Many young adults that are still attending the university always have an escaping thought that crosses their mind, “Should I teach English abroad?”
I was one of them. I was curious about teaching English abroad, but I never went for it. I only did it when I was denied for an MBA program in Germany. And that is when my journey began.
After I graduated the university, I immediately started working for a company named Gartner. After a year of working there and knowing that I absolutely was not meant to work for a corporation, I decided to apply for an MBA program. The program that I was interested in located in Germany. I thought why not kill two birds with one stone? I could get a Master’s degree along with learning another language. Anyway, once I applied for the MBA program I was confident that I would get accepted. Throughout my life I had been a decent student, so my arrogance definitely got the best of me. Putting all your eggs in one basket is probably not the best idea, however, there was a silver lining to this. Once I got painfully denied, I, nevertheless, decided to move somewhere in Europe. The country I chose was Poland and the initial idea was to live there for 6 months and then reapply for the same program.
When I finally landed in Gdansk my heart was racing with excitement and a hint of fear. Moving abroad is definitely one of the biggest thrills in your life. And once you do it, then you can start your journey of teaching English wherever you decide to move. Here are some reasons why you should definitely consider moving and teaching English (or whatever language):
- Living in an unknown country: Obviously if you do decide to teach English abroad you will have the opportunity, most likely, to live in a country you have never visited in the past. While living in a different country is exhilarating, it can also bring lots of new challenges that you have never experienced in the past. For me, living in Poland brought me tons of joy because everyday was like an adventure. However, like I mentioned earlier, it also meant facing challenges. One of the biggest problems for me when I moved to Poland was the language and the bureaucracy. As some of you know, Polish is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn. So I would definitely advice getting a Polish teacher if you want to move. Learning it on your own is next to impossible. However, I do have to say that I know a couple of people that learned Polish by just listening, but literally a COUPLE of people. And then comes the bureaucracy - it is just painful. That has to be the worst part. I know that every country has some level of it, but Poland is high in the list. For me it was frustrating that the foreign’s office was always full of people and not enough employees, employees didn’t speak English (unless they were young), and you always had to wait at least 5 hours for your turn. Of course, not all challenges are this complicated. Some of them are day to day complications, like trying to find a place where you can get your passport pictures taken! Nonetheless, living abroad keeps your mind young.
- Traveling: One of the many perks of moving somewhere in Europe or any other continent is the ability to fly! I know this definitely applies to Asia, not sure about South America though. When I lived in Poland it gave me the opportunity to be able to explore other countries in Europe. One of the great things in Europe is that they actually have budget airlines, like Ryanair and Wizzair. For example, I was able to fly to Bergen, Norway for only $25 dollars - roundtrip. These budget airlines give you the opportunity to fly cheaply, as long as you don’t mind taking with you only a small backpack.
- Emerging yourself in a new culture: Obviously if you move abroad you will be able to emerge yourself in a completely different/new culture, which is so fun! By living in Poland I was able to experience so many amazing things related to the Polish culture. From drinking vodka with a friend’s grandmother to experiencing a traditional Easter dinner. There may be things that you don’t agree with, but that will always be the case no matter where you live, right? The point of it all is that you become more knowledge of those cultures and/or traditions and thus making you more tolerant.
- Becoming independent: I believe that the only way you will truly become independent is by moving abroad. When you live in an unfamiliar country you call all the shots. You’re the one that takes care of business. You certainly don’t have Mom or Dad to help you out. However, I do need to say that being independent doesn’t always mean not asking for help, it means getting enough courage to ask a complete stranger for help. You may be independent, but you will need help eventually. I know that when I moved to Poland my parents warned me not to trust people too easily. And I have to say, I threw that advice out the window. I have always been the kind of person that believes in humanity. And I did just that. By trusting in humanity, I met one of my best friend’s in Poland and I can honestly say that I never had a negative experience. In general, people are willing to help you, just have a little faith :)
- Meeting people from all over the world: The best part has been saved for last! By moving abroad, it opens up a whole new world when it comes to meeting people. I cannot express the number of incredible people I have met in my travels, by teaching them English, and randomly in the streets, bars, etc. If and when you do decide to move abroad, you will most likely travel alone from time to time and there is nothing wrong with that. Have an open mind and you will meet amazing people. I remember my first solo trip to Berlin. I was completely lost and I had to ask a complete stranger for help. That stranger was Imran, an immigrant from Pakistan. He not only helped me get to my destination, but offered his help. Although, we have lost contact with each other, I do have fond memories of his helpful nature. Moreover, these moments make anyone more tolerant towards others that come from other countries, practice different religions, and/or have different views. I want to also add that I do consider many of my students friends. They have invited me to their weddings, they have visited me, and they have helped me when I was in need for a translator. All in all, Europe is a considered a small continent so take advantage of it and start a conversation with a stranger.
Hope you liked the post and I hope this will encourage some of you not necessarily to move abroad or teach a language abroad, but to keep an open mind.