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7 Ways Teaching English Abroad Enhances Your Career Prospects

Teaching English abroad & TEFL look good on a resume as it showcases valuable skills such as adaptability, communication, teaching, problem-solving, and a willingness to take risks and explore new environments.

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In today's globalized world, teaching English abroad has become a popular option for many individuals seeking to gain international experience and broaden their horizons. But beyond personal growth and cultural immersion, many wonder if teaching English abroad can enhance their professional prospects as well.

Your Experience Teaching Abroad is Valuable

In this context, the following questions arise:

Can teaching English abroad be a career?

Yes! With approximately 2 billion people learning English worldwide, the demand for English teachers is so high that you can definitely make a paying career of it. From pre-schools to universities, schools at all levels across the globe are in constant demand of trained English teachers.

Read more: The requirements to teach English abroad

Is teaching English abroad actually a good idea?

If you want to get paid to live abroad and gain valuable professional experience for your resume that will set you apart, then "yes" - teaching English abroad is a good idea. You will also touch the lives of your students and make friends that you probably never imagined.

Read more: The Benefits of Teaching Abroad

Does Teaching English Abroad Look Good on a Resume?

Whether or not you decide to stay in the education field, teaching English abroad will look good on your resume. You will develop skills in areas like public speaking and bridging cultural differences, and you will gain international work experience, which is key in the current globalized economy.

Read more: Is teaching English abroad worth it?

Teaching English abroad demonstrates a number of valuable skills and experience, including:

  1. International experience

  2. Real work experience that graduate programs seek

  3. Multicultural experience

  4. Adaptability & flexibility

  5. Strong communication skills

  6. Problem-solving skills

  7. Teaching experience

Let's look at these seven ways teaching English abroad will enhance your career prospects in detail.

1. International Experience

Teaching English abroad provides real international work experience that is highly sought after by businesses in the globalized economy of the 21st century. Having international experience on your resume can be attractive to many employers, as it shows that you have a global perspective and are comfortable working in a diverse and dynamic environment.

More than ever, success – or even just survival – in business depends on moving and selling goods and information across borders and around the globe. From financial securities and information technology to food products and petroleum, if you want to be a “global leader” in anything, businesses need to compete in places like China, Europe and Brazil.

This means that major corporations in all fields seek those with experience, a comfort level and a proven ability to work internationally with people from different cultures. This is exactly what you will gain by teaching English abroad while living and working as a member of the local community in a foreign country.

Read more: Top 5 attractive countries for teaching English abroad


2. Real Work Experience that Graduate Programs Seek

Graduate schools, including law schools, medical schools, and MBA programs, seek applicants with "real world experience" - teaching English abroad provides exactly that! 

A majority of graduate school programs – especially professional schools like law schools, business schools, and medical schools – actively encourage applicants to gain “real-world experience” prior to applying for grad school. They want you to take on challenges and gain experience in an environment apart from being a student, and they particularly value international experience.

By working as an English teacher abroad, you will gain international work experience that proves you are up to the rigors and responsibilities of the professional world, and that you can take on the challenges of adapting to a new culture.

When you decide to return home from teaching abroad (if you do – some folks get hooked and just make a career out of it), and you re-enter the job market or apply for graduate school, teaching English abroad will dramatically set you apart from your peers and competitors.

Almost all of them will boast similar academic records, corporate internships, and/or retail or office work experience. But virtually none of them will boast the sort of international professional or personal experience that teaching English abroad will provide you.

Read more: Why Teaching English Abroad is a Great First Job Out of College


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3. Multicultural Experience

In the multicultural societies of the 21st century, proven abilities to take on new challenges and adapt to new environments is resume gold. The same goes for demonstrated success living in a new environment and working with people from different national, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Teaching English abroad shows that you have experience working in a multicultural environment and can adapt to different cultural norms and communication styles.

This is particularly useful if you want to work for an organization like the State Department, the CIA,   the United Nations or a major international relief organization like the International Red Cross, Amnesty International or Oxfam.

These organizations want to hire people with hardcore multicultural work and travel experience, a proven commitment to public service and demonstrated interest in international affairs.

Teaching English abroad looks perfect on a resume for those looking to pursue a career with such entities and proves that your interest in international affairs is real and personal.

Read more: 13 Best countries for teaching English abroad

Teaching English Abroad Enhances Your Career Prospects

4. Adaptability & Flexibility

Living and working in a foreign country can require a high degree of adaptability and flexibility, which are qualities that many employers value. Teaching English abroad proves your ability to adapt to a new environment.

Additionally, teaching English abroad shows that you are willing to take risks, step outside your comfort zone, and explore new environments. This can demonstrate your sense of adventure and willingness to learn and grow.


5. Strong Communication Skills

Teaching English abroad will require you to develop organizational and communication skills, as well as the ability to manage group settings. 

No matter what field of employment or study you enter in the future, developing these skills, including the ability to command a room, will serve you well and make you more desirable as an employee or a student. Do you know how many people cower just at the thought of speaking in front of a group or trying to communicate with somebody who doesn’t speak English? The ability to command a room and to keep an audience engaged is highly desirable and as an English teacher, you will be doing exactly that up to six times a day running classes.

As a teacher, you will have developed strong communication skills, both in verbal and written form. This can be a valuable asset in many different industries and job roles.


6. Problem-Solving Skills

Teaching in a foreign country can present a range of unique challenges, such as language barriers and cultural differences. Overcoming these challenges can demonstrate your ability to problem-solve and think creatively.

For example, when teaching in a foreign country, you may encounter students who have a very limited understanding of English, which can make it difficult to effectively convey knowledge and information to them. You may need to employ creative teaching strategies, such as using pictures, gestures, or real-life examples to make the lessons more engaging and understandable.

Additionally, cultural differences may affect the way students perceive and respond to the material being taught. You may need to modify your teaching approach to better align with the cultural norms and values of your students.

Furthermore, differences in educational systems may present unique challenges, such as variations in curriculum or teaching styles. You may need to adapt your teaching methods to align with the educational system in the country where you are teaching.

Read more: Do I Need to Know a Foreign Language to Teach English Abroad?


7. Teaching Experience

Let's not forget about the main part. Teaching English abroad demonstrates that you have experience teaching and can effectively convey knowledge and information to others. With your teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) experience, you will actually have something interesting and unique to talk about during job or graduate school interviews!

Believe it or not, this makes a huge difference. Many human resources or admissions departments interview hundreds or even thousands of job or graduate school applicants a year, and in truth, most have very little to say that is interesting, unique or memorable during the interview process – the majority are plainly forgettable.

When you are asked about what you’ve done with yourself in the past year, or to relate a story of how you’ve displayed initiative or struck out beyond your comfort zone, and you can describe moving to another country like Spain, Brazil or China to teach English, you will place yourself miles ahead of your competition.

In addition, stories and anecdotes about living and working abroad make for great small-talk fodder and will provide ample opportunities for you to market yourself as interesting and worldly.


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Bonus: Living & Teaching Abroad Makes You Smarter!

According to Time Magazine, several recent studies show that living and working abroad actually makes you smarter because experiencing new cultures and environments "makes us more flexible, creative, and complex thinkers."

A study led by William Maddux, an associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, found that among students enrolled in an international MBA program, their “multicultural engagement”—the extent to which they adapted to and learned about new cultures—predicted how “integratively complex” their thinking became.


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