Saturday, January 26, 2013

What Can You Learn From Teaching English Overseas?

English: WildVenture Volunteers Teaching Engli...
Teaching English in Mongolia (Wikipedia)
by Ti Ron Gibbs

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 possibly LEARN? A lot!

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?

Ti Ron Gibbs is CEO and President of TEFL institute. Teaching English overseas is what he did in China, Argentina, and Mexico. In addition, he has taught both online and onsite TEFL Programs in Chicago, Shanghai, New Delhi, and more. To become certified to teach English abroad, contact TEFL certification Institute.

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