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Resources to Help You Learn about Teaching English Abroad
Friday, September 6th, 2013

Teaching English in Cambodia

 From China and Cambodia to Costa Rica and Chile, teaching English abroad provides hundreds of thousands of opportunities for English speakers from all backgrounds to work and get paid to live overseas, making the field ideal for those who truly want to become part of a local community in a foreign country.  Because demand for English teachers worldwide is so high, it also provides a viable means of income for those who want to engage in extended career break travel, but who don’t have the $10,000 – $20,000 in the bank that may be required to undertake a 6-12 month foreign adventure.  And guess what?  You don’t have to have a background in education, professional teaching experience or even a college degree to get hired, though a TEFL certification provides the training and qualifications most language schools around the world seek when hiring English teachers.

That said, if you are considering teaching English abroad, there are numerous questions and variables you will need to consider, including (to name a few):

  • Where can I teach English abroad based on my own personal background?
  • What kinds of schools will hire me and who will my students be?
  • If I want to teach English in Mexico, China or Japan, do I need to have a college degree?
  • What are salaries and benefits for English teachers in different countries?
  • How do I actually find jobs and get hired – do I need to line up a job prior to my departure, or can I find jobs in my destination country upon arrival?

The answers to such questions will vary from country to country and getting a job to teach English in Costa Rica will be a very different process and experience than teaching English in South Korea, Russia or Spain.  To help you sort out your options, answer your questions, and assist you in learning more about opportunities for you to teach English around the globe, here are some great resources worth checking out.

  1. Check out this Country Chart, which compares teaching English in more than 50 countries worldwide by salaries, hiring requirements, interview procedures, hiring seasons, visa regulations and more.
  2. Major ESL job boards like www.daveseslcafe.com,  www.eslemployment.com and www.eslbase.com feature job listings for teaching English in dozens of countries around the globe and feature forums where English teachers around  the globe share their experiences and insights.
  3. For more in-depth personal accounts and insights check out this index of more than 100 blogs, interviews and articles from actual people teaching English around the globe. You can also find many great videos like this one on YouTube and through Google or any search engine that provide informative and often colorful perspectives on what it is like to actually teach English abroad.

  1.  There are a number of good books about teaching English overseas, but the tops is probably Susan Griffith’s Teaching English Abroad, which features hundreds of pages of country profiles, listings for schools and other potential employers and tips for teaching English in all regions of the world.
  2. The International TEFL Academy website features an index of more than 150 articles and FAQs about all aspects of teaching English abroad and TEFL certification, from salaries and hiring procedures to visas and housing arrangements.
  3. You can also call International TEFL Academy, which certifies nearly 1,500 people a year to teach English abroad, at 773-634-9900 to speak for free with an expert advisor who will answer your questions about teaching around the world.

These are just some of the resources you can use to research opportunities to teach English abroad and to learn how teaching overseas can help you achieve your goal of traveling and living abroad.  To learn more, request a 30-page eBook about teaching English abroad from the International TEFL Academy or call 773-634-9900 to learn more about teaching English abroad and TEFL Certification around the world.

 

About the author: John Bentley is a Senior Admissions Advisor at the International TEFL Academy, which trains and certifies 1,500 people a year to teach English abroad and provides lifetime job search guidance to all students and graduates.  John wrote for the Egypt-Israel edition of the famous Let’s Go! travel guide series and he has worked in the field of international travel and education throughout his career.  He also grew up in Egypt and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe.

 

 

 

The Naysayers
Thursday, August 8th, 2013

A group of career breakers future and past meet in Seattle at a local meetup

No matter what it is that brought you to the decision to take a career break, it’s important to keep reminding yourself what that motivating force was.  You will meet naysayers along the way, trying to get you off course and doubting yourself and your choices. There will be people telling you that are ruining your life. Telling you that your life will never be the same. They’ll say things like:

  • “You’re going to ruin your career, you know?”
  • “Why don’t you just wait until you retire?”
  • “It’s not safe to travel where you’re going.”
  • “Must be nice to be rich.”
  • “That’s the worst thing you could ever do for your kids. How selfish.”
  • “You’re traveling for a year with your wife? Good luck not killing each other.”

