Kaye McDaniel – Japan

Where did you teach English (what city/type of school)?

I taught English in Japan! I worked for a chain eikaiwa (private English center) throughout the Chiba prefecture of Japan. Chiba city, where I lived, is just a 35-minute train ride to Tokyo station. Our schools had different English programs depending on the students – children had a specific textbook and curriculum, but adults were more flexible either using a textbook or focusing on free conversation.

How was your teaching experience life-changing?

I had always been a very socially insecure person and never imagined myself in a leadership role. I was extremely nervous before I started teaching but I quickly found that a lot of my fears and insecurities went out the window. I really came out of my shell and felt a great sense of pride as I watched my students advance with the language. I still have my insecurities but I feel a lot more confident now. I also know that after hopping across the world and taking on such a new position on a whim, I can do anything I want in the future and I know that I will do it well! I have just returned from Japan and I am still adjusting but the employers I had interviewed with had all found my little ‘blip’ abroad fascinating and a sign of professionalism and leadership.

Why would you recommend that someone teach English abroad?

It’s an excellent way to get out of your box and make a change for yourself and in your life. It toughens you up and you’ll come to see sides of yourself you didn’t know you had. The job itself is a fantastic way to develop oratory and leadership skills, and you get to meet all kinds of amazing people with their own stories and backgrounds. And of course, the adventure of living abroad and being out of your comfort zone makes the experience all the more worth it!