Make the Most of Your Time Teaching Abroad
Teaching abroad at any of the many language schools worldwide, not only gives you an amazing opportunity to travel the world but it also enables you to earn money while doing so. At most of the good language schools, they expect you to sign at least a year’s contract. This ensures that they can offer their students a certain standard of quality education, as it can be disruptive for the students having their teachers constantly change. Now you may think this length of commitment will put a dampener on any plans you had to explore, as it sounds as if it will be work, work, work.
This is not the case at all, due to the fact that language schools offer their classes in the evenings and weekends, you will have most of your days free Monday to Friday. It’s great! The secret to enjoying this free time to the best of your ability is not letting it turn into lazy mornings, late sleep in’s and Netflix binges. Below I have looked at how you can make the absolute most of your time teaching abroad.
Where ever you are in the world there are a number of ways you can get involved in the local community. Using some of your free time to volunteer at a charity, such as an orphanage, animal shelter or housing development is a great way to meet new people and get a sense of the real living conditions of the place you are working. Not only does it make a difference for the people you are helping but it will make you feel great too.
The best way to find out about charities in your area is to have an old fashion google and ask the school you are working for, as I know Shane English Vietnam gives their teachers advice and options on how to get involved in charity work in the area. When you leave once your year is up, not only will your pockets be full, but so will your heart.
Take in the area you have moved to. It is so easy to move somewhere and get stuck in a routine of going to work and going home. Then you leave thinking, ‘Damn, I feel as though I really didn’t see much of where I lived.’ So get out, explore, be a tourist in your new town. Take advantage of off-season discounts and do the day trips, take a hike, and go sightseeing. Even if your area is not a massive tourist area you will still have things to explore. Go in search of the best coffee or best local food. Challenge yourself to use this time to find out as much as possible about your new area. Your Instagram feed will look great and you will pick up some unforgettable stories along the way.
As someone who is prepared to pack up and move abroad, I am sure you are already a very outgoing person, so this part won’t be too difficult. When out socialising or exploring, be open to meeting new people, and not only the kinds you would normally associate with, but open yourself up to give everyone a chance.
A great way to do this is to join Facebook groups for your area, most areas have groups for expats and they organise events and things to do together. Even if you’re on your own just go, make the effort. The worst that can happen is you don’t enjoy yourself and then don’t do it again, no harm done. Another great way to meet new people is with Meetup, this way you can meet up with people who have similar interests to yourself. If you are more of a homebody then Meetups are great as you can find people who are similar to you in the sense of interests and it’s easier to have things to discuss.
Meeting people with similar interests is often easier. You can also look into joining sports clubs or groups in the area as then you know you have something in common, and team sports are a great way to build good friendships while working out at the same time.
Now I am not asking you to say yes to the barman’s proposal at that bar down the road, that’s entirely up to you. What I mean by say yes is when asked if you would like to take part in something, try something new, go for a drink or even a meal, then say yes. There is no easier way to get caught in a rut than keeping to yourself and not getting involved. For some this is easier than for others if it is difficult for you to put yourself out there, then don’t even give yourself the option of maybe or no. Say yes and deal with the rest later, have fun. After all, if you wanted to stay home and read a book you could have stayed back at moms for that matter.
Of course, it is up to you how you spend your time abroad. The tips above may not be everyone’s best time abroad but they sure have made my time amazing.
Don’t only look at getting involved outside of your school, but look for ways you can get more involved with the school. For example, put your hand up to teach new courses or organize staff social events on your off days. Make it feel like home by making an effort with the people around you. Above all always have fun.
About the Author
Tatum Condon a 27-year-old South African girl with Irish family. Her dream growing up was to be a mechanical engineer for Formula One’s Team McLaren. Any sport which is in water, she does it. Even if the water is frozen, count her in. She is currently teaching and living in the land of smiles, Thailand, while sharing stories of my life adventures and experiences. She hopes you enjoy.