For anyone who loves travel, adventure, culture, people and language, teaching English in another country can be a goldmine of opportunity and experience. Exotic locales from Saudi Arabia to Thailand provide paying opportunities to teach but also to see the world. For the student or graduate considering training and certification in teaching English as a second language, the opportunities can seem endless, but how do you know whether or not it’s for you?
Every job comes with positives and negatives. The goal is to have the advantages outweigh the difficulties. If you want to see the world, and you believe in education, teaching English as a second language might truly be your dream job. To help you better if this is a career path you should consider, here is a closer look at the more common pros and cons that come along with being an English teacher in a foreign land.
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You Can Make Money While You Travel
Any job will pay you to work, butif you’re interested in travel, few things are as satisfying as both making money andtraveling. While English teachers don’t make massive amounts of money, most English teaching positions provide a reasonable salary to allow you a modest apartment, good food and drink and enough money left over each month to explore the culture and region. If you’re eager to get beyond your own backyard, but you’re worried about funding, teaching English is a great way ease your worries.
Interaction With Locals Is Essential
When most Americans travel, they do so with at least one other person, which can limit your interaction with the locals. These travelers don’t depend on local interaction for day to day issues. When you travel somewhere to be an English teacher, however, you do so alone.The sound of that may be daunting, but it opens up a remarkable opportunity to make friends within the culture and country you will call home for at least a year. If you’ve always wanted to immerse yourself in a culture, it’s hard to imagine a more secure way to do it.
You Must Commit to One Full Year
It’s hard to say whether you’ll love committing a year of your life to teaching English in a different country or whether you’ll hate it—it depends on the person and the circumstances. It’s important to note it is difficult to get around the one year obligation. Most positions require a commitment that will last a school year. If you have any reservations about spending a year in a foreign country, you may want to reconsider.However, it’s is possible to find a post that is 6-months long or shorter.
You Can Get Lonely
Loneliness is a concern for teachers abroad; however, potential loneliness isn’t necessarily a reason to skip out on this sort of work. After all, many people relocate for a job after graduation, and they typically have to move far from friends and family. The odds are pretty good that you’ll experience some level of loneliness anywhere you go, but staying in touch through email, Skype and the like is a ready option in almost any country.
You Get Academic Holidays Off
Whether you want to use them to travel to more distant regions in the country in which you currentlylive, visit a neighboring country, travel back to the states or catch up on personal time, having set academic holidays open throughout the school year is a definite plus.
You Might Not Learn Another Language
Keep in mind that you’re going to spend the bulk of most days speaking English to your students, so if you’re hoping to spend a year teaching in a country in order to become fluent in the native language, you’re going to have to work for it. Teaching English abroad is not a language immersion program. That being said, if you go out of your way to interact with people who don’t speak English and you study during your free time, you can improve significantly in your language skills over the course of a year.
Teaching English abroad is not a perfect job. It will still require you to work, and you’ll be far from friends and family. However, if you want a chance to experience the world while you build up your resume, earn a salary, challenge yourself and change the lives of your students, it’s easily the opportunity of a lifetime.