So you’ve battled through the late-night revision, the exams, the dissertation, the liver damage and come out the other side, smiling for your graduation photo. But try as you might, no employer seems to want you. If your inbox isn’t overflowing with job offers don’t see it as a failure – see it as your opportunity to get out there and see the world!
While decent graduate jobs are more endangered than giant pandas, the huge demand for English teachers around the world means that native English speaking graduates like you can easily find work in amazing places all over the world – Beijing, Bangkok, Tokyo, Prague, Seoul – wherever you want to go, a TEFL course can take you there, even if you don’t have teaching experience or the ability to speak another language.
Here’s why you should TEFL straight after graduation
1) You Won’t Be Tempted to Think I’ll Do It Next Year
Once you get on the corporate treadmill it’s incredibly difficult to escape, you’re always thinking about that next promotion, that next pay rise, that next step. And in the meantime you’re accumulating houses, furniture, partners, kids, all things that make extricating yourself and heading abroad for a year a bit tricky. Best do it now, eh?
2) You’ll Be Able to Embrace Serendipity
There’s something about living in another country that throws up random (and wonderful) opportunities at every turn. Take some of the things people on i-to-i’s TEFL community Chalkboard have been getting up to, like appearing on the Chinese version of the X Factor, planting trees and being invited to random people’s weddings.
3) Living Abroad Will Give You the Confidence to Take On Anything
Paul Dixon, who now teaches in Japan, reckons:
“I would have to say the main thing teaching abroad has given me is confidence and strength as a person. My first few weeks were the toughest challenge I have ever taken. It was the furthest away from home I’d ever been, my first time living outside of England, my first time teaching and my first time eating Japanese food. Plus I could only say “Hello” in Japanese!
“But I am still here. Almost three months have passed since I took my first step in Japan and I have learnt so much and come so far. I am now settled at school and have some great students. Teaching is fun – not as hard as I thought it would be. I have made a group of friends that are both teachers and Japanese locals. Japan is now my home.”
4) You’ll Build a World-Beating CV
Teaching English overseas isn’t a soft option that won’t lead anywhere. By getting up, taking yourself abroad, finding a job and being successful at it, you’ll prove you’ve got initiative and drive, as well as great organisation, leadership and communication skills. So, when you do eventually decide to come home, you should find getting your foot in the door a little easier.
5) You’ll Meet Amazing New People
Teaching English abroad is a brilliant way to meet people from all around the world, most big TEFL destinations have close-knit expat communities, with loads of people to get to know. Plus your English skills will always make you popular with your colleagues who want to practise their English.
So, who’s thinking about heading abroad instead of looking for jobs at home?