Teaching Beyond Borders: Discovering the Joys of Teaching in a Foreign Country

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As a teacher, have you ever thought about taking your talent and skills to somewhere that may desperately need it? In different countries, there are children, students, and even adults who would love to learn and benefit from your field of expertise. Not only would teaching internationally be a great learning experience, but it may even be the door that bridges the gap for other transformative teaching opportunities. 

Before even considering if this is in the realm of possibility for you, let’s take a deeper look at the reasons for teaching abroad and what that might entail.

What Purpose Would You Be Fulfilling? 

  • Supporting Educational Development: In developing countries, there is a higher demand and need for support and quality education towards improving educational infrastructure. Sometimes, you may not be the main character that is at the forefront teaching an entire classroom full of students, but rather a supporting character that stays after school tutoring and doing life with the students. You can be a link between cross-cultural relationships and the interconnectedness of understanding those differences. It is so much more than simply teaching, but rather witnessing those you teach live up to their full potential. 
  • Philanthropic Effort: Having a love for people and wanting them to succeed in all areas and walks of life comes with challenges in countries that lack the resources. For example, teaching English in a country that doesn’t generally speak English, would provide a way for people from different cultures to communicate globally and use that skill as a medium to expand onto their own personal skill set. To put it simply, people need tools to improve the way they live and work. You, even having the simplest of tools and bringing them to where there is so little, can empower people to do exceptional things.  
  • Personal Advancement: Within one’s career, growing is essential. Living and teaching in another country will not only teach you so much about yourself but also give you the chance to impact the lives of those within your influence. Adapting to another way of living and becoming one with the people will change you in unexplainable ways, there’s no doubt about it. On the professional side of things, this experience may give you a leg up for better-qualified positions or just reinforce the purposeful calling to live and teach where you were sent to go.

Pros and Cons

Going overseas or out of the country to extend your career elsewhere brings a plethora of benefits and perks. Along with that, means letting go and leaving a comfortable, familiar place. 

Below are some of the advantages:

  • Travel Opportunities: You open doors to explore diverse countries, regions, and cultures, especially during the off-season when you aren’t working. 
  • Building a Global Network: From potential coworkers and neighbors, students to friends, expanding your network with different backgrounds and nationalities is beneficial, especially when future opportunities or exchanges arise. 
  • Gaining Experience: Teaching internationally is not for the faint of heart; it takes diligence and dedication to be able to bring all that you’ve known to a place that may question everything you’ve known. It stirs you up and tests you through all the difficulties, but through enduring will come wisdom for so many things.

However, we can’t forget about some of the downsides:

  • Adjustment to Culture: It’s no surprise that you won’t know everything off the bat, and that’s okay. Adjusting to the norms, language barriers, isolation from home, and culture shock are things that can be something extremely challenging. However, with the support of those around you and those at home, it is very much feasible. 
  • Financial Decisions: Financially, there are so many things to take into account including the cost of living, different salaries/wages, and even healthcare. In some countries, it may be quite rewarding, however in others there may be limited access compared to your home country. 
  • Legality / Administration: Different countries, mean different laws and rules. With that, comes the complications surrounding work permits, visa requirements, and lots and lots of paperwork. The processes can be strenuous but worth it in the long run. Jumping and navigating through these hurdles will be part of the job.  

Why Teaching Abroad Might Be For You?

You enjoy traveling to other countries and immersing yourself in various cultures.

If you find yourself frequently traveling and willing to try new things, living abroad might just be the right fit for you. Do you easily adapt to change? Are you willing to live somewhere else?

Cultivating relationships with people from all kinds of backgrounds comes naturally to you.

Building long-lasting friendships and connections can be what make or break your experience. Having a community and the support from those around you is vital for being able to thrive in another country.

You have a heart for serving and meeting the educational needs of others.

A generous heart living to fill a necessity is what students need. Loving what you do, despite where you do it, goes a long way in making an imprint on those you teach. Learning from example is such a great demonstration to students of the passion and zeal behind a teacher embodying their true purpose. 

You want to be a resource for those in a place with limited or minimal access.

Being mindful and flexible to the environment, whether to be stretched or molded to wherever see fit, is a great characteristic. Those who adapt easily when it comes to change have the potential to excel tremendously in the setting they are in.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Have I considered teaching abroad? 

  2. How and in what ways am I growing as a teacher? 

  3. Are my talents and abilities being used to their fullest potential? 

  4. What are my goals (long-term and short-term)?

  5. What’s next? 

Make a Decision 

  • Be open to advice and opinions of others (family, friends, coworkers)

  • Explore more in-depth, research, and learn

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions!




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