Teaching Abroad: What Holds People Back?
I often wonder what it is that holds people back from teaching abroad. I’ve spoken to many people who were researching TEFL, getting really excited about the idea of teaching abroad, but never ended up doing it. I have friends in Denver who know of Bridge, receive our monthly newsletters, check in with our advisors every once in a while, but a part of me knows they’re never actually going to take the leap.
When I ask this question on Facebook, the answer is typically “money.” And it’s understandable; teaching abroad seems like it requires a significant amount of capital up-front. This can be true, depending on what kind of certification you want and where you want to teach. But there are ways around the money issue. I think “money”, and most other excuses, are exactly that; excuses. I don’t think that’s really what’s holding most people back. What is?
Fear of the unknown.
It’s a scary thing, picking up your life and moving to a foreign country. The people that do teach abroad are risk-seeking, anxious to get away and see the world, or they traveled a lot as children and aren’t afraid of moving around. Many times, they’re excited by other cultures, the opportunity to see new points of view and discover new things. For these people, money does not get in the way. It’s a small hurdle to overcome because they trust themselves to find the resources to make it happen, to survive abroad. They have experience communicating without a shared language. They’re comfortable eating where the locals do.
If you’re not one of these people, fret not. You can be. Teaching abroad requires no special skills (except, of course, being a good teacher, but BridgeTEFL can train you for that). You do not need to speak the native language. You don’t have to be an avid traveler, and you don’t need $10k in the bank. Thousands of people are doing this every year without these things; there’s truly nothing to be afraid of.
Swallow your anxiety and make it happen, because you can.