Inevitably, when I tell someone I am going to teach English abroad, one of their first questions is, “Why?” In all honesty, my top reason is a hopeless case of Wanderlust. A desire to travel. “A love for places I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.” I find myself scrolling endlessly through the Travel boards on Pinterest, planning hypothetical road trips, and plotting out adventures around the world on my bedroom wall. After scouring the internet for “funding long-term travel,” “best ways to make money abroad,” or “careers involving extensive travel,” teaching English abroad seemed like the most feasible and enjoyable route.
After “wanting to go anywhere and everywhere,” the next reason that comes to mind is that I enjoy teaching. Or, at least, I think I will. I hope I will. Eh, I know I will. Whether it’s giving little kids baton twirling lessons or showing a new co-worker the ropes, I enjoy being a part of someone’s learning process. I’m also not afraid of the challenges that come with teaching. While I’ve never dealt with difficult students or struggled to salvage a failing lesson, as I currently have no traditional teaching experience, I’m prepared to deal with bumps in the road as best I can and to learn from my mistakes.
Lastly, I see teaching English abroad as an exciting opportunity for personal and professional growth. This experience isn’t going to be just some gap year where all I do in my spare time is lay in a hammock and sip drinks that come with tiny umbrellas. I intend to immerse in a foreign culture (try new food, go to festivals, maybe adopt a new fashion style), learn another language, expand my view of the world and my understanding of how I fit into it, and develop skills that will come in handy for future jobs. Perhaps I’m embarking on a lifelong career. Or, maybe the adventures of the coming year will reveal to me whatever it is I’m supposed to do next. Either way, it’s gonna be awesome.