What Are Rural Teaching Jobs Abroad Really Like?

by Published

You’re one to take on a challenge. You don’t want to just teach abroad, you want to teach in a rural area. Why? Because it’s different. You won’t just be in a geographic location that may be a bit isolating with a smaller population size, you’ll be jumping right into the heart of a classroom and a community.

Whether you’re familiar with rural schools vs. urban schools or not, rural teaching jobs present an opportunity for a very rewarding experience. The key here is perception. Telling those in your communities at home—your friends, family, and co-workers—may pose a challenge. What they think teaching in rural schools means may differ from your idea of what you’ll be doing abroad. But hey! It’s okay! We’re here to help lay it all down for you by painting a picture of perception.

What Its Actually Like in Rural Teaching Jobs Abroad

The facilities are different, the students are different, the community outlook on education is different, and the images of teaching abroad in a rural school that members of your community at home have are, well, different. Let’s get down to it and put all these perception pieces together.

[Search for rural teaching jobs abroad on GoAbroad]

What Your Parents Think Rural Teaching Jobs Are Like

They think you’re heading straight into the middle of nowhere without access to anything. Okay, that sounds like a lot, but let’s think about this from your parents’ perspective. To them, you’re by yourself and you’re completely isolated. But, your life is school (and, you know, school is life). Your parents look at rural teaching jobs and understand how crucial and important your role will be. You’re, like, an inspiration to them. They love you almost as much as you love teaching.

They’re also super nervous you’ll be completely out of touch, so much so that you won’t be able to give ‘em a call every day. While that might be the case, you’ve got to remind them you’ll check in when you can and that teaching abroad is a good idea. Seriously, it’s a great idea. 

rural landscape with white dog
Take in those amazing rolling landscapes on the walk to school every day.

What Your Friends Think Rural Teaching Jobs Are Like

They see you prancin’ through fields out in the countryside singing sing-a-longs like scenes straight from the Sound of Music. The hills are alive with the sound of...school children! Your friends think teaching in rural schools abroad is the embodiment of Julie Andrews. Her charm, her graciousness, her sweet, sweet smile, and her enduring dedication to education. Your rural teaching job and life abroad looks like pure joy (...and catchy jingles).

Some may question you, some may envy you. Either way you can help them understand how they can do it, too, because they’ve probably entertained the idea. Show them this fab video on how to teach English abroad, which is filled with expert advice from teachers who have already been there, done that. There’s about a 99 percent chance they’ll be itching to go with you and teach abroad in a rural school too!

What Your Colleagues Think Rural Teaching Jobs Are Like

You’ll be livin’ a small town life where you’re a regular at the local lunch spot and you wave to passersby on your short, dirt path walk to school. Literally, you’ll be making your own path because you’ll be teaching in rural schools off the beaten path.

wide shot of spread out rural community on grassy hills
It’s like Anne of (freakin’) Green Gables up in here.

Whether you’ve decided on rural teaching jobs in Chile or India, your colleagues think you’re ditching the so-called “real world” for something less hectic. They’re jealous you’ll get to unplug and set your status to offline. They’ll think you’re going on vacation, without realizing how much effort goes into teaching abroad, in a rural school no less! And you’ll smile and say how lucky you feel to get to do something as cool and exciting and downright-freaking-awesome as teach children abroad *hair flip*. 

What I Thought Rural Teaching Jobs Would Be Like

I’d be walking into a crazy teaching environment (Read: complete chaos). Again, the buzz word is different, but in your mind, it’s more like a repetitive “oh-my-goodness-how-will-I-know-how-to-teach-them” vision/nightmare with crayons flying and children running around screaming.

Granted, the experiences of rural students may be weighted for a foreigner. The environment they’re used to may include poverty, a lack of access to education and resources, and, at times, teachers. Rural schools make for a community outlook on education. You might think this’ll add a ton of craziness and stress to school. Don’t fret, though! Every class and classroom is unique, especially in rural areas. While you may feel it’ll be challenging to adapt to this type of community-styled education in rural schools vs. urban schools with more $$$ and resources, you’ve got this once-in-a-lifetime chance to truly get a better feel for your students’ environment and community. 

group of people hiking and wandering the dutch countryside
The hills are alive with the sound of LEARNING.

What Rural Teaching Jobs Abroad Are ACTUALLY Like

It’s an effortlessly beautiful combination of immersion, integration, and impact. It’s a remote location with a rather short commute (think dirt roads and grassy fields for your morning walk to school). It’s inserting yourself into a community that may not have the easiest access to education.

Rural teaching jobs abroad mean you’ll get to improve your teaching skills. What better place to provide context to education than in the countryside? Rural schools pose different challenges than urban schools, and you’ll be front and center actually living and learning from it.

You chose to teach abroad in a rural school because you’re wholeheartedly dedicated to teaching and you’re stoked as anything for an opportunity to see growth in your students’ skills. You’ll become an integral part of their education, instead of getting lost in the shuffle at a larger, urban school. You’ll really get to know your students, because rural areas allow you to become close with everyone involved.

llamas grazing in a pasture in Peru
You might make a few furry friends on your walk to work!

If you’re considering rural teaching jobs abroad, you’ll have to learn to navigate cultural differences. Outside the cities, there are different traditions and lifestyles. People live differently, and you’ll get the chance to live it right there with them. Technology may be harder to come by in the classroom, but you’re inventive and resourceful (maybe you’ve already got these 10 kick-a$% ESL resources for teachers bookmarked too).

Being a teacher is satisfying and gratifying, and being a teacher in a rural school goes beyond that. You’re not just fulfilling an educational role, you’re helping to build a community. Stepping into a rural teaching job is empowering, albeit challenging, and just about the most amazing thing you could do!

Ready to find out what a rural school is really like? Start your search for a rural teaching job now!

Topic:  Before You Go