You aren’t here looking for reasons to travel abroad. You already want to do that. The very idea of getting on that airplane and starting out on a new life in a brand new place is so enticing and so exciting. You don’t need me to tell you why you want to travel and teach abroad. You know why and it is inexplicable. But you are excited. And you want to keep feeling excited.
I am going to give you 10 reasons you should be excited to travel and teach abroad.
1. You will meet fascinating people.
They may be fellow travelers like you or locals, but either way, they will be full of insights, stories, and crazy adventures. You may only meet them once and never again. You may stay in touch with them for the rest of your life. I have met both, and I have enjoyed both friendships in different ways. I wouldn’t trade my encounters with these people for anything.
2. You will see some truly beautiful things.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to go backpacking in Rome, or teaching English in China. It doesn’t matter if you like nature, architecture, paintings or people. Anywhere you choose to go is going to have its own unique and wonderful culture.
3. You will test yourself and therefore get to know yourself better.
There are a lot of safeties in place for travelers these days, especially if you are planning on teaching English. Your school often helps you find a place to live, someone will usually pick you up from the airport, and you’ll have an income. But it doesn’t change the fact that you are leaving your comfort zone to teach abroad. You are navigating life in a place that probably doesn’t speak the same language as you, a place that may not have your favorite brand of potato chips or your shoe size. You will have to try new things, and possibly sound like an idiot when you confuse the word for “coffee” with “boyfriend”. And it will be amazing.
4. You will have an excuse to eat, eat, eat!
For me, travel is about 75% trying new food. Lots and lots of new food. And while back in Canada I may feel bad eating dessert with every meal (sometimes even breakfast), or going out to eat every night for a week, I don’t have that problem when I teach abroad. Eating yet another dessert is just me, immersing myself in the culture. So what if my pants don’t fit for a little while –those pounds were delicious!
5. As English speakers, it is so easy.
We as native English speakers are presented with a very unique, and very lucrative, means of traveling the world. Most countries are looking for ESL teachers, and are willing to offer a salary that will allow you to live comfortably no matter where you want to go. Some places will even pay for your plane ticket. On top of everything, you get the chance to actually be a part of the world you enter. It is not just staying in a resort full of other foreigners looking at crumbling buildings while the tour guides keep the actual country as far from you as possible. You get to be a part of it all. You get to be a contributing member to a completely new society.
6. You become a more intelligent and well-rounded human.
There is an almost intangible lesson that you learn when you spend time working in a foreign country. You grow. You realize that the way you do things is not necessarily the only way to do it and that the other ways might work too. You realize that the variety found in the human race is astounding and beautiful, while at the same time realizing that people are people, no matter where you find them. And it makes you a better person to know that.
7. You get to teach people about your home
Not everyone gets to travel. Not everyone has the gift of such cultural variety we find in Canada and other multicultural countries. So when you travel you may meet people who have never met a Canadian before. And you get to give those people their first impression of what it means to be a Canadian. You get to represent your country on a global level when you teach abroad.
8. Listen to new music and watch new media.
As English speakers, we tend to think the whole world listens to our music and watches our movies. But there is a huge wealth of diverse media out there to enjoy. My life, let me tell you, was not complete until I discovered Korean pop-culture. You might just discover a passion for something you never knew existed.
9. Discover new ways of doing everyday activities.
You would be shocked at the various answers people around the world have come up with for everyday problems. From public transit to checkout lines at the grocery store, everyone does things differently. You may find some of it off the wall and ineffective, but you may also gain some fairly cool insights. In Korea, for example, they cut food with scissors, which is probably the most brilliant thing I have ever experienced in culinary activity.
10. The amazing memories and stories you will eventually take home with you.
It is inevitable that you will find yourself in some weird situation while you are working and traveling abroad, but they always make the best stories and the most treasured memories. The things you see and experience, and people you meet will help shape who you are forever to come, and you will bore your friends forevermore by beginning a sentence with “When I was in…”