There will always be certain things to think about, like being away from family, and likewise, the familiar. It’s important to remember that there are many people out there who share your hopes and anxieties. While you certainly need to think about the things that overseas travel and expat life can present to you, it’s important to remember that there are many advantages that living abroad and Teaching English can bring you. What are these things, and how can they enrich your life in new and unexpected ways?
Teaching English Abroad can help you experience new cultures
I think we should probably get the obvious out of the way. You’ve accustomed to the culture and routine that you grew up with your entire life before you began asking questions about the world beyond your own. You’ve certainly seen National Geographic pictures, and numerous articles relating to festivals in Japan, parties in Thailand, the food in Mexico, the weather and the diverse culture coming from Spain. You’ve also seen news stories presenting these places as more than just foreign. You’ve seen them as alien, strange, and in some cases, dangerous. If you’re reading this, then the one thing that you know is that you don’t really know. You’ve heard of people who actually lived in these places, teaching English to locals, and saw them having a blast. At this point, you may be a little bit confused. Could you have been wrong about your initial perception of foreign countries? The only way to know that is to live among the people you’re strangely curious about. It gives you the experience and the subsequent understanding of the cultures that you’ve only seen in magazines and news articles. Imagine yourself at the Feria de Sevilla, or the Tomatina in Buñol or the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, or El Clasico (Real Madrid vs Barcelona FC) at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. Maybe you want to experience Semana Santa (Holy Week) in many different cities, and see the many ways that Easter is celebrated in this little country in the Iberian Peninsula. Those, of course, are the spectacles.
The real curiosity is extinguished when you see day-to-day life of that country. The surprise won’t come in seeing how different it is. The surprise will come in seeing just how much you and someone ten thousand kilometres away have in common with each other when you go to work, and you contribute to their society. You’ll see that it’s not only beautiful, but it’s also a lot easier to integrate than you initially thought. While different in many cases, it’s also similar, and easier to involve yourself in than you might think. Imagine this scenario, if you will. You finished a long week of teaching, and you’re anxious to get your weekend of travelling started. Would going home in this instance be so different, except for where your home actually is? That’s the real advantage to living abroad. You experience the many differences between your country and the country you aspire to live in, but you also develop a routine that becomes familiar to you over time.
Teaching English Abroad gives you important and wonderful new skills
After dropping that office job, and swapping it out for a classroom ten thousand kilometres away, you may wonder new things about yourself. You’re in a foreign country. You’re working. The language that people are speaking is a little different, to say the least. You don’t know how to keep certain things on an even keel. However, you adapt. You learn. You acquire new skills and you grow as an individual. What do you think will happen if you live in Spain for a more extended period of time? You might take a Spanish lesson (or ten!), and before you know it, you may end up saying one or two words in the language, and actually communicating with the locals. You’re learning their language, while teaching your own. The teacher becomes the student, as all good teachers typically are. It’s the first of many instances when you discover traits and characteristics about yourself that you didn’t even know that you had. To think, all you had to do is commit yourself to Teaching English in Spain.
Another thing to take into consideration is what you’re doing as you’re trying to do your job. Picture yourself in a classroom. You have five or six students, and you’re doing a conversation class. You reviewed a little bit of the grammar, and now you want to see your students use it in active conversation. You split them into pairs, and you have them speaking to each other. Do you see what you did there? You prepared an English class by demonstrating a language point, maintained co-operation in a classroom, and helped your students further their skillset in the English language. You brought your experience and your knowledge to the table. So, let’s review. You showed your aptitude. You showed good organizational skills. You showed good rapport with people, and you delivered a good service. Were these things that you regularly did as a professional in your old job? Think about it.
While we’re thinking about what we want to do for ourselves, it’s important to understand that it may affect you in ways you didn’t expect. Could you have known that you could effectively learn a foreign language if you didn’t go to a foreign country? Could you have thought that you were perfectly capable of building a relationship with people who spoke a different language? Could you have known that you were able to maintain composure in a situation that you once thought was beyond your control? To think, all it took was the decision, and the ensuing action that followed.
Teaching English Abroad opens up new opportunities
Let’s not kid ourselves, here. When you decide to Teach English Abroad, you’re throwing your old life away, or at least setting it aside temporarily. You’re not sure what you want for yourself, and so you go out into the world wondering what that is. Such is the common journey of self-discovery that many people find themselves on when they embark on a year, or two, or six in another country. One thing that may appeal to them, or possibly make them cringe, is the thought that they may never find anything better. As they teach, they may think that there is no way for them to learn and to grow as individuals. This may be the case for some people. However, most of us certain keep an ear or two to the wind, and pay attention to what is happening around us as we try to answer that question. We tend to discover opportunities and things that we didn’t even think of before. Let’s take the feeling of homesickness, for example. We might savour the taste of jamon or the wide selection of tapas available at every restaurant and bar after a long day of Teaching English, but eventually, we might want to satisfy a craving for macaroni and cheese, or something else that you haven’t had from home. You might want to make it once or twice, and share it with a friend. That friend might tell one or two people about it, and before you know it, you’re making pots of it and selling it for five euros a bowl. Your childhood fixation is now a hip and trendy thing going around the neighborhood. The same could be with your aptitude and desire to write. You may teach for a couple of hours per day, and then do some content for a newspaper in your spare time. If you’re the type of person who likes to travel on the weekends, maybe you’ll do a little bit of travel photography and start a blog about some of the interesting places that you’ve been to, and the things that you’ve done. That’s one of the great things about Teaching English in Spain. While you have a job to do, you have more possibilities at your doorstep than you thought you did. You could end up being something completely different when you decide you’re finished teaching people. Imagine the transformation. From desk job to teaching job to photographer or content writer or chef or entrepreneur. Simply putting an ear to the wind is all it takes.
Teaching English in another country is certainly not an easy thing to decide to do, but when you take it up, you’re certainly taking in a lot more than what you’re throwing away. Everything from the country that you’re living in, to the people that you’re meeting, to the country that you’re coming from, and everything you could be is a choice and action away from where you are now. The other side of the argument is that you discover that you really are content working at that office job, and you want to return to it. You still have memories to look forward to, and an experience to look back on. That’s really what life is all about.