And while the statements above may infuriate you, they are right about one thing. Your life will never be the same. If you decide to take charge of your life and take back your time, things will change. If you decide to truly make your dreams come true, the person you are right now, this second, will change. And it will change for the better.

While the detractors like to think that you’ll end up in a gutter somewhere if you dare veer off the path set forth for you by society, chances are the opposite will happen. You’ll come back from a break like this more open-minded, more willing to try new things, more outgoing, more able to adapt to change, more motivated, and more confident than ever before. Life as you knew it before your career break will be but a distant memory.

Eliminating Negative Human Influences

Crafting your environment is not only about surrounding yourself with people of similar mindsets and goals, it also means that you may have to change your relationship with people who don’t support your goals. There will be people in your life who don’t understand why you are doing this – then what do you do?

Simple – ditch the haters. OK – maybe it’s not that simple. What if they are friends or family? You don’t have to disown them – but consider not sharing this part of your life/plans with them. As long as you have other supportive people to share with, then you simply can change how and what you engage with the non-supportive people about.

Katie Aune shares how she handled the reaction of unsupportive friends and where she found a new support system to lean on.

Remember – staying motivated and achieving goals is about surrounding yourself with supportive people. One of the most important things you can do in order to stay motivated and moving towards your goal is to craft your environment to be supportive.

Where to find people in your community:

• Meet, Plan, Go! Events: We hold local events in a handful of cities  – check out our calendar and see if you can join in the Career Break conversation with people in your city. You can fill out a traveler profile over at Bootsnall.com and meet other long term, career break, and around the world travelers!

• Meetup.com: Search for “Travel” in your town/city and see if there are any groups meeting in your area. If you didn’t find one in your city, then you can start your own – it’s simple to hold your own meet-up group.

• Travel Massive: A global initiative to connect people in the travel industry locally, bringing together travel bloggers, brands, startups and socially engaged travelers

• Couchsurfing: A worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.

Non-Human Influences

BOOKS: Here are some of our favorite career break and travel-related books.

• Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

• The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, Amanda Pressner

•  The Career Break Traveler’s Handbook by Jeff Jung

• Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

• Escape 101 by Dan Clements and Tara Gignac

• Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim

• Reboot your Life by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, Jaye Smith

Have you ever come across Naysayers when talking about your career break?  How did you handle it?

 

Teaching Traveling: Inspiring Teachers to Travel
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

“Why should we care if teachers follow their travel dreams or not? Here’s one reason: if we teachers are telling students they can and should follow their dreams… shouldn’t WE do what it takes to follow our own travel dreams as well?”

Lillie MarshallWise words from our MPG Boston Host Lillie Marshall, who followed her dream and took a year-long Leave of Absence to travel around the world after 6 years of teaching in Boston Public Schools. But that dream almost didn’t see the light of day.

“Part of what nearly stopped me from taking a Travel Leave of Absence from my job as a public school teacher was guilt. ‘What will my students do without me?’ I wondered, worry gnawing at my stomach. ‘How can you do this to us?!’ wailed my coworkers when they found out about my impending Leave of Absence. ‘Do you realize how much you leaving will screw everything up?’

Thank heaven I didn’t cave into this guilt, because the reality is: after I left, the world as we knew it at my job did NOT end. In fact, I would assert that the state of Boston Public Schools is now BETTER since my Travel Leave.”

Lillie chronicled her adventures on AroundTheWorldL and is now inspiring and assisting more teachers to travel through her new site, Teaching Traveling. Why?

1. Happiness leads to effectiveness. First and foremost, a fulfilled, happy staff is the key to an energetic, powerfully effective organization. Going into my sixth year of teaching, I was getting tired, falling into a rut, and lacking sparkle. But now, after a year away, I return to Boston Public Schools with such renewed passion for teaching! And the students and my coworkers now appreciate that.

