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Considering all of the ideas that you could have... I think teaching English abroad might be a great idea, but is it worth it?

I guess it depends.

What made you question whether it was a good idea or not?

Doubts are normal. I had doubts.

In fact I have contemplated it more than once. So in all honesty I guess there are good and bad sides to it. There is always the other side of the coin.

If there is yin there is yang.

Maybe you are contemplating doing something else in your life. Maybe you just got out of school and are wondering whether teaching English in some foreign country is a diversion. Right? Maybe you'll do that and get sidetracked from your career or whatever.

Is it going to look bad on your resume?

In my experience...

It's just another experience and it's different from anything that you'll experience where you are now. Out of all the things that you could do I think teaching English abroad probably isn't too bad of an idea even if it is challenging.

So you might be wondering...

Is teaching English abroad right for me?

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself. Fill in the blank.

  1. Are you adventurous? ____ .
  2. Do you have an open mind? ____ .
  3. Do you have an interest in other cultures (or a specific one)? ____ .
  4. Are you open to learning how to teach English (because that's going to be your job)? ____ .
  5. Do you want to learn another language? ____ .


How many of those questions did you answer yes to?

If you answered yes to all of these then that is a good sign. But if you didn't then I would subtract 20% for each "no" to get an idea of how much you might like it.


All those questions are not valued equally.

I'd say the most important ones are questions 2 and 4. If you didn't answer yes to these then I'd say it's probably not going to be very good for you and that it's going to be very challenging.

It's a chance to broaden your horizons

Leave home.

Explore the world do what you can while you can do it.

If that sounds to big for you then it's a chance to explore some other small part of the world for a year or so. If you didn't know most contracts are for a year. If you are not sure if you would like to teach for a year or so then there are other ways to find short term work.

What will you miss out on if you do teach abroad?

I don't know the answer to that question only you do. Are you concerned that teaching abroad may ruin your resume? Well, if you are like most people who teach abroad it probably won't. Most people only teach abroad for a year or two.

And then what will you miss out on if you don't teach English abroad?

Well, it's a chance to:

  1. Make new friends
  2. Learn a new language
  3. Try out teaching
  4. Try new foods
  5. Save some money
  6. Travel
  7. Experience something totally new that you'll never get to experience if you stay where you are now.

Make new friends. You are not alone. Unless you are located in a very isolated area you are going to meet people from all over the world doing the same thing you are. You also might befriend the local restaurant owner or someone who works in the tea shop. You will probably find that the locals will be curious about you too.

Learn a new language. Learning a new language can be fun. It's a good way to make connections with the locals. You can meet for a language exchange or take classes. Learning the language will make life easier and you'll feel more connected.

Try out teaching. I never thought I would be an English teacher. I didn't even think it was possible. I rejected the idea long before I tried it. For me it was hard in the beginning, but it got better when I learned more. The more you put into it the more you will get out of it.

Try new foods. You may find out that you love dak galbi (Korean dish), or you may find all the fresh juice stands to be totally awesome and cheaper than what you are used to (in Taiwan). If you want to try new foods then you'll have the chance. There can be some unusual foods too like insects and creatures that you don't normally eat, but you never know, you might like them.

Save some money. Depending on where you are located you may find the cost of living to be cheaper and your salary to be higher. This can be good for saving money.

Travel. Let's say for example you get a job teaching in Taipei. Well, not only does Taiwan have some cool places to travel to, but for $200-300 or so you can take a trip to Thailand, Korea, China or Japan for the weekend or even longer.

Experience something new. If you keep doing what you've been doing you're not going to get different results. For most people it's a once and a lifetime opportunity.

Those are some of the good things that come with teaching abroad. I spent about 6 years teaching and living in Asia and really the end result for me was all the above and an expanded world view.

You don't realize sometimes how limited your thinking is to your current situation, but your current situation is temporary and changing. People live differently in other parts of the world. They think differently too.

On the other hand those things can be hard to adjust to.

But, you're not in Kansas anymore

It's different so it can be hard. People can have difficulties with the:

  • Language
  • Culture
  • Food
  • Teaching
  • Weather
  • Leaving home

How hard is it really? If you are not very open minded then maybe it's not a good idea. Here's a few bits of advice from a post I'll link to later:

"I would say don't go looking for a job online first. Research some cities first. Come to China as a tourist and go to some schools and talk to some teachers. Go to a local expat bar at night and talk to people there and find out about the different schools and just go from there. Cause there are so many instances of people getting rolled by schools - bad horror stories. Definitely check it out in person." - Danielle in Hangzhou, China

"Come here with a really open mind. And don't think that the place or country is going to be anything like home. Be open." - Anne in Busan, Korea

Really most problems that you may encounter abroad can be avoided if you train and do your research.

Is teaching English in Japan, Korea, China or Taiwan a good idea?

Do more research. This site ESLinsider is devoted to teaching English and living in those places because that's what I did. 

Is teaching English in Japan worth it?

Is teaching English in China worth it?

Is teaching in Korea worth it?

Is teaching in Taiwan worth it?