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Is Teaching English Abroad Right for Me?
Written by: Tyler Parsons
Last Updated: December 18, 2020
A lot of people think teaching English abroad is a great idea, but only a small margin of those interested end up having the Instagram photos and stories to prove their adventures of living in a foreign land. It’s not that certain people can’t make the jump, it’s just that it may not be right for them. And, that’s totally OK. It’s better to make the decision yes or no, and move on!
Well if you’re one of those on the fence (well since this is about traveling, maybe we should try a travel reference. If you’re on the equator? If you’re sitting on the axis of the globe? Or maybe we just stick with the fence reference, but you get the point!). So if you’re trying to decide if this is right for you, here are some questions to ask yourself!
Do you like trying new things?
Doesn’t matter if it’s a new food item every time you visit the café on the corner of your street, learning a new route to work or picking a new activity to learn every month, being open to new routine and way of life is important if you’re serious about teaching abroad. You will be placed in situations you may never have been in and surrounded by people with little common connection, which is both exciting and terrifying. But for those who are open to trying new things, it’s a welcomed change and one to embrace.
Do you like to learn?
I was once told that everything we needed to learn in life was taught to us in the great grade level K (or Kindergarten). I couldn’t agree less on such a statement. There is always more to learn about the world, other cultures, and, perhaps most important, learn more about ourselves. Teaching English abroad provides the opportunity to soak in the world around us.
While teaching abroad, you can take language classes, see local art, visit history museums, sit and chat with local residents, partake in festivals, and get a feel for life in different parts of the world.
So if you like learning new languages, musical instruments, crafts and arts, or even just following the news every day in your home country, imagine what opportunities teaching abroad can provide for your personal growth.
Would you like to have friends all over the world?
We all love to have friends to visit in big cities or that one friend that has a spare bedroom in a more convenient part of town. But what if you had friends literally all over the world you could always visit? Or roommates from new parts of the world that can introduce you to their culture, cooking, and traditions, giving you a glimpse of life in other places even different than the one you’re actually living in.
TEFL certified teachers can come from all over the world and making new friends is definitely the highlight of the experience for many!
To Learn More: 9 Pro Tips for Making Friends While Teaching English Abroad
Do you like to travel?
I know this might seem a bit obvious, but it’s an important question to ask yourself before uprooting your life to spend ample time in a new country. Trains, overnight buses, flights, and taxis are all part of the experience when moving abroad. You will have your share of layovers and frustrating schedule changes to deal with, that’s almost a given. But, the payoff is worth it and if you’re not willing to deal with travel to enjoy the places around you, then maybe teaching English abroad isn’t right for you.
Do you actually want to teach?
I’m not saying you have commit to a career change and dedicate your professional life to education, but do you actually want to spend time in a classroom, grading papers, and perfecting your craft? For many of your students, learning English is an opportunity to advance their career, get accepted to universities, move countries themselves, or reach a lifelong goal of being able to communicate with people from all over the world. These students deserve a teacher who is committed to seeing them succeed and improving their English.
While seeing the world and making your friends jealous on social media is definitely an amazing perk, it’s important to remember you’re also there to teach and provide a skill! If teaching doesn’t sound like something you would like to do, there are other ways to live abroad and worth exploring all your options.
Pro Tip! Even though you may not ultimately pursue education as a long-term career path, teaching abroad for even just a year can provides you with skills and experience that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
To Learn More: 7 Ways Teaching English Abroad Enhances Your Career Prospects.
Are you nervous?
This may be a trick question, cause the answer should be ‘yes’. You’re thinking of making a life-changing decision to pack up and move to another part of the world where you may not know the language, the customs, or even a single person when you land. You will be away from your home, family and friends for extended periods of time. You should be nervous.
If you’re not nervous about the move you’re probably an experienced world traveler or you’re not seriously thinking about moving abroad.
For more Read: 7 Fears You Will Overcome while Teaching English Abroad.
Posted In: Tips for Traveling & Living Abroad
Tyler is California born and raised. After graduating from Chico State University with a BA in journalism, he traded his life on the beach for teaching English in Hong Kong. Now he helps others achieve their goals of teaching & living abroad as an Admissions Advisor at International TEFL Academy.
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