To teach English abroad is a hot topic now, and for good reason. It’s trending for lots of reasons and is on the radar of many traveler’s, nomads, and those looking for something a little different in their lives.
So why should you teach English abroad?
We all go abroad whether just for travel and some fun, or for a change of scenery, and there are ways that teaching abroad can encompass both of these things. Whether it’s for some adventure, to learn a new language, or merely as a way to support yourself, you could even be a teacher in your home country (makes you all the better qualified!) and teach English abroad. And if you’re not a teacher in your home country you can get a TEFL certificate and be able to teach almost anywhere in the world and get a job teaching English easily.
Here are some of the top reasons why you should teach English abroad:
To Learn More About Yourself
Let’s get a little bit selfish here. People who really love teaching tend to not be the selfish types, but those who like travel tend to be (or at least I think so…argue about that with me here if you’d like). We don’t always teach abroad because we love teaching, we teach abroad for a means of money (usually), and for a little bit of a change in our lives. Often it’s a gap of awkward time between school and “real life” until we figure out what we really want to do, sometimes it’s because we’re sick of our home country, or something completely different. We all have our own reasons.
I think a good reason is so that you can learn more about yourself. You will learn more about yourself in a year while living in a foreign country more than you will staying at home. Put yourself into the middle of a non-English speaking country, and you’ll be shocked by how much you’ll learn. Suddenly you’ll see sides of yourself that you didn’t know existed, or did and hid from the world. You’ll struggle, you’ll cry, and you’ll really find what makes you happy, how to be yourself, and how to be on your own as an individual.
To Sustain Your Travels
Originally I had this titled “to make money,” but realistically teaching doesn’t always give you great money. Some opportunities can for sure, but it’s not always the case. To sustain your travels is definitely one of the top reasons, and the reason why I personally decided to teach English abroad. Whether you’re in Europe, SE Asia, or South America, they’re all good areas where you can travel more because a) it’s cheaper or b) destinations are closer. It allows you to have a home base during your travels, but still gives you the freedom to travel to places that wouldn’t always be possible without saving a big chunk of money first or taking multiple trips. These are some of the top destinations to teach English and travel.
To Make an Impact
Some people will argue that teaching English abroad will not make an impact, that you don’t change anyone’s lives or make it better for them. I disagree. Though I may not be changing people’s lives I am still very much making an impact. Think about the teachers that you had growing up. I bet you remember them clearly and some of the life lessons that they taught you. Being a teacher, whether it’s English or not will give you the opportunity to influence someone’s life, to help them in ways that you may not even know, especially if they’re children. Not to mention the fact that speaking English is huge. This can help people with businesses, tourism, etc., meaning they could potentially make more money, or could give them a better chance to travel to more places comfortably being able to speak the number one intentional language of the world.
To Experience a Different Culture
Travel is insanely important because it gives outsiders the chance to experience new and different cultures. It gives people the opportunity to experience something, to try new food, to learn a new language, that they not be able to do at home. It gives life experience as well. Teaching English abroad will give you the full extent of this. You will be fully immersed into a culture without having to up and move your entire life. You will get just enough time (or longer if you decide to stay) to experience not one, but many different cultures depending on how many places you teach in.
To Grow as a Person
We’re getting a little bit selfish again…You will grow so much as a person when you live abroad. You’ll cry, you’ll laugh, you’ll learn to communicate through awkward unofficial sign language and body language. Smiles will almost become a form of currency to you, and most certainly an effective way to communicate. People will love you if you look different, and you’ll suddenly see yourself in a different perspective. You’ll have people stare, and you may have trouble making friends, you’ll get homesick, and maybe even get food poisoning. But through all of the bad stuff you’ll grow the most, and even through the good you’ll grow too. While you learn about yourself you’ll begin to understand more not only about you, but about other people, and the world.
To Give You a Push
A lot of people will turn to working abroad as a way to put a pause on life, on making a big decision. They often feel like they’re stuck or need something different, so they turn to leaving their home country. That is totally okay. I did the same thing and it gave me the push I needed. It can give you the push to take the next step, to have a break from the typical lifestyle you’re living. It will help you see things in a new light, and better help you learn what you need and want as an individual. Learning about yourself and growing as a person are exactly the things we need to get ourselves moving, doing what we please, and living our lives to the fullest.
To Make A Life Long Career
With teaching English abroad you can experience and see the world through one job. You get to meet so many people and create a career that you can almost literally take anywhere with you, whether that be to a new city, country, or continent. There are also ample opportunities for jobs to teach English abroad outside of the classroom. Teach businesses or teach online. I’m currently using an app called NiceTalk (use this code when you sign up: OT54D417) where I teach students from China through video chats and all I have to do it just chat with them most of the time. Though this is not a career, it’s still a great way that I’m making a little extra cash on the side.
Though I didn’t stay abroad in Thailand for very long (read more about that here), I was able to learn and grow, I saved money for my future travels, and I felt like I made a difference (a tiny one) in some children’s lives. It gave me the opportunity to see things from a new perspective, put teaching on my resume (hello leadership role), and got me to really realize what I wanted in life.
If you’ve ever thought of teaching abroad then I highly recommend it, it’s an experience that you won’t regret.
If you want to get started then read my basic guide to getting going. Or take the first step by signing up for a TEFL certificate so you can teach practically anywhere in the world! Almost nowhere will accept you without some kind of teaching certificate, so check out some courses and pick the one that’s best for you!
Other posts on teaching English abroad:
- Before You Teach English Abroad, Ask Yourself These 10 Questions
- Why You Shouldn’t Teach English Abroad
- 3 Ways Teaching English Abroad Will Change You
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