When you think of children, maybe you break out in hives.
Maybe you’ve never seen yourself as a teacher.
Or maybe, just maybe, you majored in business with minors in international affairs and Arabic. So for the life of you, you’ve never considered teaching English after college as part of your career strategy.
That’s cool. Neither did I.
I was a sociology major and I minored in history. Teaching was definitely not on my radar. In fact, the thought of being in a classroom with little kids all day was kind of scary.
But, I used the experience of teaching in Spain for a year as a way for me to learn Spanish and to gain international experience. The job in Spain indirectly led to a gig in China.
So if you’re skeptical about whether or not to spend a year or two e teaching English overseas, I say go for it. I outline my personal reasons below.
When you’re teaching English overseas, your job is more than just being in a classroom. Moving to another country is a big deal…especially if you have to speak a different language. Moving overseas is a full-time job. You have to find housing, open a bank account, go to the grocery store, find friends…all in a different culture where they may or may not speak the same language. The experience you get outside the classroom is invaluable because you will know what it’s like to navigate in a different country.
When you’re overseas, you’re going to find yourself in unexpected situations….situations where you are going to have to adapt, be creative, and communicate with diverse audiences. These thematic questions may come up in future interviews. After teaching English and traveling, you’ll be prepared to answer questions like “tell me a time when you had to settle a disagreement with a person from a different cultural background. What did you learn from this experience?”
Speaking multiple languages is an asset and will make you marketable as you pursue an international career. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out: What is a Critical Language? Why Study A Critical Language?
You show up on the first day of class and everything you read in the job description is nothing that is expected of you. In fact, it is the complete opposite. Instead of crumbling under pressure, you begin to find the strength you didn’t know you had. Furthermore, you begin to adapt to whatever life throws at you. This is a key trait you need to have when working in this field.
Personally, I believe traveling overseas has made me a lot calmer. When crises hit, I don’t panic. I stay calm and see how I can adapt to what is happening around me.
You will meet a ton of people who are nothing like you. When you meet them, your perceptions might be challenged. Instead of lashing out at whoever you encounter, you learn how to listen and talk to people you may not agree with.
Teaching contracts usually are for an academic year. And perhaps, this is the longest you’ve been overseas. A lot can happen in a year. There are some jobs within the international career field that require you to live overseas for a year or more. By teaching English in a foreign country, you demonstrate you are able to live overseas for an extended period of time.