8 Reasons Teaching Abroad Will Change Your Life
1) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Gain Perspective
Cross-cultural competency means the ability to work and communicate with those who come from a culture or socio-economic background different from your own. Nothing enriches your life like getting to know people who can give you a different take on the world. Learning local lingo, venturing into local hangout spots and making friends outside your comfort zone is will teach you life lessons impossible to experience in the comfort of your home country.
This will also give you one of the most valuable things you can gain: perspective. It’s easy to sit online in the comfort of your own home and read about different cultures, people and even conflicts and struggles, but the whole world changes when you can give it a name and a face. When you have good friends in countries and cities you could barely find on a map before, you begin to look at humanity differently.
The perspective you gain from traveling can not only shape your future and goals, but also shape you as a person, and change the way you react to things and treat people in life. When you’re able to approach situations with a global perspective, you gain a certain wisdom which commands respect. Although it’s not something you can put on a resume, the perspective gained from living abroad will truly help you accomplish meaningful goals!
2) Look Good on Paper
Teaching abroad is something any employer values seeing on a resume. Whether you’re a med student, a lit major, an engineer, or currently undecided, successfully spending a year or more as a teacher abroad will ensure that your application to any future job stands out! The ability to live and teach abroad shows employers that you are flexible and able to adapt to new environments, for obvious reasons. It also demonstrates that you are an excellent communicator who can deal with very real language barriers on a daily basis. It also shows cross-cultural competency, which is becoming a highly desired trait as more and more companies go global.
3) Have Friends Everywhere
Not only will you have opportunities to make local friends, you will also have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world! Your fellow English teachers will most likely be your first friends in your new home, and English teachers in Asia come from all corners of the globe. In communities of foreigners abroad, it’s a never ending holiday, and the food is amazing! Because expat communities tend to be relatively small, you’ll become friends with the kind of people you may have never met at home, which is an overwhelmingly positive thing. Making friends from all over the world also means you’ll never be without a couch to crash on in your future travels!
4) Have an Incredibly Rewarding Job
We all think we know what teachers do: plan lessons, write curriculum, correct papers, entertain kids. The thing is, after I became a teacher, I realized teaching was so much more than that….teaching is a wild wild west job where fun and creativity meet planning and adventure and hilarity usually ensues. Kids can be totally unpredictable in the most amazing way possible! They will melt your heart, make you cry and end up teaching you more life lessons than you feel you’ve ever taught them.
Hours don’t drag by while you sit at a desk because you’re up moving around, singing, directing games, or enjoying a sweet moment of joy while a class sits quietly and works hard. Once you get the hang of it, teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs on earth. In fact, teaching is such a dynamic job, it may be hard to ever go back to the dull serenity of a desk job!
5) Watch Your Bank Account Grow
It’s true what they say, right now there is a HUGE job market in China! The population of China is exploding with people who realize they will need English to gain that competitive edge in their rapidly developing nation. Wealthy parents are looking for quality English schools to send their child too, and are willing to spend more on education since the adoption of China’s one-child policy.
In stark contrast to the job market in the US and other western countries, schools in China are actively seeking YOU! No matter your experience, schools will train you in their curriculum and programs. Even at an entry level, you will be making enough money to live comfortably and still save a significant portion of your paycheck. Most jobs also come with awesome compensation packages including flight reimbursement, housing stipends, and of course all come with national health coverage and enough vacation time to explore Asia!
6) Go to Bangkok for the Weekend
Living in China means nowhere in Asia is too far for a weekend getaway! Tickets to places you only dreamed about before are suddenly not only affordable, but close, and such a central location offers unparalleled chances for exploring. There are lots of discount air carries that fly around Asia, and the hardest part is simply choosing a destination! To explore the pristine beaches of the Philippines, go for an adventurous climb up Mt. Kinabalu in Bornean Malaysia, a tour de cuisine in Bangkok, power shopping in Hong Kong or explore the idyllic towns of the Japanese countryside?! It’s incredibly exciting the moment you realize if you manage your time and money well, you can do it all!
7) Follow Your Wanderlust to Anywhere
Once you have 1-2 years of teaching experience under your belt, the world is your oyster. You can take your jobs skills to any country you’ve ever wanted to live in! Really want to make the big bucks? Take a job in the Middle East. Looking for the high class urban lifestyle? Hong Kong and Singapore look for more experienced teachers! Ready to take on a more rural location? Countries like Nepal and Mongolia also have a huge market for teachers with previous international teaching experience.
8) Change Your Heart
Living and teaching abroad isn’t always easy, but at the end of the day, it’s an incredibly satisfying and humbling experience. It makes you fearless, accepting of the unknown, patient, more aware of what’s valuable, and less bothered by things of a trivial nature. It gives you an appreciation for the life you lived at home, and a love for life abroad. In becoming part of a family in your adopted country, you learn to love people despite outward differences, and really care for a place that used to just be a name on map. Plus, you get to meet a gaggle of people who are just like you, and those are bonds that last a lifetime!