Teaching English as a second language abroad is an opportunity that many instructors fail to consider, but it can be an extremely rewarding and unique experience. There are many factors that draw teachers to pack up their bags, hop on a plane bound for the other side of the planet and hold class before a group of unfamiliar faces speaking in foreign tongues. Here are just six of those reasons:
1. The Excitement of Traveling
Many people long to go beyond the routine of their daily lives, to get out and see the world. Teaching abroad is one of the few professions that allows you to do that while maintaining a stable, fulfilling job. A position instructing in another country offers you the opportunity to travel to a land that people pay thousands of dollars to visit for only a few days on vacation. Instead, English language teachers working abroad resettle overseas for six months to a year or more, an arrangement that allows them to fully explore their host-country and the neighboring nations. Many schools even aid foreign teachers in obtaining their visas.
2. Experiencing a Different Culture
Similar to the way that most travelers only get to spend a short amount of time exploring their far-off destinations, they also only get a brief opportunity to experience foreign cultures. And just as teaching abroad lets teachers better investigate new locales, it also allows these instructors to become more fully immersed in native cultures. Working and living in a new place allows teachers to become integrated into the society, enabling them to better understand different peoples and make new friends. Some schools even arrange for classes on language and local arts for their foreign teachers. What better way to learn to relate to an increasingly diverse group of pupils back in the United States?
Besides the experiential and educational rewards, teaching overseas also comes with monetary benefits. Because pay fluctuates depending on program and nation, it is difficult to generalize about how much teachers instructing abroad earn. Some take home tax-exempt salaries that are relatively more than what they would make teaching in the United States, allowing them to save from $500 to $1,000 a month. Most live comfortably in their host nation, with enough money to enjoy their free time and vacations. Large demand for English classes also means that extra-income is usually abundant through taking on private students.
Teaching abroad is also almost always accompanied with a number of unique non-monetary benefits. Airfare is often partially or fully reimbursed by the school. Accommodation, in the form of either free furnished housing or a housing allowance, is usually provided, and without the burden of rent, English teachers working overseas often find that they have relatively more disposable income or savings. Furthermore, medical and other insurance is frequently provided by either the school or host-nation. Vacation time during the winter around Christmas and during the summer is common as well. The prospect of cash bonuses also exists.
Education is valued not only for simply bestowing knowledge, but because education helps improve the individual’s lot in life. English has become the primary medium of international business, media and culture. Learning English allows individuals to interact with the global community, increasing their ability to partake in the benefits of globalization and understand nations beyond their own, thereby solidifying the bonds between different peoples. Thus English teachers working abroad serve a particularly beneficial purpose. Because learning English comes with such advantages, English instructors abroad are not simply teaching someone another language, they are improving that person’s lot in life while making the world a little more sympathetic through the existence of an international vernacular.
6. Broaden Your Horizons and Grow as a Person
Aside from letting you discover the lands and cultures of other people, teaching abroad also allows an individual to better understand and improve him or herself. The peculiarities of your own culture are better put into perspective against the context of a foreign society, letting you more fully realize who you are and where you come from. Besides such philosophical enlightenment, teaching abroad improves communication and social skills while reinforcing independence. Such an experience also glitters on a resume, demonstrating that you are a highly adaptable, self-sufficient individual, unafraid of risks and able to jump hurdles.
If you’d like to know about how MAT@USC can help prepare students to earn their TEFL certification contact our Admissions office at 888-628-1872 or email us.