Should I Teach Abroad? 33 Reasons the Answer Is Yes!

by Published

Teaching abroad offers some extremely apparent benefits, but also some very secret perks. The instant allure of an international teaching career is augmented with tax and salary incentives, professional development, philanthropy, and many more hidden gems listed below:

International teacher with children in South America

1. Drop the Routine.

Everyday is a new adventure when working in a new country. People experience new living styles, education methods, modes of transportation, and everything in between. Sick of the Blue Line bus every morning? Try commuting to work in a rickshaw, pedicab, or by foot through the markets.

2. Learn Another Language, or Two or Three. 

Even the most inattentive individual will pick up key words and phrases when surrounded by a new language. After only a few weeks immersed in a new language, language skills will surpass those of people with semesters of classes under their belts. Many schools will include language lessons or offer discounts for courses, but if not, there are usually plenty of language schools around that can introduce you to the local language.

3. It's Like Putting a Bright Shining Star on Your Resume

International work experience will jump off the page no matter what career you work in. It's unique, and grabs an employer's attention by showing them you are independent, brave, and adjust well.

4. It's the Real Deal.

Gain the experience of actually living and working in another country, something that can't be achieved even by a long vacation. Going through the tasks of everyday life is when the real cultural connections happen. Be the person on the street the people on tour buses look at.

5. Make Friends with the Locals.

As a teacher, you will be able to meet the locals on intimate levels. Ask them about good places to eat, visit, or spend a leisurely afternoon. Maybe parents will invite you to their home for dinner or a local party. 

6. Easily Supplement Income.

A teaching salary abroad or at home probably isn't ever the deciding factor behind becoming a teacher, but most teachers live comfortably and have enough left over to play during free time. Schools often provide accommodation, flight reimbursement, and even an additional transportation stipend on top of the salary, meaning all income goes into your pocket. 

7. Easy Travel Throughout the Region and Beyond.

That initial plane ride can easily be the one and only big ticket item during your time teaching abroad. Once in Asia or Europe, transportation to neighboring countries in the region are extremely affordable! Sign up to be notified of specials and find fares that are so cheap you'll probably book without even checking a calendar.

8. You're In High Demand.

The job market is tough and finding a quality job in your field can be extremely difficult. Teaching abroad is the opposite, with thousands of openings each year. People spend years in dead end jobs waiting for a spot in their field to open up. Why not spend that time getting paid to travel the world? 

A volunteer teacher with his students

Photo credit to VFV (Volunteer for the Visayans)

9. Become a Better Person.

There is actually data that says travelers are better problem solvers, more intelligent, and make better friends. 

10. No Exclusions.

It may be the broadest job market there is. Availability covers the globe and all ages and backgrounds are welcome; many schools strive for diverse work forces.

11. Close Relationships with Your Students.

Class sizes vary but are often very small allowing for more one-on-one time with your students. Learning a new language is only possible through practice and exposure. A main component of teaching English abroad will be having conversations with people and helping them have conversations with each other. 

12. International Connections.

An international network of contacts can prove priceless. Maybe someday you will be making a career change, looking for an internship, starting a blog, or helping a friend move overseas. Imagine having scores of people from everywhere to help you on your way. 

13. Philanthropy. 

English is becoming more and more of a necessity since it has quickly become the international language. Being able to speak it will improve people's lives and opportunities.  

14. There's More Than English.

While it is the most popular option for teaching abroad, there are still plenty of other disciplines with openings. Many countries allow people with master's degrees to teach college courses in their fields. Areas like special ed, social work, and literature are also popular.

A volunteer teacher with her students

Photo credit to VFV (Volunteer for the Visayans)

15. Food: Explore the Flavors of the World.

Getting to spend a prolonged amount of time in a new location is like putting a fresh buffet in front of yourself. The grocery stores shelves will be like exploring a museum of new products and the scents of street foods will pull you from work. Be prepared to see giant unrecognizable produce or peppers the size of your fingernail that could nearly melt your tongue. 

16. Meet Other Like Minded People and Travelers. 

Not that traveling alone isn't great sometimes, but who wants to go it alone all the time? Paris for a long weekend is better when going with someone else, maybe even a local to tell you the secrets. 

