Last Updated on 17 Kasım 2022 by Yaşar Çelik
The current global economic crisis has quickly changed people’s everyday habits, from food to clothes shopping, and from socialising to holiday making. Low-cost supermarket stores have stolen the hearts of most consumers, suddenly replacing fancy supermarket chains and their expensively-wrapped products, and thrift stores and charity shops have recently seen an influx of a new type of clientele. The demand for food banks is at an all-time high, with a critical decline in donations.
Many choose to meet friends and family at home, rather than in restaurants and bars. While this option requires time, effort, and careful planning, it’s an easy way to save money without compromising on quality get-togethers. Even people’s holiday habits have changed. Despite these challenging times, there’s no sign of giving up the idea of spending time off away from familiarity. However, many have opted for shorter breaks and destinations closer to home, which reduce the cost of travelling. At the opposite end of the scale, others choose to extend their travelling time indefinitely.
The global transformations that modern society has gone through in recent years have shaped a new trend in the way people approach professional and personal life. With more flexibility and better response to external factors, many have decided to leave their predictable (and stable!) life behind for a more exciting (and risky!) one. Travelling the world while teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is one of the options that offers excitement and enrichment, avoids routine, and reduces the risk levels to a minimum.
Moving (or long-term travelling) to other countries and changing your career path are important life events. As such, they require serious consideration and detailed planning. Look at the five tips below to guide you in your life transformation.
1 Cultural differences
Whether you move to your neighbouring country or to the other side of the world, keeping an open mind is paramount. This is more important than ever when you find yourself living in a country that has a very different culture from yours. What country can you think of? If you’re westerner, for example, you might think of a country like Japan. If it is true that opposites attract, this might be the reason why many people from western countries are attracted to this fascinating country.
People in Japan are very respectful and pay attention to manners and etiquette. Their body language and customs are usually so different from yours that misunderstandings are likely to happen. For example, the locals feel that saying ‘no’ can cause offence. Therefore, they avoid saying ‘yes’ with expressions like ‘maybe’ or ‘I’ll check with my boss.’
While experiencing and learning about a new culture can be exciting and stimulating, it can also take its toll on your work and personal life. Culture shock can have a serious impact on your everyday life abroad and on your performance at work. To reduce the chances of negative effects of culture shock, learn about the country you want to travel to in advance. Join expat communities online to research about its traditions and the ‘dos and don’ts’, where you can ask questions and learn from others’ experiences.
Once you’ve decided your country of destination, you need to decide where your base should be. When pondering on this, you should take into consideration aspects like job availability, access to means of transport, and social integration. Whether you live in a remote location or an urban area, there are pros and cons.
Big cities usually offer more work opportunities and are often cosmopolitan places where people from different nationalities come together. Although life in large cities is hectic and chaotic, it is also exciting. Most cities have established expat communities that provide support to the newcomers, where you won’t feel alone and disoriented in your first few months abroad. On the other hand, living in a village might not be as exciting as living in a city, but it would allow you to immerse yourself in the unspoiled local life, experiencing the culture and traditions of your host country.
3 Criteria to teach abroad
The requirements for teaching English in other countries vary greatly depending on your destination. Generally speaking, a university degree is needed to teach English as a foreign language abroad, often for visa purposes, but otherwise it’s not a deal-breaker. In any case, your proficiency level of the English language should be near-native in all skills: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.
What will open doors to your teaching career is a 120-hour TEFL certificate. This qualification includes modules that cover a range of areas to give you the confidence to teach from the very first day in the classroom. During a TEFL course, you’ll learn the role of the teacher and different teaching approaches; you’ll understand different types of learners and how to manage a class. This course will teach you how to plan lessons and how to choose. create, and adapt lesson materials, as well as how to assess learners’ progress.
4 Teaching face-to-face
There’s something quite magical about teaching in-person. Getting to know your students is a great experience when you can meet them in the classroom on a regular basis. Most countries offer a range of opportunities:
- Language schools (or academies) are the easiest way to land your first English teaching job abroad. Their courses usually run early in the morning or late afternoon and evenings. They are open to learners of any age group and proficiency levels.
- Public schools usually offer a stable timetable and salary, but every country might follow different hiring procedures. For example, countries like Japan and South Korea hire most of their international teachers through government-led programmes.
- International schools and universities usually offer better work conditions and higher salaries, but they usually require teachers to have higher qualifications and previous teaching experience.
5 Teaching online
If you are planning to have a nomadic lifestyle, teaching online is perhaps a better option. With some basic equipment, like a laptop and a headset, and a suitable environment, like a quiet space in your accommodation, you can teach from wherever you are, at any time of the day or night.
To help you in this independent teaching venture, you can rely on the support of established language schools that operate through their own online platform. Each online school has a different focus, teaching general or business English, for example, or teaching children instead of adults. Do your research before committing to any of these online schools.
Travel and teach
Don’t let the economic crisis dampen your desire for adventure. Teaching abroad or online can give you the opportunity to explore other countries, experience different cultures, and earn some money along the way. As you plan your new life, consider where you want to go and what you need to find a teaching job there, and don’t forget to take into account the impact of culture shock. Which of the five tips do you think is the most useful to you?