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If you have traveled abroad and you're thinking of teaching English abroad then you should know that they are a different experience. Having an interest in foreign lands and cultures is an important aspect of both traveling and living abroad.


They are different experiences and just because you enjoy traveling doesn't mean that you will enjoy teaching or even living abroad. Teaching abroad can be hard. Before doing so I had lived in 6 states (currently 8) and been to Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, The Netherlands, and a few more in Europe.


When you travel abroad you are essentially "moving" to some extent. Teaching or living abroad is more of a routine life. Traveling is temporary and exciting. You can move when you feel a whim to do so.

Living abroad is more like your life now, but different. Your life now most likely has some repetition and routine to it. Part of the excitement of traveling abroad is the newness of the experience.

But that newness wears off when you stop moving.

You really have to have an interest in the place where you are thinking of teaching. Why? Because novelty wears off. It may take one or two or maybe three months, but it will wear off.

Many teachers have jobs working 8-4, 9-6 or maybe 2-9 Monday to Friday. Some teachers even work on Saturday, so that doesn't leave a lot of time to travel around the country. 

Also when your days off arrive you may find yourself more interested in staying home.

Look what this girl said

Here's a post I found on Reddit by teacherlife101.

"I feel extremely homesick :( The students aren't too bad but I feel like most of the time I am just going to work and going home. I also thought it would be more interesting to travel/backpack the world instead."

True, teaching abroad can be difficult and lonely at times. Like I mentioned before teaching abroad is a job. It's not a vacation.

"I've only been here a couple weeks."

My advice after reading that was to stick it out. Her situation didn't sound that bad. Reach out and try to make some friends. Join a class or group and try to have some fun. Also she mentioned that her school was paying her late and the hours were long.

Both of those problems can be avoided.

"I think there are a lot of "teachers" in Korea who came here expecting a one year vacation, then got upset because they actually had to work in order to be paid." - Ja_woo on Reddit

Is it possible to teach your way around the world?

It's possible. I guess it would depend a bit on how fast you want to move. I'd say the faster you want to move then the more difficult it would be.

You could find temporary or part time work and move every few months or so. Or try teaching English online. But most employers usually want you to sign a contract and commit to a year. Pretty much any job that gives you a visa will require you to sign a contract for a year.

When you live abroad or move to any new place the excitement wears off. It doesn't mean that you won't enjoy it or that you shouldn't do it. Success teaching abroad comes when you apply yourself and you really have to have and interest in the place.

Living abroad and traveling abroad is a different experience. When you're traveling abroad you can just pick up your bags and go when you're bored, but that's not so easy to do when you're teaching abroad.

Learn more about teaching in Asia with this online course.