Teach English Online and Travel (How To Get Started with Remote English Teaching)


Hey there, it’s Mike Swigunski here and I’m the founder of global career and best-selling author of Global Career: How to Work Anywhere and Travel Forever.

Today I’m sitting down with my buddy art. We will be talking about remote working, traveling, and teaching English online, so art tells us a bit of ourselves. Thanks so much for coming out here. He’s got a great channel called gringo nation where he films youtube videos for traveling working abroad, so tell us a bit of yourself where you from what do you like to do uh it’s an absolute pleasure being here today, so thanks for the invitation um I’m originally from Sao Paulo Brazil. However, I’m also an American because I spent about ten years of my childhood in la. Consequently, my parents got citizenship, so my sister and I did dual citizenship as well. That’s awesome. That’s the dream, man I’m envious of that. It’s helpful for travelers for sure, yeah. I guess I’m what people like to call a slow traveler. I want to spend extended periods in different countries.

So i’d say one of my main passions is music though um i got that maybe from my parents who are also musicians um i play a variety of instruments and i like to write and record songs although i must say i think that part of me has been a little eclipsed by my travel life lately because it’s kind of hard to travel around with all the gear and instruments and stuff so on my free time i actually like reading books i’m reading your book right now which i’m enjoying very much thank you thank you i like watching movies as well i watch about 15 movies a month although i must say making these youtube videos i just don’t have a lot of free time lately so i dedicate a lot of it to youtube have you seen any good movies lately like what’s been your favorite yeah i thought you might ask me that and i have a really good answer i watched a movie called i care a lot it’s with uh rosamund pike she did gone girl i definitely recommend you check out that movie that’s great awesome yeah we’re always looking for new movies to watch uh we just watched parasite again have you seen that i have seen parasite i saw it in theaters actually uh when it came out and i absolutely loved it of course yeah we we watched it when it first came out and then we re-watched it and there’s there’s these little tiny details that i didn’t pick up on the first time so if you’ve already seen it.

It’s worth second rewind it’s definitely one of those movies that that you can find out more stuff as you see it more times yeah so art you’ve been traveling a lot and i think no i know this from my personal experience the more you travel the longer your bucket list actually becomes so what are the top three things on your bucket list that you’re looking forward to uh in the future yeah i’m also gonna have to narrow these down because mine is absolutely huge as well but i think this year i’m actually gonna be able to cross off one of my main ones which is to see the pyramids in egypt i think now is a great time to go to egypt as of what is happening in the world it might be a little more empty so i’m thinking of going to egypt this year i would also like to kind of do the brazilian coast from north to south i don’t know how long that would take me but it is my home country and i would like to explore all the beaches in it i have a dream of maybe seeing the northern lights somewhere in scandinavia have you a funny story about the northern lights is we planned our whole trip we were like we found these really cheap flights from the us to iceland.

We’re like we’ll go there for for a few days and we’ll see the northern lights so we were in iceland for about four nights and our trip got canceled every time every time we got canceled and we’re like we’re not gonna get to see the northern lights so fortunately we we left iceland traveled to uh latvia and lithuania and on our way back we had one more night to see the northern lights our kind of main thing to see on this trip we got really lucky and we were able to see it it’s beautiful it was absolutely amazing but i think if you’re going to plan it i would suggest looking into norway or finland they have a much higher success rate the issue is there’s so many other elements that i didn’t even know went into seeing the northern lights it’s the the weather patterns the if the moon’s too bright and there’s all these other factors that kind of go into when you can see it so the chances are a lot higher in northern parts of norway and finland so i suggest that you’ll have the highest chances of seeing it if you go to one of those regions perfect i do want to see iceland for many other reasons so i might have to go there anyways but that’s great advice for seeing the northern lights and lastly i think i’d like to do kind of like an extended train trip maybe like a trans siberian or something like that very cool yeah that’s that’s on my bucket list as well trans siberian.

