens living overseas to pay taxes on income below $85,000. Often, teachers live in cities which have mass transit, which means they don't have to make car payments or pay for car insurance.
Brian Perkins believes the pay is sufficient. He graduated from UCSD with a biology degree in 2005. After working for four years and saving money, he decided to travel the world.
"I was going to start in Asia and the Middle East and then to Europe and South America or back to the U.S., because I planned on traveling for a year or two," Perkins said. "But now with being able to teach English to subsidize my travels, it might be forever."