Over the past ten months, we have experienced many ups and downs of teaching and indeed living, abroad. Whilst there are some drawbacks (which will be discussed on a separate blog), we firmly believe that the benefits of teaching abroad far outweigh the negatives.
Of course, this list is based upon our own experiences and interactions. What may be a positive for us, may be a negative for someone else. Regardless, we hope this will be useful for any budding travellers or passionate individuals looking to take the leap and teach abroad!
1.) Experience a New Culture.
Widely considered the greatest advantage to teaching abroad, the freedom to live and experience the workings of a different culture is our top pick on this list. Fundamentally, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to learn a new language, consume new culinary delights, visit the greatest natural and man-made wonders of the world, enrich yourself with the societal behaviours and traditions of the local people, or simply live an alternate lifestyle, there is no shortage to the incentives of being immersed in a new culture.
2.) Test Yourself and Grow as a Person.
Menna and I have both agreed that this year has been the most challenging time of our lives. We’ve had to fight against a host of issues, including: culture shock, health problems, homesickness, language barriers, occupational run-ins, and learning the ins and outs of a new profession. Nevertheless, we’re adamant that these challenges have only served to make us better people. We genuinely feel we can overcome any obstacle or hurdle. Personal accomplishments aside, we both feel we’ve become more independent, open, confident and appreciative. If you’re looking for a new challenge in life, or wish to jump in the deep end, then teaching abroad is a perfect way of achieving this.
And it’s as simple as that.
4.) Inspire and Motivate.
Through our roles as English teachers, we’ve been able to inspire and motivate students the other side of the globe who we’d never have interacted with prior to moving abroad. You have the perfect chance to make a difference to the lives of those in education, be it kindergarteners, school kids, or adult learners. Moreover, we ourselves have become more motivated and productive; painting, reading, exercising, blogging and photography are things we have either taken up, or done more of. You’d be surprised how much more time you have to do things that really, truly, matter. Which leads us on to our next point.
5.) Refresh and Replenish.
Now this is different for every individual. But personally, we wanted a bit of a change after finishing University. We wanted to do something fresh and different. Teaching abroad has gifted us with time from which we can think more about our futures, ourselves, and each other. As mentioned previously, we have more time to do things that make us happy, whether this is as simple as reading, or as complex as learning a new language. The stress of living and working abroad aside, we’ve had more relaxation and personal time. Furthermore, we’ve been able to save up quite a bit of money too. To be discussed in a separate blog, it can be hugely advantageous in a financial sense to live abroad; food and commodities are cheaper, as is transport, living costs, and tax. We’re able to do more of what we love in the present, whilst saving up to fund our futures.