By Lauren Merryweather
Whether to embark on an adventure teaching abroad can be a tough decision to make, especially if you’re settled in a job. However, taking time out to teach English abroad is hardly a gap on your resume. It’s an experience full of insights and personal development that can be transferred to any career setting, on top of being an alternative way to travel. A period spent teaching abroad can demonstrate to any employer that you excel in the following key areas:
Succeeding in a role in a foreign country is impressive and adds diversity to your employment history. The fact that you’ve secured a paid role away from the comforts of home demonstrates that you are versatile and adaptable to change. Working in a school abroad often calls upon all your problem solving resources and requires using your initiative on a daily basis. An ability to deal with the unexpected in a calm and controlled manner is a desirable quality for any employer.
It’s rare to find a job posting these days that doesn’t list communication skills as essential. There’s hardly a better way to show effective communication than than an ability to stand in front of a classroom and teach people who don’t speak the same language as you! You’ll need excellent command of communication to land a job teaching English abroad, and by the end of your contract, your skills in speaking, listening and responding – in whatever language – should be impeccable.
Having an understanding of different cultures is ever more important, both in the office and when working in global business. Showing sensitivity to cultural differences, whether you’re dealing with clients, customers or colleagues, will get you far. Your knowledge of foreign markets and lifestyle habits could even give your company a competitive edge in those regions, if relevant.
A great teacher is also a great leader. Managing a class of 20 pupils is no easy task. Being able to capture your students’ attention and imagination – and maintain it – is an achievement in itself. The role of a teacher is largely to inspire and motivate students to respond to challenges and reach their goals. What boss wouldn’t want to employ someone capable of this in their workplace? Everyday classroom situations, such as managing ability levels within a group and dealing appropriately with behavioural issues, show you are able to take charge and respond appropriately.
Foreign language skills
The most effective way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it. The best incentive to do this is to live and work in a country where English is barely spoken, as you’ll have no choice other than to pick up the local lingo. Even if you’ve struggled with learning languages before, this approach works. Employers around the world, especially international corporations, are increasingly seeking workers who are at least bilingual, as the benefits to their business can be huge.