I’ve been in the Teach English Abroad industry for a while now, and I frequently talk to people who do not know that it’s a possibility for them. The idea of living and working in a foreign country to many sounds, well…foreign. They think it’s just for the movies or the rich, but the reality is that people from all walks of life have found a meaningful travel and work experience through teaching English abroad.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should teach English abroad in 2018:
1. Immerse yourself in the culture
Have you ever dreamed of living in another country, walking the cobbled alleys to work each day, soaking in another language and fully experiencing the local traditions? Teaching English abroad can be your ticket to the VIP travel experience. As a teacher, you’ll not only be a respected part of the community, but you’ll get to live the day-to-day life like a local while earning a living and gaining a better understanding of its culture.
2. Learn the language
While it’s not important to know the local language to teach English abroad, it will undoubtedly work its way into your brain. You’ll be encountering the local language both inside and outside of your classroom, and even if you’re not actively studying it, you’ll learn at least some of it. Many ESL teachers choose to take language classes of their own (or do an exchange with a co-worker!) so they can improve their own standard of living within the country. Typically, within six months of teaching English abroad, a teacher can order his/her own foods and instruct a taxi driver where to go, at the very least.
3. Improve your resume
Even if you don’t want to continue in a career or teaching, experience as an educator together with the experience of living and traveling abroad will prove to any employer that you’re a culture, well-rounded individual worth talking to. It also instantly shows curiosity, adaptability, willingness to learn new things, and ability to find comfort in strange situations. Plus if you happen to learn a new language (see #2), you’ll open up a variety of career possibilities!
4. Learn from your students
Not only will your students LOVE to teach you certain (not always appropriate) words in their language (sometimes they just like to hear you talk funny!), they will also be your best sources for learning about local traditions and customs, the latest news and coolest gadgets, etc. They will be your pulse on the community. Teaching English abroad is more than the name entails. It’s a language and culture exchange; it’s anything but one-sided learning.
5. Travel education
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: meaningful travel is the best education there is. Why? Because not only will you learn about the world (its histories, cultures, different perspectives) but you’ll also learn more about yourself and your place in this world. Teaching English abroad is the perfect combination of traditional classroom education with real-world experiential education and you will undoubtedly come back a better person.
6. Make some money
Of course, it would be next to impossible for many of us to afford to take a six-month (or longer) meaningful travel trip without at least earning our keep while we’re there. If you teach English abroad, you’ll have the opportunity to earn your cost of living and even save some money, depending on which country you choose to live and work in.
7. Make a difference
It’s true. You really can make a difference in even a short time as an English teacher abroad. Maybe you’ll stay long enough to see their English levels improve, or perhaps even to watch them graduate and go to college or get a job. But even if you only teach for a short-term commitment abroad, you’ll undoubtedly have a chance to leave a mark on your students, often in unexpected ways. Often, as teachers, we never know the impact we have. If we’re lucky, we find out years later. But know that you’ll be sharing a part of yourself with your students and for that, a difference will be made.
8. Change your life
Perhaps more measurable is the change you’ll make on yourself. It’s not possible to pick up your life, move to a foreign country, immerse yourself in its culture, and to come back the same person you were before. You’ll experience things, see things, do things that will change your outlook on life, the way you want to live it, the people you invite into your circle, and more. Your life will be changed. There’s no way of knowing exactly how until you do it, but we promise it will only be for the better. Read “How Meaningful Travel Changes You“.
Have you thought about teaching English abroad and how it can change your life? Contact us today to discuss your options!
Have you done it and have something to add? Let us know in the comments!