What Can You Learn from Teaching English Overseas?
When you teach English overseas, it’s obvious what your student will learn…English.
But what do you learn from the experience? How does teaching English abroad often
change a person’s life and their outlook on life in general? This insider article gives an
overview of what you could learn.
OK, so the title of this article might have confused you a little bit. After all, when
you go off teaching English overseas, YOU'RE the teacher! What could you
In fact, most of the people who teach English abroad come back and say that they
wound up learning just as much from the experience as their students learned from
them. So, count on your trip teaching you about:
1. You’ll learn about a new culture
Think about it -- you're about to pack your bags and head to a corner of the world
that you've probably only seen on TV and in travel guides. You won't know anyone. You may barely
speak the local language, or maybe not all. And, you may wind up in a suburb or even a small rural
area, instead of the glitzy, giant cities you see in the movies. (After all, people outside of the major
metropolitan areas want to learn English, too!)
Instead of being disappointed that you're away from the trendy nightclubs and glamorous downtown
areas, look at the positives. By being in a smaller area, you'll get to know the locals better (just like
you get more of a "small town feel" here in the U.S.). That means you'll get to learn more of the ins
and outs of your new culture than you would if you were in a city with millions of people!
This is not to say that all teaching English abroad jobs are small, rural areas. They’re not. It’s your
choice where you want to teach.
2. You’ll learn more than guidebooks could ever teach you
Even if you were to head out on the longest vacation known to man, you still couldn't learn everything
you could from just a few of teaching English overseas. That's because when you teach every day for
six months or a year, you get to know your students (and their families) well. Odds are they'll invite
you over for holidays, religious ceremonies, and other customs that you never would have experienced
during some vacation tour.
Teaching English abroad is an in-depth experience. It’s not a 9-to-5 job.
3. You will make a difference
There are very few jobs where you get to wake up each morning and understand what it feels like to
truly make a difference.
Luckily, that's what you'll get to experience every single day when you teach English overseas!
That's because your students will truly appreciate what you're doing for them. Unlike "traditional"
students, they aren't there because they have to be. Instead, your students will be in class because they
want to be. Maybe they want to learn English in order to get a leg up in the job market. Or, maybe
they want to be able to communicate with family members who live in English-speaking countries. Or,
maybe they just want to see what all the fuss is over English-speaking movies and TV shows.
No matter what their reasons are, by teaching English overseas, you're helping them move towards a
goal. And how cool is that?! What other profession, that is open to you (yes, you reading this article
right now) what other profession is that personally rewarding?