7 reasons to teach English and live abroad

So you’re still pondering on whether you should teach English abroad in a foreign land? Here are my personal top seven reasons. 

1) You’re doing a worthwhile job

Teaching English abroad gives you job satisfaction, as long as you can put up with the occasional moody teenager or pedantic adult student who wants to know answer to every complex grammar point. If you’re interested in teaching English abroad then no doubt you’re bored or frustrated with your job at home, working only for money, or feeling undervalued. While you’ll never get rich as a TEFL teacher, you should get job satisfaction. Helping students to understand a reading text or listening exercise, putting up their writing task on your classroom wall, and watching their face light up when they finally understand what you were going on about, will give you a buzz and enjoyment in your working life.

2) Sunday blues fade away

No matter what your job is; Monday morning is always Monday morning. However, knowing that you’ll be going to work to help students learn something, rather than putting up with awkward clients over the phone or sitting at a desk all day replying to dull emails, will definitely ease those Sunday blues. Even after 8 years of teaching, when Sunday evening creeps up I think back to the recruitment sales job I used to hate in London and feel glad that I made that decision to teach English abroad.

3) Every time you go back home it’s great

Since living abroad, I love going back to England. Perhaps because deep down I know I won’t be there for long, but flying back to old Blighty is one of the highlights of my year. Fair enough, it’s normally for fun times: Christmas, Birthdays, Weddings, to see my friends’ new born babies, but going back is nowhere near as bad as it was when I lived there.

4) You can learn a language

I still wake up in the mornings and feel a buzz when I remember I can speak Spanish. At school I studied German, (not quite sure why, I think I wanted to be an Economist) and when I left England for South America I had only done a basic Spanish course. I made a few embarrassing mistakes to start with; when I first ordered chicken I asked for polo, instead of pollo (pronounced poyo), and the waitress laughed at me. Learning a language and being able to communicate with the locals is one of my favourite reasons for living abroad. At first you might feel scared, but over time you build up your confidence and when locals start to say how well you can speak their language (most of the time out of politeness) then you get a boost and enthusiastic to learn more.

5) When the weekends come you feel like you’re on holiday

So you’re in Quito, Sydney, or Rio and you reach the end of your twenty-five hours teaching, and possible 10 hours of planning if you’re a new teacher. You’re knackered and have had enough of trying to explain the difference between past simple and past perfect all week. Then you remember you live abroad. It’s a great buzz knowing that when the weekend comes you can forget about work and enjoy exploring your new city, take a weekend break to the beach, or go hiking up some mountains. Not to mention the excellent night-life. Just be careful to choose a destination that provides you with a decent hub for travelling to other places, while at the same time giving you enough things to do in the local area.

6) Notch up your international bedposts

Another major plus of living abroad is that suddenly you are the exotic one. Whether you’re male or female the locals will ogle you. You’ll become a novelty and shouldn’t have any problems finding a date. I had my fair share of romantic rendezvous with various ladies while on my travels, but I stopped when I met my wife, who used to be my student in case you’re wondering.

7) Travel the world

This is the real reason people become TEFL teachers. If you’re looking into TEFL then you must have a curiosity to see the world. Teaching English abroad is the best way to see the world and earn a living, unless you’re a successful film director who can chose where he’s going to set his new film, or Samuel Eto. The world is out there to see, to experience, and to enjoy. Just by looking on www.tefl.com you can see how many countries are crying out for TEFL teachers.

So there are my reasons. Why not leave a comment saying what you think, or maybe adding a couple of your own.

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