By Danielle E., Auxiliar de Conversación in Murcia 18/19.
Whether you have just finished or are taking a break from your studies, or perhaps you fancy learning a language and seeing a little more than your corner of the world. Whatever your circumstance, you may have considered teaching. If that is the case –as having a genuine desire to teach is fundamental to the benefit of those you teach– then here are some reasons to teach English abroad.
Personal Reasons to Teach English Abroad
1. Life Experience
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Experiencing new things enables you to differentiate between your real preferences and what you assumed they were. By not trying new things, you are inhibiting yourself and limiting your choices. Spending a year abroad is an incontestable way to learn at least a little about yourself. To be flooded with opportunities, to try something different. Find out what is out there. Also, you can make informed choices in life built on experience.
2. The Students
By far the most rewarding part of the experience is the connection shared with the students. To be able to share knowledge and culture of a language. Watching students’ progress can be a source of job satisfaction. This is a clear benefit for those that enjoy working with people. But for those who have had bad experiences in other jobs interacting with other people, it should be noted that the teacher-student rapport is different to the relationship between employees and customers in retail and hospitality jobs. A year of experience where you can teach English abroad is also a very useful indicator as to what age groups you work best with. And for those considering a future career in teaching this may help narrow down what course would best suit you.
3. Cultural Immersion
Many of you may have had the fortune to spend a couple of weeks in another country. A fortnight abroad is not enough to become truly immersed in the culture. Spending a year with the opportunity to teach English abroad, will give you time to see the sights, befriend locals, go further off the beaten track and to potentially find a new place you can call home. Whilst tourist attractions can leave you in awe and most are certainly of great cultural importance, day to day life will teach you so much more about a country.
4. Earn While You Travel
Money, money, money. I have had many friends who had a powerful feeling of wanderlust. They follow through with their plans and often end up going home earlier than planned due to financial problems. Getting a job is the obvious way to avoid running out of money, but that is not always so easy when you have not mastered the language. This is why teaching English is a great way to earn a living abroad. This is not a plan B either, looking into and applying for work teaching English is best before your travels. Even before schools have started for the year and teaching vacancies have been filled. Working in education also means you are more likely to have weekends off. That will allow you to travel often whilst also having the money to do so.
5. Taking a Break
Maybe you are not looking to spruce up your CV or gain experience for a career in teaching. Maybe you just want a break or a change. If teaching is a good fit for you, then to teach English abroad is a great way to take some time for yourself. To divert from your routine without committing years to a new career path.
6. (International) Work Experience
In a highly competitive job market that many of us face, work experience is invaluable. Whilst any work experience can help a great deal on your CV, international work experience is sure to stand out. Working abroad is an impressive addition to make on a CV. It demonstrates flexibility, work ethic, cultural sensitivity, resilience, and suggests a higher level of interpersonal skills and independence. Not everyone is capable of venturing this far out of their comfort zone and employers will recognise that. BUT, work experience is not just to dazzle potential employers. Work experience allows you to judge from your own experience many things. Whether teaching is something you can see yourself pursuing in the future as a career, and in the case that you teach English abroad, whether working and living abroad is for you.
7. Language Immersion
Being in a situation where your chances of thriving can be greatly improved by being able to communicate forces you to learn much faster. However, when I say it forces you, I do not mean that you will be under inordinate amounts of pressure, but rather that it motivates you. Another factor is that by constantly hearing the language spoken around you, listening to the music and seeing the language written on every menu you read, and store front you pass, even subconsciously you will begin to pick up things. For many people learning something without consciously studying is a more enjoyable and effective way to learn. Furthermore, being immersed by the language allows you to gain confidence when speaking, improve your accent, and hear how native speakers talk.
8. Unique Insight as a Native
Although at first you may be unsure how best to explain things you have never had to articulate, your mother tongue is a great gift to be able to share with others. Although there will be other teachers who speak English fluently, as a native speaker you will be able to demonstrate an authentic accent. You’ll provide current, colloquial, and cultural advice to your students. Having this unique insight to share can be instantly gratifying and give you a sense of job satisfaction.
Whilst English is a widely spoken language across the world, native speakers are still in great demand. This is a flourishing area of the job market where your prospects are hopeful. Many programmes organising jobs to teach English abroad do not even require degrees. This makes it a fantastic opportunity for those wanting to get into teaching who have not previously undergone further education. For those who want to hit the ground running and be prepared, TEFL courses are readily available.
10. Transferable Skills
As well as the language skills you may learn, there are many more items to add to your skill set. If you teach English abroad, you will build your communication and interpersonal skills as you work alongside and gain a rapport with fellow teachers and your students. Preparing and giving presentations and lessons will not only enhance your engagement skills but also your organisation and often your basic computer skills.
These 10 reasons should give you some food for thought and demonstrate the potential benefits of choosing to teach English abroad as a native speaker. If this has peaked your interest teaching English is something you should look into. If there is another reason you think has been missed, please share your thoughts in the comments.
All great reasons! I think a lot of people look at taking a year to teach abroad as a possible gap on their CV. But you learn so many new skills, can practice your public speaking, and gain an edge through a unique international experience. I highly recommend it too, even to people who don’t plan on being teachers!
It really does give you a chance to grow and exercise so many skills
This has been such an amazing new life experience for me as well, personally. While being a language assistant here in Madrid I have also gained new skills, especially through working with children. This has been an amazing change for me, since I have just graduated from university it has also allowed me to take advantage of living in another country and immersing myself in a new culture.
Great list. Living broad was the biggest reason for me to apply to the program but I have learnt so much more than I ever thought I would and am excited to use these new skills in my career when I return to Canada.
Well written post. I completely agree on all points. For me the most important aspects are life experience and the students themselves. To broaden your horizons and learn the culture and history of a place as amazing as Spain and to see the lights go on in the face of a student when they get it for the first time.
I’ve always wanted to learn another language (I was torn apart between French and Spanish when I was in my country, South Africa) and coming here has allowed me to learn Spanish effortlessly. 😉 Immersion really helps!
What a relatable list! This opportunity has been a wonderful transitional job with many rewards. I get to immerse myself in a new culture all while taking a break from my previous occupation!