It's already on the tip of your mother tongue and within a month it could become a money making winner in your expat life.

Justine Whitcutt is one of an increasing number of British expats who've trained to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), and in doing so changed her life completely.

It makes perfect sense. You're a native English speaker and can earn a good income from your language skills in your new country, whether teaching full or part time.

And with so many nationalities like you opting to live and work in other parts of the globe, the call for competent English has never been so strong.

Justine from Rouen studied for the Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) at the International Teaching & Training Centre (ITTC) in Bournemouth, on the south coast of England.

Justine, who moved to France five years ago, is now an English teacher at a local high school.

"The CELTA really showed that I was interested in teaching," she said, "and proves useful in my high school teaching in choosing activities trying to change things a bit."

The 27-year-old was a language assistant in Limoges when she travelled back to the UK to take the CELTA, which took four weeks.

"I think I was always meant to go into teaching or do something with people," she said.

"In the UK, I was a modern languages student at Durham University, studying French and German. When I graduated I came straight over to France.

"I didn't actually have the intention of staying here indefinitely when I moved here, but then I met my boyfriend and things got serious, and I love France anyway."

CELTA is an internationally recognised and highly regarded teaching qualification that builds on your native language abilities and shows you how to help learners with their English.

"Our expats find it really convenient because they can pop over here via Bournemouth or Southampton on low cost airlines and combine their training with seeing family and friends at weekends," said Richard Davies, head of training at ITTC.

"And there's still nothing quite like coming 'home' to do their training in a familiar culture. It boosts their confidence and they learn far more as a result.

"We've had people from here going to France, Spain and Portugal but also much further a field.

"Roger – an ex-soldier now runs a business school in Germany, Sue has a kindergarten in France and Mike, who ran his own company locally, has now built his own school in Thailand."

Students on the CELTA course

TEFL is also a great way of integrating into a new community if you don't have the benefit of children, says Richard.

"CELTA is designed for people with little or no experience of teaching English, so it's ideal for people who want to start a career in teaching, or to go and work abroad for a few years," said Nick Charge, examinations manager University of Cambridge ESOL.

"The people who take CELTA are all ages, from recent graduates to older people who are looking for a career change and even people who have recently retired.

CELTA students should have a standard of education equivalent to that required for entry into higher education, be aged 20 or over, and have a standard of English enabling them to teach a range of levels.

For more details visit www.ittc.co.uk and www.cambridgeesol.org

Posted 05Mar08