Are you somebody who loves travelling, trying new foods and cultures, meeting new people and having memorable life experiences? If you’re looking for a job opportunity that allows you to work and live abroad, chances are you’ve already stumbled across more than your fair share of blogs extolling the benefits of teaching abroad.
Did you know, though, that teaching abroad isn’t just another once-in-a-lifetime adventure to tick off your bucket list? Teaching abroad can also solve your money problems, help you build marketable skills that will boost your future career and even set you up for your next five years of vacation!
Wondering how all this can be true? Take it from Samantha, the University of Toronto TEFL Online Course Coordinator, who has experienced first hand some of the unexpected perks of teaching abroad. Samantha moved abroad to teach in South Korea back in 2015 as a way to get paid to see the world. Teaching abroad was everything Samantha expected it to be - and much, much more!
So, without further ado, check out Samantha's TEFL Whiteboard Session below covering three surprising reasons to teach abroad.
Click on the image above for a high-resolution glimpse of the whiteboard in a new tab!
Hi everyone, and welcome to today’s TEFL Whiteboard Session! My name is Samantha and I’m the University of Toronto TEFL Online Course Coordinator and a former ESL teacher in Korea. In this short video, I’m going to cover three unexpected reasons to teach abroad. I spent two years teaching English in an elementary school in South Korea, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that teaching abroad is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Let’s dive right in and find out why!
Reason 1: You’ll save more money than you've ever saved.
Real talk: Back in Canada, there’s no way I could have saved as much money fresh out of university as I did in my first year teaching in Korea. Paying rent and making headway on paying back my student loan, in addition to living paycheque to paycheque, would have meant little to no disposable income. [For more on why teaching abroad after graduation is a great career move, visit our blog on that very topic!]
In contrast, many overseas schools recruiting ESL teachers offer successful applicants either a housing allowance or paid accommodation. Salary is also super competitive - especially when compared to the lower cost of living - meaning you’ll spend less than you earn.
The combination of a great salary, plus lower living costs meant that, as long as I budgeted carefully, I was able to set aside 60% of my paycheque each month for travel and savings. I could eat out, socialize, take day trips around the country - and I didn’t have to sacrifice quality of life in order to save.
During my time in South Korea, I was able to save $10k in my first year teaching abroad! So, how did this happen?
Well, I mapped out my savings goals!
Goal 1 - Pay off that dreaded student debt. Like many of us, not only did I come out of university with a degree - I also had plenty of student debt to show for it. As I didn’t want this looming over me, I knew my biggest priority was to pay it off, stat.
Goal 2 - Travel Asia. I set goals for myself to travel all over East Asia and I was able to do just that, by taking advantage of long weekends and paid vacation time. I climbed the Great Wall of China and went scuba diving in the Philippines! Whatever it is you’re saving for, just remember to map out those priorities right at the start so you can save more money than you ever have before!
Reason 2: You’ll land your dream job at home (not as a teacher!)
Maybe you’re feeling worried that you won’t be in demand for jobs in other industries (outside of education) when your return home. But that’s not the case.
Future employers will love the fact that you taught abroad. International experience increases employability. The business world is becoming more international than ever and many employers are starting to prefer candidates with overseas work experience.
If you’re worried that employers won’t hire you for that dream Marketing Coordinator or Research Analyst position, don’t be. You have life experience and a fresh perspective. This, in turn, makes you a well-rounded employee and one that can bring something new to the table.
Companies globally will see your level of comfort working with people of different cultures. There’s no better way of showing how good you are at working with anyone and everyone than by diving in headfirst into a foreign culture!
Employers will value you for your independence and initiative. After striking out on your own for this big life adventure, you’ll show prospective employers back home that you’re OK with pushing your boundaries and moving outside of your comfort zone!
When it comes down to it, it's all about leveraging the skills you acquired in the classroom. Invaluable skills like adaptability, problem-solving and public speaking. After I came home from Korea and was looking for a job outside of education, my teach abroad experience showed the fact that I can adapt quickly to new situations and problem-solve when I was faced with challenges such as language barriers.
Having spent the majority of time speaking to groups of students, you will also significantly increase your confidence and talent for public speaking!
Reason 3: Stay around the world (for free!)
Trust me, after teaching abroad you’ll be all set for your next five years of vacation! Teaching abroad means meeting people from different countries, all over the world. You + new friends = free accommodation around the world!
You’ll meet people living abroad in the same boat as you that will become your support system, especially over the holidays and when homesickness sets in. That’s how best friends are made! As you’re forging these bonds, you’re growing your international friend network exponentially. That means friends, to the power of 10!
It also means making trips to your new friends’ home countries. Think of it as a free hotel service! When I was abroad in Korea, I met friends from the US and the UK who became lifelong friends. Now, my 2017 vacation plans include taking a trip to Boston and England to visit them. I’m excited to have them show me around and stay for free, which will, in turn, give me more money to explore new places!
This brings us back to Reason 1 - another unexpected way that teaching abroad allows me to save even more money! So there you have it - three unexpected reasons to teach abroad! Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time!