Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL or TESOL), can offer a real opportunity to break away from a mundane routine at home and explore life overseas as an expatriate. Working abroad in this capacity can offer you an opportunity to travel the world without building up a hefty bank balance to pay for the privilege. It can also have long-term advantages for your own career and professional outlook when you do return back to your home country.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, have just been made redundant from your job or are looking to take a year out then TEFL may be just what you need. Here’s 7 reasons why TEFL teaching may be the best idea you will ever have.
1) You can travel globally without having to save for years
People who have a good command of the English language are needed throughout the world to share their knowledge with others. Teaching abroad can offer you an opportunity to go and see the places you have dreamed of while also getting paid in the process. You may need a small amount of cash to pay for your initial TEFL training but, once you are qualified, you will be able to recoup these expenses when you actually start teaching. Many teaching jobs pay for your accommodation and regular flights home and some overseas teaching positions actually pay quite high salaries (some in excess of $2,000 USD per month). All this means that you can have sufficient funds to get out there and explore.
2) You can experience real life abroad
The majority of people who go backpacking simply pass by an area, soaking up a few sights and sounds before moving on to the next place on their long list of places to see. While this is great in itself, they miss out on really getting to know somewhere and although they can certainly claim they have visited, they can never assert that they truly know the place. When you teach abroad you actually live and work amongst the local people. You get to know their culture, traditions and idiosyncrasies in a way that wouldn’t be possible if you were just visiting for a few days.
If there’s an area of the world that you have previously visited, and loved, now’s the time to go over there and truly live the experience.
3) You can improve other people’s lives
Teaching abroad isn’t all about you. There are people throughout the world who need to learn English in order to transform their lives for the better. Sharing your knowledge and skills with these people offers you a great opportunity to help others and you will find the whole process extremely rewarding. The sense of satisfaction that many teachers gain from their experiences teaching TEFL often motivates them to move into the career on a permanent basis.
4) It’s a true challenge
We all get stuck in a rut sometimes. Following the same dull routine day in, day out, wondering if there is possibly more to life. There is. Teaching English as a foreign language can give you a huge challenge that will inject excitement and fun back into your tired life. Accepting a TEFL position will force you to deal with unfamiliar situations, strange languages and new cultures and you’ll emerge from the experience with a new found confidence and sense of self-fulfillment.
Don’t just accept a life that isn’t making you happy. Change it and do something amazing, even if it is just for a few months.
5) You will improve your job prospects
Spending a short period of time teaching abroad does not mean that you have to leave all existing career aspirations behind and become a teacher for good. It can actually be a major boost to your attractiveness as a candidate for roles in your existing or target industry. Teaching overseas can provide you with organizational, leadership, team working and interpersonal skills that you would never have gained in your existing environment. You may even learn new language skills. Spending a prolonged period of time abroad will look great on your CV or resume and will make you a much more interesting candidate for potential recruiters.
If you’re seriously considering teaching abroad then take a look at our free guide to international teaching jobs.