So over there buddy so i’m i’m in between trans-siberian or trans mongolian right so because the end destinations are a little different a lot of people say that the trans mongolian one is a little bit nicer for the end destination but they both seem like a lot of fun yeah and um i actually read a book called the grand railway bazaar by paul thoreau he did a train ride from like london all the way over to asia not one train ride but many and that’s an interesting book as well if you’d like to check it out yeah definitely i’ve done some long train rides i think the longest one i did was from madova to kiev it was 17 hours and this is fascinating i didn’t know this at the time but the the train track widths are different so when you cross into ukraine they have different train tracks so they actually have to change the the wheels on the trains so it was 17 hours and like we’re stuck on this train we’re like what is going on like literally you have to get off for a bit and they change the the wheel sizes because it’s different wow and maybe they’ve fixed this now but basically like the the train sizes are different and i didn’t notice at the time but it took us 17 hours to to get there it’s crazy interesting experience yeah very cool though awesome one of the things that i always like to discuss with people and i think it’s something that i figured out from an early age is i figured out my why i figured out my overall goal in life is to visit every country not just to visit every country but to experiences with people.

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i love along the way and i’m curious though what is your main goal in life what are you wanting to achieve yeah so right now i would say my main goal is to be able to live off my creativity somehow in my creative work that may be through my travel content on youtube i am planning on re-releasing my music career maybe in the next year and i’ve been working really hard on the youtube content and also before that on my music and i’m actually finally starting to see some results which i’m very happy about i think one day i would actually like to write a travel memoir but mike ultimately i realize i just want to cause positive change in people’s lives and i think there’s a variety of ways that you can do that whether it be through music or helping people travel and see the world yeah i would say that’s like another big goal for me and it’s one of those things that i’ve already started seeing with my book with my videos and i wrote my book just to help people it was kind of like i want to put what i’ve learned over 10 years into a book and i think that’s one of the things people really resonated with was how they were able to condense it learn from my my trials and errors and essentially when i published it i got reviews coming in where hey i read your book i’m going to get on the next flight to go overseas.

Start working abroad and after that review everything could have stopped because that was worth it for me to help impact one person’s life positively and now i want to do that on a much larger scale so one of my other big goals is to impact millions in a positive way with youtube content with my book and i think we’ve kind of are seeing a lot of those early results with our videos of how much people resonate with and how we’re able to help people and honestly that’s the thing that i love about creating content like this is helping people like yourself viewing in we we want to help you get to where you want to be in life and i think we’re going to do it in our own unique way exactly and we see a lot of questions coming in as well and actually while reading your book i noticed that our lives in in some way have been parallel and we’ve learned a lot of things along the way which kind of becomes second nature to us but a lot of people sometimes haven’t been through those experiences so they do need some guidance and i guess that’s what we’re trying to provide here right yeah so if there’s something that comes up don’t hesitate to reach out to one of us i’m sure between the two of us we’ll be able to help you get your questions answered we’ll definitely do our best so art i know things have been kind of strange with the current world situation now what is your ideal day look like maybe with when things come back to normal what does an ideal day look like for you.

Right now i’m actually really missing playing the drums uh that was my first instrument and i absolutely love it it’s such a great experience and obviously with traveling you’re not able to do that so much i haven’t played drums regularly since i started traveling in 2014 so it’s been quite a while so i’d say my perfect day would involve playing the drums somehow after that if i’m in a city that i’d like to explore i’d love to go see things around a city that i don’t know too well uh it would be really cool to do some adrenaline-fueled activity maybe like i love whenever i can i love to bungee jump or screw it that and at night i’d love to just kind of kick back watch a movie have a great dessert and maybe some wine as well with that that’s great i think a lot of people there’s a famous saying from i think it’s office space where they’re talking about becoming millionaires and he’s like what would you do if you had a million dollars and he’s like i would just sit around and do nothing and the guy’s like my cousin’s broke his you don’t need to be a millionaire to do nothing but i think if you’re able to plan your life and when you wake up in the morning to when you go to sleep do everything on your own terms that’s the true freedom you don’t need to be extremely wealthy to do that and finding hobbies and planning what your perfect day looks like it’s a really good exercise to figure out okay here’s my perfect day what i want to do between.

