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Movie lover. Growing Capoeirista. Space enthusiast. Dedicated craftsman. And best of all, homegrown Los Angeles native. Wait, how in the hell did I end up in China!?
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I know what you're thinking: "I wish I could drop everything and quit my dead-end 9 to 5 job to travel across the world, experience different cultures, make new friends, fall in love, gain different perspectives, and rack up a bunch of unique adventures and memorable experiences before settling down and life gets serious."
I know, right, doesn't everybody? And on top of that, it just sucks having no clue as to how exactly you'd pull it off. Well, here's something you may want to consider: Why not teach English abroad?
You may have never heard of this "English as a second language (ESL)" world yet, but it's there, and it's been there, and trust me, it's a booming industry that could change your life in a heartbeat. Here's my list of 10 top reasons why you need to consider teaching English abroad:
1. They're Hiring!
Let's just get this one right out of the way: The ESL job industry is hiring like crazy. Bat-shit crazy, too. Just check the websites. Hundreds to thousands of monthly listings of training centers, preschools, kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools, high schools, and universities, looking to hire foreign native English speakers.
South Asia recruits the most, with places like China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand serving as top players in the region for new teachers.
2. Go On an Adventure
Talk about a world full of adventure and discovery. It's a grand opportunity to step away from the norms of your comfort zone and explore the historical landmarks, beautiful landscapes, architecture, technology, scenic spots, and popular tourist destinations of an entirely different region of the world.
Additionally, most of the popular ESL countries--like the ones mentioned above--are situated within close proximity of each other, making it pretty convenient to hop on a train, plane, or boat, and land in another in country in the blink of a eye. How cool is that!?
3. Immerse Yourself in a New Culture
That's right, completely immerse yourself. Whatever country you land in, learn and experience their history, customs, traditions, culture, foods, lifestyles, sports, entertainment, arts, festivals, religions, politics, and world views. It's the perfect chance to gain insight into a new culture and not only stimulate your life, but enhance your life as well.
4. Learn a New Language
Ah, the gratification of learning a new language and becoming multi-lingual. Ok, ok, so I haven't exactly gotten there yet, but I have seen it happen. New English teachers landing in foreign territory and becoming advanced speakers of the country's native tongue in several years. Now that's the best way to practice. Step outside of your doorstep and chat with the locals, learn new words and phrases from colleagues on a daily basis, or pick up a bunch of common slang from your students. There's opportunity everywhere.
5. Meet People From All Over the World
ESL teachers come from all walks of life and every corner of the globe. Heck, at just one job you might encounter a dozen instructors from several different countries. Since moving to China I've met and made close friendships with people from Ghana, Australia, South Africa, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and New Zealand, to name a few. And guess what? Before arriving I couldn't even point to New Zealand on a map!
5. Date & Fall in Love
It's all too common to teach abroad and meet someone you'd want to date or spend the rest of their life with. After all, with so many teachers far away from home and eager to explore their surroundings, it's only natural to romantically connect with locals, expats, or others in the ESL community. And, just as you are immersing yourself in a new culture, a relationship with someone from a country different from yours can be just as enticing. It's 'international love!'
6. Gain a New Perspective
Whether cross-country or cross-continental travel, life in the ESL world can give you a new perspective about yourself, your country, and life itself. You can also learn to become more appreciative of other cultures, as well as understand their point of view on everything from family life, dating, work habits, and etiquette, to religious beliefs, politics, and world affairs.
Teaching is a gratifying experience. To know that you are actively making a difference in your students' lives by providing them with the tools they'll need to expand their international horizons and create better opportunities for themselves can give you a solid peace of mind.
Plus, you'll be able to share intimate experiences and knowledge of your own culture that many of your students may have never been exposed to. I've had the chance to teach my students in China about everything from popular American sports, foods, people, slang, and companies, to famous traditions, holidays and festivals. How awesome!
8. Save Money
Of course, depending on your location and living expenses, most teachers are able to save a few hundred to a 1,000+ dollars a month teaching english overseas. In a place like China, for instance, the cost of living, i.e. rent, food, and transportation, is pretty low, thus allowing you to get more bang for your buck without overspending. You'll have more than enough to send money back home for your school loans or mortgage, while still being able to cover your expenses, travel, and maintain a happy social life.
9. Enhance Your Resume
Employers always love to hear about challenges and diversity that you've faced in the workplace, right? So what's better than telling them that you packed your bags, left your comfort zone, experienced another culture, and worked with people from across of the world, all the while managing to teach students as a language instructor. Whew!
Teaching overseas helps prove to future employers that you are responsible, able to adapt, social, a multi-tasker, full of interesting life experiences, and so much more!
10. Challenge Yourself
One of the most important benefits of teaching abroad is being able to challenge yourself. I know, it's not easy waking up and deciding to start a new life thousands of miles away from home. It's not easy adapting to a new culture, making new friends from different regions of the world, learning a new language, teaching a new language, and being on your own in unfamiliar territory. I know.
Nevertheless, you'll never know how far you can go until you actually try. Overcoming obstacles is not an overnight process but a step by step journey. And in the ESL world, there are many benefits awaiting you after each hurdle that will enhance your adventure and overall quality of life. Don't believe me? Well, take a look around Don's ESL Adventure and see for yourself! Safe & happy travels!
Have any additional reasons for teaching abroad? Well, let me know down below!
Travel Blogger. ESL Teacher. Optimistic Millennial Adventurer! -->