17. Learn New Skills.

Discover talents and passions you never even knew you had. Learn to dance the Flamenco in Spain, take a cooking class in Thailand, or become SCUBA certified in Malaysia.

18. Experience Culture Shock.

This surreal and indescribable feeling can make people feel disoriented and confused, like they just landed on a new planet instead of new country, but it's worth it. It truly is shocking but is something everyone should experience. Be surprised by everyday activities like prayer time in the grocery stores and cows roaming the main city streets.

19. Experience REVERSE Culture Shock.

The other side of the coin, and yes this is most definitely a perk also. People working, studying, interning, or spending any considerable amount of time overseas will likely experience this upon returning home. It is an odd and enlightening experience to feel out of place in your own culture.

20. Develop Leadership Skills.

Making a teaching job abroad a reality takes initiative. People accept jobs in countries they’ve never been to, where residents use languages they don’t speak, and eat food they don’t recognize. Making a life for yourself in a situation like this will force you to take the reigns constantly. Not to mention you will be responsible for a roomful of students. 

21. Your Resources Are Endless.

Researching teaching abroad is like looking for a tree in a forest – you don't actually have to look at all. Few other careers are so full of resources and people willing to help you. A Google search for teach abroad provided 21 million results! This isn't meant to intimidate you, but rather demonstrate how much is out there. A quick glance through the pages showed everything from hot job lists to how to articles.

GoAbroad lists over 1000 teach abroad programs that could be the perfect fit for you!  

22. Low Expenses.

These will change depending on location but many hot locations such as southeast Asia and South America offer favorable exchange rates and a lower cost of living. Some salaries are even tax free.

A raising hand during a class

Photo credit to VFV (Volunteer for the Visayans)

23. Volunteer in Your Free Time.

Out of the classroom time can be just as rewarding, become involved in a community development project building homes, work on an elephant farm, volunteer in an orphanage, or teach yoga in a rural village. It's a great way to share your skills. Maybe you're a history teacher that loves painting, so have a workshop on the weekends.

24. Certifications are Affordable and Accessible.

The type of certification you receive will affect the type of placement you can receive. Just take a look at the hour requirements in your desired location. Some placements don't even require certifications, but you will make more money and have more of a say in your placement if you do. An undergraduate degree (in any field) and TEFL certification opens the doors for teaching in 75 countries! 

25. The Gift That Keeps on Giving.

Yes you're getting paid to travel, but that is only the stone that starts the ripples in the pond. Your experiences will be applicable to so many other things. You can write about your experiences when you get back, start a tutoring side business, or work as a translator. 

26. Choose Your Lifestyle.

How often do you get to build your dream job from the ground up? Placements are available in small rural villages, big cities, and you can live in communal housing, or a single studio in a skyrise; base your decision on salary, class size, location, or teaching method.

27. It's Mobile.

If you want a new location every year it’s easy to make it happen. It is a great way to live in multiple countries in a short amount of time. There are also shorter contract options. Some are six months or try summer camps and tutoring options which may only be several weeks.  

28. Increase Your Independence.

Intimidated by the New York City subways? Try navigating through the streets of New Delhi, and the public transportation back home will seem like a walk in the park. There are moments where each expat earns the right to think, “If I can do this, I can do anything.”

29. Learn About Your Own Culture.

You'll be forced to answer questions and see things from another angle. Someone will ask you something about your home country that you've never even thought about before and it will take a few seconds to actually provide an answer. This leads to new realizations about home and an appreciation for things you never even knew you enjoyed. 

30. Bring the World Together.

English has become the common world language. By teaching it, you will help people from different countries conduct business, become friends, fall in love, and share the news with each other.

A teacher giving books to students

Photo credit to VFV (Volunteer for the Visayans)

31. Experience Your Field Through a New Lens.

Many people have been in their respective fields for years before taking their skills abroad but it can make it feel like a whole new career. Country standards and methods will likely be different. 

32. Become a Better Teacher.

Teachers learn to relate to students in a whole new way. Teaching in a new culture will stimulate new ideas.  

33. The Teacher Becomes the Student.

You won't just be at the front of a classroom, but in a front row desk too. Your students will teach you things about their home life and share their traditions. See what surprises and entices them. The country will be like one big classroom, but with no homework.

What are you waiting for? Find a teaching job abroad now!