Does anyone else ever look at their life and think:
“Hey, wait. I didn't choose this. What am I doing? I did what they said I should do: graduated and got a steady paying job. Why am I unhappy?”
This is what age 22 looked like for me, as well as thousands of other 20 to 40-year-olds. We're in our prime, yet we're more bored than ever. Up until this point, adulthood had looked like 4 walls and a computer screen. I wanted to escape the cubicle lifestyle. The sun was out! There were rivers to float down, trails to hike. People to meet, and stories to share.
I needed a vacation - a year-long kind. But How?
And then I met someone with answers.Jo had recently returned from teaching English in China. She was there for 1 year teaching kids and teenagers. But how? All of my questions began to overflow. Here is what I learned that day:
No, I don't have to know any other language to teach English abroad.
No, I don't have to have a bunch of money to get started.
Yes, I will need a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Certification.
Yes, I can do it alone.
Yes, there will be people to help me along the way.
Yes, you really can escape the 9 to 5 rat race.
Knowledge is power. Learning how Jo got her TEFL certificate from an online class changed everything for me.
Here is a step-by-step process of how I escaped the 9 to 5 lifestyle and how you can too:
At this point in time, the internet has all the answers. There's endless information online about teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). I read tons of fun stories and motivational lessons from people who have moved abroad to teach. “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.”
During my research, I paid attention to which school seemed like the best choice for me. After a few hours of reading about teaching abroad, I was on my way to escape the cubicle lifestyle!
Before anything life-altering, I knew I had to DECIDE to make a change. Being half-way invested in something is only half-way effective. It's a limbo. I knew if I was serious about wanting to escape the cubicle, I had to decide to make a big change and not let anything stop me. Once I did that, everything else in my life started to shift. I began to notice stories of adventure all throughout my day. Decisions are powerful.
The course taught me how to instruct an English class, then provided me with a certificate. There are 2 choices of training: online or in-person. Online classes take 2 - 3 months to complete and allow the flexibility to work from home. In-person classes last about 4 weeks with a full-time schedule. What defers many people at first: the price. I paid about $1,100 USD for good training then had the freedom to teach in all corners of the world. I hated spending that much money, but a grand is a great price for the level of freedom a TEFL certificate gives you!
(If you don't have a spare thousand, EF can help you with a TEFL sponsorship!)
Doesn't just the idea sound liberating? Sexy, even? Before I bought my plane ticket, there was one more step to escape the 9 to 5: Quit. It was time to let my boss know the timer is up. I was professional, of course. Put in my two-weeks, finished my work, and listened to everyone tell me how crazy I was. It didn't matter because China was calling and it was louder than any haters.
Actually getting on a plane with a suitcase in hand is the most surreal feeling yet; it's as if I was expecting someone to stop me. Once I boarded my plane, though, it was one big adventure from there. It was terrifying, I'll admit. But I did it anyway. And lived to tell about it!
So there you have it: a step-by-step guide of how to move abroad to teach English in China and escape the 9 to 5. It's far more realistic than most people think and it will open up so many doors for those willing to take a leap. Now, are YOU ready to solve your problem and escape the cubicle you're living in?