It all started two years ago when I was a fresh college graduate and doing my internship at a bank in Bucharest, Romania. I can still remember how difficult that job was for me and no matter how much I tried, things were NOT okay as I struggled with the workload without being able to get the job done at the end of the day. During the boring working routine, once I opened my Facebook to divert my attention and there was a post from an old school friend who was standing with some Chinese people and the caption was; “Chilling out with friends after school”. I wondered what she is doing in China and upon doing some more research, I came to know that she is a TEFL teacher in China, which means each day, she enjoys the perks of traveling such as culture, people, food, friends and so on…The kind of life I always wanted to live!
It was a life-changing moment for me and though I never heard about TEFL before, I knew that I have to find out more about it and I did the same. After completing my thorough research, the following two things were in my mind:
- I want to go overseas to Teach English abroad.
- Spain would be my perfect dream destination.
The reason why I thought of teaching English even though I had a degree in banking was that I loved teaching and had fluency in English as well. I chose Spain for multiple reasons. First, because I had some basic knowledge of Spanish. Secondly, I wanted to explore a different cultural setup.
I also had to face resistance from my family as according to them, I was doing quite well with my career and there were bright chances to progress in the banking industry and it was difficult for me to convince and explain my perspective to them. In my mind, I was 100% clear that the only profession made for me is TEFL abroad as it was making so much sense but according to the loved ones, I was doing so because I was desperate and irrational and wanted to escape from my responsibilities in the home country. On the other hand, I had a strong feeling that things are not meant to be this way and all I need is change. After all, we live only once and what's the point in living if you do not learn to enjoy life to the max?
Despite all the resistance, I somehow managed to ESCAPE and got enrolled in a TEFL course in Spain. Soon after the completion of that four weeks course, I had my shinning certificate in hand, and was applying for TEFL jobs in some of the institutions which were in my bucket list. Finding a job proved very easy compared to my hometown and now I was a TEFL instructor in a Private TEFL Madrid Academy in Spain.
Since I have returned after teaching English in Spain for two years. I can feel how this travel abroad experience has completely changed me and provided with an opportunity to test my limits. Now, I know that every day can be wonderful if we really want to live it that way. I'm thankful for being part of the rich culture, for having lots of friends and for being able to make a difference. My personal and professional life has changed completely, and this life-changing experience has benefited me in the following ways;
My TEFL Qualification Abroad Has Increased My Self-Confidence
I am naturally a shy person who usually lets anxiety and fear rule over major decisions. But this was only the case when I didn’t opt the TEFL career. After becoming a TEFL instructor, I get to know the value of appreciation and encouragement. I also learned that the student will love you if you are energetic and friendly. I still sometimes wonder how I can speak confidently in front of a group of people while earlier, never imagined communicating well in a professional setting. The change is mesmerising, and this adventure has transformed me into a better, more confident person.
I Got A Chance to Do A Job I Really Enjoyed
After that internship in the bank, I came to know that office-based job is a no-thing for me because I usually enjoy working in an interactive environment and the very same was there for me in my TEFL class. I can now feel that this was the only job I enjoyed to the fullest. Even though I’m not a morning person, each day I happily got up for work due to the joy of discovering new things and to make new friends. The UNKNOWN was fascinating for me!
I Changed as a Person
My whole perspective about life and the way I see the world has changed. This opportunity has allowed me to have many cultural and social experiences by removing the ‘glasses of biasness’ and now I feel that how important it is to analyze both sides of the picture before judging something. The happiness we try to find all around comes from within and it is in our hands to live a fulfilling or lacking life.
I have also become a lot more flexible. I stopped worrying about the fact that things don’t work as I want and learned the art to find happiness in little things.
I Learned How to Step Out of Comfort Zone
After teaching in Spain for two years, I came to realize that staying in the comfort zone is the biggest disservice one can ever do to himself. I used to think while enjoying free tapas in Spain that my friends in the hometown are still struggling for an entry-level job. This happened because of our choices. They chose to stay in their comfort zone while I decided to fight the uncertainty which has proved life's greatest decision for me.
I Changed as A Professional
The invaluable experience I gained while teaching abroad has also improved my professional skills. I came to know that employers tend to value those who have some international experience at their resume. During many job interviews, I find that how easy it is to handle the pressure. Now I don't need to verbally tell them that I'm diligent, hardworking, risk-taker and problem solver as my international experience is proof of all these skills.
In addition to that, I also become good at budgeting, communicating and time management. The people I met and the circumstances I experienced during my stay in Spain have an incredible impact on me and I changed into a highly motivated and competent person.
I Started Appreciating the Little Things
This teach abroad experience has made me a humble person and I started appreciating the little things life. I learned that material possessions are not a thing to worry about and how to find joy from within. All the people that I met and friends I made during this journey taught me invaluable lessons. Each day, I learned something new which enhanced my personal and social development.
I Made A Difference in The Lives of People
Teaching is a rewarding profession. Especially in the case of TEFL, you can earn well while living abroad. Additionally, there is a kind of happiness that money can’t buy – the happiness to watch your students succeed in their walks of life. You feel extremely satisfied because of the fact that you also made a little contribution to making their lives better.
I Made Lifelong Friends
Needless to say, that when you travel abroad, you get a chance to meet many different people and the most like-minded people become your guaranteed lifelong friends. Now, I have more friends in the outside world to rely on and we are still in contact. One more thing that I learned about people is that there are more similarities than differences in them while some of the stereotypes I was told were all wrong. This is the kind of experience you get only when you actually go to the place and strive to survive there.
This was such an enriching experience that I would like to do it all over again and currently in search of a good opportunity to live my dream once again and to have an insight into our amazing world. Teaching abroad does change me in the most unexpected ways and life has become much more meaningful as it was before.
Everyone who wants to find their true selves should give TEFL abroad a try. The opportunities are endless and if I can do it, what’s stopping you do live the life of your dreams and to make a difference?