Want to go see the world, but looking for something beyond the traditional study abroad route? There are many options for you to choose from such as volunteering, interning and even attending graduate school abroad. However, while these are all great options, one of the most amazing choices you can make is to teach abroad.
Here are 5 benefits of teaching abroad that you don’t want to miss out on!
1. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live abroad and truly immerse yourself in a foreign culture. As an English teacher in a foreign country, you don’t experience that country from a tour bus or a hotel, but as member of the local community. You will interact on a daily basis with common citizens, shop in local markets and likely live in a typical middle class neighborhood. You will meet and establish friendships with people from all walks of life and enable you to delve into the culture in the nation where you teach including the local language, cuisine and traditional customs.
2. Easy travel. It’s a lot easier to travel to Germany, Poland or Austria for the weekend if you’re teaching English in Prague, Czech Republic than if you are living and working 9-to-5 in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Likewise, when you teach English in Spain, for example, you can easily hop on a train to spend the weekend in France, or perhaps Portugal, for just a couple hundred bucks. An English teacher in Korea can spend can spend as little as $500 for a week of fun and sun in Thailand or the Philippines. Or, think of teaching English in Turkey, where you are just an hour or two by flight from such great destinations as Athens, Venice and Vienna; or in the other direction, Jerusalem, Cairo, and Jordan are also within easy reach. The possibilities are endless depending on where you choose to teach.
3. Earn an income to finance your international adventures. Another factor to consider is that as a paid, professional teacher, you will be able support yourself financially while you explore the world. Many of us love to travel but don’t have the financial resources to engage in extensive foreign travel and exploration, or even study abroad programs. As an English teacher abroad, you will typically make at least a livable wage that enables you to cover your expenses and enjoy life and travel in the country where you teach. Those teaching English in many Asian nations or the Persian Gulf countries of the Middle East can often earn enough to save $500 - $1,000 a month after expenses (up to $12,000 or more per year) and may also receive benefits like reimbursed airfare, free housing and paid vacation. That type of income can fund months of travel in a variety of regions around the globe.
4. Gain international work experience for your resume. In the globalized, multi-cultural world of the 21st century, employers increasingly value international professional experience as they look to hire those with proven abilities to comfortably work with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Moving half-way around the world and teaching English also proves that you possess initiative and that you have the courage and ability to adapt to a new environment and circumstances, and that you are not afraid to move out of your comfort zone and taken on new challenges. Not only that, when you’ve taught English in Chile, Korea, or Spain, your resume will set you apart from everybody else, and you will have a great conversation-starter that will distinguish you from the crowd. From international business and diplomacy to education, a world of professional opportunities is open to those who have the background of living abroad and can provide employers with the skill and ability to live and work in a foreign country.
5. It is a great job market. It’s no secret that new college grads – and everybody else seeking employment opportunities – face one of the bleakest job markets in generations. But the field of teaching English abroad is just the opposite. As hundreds of millions of people around the globe seek to learn English, the demand for instruction from native speakers (there are also many opportunities for qualified non-native speakers) is going through the roof and hundreds of thousands of English teachers are hired each year. From corporate training and public schools to private language institutes and summer camps, thousands of educational institutions around the globe now seek to hire English teachers.
A native English speaker with a four-year degree and a TEFL certification can realistically make a livable wage teaching English abroad in upwards of 75 countries and there are dozens of countries where those without degrees or passports from native English speaking countries can also find great opportunities. Essentially, for a typical recent college graduate with a TEFL Certification, it’s not a matter of whether you will find “a” job, but which job in which country do you want?