It's one thing to envision yourself living on the other side of the world, standing at the front of a classroom, teaching people how to efficiently communicate in English. But before you take the plunge and actually commit the next six months or year of your life to teaching English abroad, what is the experience REALLY like?
Part of the experience (at least in the beginning) is the adrenaline rush. After all, lots of people talk about how cool it would be to get on a plane and teach English overseas, but how many of them actually do it? By getting your TEFL certification, getting a job, and getting on that plane, you'll be doing something that most people never do. You'll pack and leave everything behind for a new adventure, so allow yourself to feel invigorated!
After that, though, it will be time to get down to business. After all, you've travelled halfway around the world to make a difference. Every morning when your alarm clock goes off you'll get up knowing that your work is changing your students' lives. By teaching English abroad you're helping people improve their job skills, helping them connect better with relatives in English-speaking countries, or simply helping them enjoy English culture. Whatever their reasons for taking your course, your students are going to be grateful for the work you're doing!
And, yet, you'll probably learn just as much from them!
In fact, one of the biggest perks of teaching English abroad is learning all about a new country and a new culture. Forget about what you read in guidebooks or see on TV in travel documentaries. You'll have months (or even years, if you want!) to spend in your new country. You'll get to go way beyond being a tourist and, instead, get to see your new country through the eyes of a native.
And, odds are that your students will take you under their wings and show you places, foods, and customs that you never would have known about otherwise. In fact, many TEFL professionals love living in suburban and rural areas -- as opposed to the giant cities that look so glamorous on TV -- because they offer a much more "authentic" feel.
By the time all is said and done, your students will have a valuable new skill, and you'll have experiences from teaching English abroad that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
How can you beat that?!