As the old adage goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”, this was certainly the anthem of 2020. For most of us, merely leaving the house seems equivalent to a long haul flight at the moment. However, with new vaccines comes the tentative move back toward normality – and you might be planning your next step in a post-covid world. Whether you’re fresh out of University, contemplating a career change, or simply have itchy feet, teaching English abroad is looking more tempting than ever – and here’s why:
TEFL allows you to travel ethically
One of the many things 2020 has taught us, is that the world is fragile, and both people and the environments they inhabit should be protected. The harsh reality of travel is that, unless you were to walk to Asia, jet setting to our favourite destinations contributes to global warming. One of the wonderful things about teaching abroad is that, instead of cramming as much of a country in as possible, it allows you to immerse yourself in one place for months, or even years.
Not only does this reduce the carbon footprint you might otherwise leave, but it also enriches your own experience of a culture. Before long, you’ll be an encyclopedia of local knowledge, and will be able to recommend the best spots in town!
But of course – travelling responsibly goes beyond the environments we visit and extends to the people you encounter. Teaching English abroad is a fantastic way to contribute to a community. Whether you’re tutoring adults in business settings, or set up in the local primary school- the title of English Teacher will earn you respect among the locals. After all, learning a new language opens doors, and creates opportunities for all ages. Rather than just passing through, you’ll become part of a new community. Teaching creates more meaningful memories than taking snaps of a temple before rushing on (which you can still do, but at your leisure!).
Students will need you more than ever, post-pandemic
After a long hiatus, it goes without saying that students across the world will be thirsting for knowledge, or simply stressing about exams making a comeback. Whatever their feelings about returning to class, the fact remains the same- language learners will need us more than ever! This in turn makes teaching extra rewarding, as you’re helping students to get back on track after all this time off, and improve confidence that may have waned.
Especially in the case of younger learners, there’s a good chance they’ll be more excited than ever to see you, after so much time off! If you speak to anyone who’s taught English in South East Asia, there’s a common theme of feeling like a rockstar when you walk into class. In these upcoming semesters, not only will you be a new, western teacher- but your presence will signal a return to normality- which is enough to get anyone enthused to learn!
TEFL teachers will be in high demand
Unfortunately for many schools, the start of the pandemic meant a sudden goodbye to their TEFL teachers, as we all rushed to get home and be with our families. With the world opening up again, employers will be rushing to fill these positions, and jobs will be plentiful, to say the least!
While the ease of finding work may be a blessing, the sheer amount of choice can be a curse. The initial relief at the number of job advertisements yielded by a quick google search can quickly become overwhelming as you endlessly scroll. But fear not: you needn’t go as far as open another tab to begin your search!
For the brand new TEFLer, i-to-i has a list of award-winning internships to get excited about. Or, if you’re already TEFL qualified, our sister company LoveTEFL has a regularly updated job board. On both websites, you’ll be able to find comprehensive job guides to each destination – giving you everything you need to know for when TEFL travel re-opens.
Implement your own personal growth
After months of lockdown and (for me, at least) staring at our own reflections in Netflix’s “are you still watching?” screen, a lot of us may experience a lack of confidence. Though moving to a country might seem daunting at first, teaching abroad is the perfect way to get yourself back on track – by plunging yourself into a new challenge!
Even the Romans understood the self-healing properties of movement, with Seneca rightly stating that “Travel And Change Of Place Impart New Vigor To The Mind.”. In choosing to teach English abroad, you’ll not only be imparting knowledge to your students- but you’ll be learning, too. A new workplace, cuisine, and immersing yourself in a different culture, are sure-fire ways to remove the brain fog of 2020.
Before moving to Hanoi through i-to-i’s Vietnam internship, I’d never taken a flight by myself before, let alone taught English in another continent. After many highs and a few lows, I can honestly say I’ve become a more self-assured, and confident person overall. I’m not saying it’ll be an easy transition- but it will be worthwhile!
Make lifelong friends and form meaningful connections
With that being said, one of the greatest things about teaching abroad are your fellow teachers and ex-pats! Whether you’re partaking in an internship or teaching independently, there will be other teachers in the same boat as you. Expat groups often have a warm sense of community. Everyone looks out for one another and explore the highs and lows of a new country together.
Although we can’t begin our SkyScanner search just yet, it’s never too early to start planning a TEFL adventure! These are just some of the reasons to set your sights towards teaching English abroad, once it’s safe to do so.
Teaching abroad allows you to learn a new language
Who says the learning stops once you’ve completed the TEFL course? Of the many skills you’ll learn when teaching abroad, perhaps the most fulfilling (and practical) is learning the language of your host country.
If like me, you’ve lacked the staying power to complete a DuoLingo course, living where said language is spoken speeds up the acquisition. While it’s not a necessity to learn the basics, it will certainly enrich your adventure. It’ll be easier to connect with local people, leave you less susceptible to culture shock, and look amazing on your CV!
As if these reasons weren’t enough, learning the lingo will allow you to take part in language exchange programmes. You’ll be able to find these in most major TEFL locations, and they can be as chilled out as a weekly cup of coffee! Not only will you be learning something new, and imparting some more English knowledge- it’ll also make it easier to make friends outside of an ex-pat community.