Requirements and Struggles of EU and non-EU English Teachers in Greece


Before setting off to a new country, even as tourists, we must always check if we are legally able to travel there. In that sense, getting to Greece isn’t that difficult in most cases – being a part of the EU and Schengen area, it has provided many easy ways for tourists from all over the world to come and enjoy the beauties of Greece. However, Greeks take its work permits, and especially their citizenship, really close to heart, and they tend to not give any of these away easily.

That is why we will be talking about the requirements of living and teaching English in Greece – in order to prepare you for all possibilities, no matter where you are from!

EU citizens with a TEFL certificate wanted!

Starting from the easiest road to happiness of teaching in Greece, if you are a citizen of another EU country, you will have an exceptionally easy time getting to Greece.

You need nothing but your passport or even an ID card (in some cases). You are officially allowed to live AND work in Greece, for as long as you would like. You might meet some other difficulties on your way; for example, you might have a hard time finding your first apartment if you do not speak Greek, which we talked about in the Finances section.

Despite this, it will be pretty simple for you to find a job – most private language schools will be happy to see that they do not have to secure a work permit for you. Greece is a bureaucratic country and every legal document acquisition can lead to headaches of the employers and employees both.

Native speakers have an advantage up their sleeve, too!

If you come from the US, Canada, Australia or anywhere else outside of the European Union, you will need a work permit in order to start working in Greece.

Many of the private language schools (frontistiria) will not be eager to hire teachers from abroad who do not already have a work permit, because of the aforementioned bureaucracy.

Greece has been gripped by an alarmingly high unemployment rate ever since the crisis started; therefore measures have been taken to secure jobs for Greek citizens. However, as natural or no accent in English is highly preferred when teaching English in Greece, foreigners still have a chance at landing a great English teaching job.

You may want to research how to raise your chances of getting hired over your EU teaching peers – we will be talking about this at the end of the article. On top of the work permit, you might also need a Visa to enter the country at all, but this is not just as common occurrence.

Check the official list of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and make sure you know if a Visa is obligatory for the residents of your country: Here.

One course & you are ready to teach in Greece?

In most cases, yes!

When you arrive and secure your stay, you might remember why you came to Greece in the first place: to teach English!

Education requirements for teaching English in Greece are not nearly as strict as the Visa/work permit ones. In case you are coming from a native language environment (For example, UK, US, Australia…), or you are a native English speaker from abroad, in order to be eligible to work in a private language school you usually need nothing more than to be a certified TEFL teacher, meaning to have attended and passed the “Teaching English as a Foreign language” course.

For non-native speakers, a college/university degree in English language is usually required, but it is not an official rule. Often, you can give private classes with only TEFL certificate, but as discussed in one of the previous articles, in order to get students for private classes, you will need to make some contacts.

How can I increase my chances of getting hired in Greece?

If you are looking for ways to increase your chances at getting hired in Greece, here are some things that you should keep in mind.

Most job offers in Greece come up during the peak season: September/October, the start of the school year.

Being a country that hasn’t been completely taken over by the internet yet, the best way to get hired in Greece is to be in the country during the hiring season, and apply in person.

Generally speaking, you will have an advantage over other teachers if you have any university/college degree at all, as Greeks prefer hiring teachers that have spent longer in education, but an even bigger advantage could be experience.

In case you’ve already taught English, at some school, online, or even given private classes for a while; all of this could potentially raise your chances of getting hired. Experience in teaching is something many Greek English teachers lack and it could be your ticket to getting hired.

Related Articles:

What struggles do we all have in common?

Finally, an issue that both EU and non-EU teachers face when they arrive and start teaching, is that Greece is a very Greek-oriented country.

This can be understood in two ways, and they are both correct, unfortunately.

Firstly, although Greeks cannot be considered racist as a whole, they are still conservative as a nation, and “traditionalists”, as they call it.

This is especially relevant if you are going to teach in the outskirts. Get ready for being slightly discriminated by strangers if you are not Greek, and especially if that is very obvious, for example, if you do not speak Greek or you are of skin color that is not common in the area.

This changes once you meet these people, as Greeks are generally not racist, just wary of strangers.

The second way to understand that Greece is a Greek-oriented country is, of course, that the Greek language is everywhere and very rarely replaced by English.

Greeks will always stay proud of their language – and their country, too!

In the capital and the main tourist spots, you may not have a big issue, as all of the most important information is indeed written in both English and Greek, but as formal and bureaucratic business usually isn’t reserved for tourists, it is where you may find yourself stuck if you do not speak Greek.

It is, actually, very important for you to learn at least the very basics of Greek once you are there, not for the sake of your job (Greeks prefer being taught in English, without interruptions of their mother tongue) but for the sake of your personal experience in Greece.

In the next article, we will be telling you more about how to experience Greece in the best way possible. You will be bringing some of your own culture into your classes, but it is important to appreciate all the beauties a life in Greece can offer. There are reasons why Greeks are known to be one of the most positive, humorous and generous people in world!

Posted On: May 25, 2019.

Author: Sara Djumic

Copyright © 2020. All Rights Reserved.