Amsterdam is a wildly popular city for expats who flock here from all around the world. The high standard of living and an accepting atmosphere make it one of the best places for settling down. Being such a kaleidoscope of people and cultures also make Amsterdam a great place for language teaching. So, if you are one of the many who has decided to make Amsterdam your home, we’ve prepared a few tips on how to best get started finding a job as a language teacher in Amsterdam.
Work Permits and Visas
The first thing you need to get familiar with are the required visas and permits you would need as a language teacher. Citizens of the EU member states are exempt from having to apply for work permits, but will still need to register as residents with the local Vreemdelingenpolitie and obtain a residence permit.
You should also check that your teaching certificate is compliant with the local standards, set by the Dutch Ministry of Education. If you don’t have an internationally recognised licence or certificate, you would be excluded from legally working for any international schools subsidised by the government.
Making Contact with Schools
If you have not done so already, you should get started with approaching either international or language schools to find a permanent teaching position. Use directories, like the AngloInfo list for language schools in Amsterdam to find any you would like to work for, and send a personalised cover letter together with your resume for the highest chance of success.
Remember that the best times for finding work in the language teaching business are ahead of the rush seasons in September and January. This is the time when schools experience the biggest influx of new students and need teachers to correspond with the increase in demand. Try to time your job search accordingly.
Also, don’t forget to do your research on the schools. A quick Google search will tell you if they have a good reputation or have many disgruntled former employees. Checking up on your future employer has become an easy way to avoid being stiffed or scammed.
Job Boards for Expats
Naturally, you should also check the various job boards and websites dedicated to helping foreigners in Amsterdam find work. Try Jobs in Amsterdam, XpatJobs, or the job board at I am Expat. Another option, although not specifically for expats, is to try job search behemoths like Indeed and Career Jet.
Using Alternative Means
With Amsterdam being such a melting pot, you can expect rather fierce competition for teaching positions, especially for the more common European languages. So, it would do to stand out from the crowd. If you’re already in Amsterdam, you should definitely spend a day or two making direct contact with some of the language schools you’re interested in teaching for. Face-to-face meetings are a surprisingly productive way of landing your dream job. But if this seems like a too-straight-forward approach, then emails and follow-up phone calls also do the trick.
Some language schools are also actively using social media to promote themselves, and in this case, you can always try tweeting at them or posting on their Facebook page. Additionally, never underestimate the effect of networking. There are a lot of expats in Amsterdam willing to help each other out. Try joining Meetup groups relevant to language learning or teaching, and visit the various websites dedicated to the expat experience – many of these occasionally organise networking events.
Covering Your Base
As an added measure, you can always try working with several language schools so that you’re not wholly dependent on a single one. Another great way to lessen your dependence on any one school is to take on private students. This is especially beneficial for the slump seasons around summer and winter when school work drops out.
Teaching privately gives you the added bonus of being in charge of your own schedule and hours which is great if you want to spend more time exploring Amsterdam. Be mindful, though, that with private teaching, you are in charge of your own taxes and staying within accordance of the local law – something that most language schools take care of for you.
Conclusion – Use Expat Sites and Several Sources to Create a Stable Income
Amsterdam has a very low level of unemployment, meaning that skilled labour is always in need. If you are an experienced and qualified teacher (being a native speaker also always helps), it shouldn’t take you long to find a good position.
In any case, use common sense and take a few precautions when approaching schools for a long-term teaching position. It’s also always a good idea to reduce risk and create several sources of income with either combining language school work or finding private students.