So you want to teach in another country? You've been thinking about it, or at least daydreaming about what it would be like. If that's you then it's time to stop daydreaming and do something about it. Here are five reasons why you should take the leap and start teaching in another country.
I've spoken to a quite a few people who have been teaching in another country away from home. One recurring theme that pops up time and time again is they wished they'd have done it sooner. We're all getting older by the day, and the older we get, the more commitments we have. The best thing to do is act now so that you can enjoy life overseas with no regrets. If you're reading this and you're in your late thirties, it's not too late! I've met plenty of people from 30 to 50 working abroad, and they love it too. The same rule applies, act now before it's too late!
Believe it or not, change is good for you. Change is a part of life's cycle, and sometimes we get so caught up in the safety of our day to day routines that when it does happen, we hate it. When you move to another country to teach, you'll find that change happens all the time. Not only do things change because you are in a new place, but people leave to go home, new buildings pop up, and your favourite restaurants will close. Again, this is good for you. You'll find after a while you can adapt to change very quickly and move on with life. This is a great soft skill to have and will stand you in good stead for a long time.
We've all been to one of those parties or gatherings with new people, and we've found the conversation become a little bit stale. We've been talking to John, the accountant who has just been on holiday to Spain and it's all so exciting. Now the attention turns to you, what have you done? Everyone's heads turn, and you find yourself the centre of attention. The old you would have said that you are enjoying your steady job and you've recently been on a beach holiday (which is fine). People carry on with the conversation, and you take another sip of your drink. The new you, however, is full of tales from teaching in another country. About the time you climbed the yellow mountain. The time you ordered a mysterious dish, and it turned out to be a cow's tongue. The new you has hundreds of anecdotes that make other people listen (or at least it could be).
Ok, so this one isn't the best one. But still, something that is kind of cool if the country that you teach in happens to be in Asia. When I first started to teach abroad, I noticed that a few of my fellow countrymen and women couldn't use chopsticks very well. They used to grab a chunk of meat from the middle dish, and then drop into their bear like a claw drops a teddy bear in the arcade. By the time they go home, I've seen the same people use their chopsticks to pick up half a chicken, catch a grain of rice and even break a table in half! Ok, so the last part is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point, they are amazing with chopsticks.
Last but not least, is the amazing job. This is the most important thing. To quote my old friend Confucius, “if you find a job you enjoy doing, then you never have to work day in your life”. This quote is the reason I wanted to teach in another country in the first place. Teaching English in another country is great. You can have so much fun in class, get to know your students, and play cool games. Teaching is by no means a desk job. You can find yourself ambling around the class and doing all sorts; it can be a real blast. The best part is, you won't find yourself daydreaming or clock watching, you'll be too busy! Before you know it, your first year abroad will be over, and you'll be signing on for another in no time.