When i wake up and go to sleep how can i achieve that and i think creating hobbies that are going to keep you healthy and wealthy are going to be really important to achieving those goals to making your perfect day yeah and i think it’s quite interesting to think about what your perfect day would look like because i don’t think a lot of people realize that you could actually be doing a lot of those things now so even a few months ago i was thinking that i would like to play more drums and i reached out to some facebook groups and i was looking for a drum set that maybe i could rent or i can go play somewhere in the end it didn’t really happen but at least i tried yeah that’s definitely i think drums is tough but you know finding some sort of musical outlook or people here where you can just get together maybe borrow their instruments i’m sure there’s some communities and that’s the great thing is living overseas as a digital nomad i think it’s almost easier to connect with these people people are like more receptive to meeting up than if you’re in the states maybe you have your own clique or your own group but there’s always somebody out there who’s looking to help whatever hobby you’re looking for for me personally i just bought a basketball because the weather was coming nice here we’ve been inside so much lately with the lockdowns that i just bought a basketball and i’ve been able to go shoot and like kind of make it exercise until the gyms open up it’s kind of therapeutic to just shoot hoops for me yeah so just finding whatever that hobby is to kind of get you out of the house now that a lot of people are remote working i think is essential and your perfect day involves playing basketball.

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Yes shooting hoops for sure so art i talk about this in my book is some of the fastest ways to become a digital nomad to become a remote worker is teaching english online and i know it’s become a bit of a competitive space how are people able to get started with teaching english online how did you get started tell us a little bit more about that yeah i guess i can only speak to my experience in teaching online i work for a company called vipkid they are based in beijing china and to work for them you actually do need to be american or canadian you have to have a bachelor’s degree it doesn’t have to be teaching related but you do have to have a degree and it’s not necessary but it is preferable that you have a tefl certificate there are a lot of other companies in which you don’t need to be american and you may not even need a bachelor’s degree but you will probably need the tefl certificate anyways so mike i would say if you want to get started with teaching english the probably the best thing you can do right away is get a tefl certificate you can do in class courses of course i did mine in thailand it just took a month pretty much but you can also do them online which i think would be a great option for people nowadays it’s not extremely expensive i think we’re talking about maybe a grand or something like that to get through one of those courses and from there you can kind of research what company is best for you in terms of what you have to offer very cool yeah so just to recap you can essentially go through all these steps online remotely if you’re studying right now.

If you’re looking to get a degree you could potentially get your university degree or your bachelor degree online then after that if you’re looking to pursue online teaching you can get a tefl degree online and then finally come full circle and teach online do all the steps uh remotely so there is a lot of options out there i think the space has become a little more competitive with the this day and nature of what happened in the world with the pandemic but i think there’s still a lot of opportunities out there and you just have to find one of these companies that are hiring remote english teachers to work online for any of you listening that want to get started teaching english online i’m going to leave arts referral link if you’re going to go ahead and apply for a position at vipkid you can use that link and you can go ahead and get started with the application process but in addition to vipkid what are some other alternative companies if people want to teach english online so mike i know a lot of other english teachers here in georgia.

They use wales english and also palfish and that seems to work really well for them apart from that i’ve heard very good things about a company called gogokid i’m actually looking to maybe have them set up a sort of a backup to vipkid and i do know a few other companies that are good for teaching english they are say abc zebra and italki although the only one i really do have experience with is vipkid um but i i would say go go kid is something very similar to vipkid have you heard of english first that’s i think one of the largest uh companies i’ve i’ve talked to a few people who’ve worked there i don’t know if you’ve met anybody uh maybe i have met someone that works for that but i don’t know too much about it yeah so we’ll try to recap and leave all these this information below in the description so if you’re looking to find more details about where to apply we’ll try to leave like the top five biggest places to teach english online so check out the description below also put a link down below about the 10 companies that can hire you if you by chance do not have a bachelor’s degree perfect yeah that’s great great information to know so i’ve talked to a lot of english teachers and i know there’s a lot of pros and cons so let’s go ahead and start off what we what would you say are the pros of teaching english online yeah so the i mean one of the biggest pros obviously is that you can teach from anywhere.

