Why We Teach English Abroad

When we graduated 2 years ago, we knew we didn’t want to go down the standard path of getting a job related to our degrees straight away. I studied Spanish and Maths and Ryan studied Biochemistry. Neither of us had a clue what job we would actually want to do, and we were sure we didn’t want to end up in some boring office/lab job or doing something we didn’t enjoy.

Before we met we both had an idea of living abroad after university, so it was great to decide to do that together. I had considered teaching English before, and when we met someone who had been teaching in Vietnam for years we were really inspired to go for it.

A month after we graduated we did a CELTA qualification to teach English abroad, and a few days after we finished we jetted off to Hanoi. It was the best decision we ever made. We discovered a real passion for teaching, and now we plan to teach English indefinitely all around the world. Here are the reasons why we teach English abroad.

It allows us to travel the world

Learning English is in high demand across the world, so teaching English is a really great way to combine work and travel. That was one of the main concerns we had about getting into a graduate job, we didn’t want to be stuck to one place. But with teaching English there are so many options! We’ve already taught in Hanoi and now we are about to start teaching in Valencia, Spain. After this, who knows where we’ll be? We keep thinking of new countries we want to teach in, from Asia to South America.

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With my favourite class

It gives us an insight into the culture

Unlike travelling around from place to place, when you teach English you tend to stay in one place for a long period of time. We were teaching in Hanoi for a full year, which meant we learnt so much about the culture in our day to day lives. On top of this, we also learnt an incredible amount from teaching Vietnamese children. I would always ask my students about traditions around the different holidays and we even did a topic lesson all about their Lunar New Year celebrations.

It’s fun

Before starting teaching, I’d heard so much about how fun it was, and how everything can be made into a game. I couldn’t believe it when I taught my first class and realised it was true, it is bags of fun! I’m so glad I get to teach in such a fun environment, by playing games and singing songs, rather than sitting in a boring classroom with the students copying words. The more I teach, the more I wish I had been taught in this way at school. I really believe it’s the best way to learn and teach, by being enthusiastic and getting to do fun and silly things from the minute you enter the classroom. In some ways it feels like being a kid again.

It’s varied

With teaching, one day is never the same as the next. Yes you may sometimes teach the same words or grammar, but one class you can be teaching 3 year olds and the next teenagers or adults. Even if you just teach one age range, there are always new ways to mix it up and teach something differently. There is just so much variety from day to day that I think it would be very difficult to get tired of teaching English. Especially if you are moving to teach in different countries every so often, the teaching styles and ages are always going to be different.

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This makes the difficult times worth it

It’s a learning curve

When I started teaching I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Yes I had done a qualification, but that was mainly based on teaching adults, and I was teaching children so it was entirely different. The beauty of teaching is that you learn so much on the job and you never really stop. Everyone has a different teaching style and that takes a while to figure out. The great thing is you can try new things and see what works for you. There is no shame in trial and error, in fact in my opinion it’s a big part of teaching. There have been times when I tried something new and it went horrendously and I gave up on it and other times when a new activity went amazingly and really helped the students progress.

These are the main reasons why we teach English abroad. I am going to write more specific information about teaching in Hanoi and in Spain soon so follow us on social media to keep up to date.

Do you teach English abroad or are you thinking of teaching English abroad? Do you have any questions about it? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

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20 Replies to “Why We Teach English Abroad”

  1. Truly a wonderful thing that you are doing! Not only are you helping others, but you have the opportunity to travel the world. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much! I really love what I do and hope I can do it for many years to come 🙂

  2. I always felt envious of people who got to travel so much while teaching English! Sounds like a dream job! Glad you’re having fun!

    1. Anyone can do it, as long as your English is at a high level and you are committed to it. I didn’t know if I would enjoy teaching but I was so glad to find out I do!

  3. Working with kids is so fulfilling. It sounds like you’ve had a wonderful experience teaching abroad! It’s such a great way to travel too.

    1. Yes agreed, and the bond you can develop with them is amazing! Yes, I hope to continue doing so for years to come.

  4. Great post! Super insightful 🙂 I’ve got a TEFL qualification but haven’t used it yet – maybe I should!?

    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Yes you definitely should! I will be putting up some more posts about location specific teaching soon to give you more inspiration 😉

  5. Hey Janine, nice introduction post about teaching English. Just my 2 cents worth tho, there are tons of posts like these online, this needs that extra oomph to get more reads! I’m sure you’ve spent a ton of time writing out the narrative, but maybe you can add in a story or 2 to make it more personal or be more location specific, and how your life is on a day to day basis! Would make for a more interesting read! (:

    1. Thanks for your comment. I see what you mean, although I wanted to keep this post more general just about why we teach and then I will write posts about specific locations, how to find a job etc later 🙂

  6. Teaching abroad gives you such an amazing opportunity to get to know a new place! Well done for all your travels so far – it looks great!

  7. Love this article! You made some really great points, like how teaching abroad can really give you some great experience, especially in a place like Vietnam where you have to take a lot into your own hands, without much help sometimes! Haha. And turning the lesson into hands on activities and using games is much more fun than some boring lecture and writing on the board the whole time, I definitely agree on that! Teaching in Vietnam the last 8 months has taught me so much about myself I never knew, and really helped me bring out the extroverted side of my personality by interacting with students of all ages. I’ve found teaching English to be stressful at times, but most of the time it’s rewarding when I find out my students actually took something home and got something out of my class! 🙂 I think the biggest reason I came to teach English abroad was the travel aspect, that I could take my TEFL qualification and teach basically anywhere! Xxx

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! Yes you definitely learn so so much from teaching, some skills that you can transfer to other things, like adaptability, and patience haha! So nice to hear about your experience and that it’s changed you as a person! Yes it is such a rewarding job, and the little things that go well can make a huge difference 🙂 yes at the start we wanted to do it to travel the world but we soon realised we have a real passion for teaching! Thanks for reading 🙂

  8. I love this post! I’ve always thought about teaching English abroad after university, so I’m always glad to read about it. I love what you said about it being fun as well! I work at a summer camp teaching kids German and literally EVERYTHING we do is a game. Learning SO doesn’t have to be boring!

    1. It is a great option to consider, and yes such a fun job! Let me know if you have any questions about teaching, I would be happy to answer them! Thanks for reading 🙂

  9. I totally agree with all these reasons! Although I don’t teach anymore, I did really enjoy my year of teaching in Hanoi. You’re right, it’s such a steep learning curve but it’s certainly never boring and the kids really surprise you! It’s a great way to earn while you carry on exploring the world too. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you find teaching in Spain in comparison to Vietnam.

    1. Thanks for reading Amy, I’m glad you can relate to this post. I think as a teacher you learn so much as you go along, just like the kids do! I will definitely be writing about our experience teaching in Vietnam soon and Spain too when we’ve been teaching here for a while.

  10. Ganesh Khadka says: Reply

    How a wonderful idea to travel the world!!! Travelling is not easy itself as well as expensive too. It takes time. But you are doing your best. We can see the high demand of native English teacher which is not an easy task to teach non-native.

    1. Thanks for reading Ganesh 🙂 I am really enjoying teaching English, it’s great to be able to help people learn and grow!

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