If you are considering traveling abroad or digital nomad life, one of the most common jobs to have is teaching abroad. If you are from the United States and Canada, employers from international bilingual schools are eager to hire you to teach their students English. I have had several friends teach internationally and I have done so as well. Here are a few pros and cons of teaching abroad.
Meeting new friends
I loved the comradery that you will gain by teaching English at an international school. There will be several teachers who are expats and have great insights into living and teaching abroad. Having coworkers as friends also helps meeting other people in the community. In some instances, your coworkers may be members of an adult league or extracurricular sports group.
Getting paid while traveling abroad is the ultimate perk. Depending on your location, you will either save money while teaching or the money will leave you with extra money to spend on your traveling excursions. Expenses can add up quickly and having income coming in is always a bonus.
If you are teaching abroad the school or company that you are hired with, may or may not pay a monthly stipend for your living arrangements. In South Korea and Honduras, the schools will either pay monthly for your apartment or give you a housing stipend. Each country, school, and company are different, so you will need to do your research on the amount and living stipend beforehand.
Adjusting to different cultures can be hard. Assimilating to a new language, new customs, and culture is very taxing. Make sure that you build a community within your new location that will be beneficial to your success and happiness in a new place.
I’ve heard a few horror stories about not getting paid or being paid on time. Some companies and schools mismanage funds and that results in you not getting paid or getting paid on time. This is not the case in all situations, but I have personally experienced this and have heard other teachers’ stories of not being paid on time or at all.
Students and Parents
Speaking from personal experience you will have a few students who will cause hell because they are wealthy and entitled. NOT ALL STUDENTS are like this, but there are a few. In certain areas, wealthy students will be prioritized over students on scholarships and even though I completely DO NOT agree with this, the wealthy student’s parents are (in some cases) funding the school. In short, when they complain, or parents complain the school will favor them. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to change my lesson plans to cater to the students simply not wanting to do their work or homework.
Overall, teaching while traveling abroad or as a digital nomad isn’t so bad. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to complete my 120-hour TEFL certification. With time you will learn what age group and subjects are your favorites to teach and excel in the area. Teaching internationally is also great if you want to start teaching online as a teacher. I migrated from in-person teaching to strictly teaching online and I love it.
Have you taught online or are considering it? I look forward to your responses in the comment section. I’m launching a course on how to prepare for traveling abroad. Fill out the form below to join the mailing list and to receive your free guide on steps you should take now for traveling abroad.