I’m not just talking about you know outside of your home but obviously in various cities and countries basically you just need good internet good lighting and an ipad so do you need an ipad to teach or can you use your laptop what is it no you don’t need to have an ipad i started teaching on my laptop and i decided to get an ipad as sort of a backup because you never know what may happen with the company software sometimes it does go kind of weird and then you might need an ipad it’s happened to me at various times before yeah it’s always good to have a backup device when you’re traveling for sure i’d say another one of the pros is actually being able to build your work schedule you can work however many hours you want a week i actually only work about 20 hours a week which leaves me a lot of time to work on my creative endeavors and to me that is one of the greatest advantages yeah that seems pretty great you know let’s say one week you want to work 40 hours and then the next week you can you can work 20. it’s really up to your travel schedule, or what’s going on in your life, so I’ve known that about VIPKid I’ve heard that great things about that I don’t think is it like that for most other companies, or is it kind of very I think it’s pretty much like that for all of the companies I know with VIPKid there is no minimum teaching that you have to do a week or a month, so my friend Nikki works for VIPKid as well.


But she has another job so she doesn’t really teach anymore every now and again she’ll get an email from vipkid which says like if you open up one slot we’ll give you 20 so every now and again she’ll just teach one class and make like 30 dollars for teaching 25 minutes which is great wow so per hour what what is kind of a roundabout guesstimate of what people can earn teaching english if they just got started yeah i’d say you’re looking at at least vipkid you’re looking at about twenty dollars an hour but that’s another advantage of uh teaching english online is that at least with vipkid the lessons are prepared for you so there’s not really a lot of prep that you need to do you just kind of walk into a classroom and teach a ppt slide so it’s basically 25 slides in 25 minutes and you’re done you’re not thinking about your job before or after class oh wow that’s really good i didn’t know that so on the flip side i always like to talk about the pros and the cons of everything we we discuss on this channel uh what would you say are some of the cons of teaching english online.

I’d say one of the main cons for me is just having to teach the same lessons over and over again it can get pretty tiring talking about farm animals every day and having that high energy that’s needed to teach um or singing how many times can you sing bi ngo in one day mike it gets pretty deep yeah probably not more than a few um i’d say another disadvantage is that i’d say most of the kids are pretty behaved but a lot of the times you do have to deal with discipline and it’s just not something you’re really prepared to tackle every day it’s definitely not something i like doing there’s always that one troublemaker who can kind of throw things off right yeah and sometimes they want to continue to have classes with you and you tell the parents you’re like i’m not sure we’re a good fit but for some reason they always keep coming back mike another disadvantage i guess would be you’re gaining a specific salary and i think those companies a lot of the times make it a little difficult for you to get a raise um so you get pretty stagnate after a while and if you’re looking to expand your income it’s not always the easiest yeah so i think that’s really good advice is with teaching english online you’re going to have a you’re going to start at a reasonable good spot.

But to you know really get 10 20 higher income you’re really going to need to look at a side hustle so i’d say that’s probably one of the competitive advantage is you’re allowed to work on these other side hustles but again it’s i think teaching english online is something unless you really love it and it’s a passion for you you really need to look for a transition point within one to two years and kind of start working on that so it does give give you a lot of flexibility to do that yeah that’s what i’m trying to do right now i’ve noticed i do have still some free time where i can work on some of my side hustles so that is helping the income grow at least a little for now so art thanks so much for coming on today if you’re looking to check out art’s channel you can go to gringo nation we’ll leave all the details that we discussed about in the description below so make sure to check out our channel gringo nation give him a subscribe give him some support we’re both small youtubers and we really appreciate you guys sticking around for the whole video if you haven’t yet make sure to smash the like button and make sure you subscribe because we’re putting out new content every week and we love all the new subscribers that are coming into our channels thanks again art for coming on thank you so much for having me today mike yeah buddy pleasure so much fun awesome.

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