The Perks of Teaching English Abroad

by Sheryll Mate

Ever thought about teaching English abroad? If you choose yes, it could just be the best decision of your life. If you are longing to travel out of your comfort zone and try a totally unique experience, teaching abroad is great for you. 

Teaching English abroad has become increasingly popular and the demand has been gradually multiplying at a comparably steady rate, so now is the time. Your time teaching abroad will go far beyond seeing tourist sites and snapping photos of you with cute kids - there are a range of perks associated with international teaching experiences.

Personal Growth

Yes, the thought of crossing borders and entering an unfamiliar territory may be daunting, along with the thought of leaving behind everything that you hold dear, including what you feel may define you as complete. However, teaching abroad will give you the perfect opportunity to discover what you are capable of and test your limitations, while forcing you to become independent and self-reliant. The entire “road to self-discovery” will be fulfilling in the end, especially when you find out how much you are capable of and learn new things about yourself. These confidence boosting moments of self-realization will last well past your departure date.

Pain-Free Training

English teacher with young monks in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Teaching English to young monks in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Securing an ESL, TESOL, or TEFL certificate is relatively easy for native English speakers.  There are numerous schools and organizations that offer sessions and online TEFL courses at a low rate, depending on the number of hours required to complete the course. Also, upon completion of the program, these schools and organizations can provide assistance in looking for an opening English teaching abroad. Some institutions also offer training in exotic locations around the world that can be an added bonus.

Life Perspective

In your home country there are things that you take for granted and things that you just ignore. But living in another country will help you develop a broader outlook about how diverse different cultures are and how different your home country is from your present abode. Realizing that there is a whole new world beyond your own is incredibly rewarding, so if you value life experience over fame or money, consider teaching English abroad and learn what makes you fortunate to be born in your own country.

Your students will also teach you things. Excited to see a foreigner teaching English to them, they will embrace you wholeheartedly and offer tips about getting around, local delicacies to try, the best places to visit, and festivals to participate in. These students, being native speakers of their language, will also help you learn about their language, basic phrases to use in conversation, and pop culture.

Cultural Sensitivity

Culture shock is normal if it’s your first time in a foreign land. You may find it hard to adjust to new things. Teaching to a class of students with unfamiliar faces is an excellent way to get past the culture shock and slowly open your mind to the wonderful things this freshly-discovered territory has to offer. A word of advice though - this does not happen overnight, so patience is the key.

Tom with his Thai students.

Tom with his Thai students.

Network of Local Acquaintances

Whether you may be teaching English abroad at an international school, a public or private school, or in a language center, the probability of making new friends of meeting people is high. You will get acquainted with local colleagues who are keen to further enhance their English conversational skills with you. You will also mingle with locals who are willing to help you learn about local traditions and customs. They can navigate the place pretty well, better than any guidebook.


If you enjoy exploring new locations, people, food, and cultures, then teaching English abroad is probably one the easiest ways to do just that. Once you are already set up in a foreign country, the journey to surrounding countries and exotic locations becomes easier. If you cannot do this while teaching, then you can always do some traveling when your contract is up before heading back home.

Elephant riding in Thailand

Resume Booster

Do not underestimate the skills you develop through English teaching jobs abroad, because they will certainly come in handy if you are planning to find other teaching opportunities whether abroad or in your hometown. Communicating across cultural boundaries, learning a new language, and leadership skills are great assets to add to your resume.  

There are a lot more advantages of teaching English abroad and things to consider before deciding to go. You may have apprehensions and the emotions can be overwhelming. Along the way, some of your expectations will not be met. But later on in life, some of the most challenging things that happened while you were in a foreign country may be the best stories to share.

Take a chance and begin exploring English teaching jobs abroad now. Experience something exciting!