Undergraduates who want to teach English abroad can complete a new University of Central Florida certificate program to hone their skills and gain valuable experience.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses offer UCF students an advantage by preparing them for the tough questions that students learning English ask. Without special training, it is difficult for native speakers to explain the language clearly to foreign students.

Although it is possible to find a job teaching English in a foreign country without formal training, the certificate prepares students for the tough competition among job seekers in popular and well-paying markets such as Japan and Korea.

“Your goal is to get the best job you can – and that is why having the TEFL certificate is invaluable,” said Keith Folse, a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages professor.

The certificate can be earned after completing four classes.  The classes cover a variety of topics, including the components of English, the stages of acquiring an additional language, and how to teach speaking and writing to foreign students.

UCF graduates already are teaching in Guatemala, Turkey, China, Japan, Costa Rica and many other countries around the world.

Ben Guzman recently arrived in Korea after taking two of the four courses offered by the certificate. Guzman chronicled his journey teaching overseas.

Certificate courses incorporate working with international students at the UCF Center for Multilingual Multicultural Studies.

“The number one thing that prospective employers look for in someone who has a TEFL certificate is the number of actual classroom hours of experience” Folse said. “Internet-based certificates are not worth much because they lack this classroom teaching experience.”

For more information, go to the program’s Facebook page or email Keith Folse at keith.folse@ucf.edu.