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Teach English Abroad and Travel for Free

Have you ever met a person that’s said they wouldn’t like to travel to new, interesting places? If you have, congratulations (sarcasm)…because they are the exception to the norm. There are vast amounts of people out there that wish they had the opportunity to travel but, at the same time, they are held captive by two major factors: work and money. As we all know too well, traveling requires time off from work which, in turn, causes a reduction in income. At the same time, traveling in itself tends to cost a lot of money. These factors alone seem difficult enough to balance, not to mention the myriad of unexpected financial obstacles that life throws at us. How can one expect to travel, especially abroad, with such a delicate balancing act to maintain?

One seemingly simple answer to this question is to teach English abroad. There are thousands of schools from dozens of countries around the world that are desperately seeking “teachers”, whether qualified or not. These schools will provide you with decent pay, round-trip airfare, and even pay for your housing as long as you meet three minimum requirements:

1. be a native English speaker
2. have a bachelor’s degree (in any field)
3. don’t have a serious felony conviction

Sounds easy, right? In fact, it is that easy. A free vacation and all you have to do is teach English. Pack your bags and enjoy!!!

Wait wait wait…it is definitely NOT that easy! What happens when you get there, and you find out that you despise teaching? You’re stuck in a year-long contract and find yourself ill-prepared for the challenges of managing a classroom and, more importantly, teaching in general. Ultimately, it’s not fair to the student who gets the uninterested teacher, the school that hires the disgruntled employee, or you. You become increasingly stressed out day-to-day and begin to count the days till you return home. It may sound as though I’m trying to convince you not to teach abroad, but that is not the case. If traveling is your primary reason to teach English Abroad, understand that it will not be the proverbial walk in the park. I encourage you to ask yourself one question: Do I have a desire to teach? Think about it.

You should like to explain things. Maybe you’re the friend that likes to read the instructions of a new board game and explain them to everyone. You should be patient with people, especially children, and be adaptable to different ways of life. You should be prepared to face unforeseen difficulties and be able to cope with stressful situations. Experience in a classroom would prove highly advantageous, but as long as you keep an open mind and remain calm, your abilities will overcome any challenge.

This article is not intended to persuade you one way or another. It is to ensure that you understand that you are expected to teach well. Although the benefits are great (salary, airfare, housing, vacation, etc.), they should not be the sole reason. When you teach English abroad it should be a mutually beneficial endeavor where, at the end, all parties involved come out as better people.

by William Ian Arbuthnott