Teaching English abroad isn’t something new. We all have a friend-of-friend who took their life to the next level by teaching abroad. Their stories paint a picture of a way of life that is crazy adventurous and nothing like the usual 9-to-5.
I don’t know about you, but the life described sounded a little too rough for me. Fortunately, a lot has changed in the past five years and teaching English abroad is a better option now than ever before. All of the adventure with loads of comfort thrown in—what could be better?
Before I moved to China, my ideas of what to expect were informed by a few movies (confession: mostly Jackie Chan bootlegs) and attention-grabbing articles about pollution. But once I started talking to people who had actually lived there, I noticed a theme: they had a quality of life in China that they only dreamed about back home.
Countries around the world are investing in improving their infrastructure. For example, China boasts the fastest trains in the world and extensive metro-networks in all its major cities. It’s been so easy to travel around that I actually find myself getting frustrated when I return home and have to wait in traffic.
As well, it’s been no problem to find accommodation that is just like home, even down to the Ikea-style furnishings that nearly all apartments come with. If I want to go adventure off the beaten track, I can definitely do that, but when the holiday is over, I know that I can return home to comfort. It’s the best of both worlds!
The boom in technology makes teaching abroad so much easier than five years ago. If you work with a company like EF, you’ll find your classrooms hardwired with interactive whiteboards or smart TVs, along with iPads for students and apps to help support their learning.
Outside the classroom, apps make living abroad a breeze. You can keep in touch with friends & family back home, you can translate easily between English and foreign languages, and in countries like China you can keep your whole life organized and running smoothly from your phone by using it for mobile payments, shopping, food deliveries, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Whether you’re struggling to get into the job market in a meaningful way, or just looking to make a change, moving abroad to enhance your career has never been easier. In the last five years a number of visa processes have been streamlined, with companies starting up to help get paperwork processed and governments putting parts of the process online. As companies like EF have become firmly established in the work abroad market, they’ve been able to get a good grasp on both local requirements (thus providing expert assistance in getting that work visa) and also in offering the training and advancement opportunities necessary to turn a year abroad into the start of a great career.
Another great change in the last five years is the increased opportunity of getting your teach-abroad qualification sponsored by your employer. As the market for English teachers continues to grow, companies are looking for different ways to entice the best people and offering TEFL sponsorship is one of these. When my friends moved abroad to teach English right after university, I remember them having to pay for their English-teaching courses. But when I came to teach several years later, my TEFL sponsorship was handled as part of my offer package. It made a huge difference!
These are just a few of the ways that make working abroad now better than ever before. But don’t just take my word for it – come and experience it for yourself!