Lexi Ward

Teaching English abroad has a certain mysterious appeal. While the initial wanderlust will pull just about any aspiring teacher into the scene, there are other aspects of the journey that will make them go the distance and stay. Surprisingly, the very things that make teaching English overseas one of the most interesting professional experiences are ones that aren't initially considered before setting off.

1. Adaptability

Teachers will need to bring a strong degree of flexibility to the role and this happens well-before they even choose to set foot on an airplane. Like other professional roles in the working world, teaching English abroad is one that is rife with competition from other working professionals and this means you may find it a bit more difficult to secure a role in a specific country. Teaching English in China fortunately has many opportunities and is the usual go-to for many teachers considering their life abroad thanks to its hospitable ways that are becoming increasingly “western” and wonderfully high quality living standards, but lesser known locations or other developing countries facing socioeconomic hardship may be more fiercely competitive.

Being able to roll with the punches means English teachers will not only learn about the world around them, but also quite a bit about themselves in the process. Being able to adapt to both personal and professional situations keeps the career very exciting throughout a teacher's journey around the world.

2. Cultural Holidays

If there's one thing that unites the world, its a country's love of traditional holidays and the overwhelming majority of English-learning nations are willing to share their customs with English teachers. This might mean needing to be a bit more flexible with holiday and vacation time, but it does mean that teachers will be exposed to a completely different working calendar that might even work out better for their personal preferences. China has a wealth of these holidays scattered throughout the year that teachers mightn't have considered in the first place. These include Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, and National Week to name a few. Classes will be dismissed during this time and teachers will be free to travel as they please, but many will choose to stay locally in order to take in the sights and sounds of these joyous occasions.

3. Demand

Global English teaching is a seriously big business. It's estimated that there are nearly two billion learners around the world and this number is gradually increasing as the global economy continues to move towards using English as its primary language. This couldn't be clearer in China where the country is the world's largest market for English tuition and language coursebooks account for more than a fifth of book sales nationwide according to a study done by The Economist. Here, it's estimated that there are a little over 300,000,000 English language learners, which is more than the entirety of the population in the United States.

4. Prestige

Very few teachers enter the second language market with ambitions of padding their pockets and living a luxurious lifestyle that's filled with social accolades. However, many teachers are delighted to find out this sort of lifestyle is exactly what can be on offer. Developing nations and economies recognize the power that the English language must unlock a greater standing in the world, which is reflected in how well English language teachers are treated around the world. They're often held in some of the highest social esteem with respect, honour, and gratitude. It isn't unusual for some particularly well-known teachers to rise to local celebrity or other iconic status depending on how much influence they have on their classroom and the local population.

5. Improved Cultural Sensitivity

A teacher's WQ score is quick to improve when they're exposed to different ways of living and different people with the greater understanding that we're all the same as human beings. Despite living in different areas of the world, we all share the same hopes and dreams of living an enriched life and the English language has the power to open that very door for so many people. They're all great qualities to list on a resume after teaching for a year or two!

There are so many reasons to consider teaching abroad and some of these traits will speak to you more than others. However, there's one thing that's for certain: you're bound to have one of the most memorable life experiences by choosing to pursue this field. The world is waiting!

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Lexi Ward

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