Don’t know what to do once you’ve graduated? Not looking to take that plunge into graduate studies, or even a formal work environment? Why not travel the world and get paid to do it?
Just about a year ago, I found myself wondering what I would do next. Then, the possibility of teaching abroad was presented to me. Before I knew it, I wound up on a plane headed to my first teaching destination, China. As you may know, China has one of the largest and most demanding TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) markets in the world and is a great place to begin teaching abroad.
1) China, being one of the world’s fastest rising economies is strongly seeking to educate their citizens the language of international trade and commerce, English. Subsequently, there are thousands of teaching positions across the country looking for native speakers like you.
2) The cost of living is cheap in comparison to most western countries, and the compensation is quite good in relation to the amount of money you would need to live. This in addition to free housing, which most teaching positions provide, allows you to live comfortably while saving some money on the side. There are also countless opportunities to make extra money just because your mother tongue is English.
3) China, juxtaposed to western countries, has a dramatically different culture and would be an exciting experience for those who want to see something different. From beautiful sites, amazing food, and friendly people, China has something to offer everyone and is a place I highly recommend for travel.
Well, it’s not all that bad, but it can be quite an adjustment for those used to the very different lifestyles of western countries. Now keep in mind that China is still a developing country, and there are tons of things that many westerners may be taken aback by. For instance, the thick cloud of pollution that looms over the sky, the stench that comes from many rivers due to poor sewage maintenance, and not to mention, the constant stares and “hellos” you get during a casual walk down the street from curious Chinese. Many Chinese have not met, spoken with, or even seen a foreigner in person, and will be highly intrigued by your presence, so getting used to this can be quite an adjustment.
Being in China has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had to date, and I highly recommend it for anyone with a shred of curiosity about the world and other cultures. The fast rate of development makes it ideal for those who want to get away from home without leaving behind all its conveniences. The more I travel, the more I see how much everyone across the globe is connected and alike. So with that said, why not take a year or two off after college and have a life-changing experience? You won’t regret it!
Author: Arien Atterberry