10 Reasons Why TEFL is a Big Help in Teaching English Abroad

10 Reasons Why TEFL Will Make You Want to Travel the World

Hello, nice to meet you! I’m Katie and I’m in my first term of teaching English as a foreign language just 20km south of Bangkok; Thailand’s crazy capital. I teach 650 sometimes sassy, always adorable, notoriously nuts and downright cheeky little monkeys (also known as children). People always say how experiences like this change not only you but the outlook you have on life; it may sound cliché or a little corny but that is exactly what has happened to me. I’ve tasted the culture, I’ve had a sip of what it means to live in a foreign country, I’ve stuffed myself with life-changing experiences and now I’m hungry, I’m starving to go forth and travel the world…but that’s what TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) does to you, it opens your eyes to what’s out there, to what can be possible when you wake up and step out of your comfort zone and here’s exactly how it does it.

 

Once you get a taste, there’s just no going back

When I think about the amazing experiences I’ve had in Thailand; trekking through the jungle, feeding elephants watermelons, whizzing around luscious countrysides on the back of a scooter, climbing mountains through the clouds, being chased by a grandmother who was trying to throw an ice bucket on me at Thai New Year and countless more- there is simply no way I can go back home. How could I? How could I ever go back to working 9-5 in a dull office for the rest of my life after I’ve had a taste of this life? TEFL has made me able to not only earn money but save money too, enough to travel to amazing places. With my new qualification I can travel AND teach simultaneously and what I’ve seen, experienced and lived so far have made it impossible for me to ever let that go.

 

You get thrown in at the deep end; so your confidence skyrockets

When I think about it; there is simply no way I could have ever imagined myself teaching hundreds of tiny little people after only 3 weeks training. After coming face to face with a class of sticky fingered, screaming little monsters with mouths covered in chocolate who wanted to hug and tickle me to death AND living to tell the tale (after a few deep breaths and a quick flick through my TEFL handbook), I felt like a pretty awesome teacher warrior. A teacher warrior who could conquer anything that gets in my path, a teacher warrior who could handle any sticky (literally) situation, not just in my career but in life too. My confidence has sky rocketed, my ability to handle situations that can sometimes be a little stressful or scary has completely changed. Now, I want to be challenged, I want to step out of my comfort zone, I want to test my capabilities- so bring it on big, scary, world, let’s be having you!

 

It makes it travelling the world possible

I have been to over 30 countries in my lifetime, which is a lot compared to most people. BUT, I always have to go home in between trips, get a job (which I usually hate) to earn money, I sacrifice spending time with loved ones because I can’t afford it. All in all it can sometimes be pretty miserable. TEFL makes it possible to earn money and travel simultaneously- no going home, no sacrifices. It’s pretty incredible, a little like having a fairy godmother answering your wishes. Of course you need to work hard to play hard, but all you need is a glimmer of hope, a little possibility to make your travelling dreams come true.

 

You learn to stand on your own two feet

On the one hand it can be truly devastating to be away from your loved ones for an extended period of time, but at the same time it is so nice to be completely independent. You learn to trust your own gut, your own instincts and you soon begin to realise that you can indeed do anything you set your mind to. I’ve had an immense boost of self-confidence since finishing my TEFL course; I’m the one that makes the big decisions in my life, I’m the boss in my classroom, I don’t have my family to lean on out here…and I’m okay with that, more than okay with that. Of course there are times when I want to run screaming to my parents, but I don’t. TEFL allow you to be your own person, they guide you in the right direction but they don’t spoon feed you or hold your hand; now I feel like I’m prepared for anything.

 

You can truly make a difference

I teach at a private school which is set to help some pretty under privileged families and I see first hand what a difference learning English can have on my kids. Any child is gaining great benefit from learning English; they will be paid more in adult life, they will get better opportunities, they will get to travel themselves, they will be more likely to better support their families- and I am truly humbled to be a part of that journey. You can now go forth and teach children across the globe a truly useful and beneficial skill; you can make learning English enjoyable to kids who may have found it too hard or too boring, you can motivate students and inspire them to do better; it’s pretty hard to not want to travel the world and keep doing that.

 

You owe it to your taste buds

From my TEFL Heaven orientation where we got to sample Thai fruit, I knew I was destined to have a love affair with Thai cuisine. I am a massive greedy guts and eat anything in sight; Morning Glory (fried green beans, garlic, chillies and spinach), Mango and sticky rice, any kind of curry, Pad Thai, Pad See Ew (thick, stir fried noodles), the list is endless…I could eat Thai food all day. English food is okay, a little bland but okay. Truth is though, I didn’t realise this until I came to Thailand where my mouth was met with an explosion of spices, flavours and tastes. The more I eat, the hungrier to try new and exciting dishes I am. You need to travel the world to try EVERY countries’ local cuisine- you owe it to your taste buds.

 

 

It truly changes you

Teaching in Thailand has changed who I am as a person, it’s made me into somebody I’m proud of, it’s made me the person I want to be. I’m adaptable in that I can handle any situation thrown my way (Mai Bpen Rai- welcome to the Thai way of life), I’m open-minded in that I’m no longer set in my ways and don’t see life in tunnel-vision anymore, I’m less judgemental now that I have seen how other cultures work and how people on the other side of the world go about their every day life. I’m curious into how the world works, I’m a lot more independent and self-confident, I’m more ambitious and grounded and I truly love life now. I feel the need to explore, to move around, to see the world and squeeze every last drop of what life has to offer me, now more than ever.

 

It gives you a second family

Travelling alone can be a little scary, sometimes you want to have a little cry or a moan to someone who truly understands who you are or what you’re going through. TEFL Heaven gave me 20 people. 20 like minded people whom I was in exactly the same boat as; we understood each other, we motivated and inspired each other. Now we’re placed all over this beautiful country and it gives us an excuse to travel and meet up with one another. After this term, who knows where we’ll all end up. All I know is that I’ve made friends for life and now I must travel the world, just to see my family if nothing else.

 

It makes life interesting

I really do not know how I managed my day to day life without dying of boredom (sounds dramatic, but it really isn’t). Teaching English as a foreign language is possibly the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. Sometimes my lessons will be cancelled because monks have randomly appeared to teach, or the children have created a play for us all to watch. Often I’ll expect my day to go one way but it will take a completely different direction before I’ve even sat down to eat breakfast. Life is certainly never dull; everything differs one day to the next and I am so thankful of that- but have no idea of how I will ever survive back in dull, dreary, drizzly England where everything stays the same.

 

You’ll fall in love with teaching

More so than any other reason; TEFL will make you want to travel the world because you will fall in love with teaching. Simple. More so than anything else; you will want to teach, spend time with, play with and enrich children of the world. I jump out of bed in a morning because I can’t wait to see my children’s smiling faces, I can’t wait to hear them remember words I taught them the previous week and I can’t wait to see them improve. This is the best job I’ve ever had and the fact that I get to do it in breath-takingly beautiful countries AND do it literally anywhere in the world is just the cherry on top of the cake.

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