Teaching abroad is an absolutely life-changing experience.
Very few opportunities in life can deliver the same level of experience as teaching abroad. You’ll travel the world and immerse yourself in other cultures. The entire time, you’ll learn and grow as a person (and a professional!). Most importantly, you will challenge yourself in many ways (I mean really challenge yourself, this s**t ain’t easy).
Oh yeah, plus you get to actually make a difference in the world!
The bad news: For the last couple of years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people have had to put their dream of traveling the world on hold.
The good news: Times are a’changin’……Sorry, I’m a midwestern American. Sometimes the farmboy pops out.
Light is finally peering through the end of this long tunnel. As countries begin to open their borders (and even more importantly…their bars) travel is officially back on the menu.
And after 2 years of being locked in our houses like chickens in a CAFO (screw you, Tyson Foods), taking some time away from the corporate grind to travel the world has never seemed like a better idea.
Luckily, right now just so happens to be the perfect time to do just that!
I know what you’re thinking……..really? Our TEFL school gets 20 people per day asking if it’s even possible to teach abroad right now.
The answer is always the same: YES!
It might seem counter-intuitive, but let’s break down 3 reasons why right now is the perfect time to begin your journey teaching abroad!
Reason #1 – You (Hopefully) Gained Some Perspective During the Pandemic
Well….that pandemic sure sucked, eh?
For many of us, this was an unprecedented event in our lives. Never before has the world around us stood so still, been completely and utterly shut down. In an age where everything we want, movies, music, food, is constantly on demand, we were gripped by something completely outside of our control.
Even worse, anyone who had dreams of travel had to put those dreams on hold…indefinitely.
In many ways, it sucked. Many of us lost people we cared deeply for, or lost the ability to provide for ourselves and our families financially. Our mental health was wracked by a raging pandemic, political firestorm, being locked in our house for months on end, the pressures of trying to work from home, and through all of it being unable to socialize and connect in the ways we’ve relied on to get us through the weeks, months, years.
But, at the risk of sounding like a complete cheese ball, every cloud has a silver lining.
The Silver Lining
The time away from work gave us a chance to step back, to reflect. Momentary reprieve from the daily grind of corporate life gave us more time to pursue our passions. In fact, the rate of new online businesses saw, by FAR, the biggest increase in the last decade in 2020.
People are realizing they hate their jobs and can live without them. People are realizing that life is short, and more of it than we think lies completely out of our control. They’re realizing that we can, and should, take our lives into our own hands.
Teaching abroad is a powerful way to do this.
As a TEFL certified teacher (especially those with a degree), the options for traveling and teaching are almost limitless. From the jungles and beaches of Thailand to the mountains of Peru and back to the cobblestone streets of Budapest, a TEFL certification is your ticket to the world!
What’s more, home isn’t going anywhere.
Your crap job will still be there when you get back (though you may no longer need it). Your friends and family will understand why you need this experience, and if they don’t then go anyways and show them why you’re right. You can still pay off those student loans while traveling the world (trust me).
So, take it from someone who has carved out a life off the beaten trail. Now is the time to make it happen and take your life into your own hands!
Reason #2 – Teaching Abroad Now Truly Makes a Difference
Think about the kids!
Around the world, thousands of English teachers returned home and thousands more were unable to pursue their dream of teaching abroad in the first place.
This leaves English learners in a pretty tough spot.
English didn’t all of a sudden become any less important. For better or worse (different conversation for a different day) English is the language of opportunity.
Imagine visiting somewhere like the USA or England and not speaking a word of English, while also not having anyone in the country speak a word of your language (I mean…can you speak Thai?). Picture trying to live in a country where you quite literally can’t talk to anyone.
Learning English allows people from non-native speaking countries the opportunity to travel the world. It allows them to study abroad, to pursue their dreams of working and living in a different country.
After all, everyone deserves the opportunity to follow their dreams.
However, the studies show that the pandemic heavily impacted English language programs around the world. The loss of ESL teachers means that millions of students, especially those in areas without access to technology or international online resources, are left without qualified instructors to teach them English.
While our dreams may have been put on hold for a few years, some of theirs could be put on hold forever.
We at Destination TEFL believe this isn’t fair. We believe that everyone deserves access to quality education, deserves the opportunity to pursue their dreams. The truth is, it IS possible to travel right now. Even more importantly, it is possible to teach.
Teaching English abroad is a highly meaningful thing to do with your life, as it truly does impact the lives of others in a direct and significant way.
Your impact will be even more pronounced (English pun for the win) right now when ESL learners need you the most!
Reason #3 – You Can See Countries Like a Local, While Helping Local Communities
Some of the biggest tourist traps on the planet are actually really cool places, hence all of the tourists.
Unfortunately, the insane number of people trying to see them too almost makes the experience not worth the effort. That is, unless you actually enjoy waiting in line for 4 hours just to snap off a few quick pics for Insta.
However, with global tourism coming to an almost complete standstill, those 4-hour lines are all but gone (…for now). You can see amazing places like Phi Phi island in Thailand, Siem Reap in Cambodia, or Nusa Penida in Bali all without the hordes of tourists which usually cheapen the experience!
A Tough Reality
While the decline of global tourism is a great opportunity for the more courageous travelers among us, it has been brutal for the millions of people whose livelihoods relied on tourism.
Tourism in Thailand, for example, hit an all-time low in 2021 and the government estimates that the nation lost $3 billion and nearly 1.5 million jobs.
A simple stroll down the streets of a once vibrant, bustling beach town like Phuket reveals the damage done by the loss of tourism. Popular surf shops, clothing and food markets, even entire buildings have been closed down and boarded up. Once busy streets are now ghost towns, with locals simply trying to get by and counting down the days until their livelihood returns.
This means your willingness to travel is beneficial on two fronts! You get to see some of the coolest places on the planet without hordes of tourists. More importantly, you’ll be contributing to the well-being of the people who call those places home.
Classic “win-win” situation!
The best time to pursue your dreams is..now!
Seriously, start now. Truth is life passes by pretty quickly. So many people (yourself included) dream of travel. However, almost everyone gets so caught up in “life” that they forget to truly live…
Trust us, they’ll regret it. Nobody ever reached the end of their life and said “man, I’m glad I worked a whole bunch instead of traveling the world.”
So why not get started on your dream now? There’s never been a better time!