XploreAsia Update – August, 2020 – When Can You Start Teaching Overseas?
Many of you are wondering when you will be able to travel overseas to begin your teaching adventure, well, here at XploreAsia, we have been closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis. As the situation progresses, we wanted to provide an update on international travel to our program countries and a discussion of the impact and plans for resuming programs. We also include our current planned intake dates for each country for TESOL + Placement programs.
Things are looking good in Thailand. Thailand continues to manage COVID-19 well; there have zero domestic cases over the past two months. The country is now open to those with work authorization, but the visa process and entry procedures are taking longer than normal, and vary greatly from one embassy or consulate to the next, making it difficult to have everyone arrive at the same time for a TESOL course. Therefore, we’ve altered the format of our September 28 intake, switching to a ‘TESOL Extra’, partial online and partial in-class format, specifically designed so that participants can arrive on any day and still begin their in-country orientation and course without delay. Demand is strong for next term, which starts at the end of November. We have a comprehensive pre-placement program in place that will ensure every teacher has a job prior to arrival.
Next Available Intake for Thailand:
- October 26
Korea has managed COVID-19 well, weathering several large and small outbreaks, and now has a daily case count of 30-50. Life in the country has returned to new-normal and schools across the country are in session. The country continues to be open to those wanting to come and teach. We’ve brought in dozens of teachers since COVID-19 began, and dozens more are preparing to come over in the next few months. In-class TESOL courses are difficult to run at the moment due to the limited quarantine options: State managed facility, which is quite expensive, or private residences. Our in-class TESOL participants would need to be able to stay in a hotel. We are waiting for these requirements to loosen a bit before we can realistically offer in-country TESOL courses again. Demand for teachers remains strong and there are no quarantine costs, since teachers complete their quarantine in accommodations provided by the school free of charge, and which serve as their permanent residences.
Next Available Intake for South Korea:
- October 26
Vietnam remains largely closed to all foreign travelers except those returning to Vietnam with work permits in hand, and even then, only those considered VIPs can currently enter. There has been a recent surge in new COVID-19 cases supposedly tied to an illegal worker trafficking ring, which has the entire country on edge. There is talk of another either partial or full shutdown to combat the outbreak. This is particularly disappointing as Vietnam was the poster child for how to manage COVID-19 and had gone 99 days without a single case before this new outbreak emerged. Our optimistic outlook for Vietnam is that we would only realistically be able to bring teachers over in the fourth quarter of the year.
Next Available Intake for Vietnam:
- October 12
Right now, Myanmar is in a bit of a strange situation. It seems that teachers can enter the country. We’ve just had one arrive successfully on a repatriation flight from the UK and it was surprisingly easier than we thought it would be. The problem is that even if we can get teachers in on a larger scale, very few schools are hiring at the moment due to the continued government suspension of in-person school activities for children. We expect the government to allow the opening of schools for children sometime in August, but it may take longer than that for Myanmar parents, who have been very concerned about the risk of COVID-19, to be comfortable sending their children for in-person classes again. This will have an impact on hiring. Our best guess is that school hiring will reach high enough levels to start bringing in foreign teachers around November or December.
Next Available Intake for Myanmar:
- January 18, 2021
Costa Rica has seen a recent spike in cases, but despite that, the country is gradually opening up to foreigners in August from the UK and EU. However, Americans are not included in the list of countries. Initially the volume of inbound international flights will be less than 5% of pre-COVID-19 levels. We are concerned that hiring may be slow initially as most positions for native speakers are at schools that focus on English for Costa Rican adults with jobs in the tourism sector, which has been devastated by COVID-19. We expect the sector to take a while to bounce back and by extension for hiring of native English teachers to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Next Available Intake for Costa Rica:
- November 23
We believe Thailand and South Korea are the best programs to join if you want to signup in 2020. Demand is strong, the countries are open to foreigners holding work authorization, and the case count of COVID-19 is low.
Furthermore, we are building our knowledge of the new visa application procedures and quarantine process through conducting interviews and surveys with those who have recently completed the process, and contacting relevant government agencies and travel agents. We will incorporate those insights into our coordination program to make the way smoother for future travelers.
As always, we are monitoring the situation in each program country closely and will update you as we get more information.
If you have any questions about our programs or program countries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!