2. Have faith in humans!The students who I left on my year-long Leave of Absence didn’t have me as an English teacher, but they ended up having a lot of other great teachers that year. If you are being pressured not to leave because of the threat that ‘everything will fall apart,’ remind folks of the reality: humans have the ability to rise to a challenge. Your workplace WILL go on, and in fact, the new configuration might even cause a positive breakthrough for the whole organization!

3. If you decide to return to your workplace after a Travel Leave, what an asset you will be! Now that I’m back in BPS, I have a wealth of new curriculum from working with students in West Africa and beyond, I have a ton of contacts for teachers wanting guest contributors to their lessons and projects, and I have a veritable trove of resources for educators wishing to follow their own travel dreams. What would BPS rather have: 7 years of a tired, un-inspired teacher who never once took time to fulfill her own life goals by taking the risk of a Leave, or a zest-filled, world-traveling dynamo, freshly back from Around the World?

Teaching TravelingTeaching Traveling profiles teachers who have traveled, shows how they have done it, and shares how the experience has benefited them. You also meet travelers who have decided to teach – many of whom are teaching English overseas.

Lillie will also be hosting a night of travel inspiration for teachers and those who have dreams of teaching abroad.

During this event, you can connect with aspiring and expert Teacher-Travelers as well as representatives from related organizations. All types of Teacher-Travel will be discussed – from short-term to long term and educational to “non-educational.” You can also learn secrets of cheap travel from a diverse, interactive panel and speakers will discuss balancing travel with raising kids, dealing with a small bank account, and having no time.

EVENT DETAILS
Teaching Traveling Inspiration Night in Boston
Thursday, March 31 – 6:30-8:30pm
Elephant and Castle Restaurant, Lower Level
161 Devonshire Street - Boston, MA 02110
For more information and to RSVP

Favorite Website: Amateur Traveler
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

You’ve decided to fulfill your round-the-world travel dreams and are ready to book your ticket – but where to go? Look no further than Amateur Traveler for destination inspiration.

Amateur Traveler Podcast The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and the best places to travel. According to Chris Christensen, “It covers everything from knowing what to put on your Chicago dog to swimming with whales in Tonga.” In addition to a weekly audio podcast, Chris also produces a twice montly video podcast and blog.

We love Amateur Traveler because there is no better way to learn about a destination and what to do than from people who have actually done it. How often do you take action on something based on a friend’s recommendation – whether it’s a restaurant or movie? Well think of Chris and his guests as friends that are giving you great travel advice.

Chris Christensen In the past five years, Chris has interviewed over 230 guests for his podcast, has produced more than 60 videos, and has even added on a weekly travel show: This Week in Travel. That’s a lot of inspiration to pull from! He even interviewed Sherry Ott (pre-Briefcase to Backpack) back in 2007 about traveling solo as a woman.

And if you sign up for the newsletter, you will receive his free eBook: “How to Save Money Booking Your Travel Online” – which serves as a nice supplement to our post “Let’s Go: Round the World Tickets”.

So check out Amateur Traveler and get ready to be inspired!

Favorite Website: Hostel Dog
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Hostel Dog It’s often a dream come true when you can combine your passion with your work, and that is what Garrett Schemmel has done with his website: Hostel Dog – Travel Inspired Apparel.

Garrett graduated with a degree in industrial design but has also been very interested in sketching and graphic design. And then he caught the travel bug, which set him on a path combining the two passions. Garrett shares with us how he has been able to successfully bring his two passions together to create a business he cares about.

When were you first inspired to travel?
My fascination with all things international probably started when I was a senior in high school and became great friends with the exchange students at my high school. They just seemed different. It’s hard to say what exactly it is that made them fun to hang out with, but I built great friendships there that lasted past high school.

Hostel Dog I got to be great friends with a guy from Brazil, named Eduardo. Still friends to this day, he made his way to my house through a roundabout means and ended up staying for six months. Three years into college, I made the decision to go visit him and his family in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. That’s when I got a real taste of international travel and being fully immersed in the local culture. Every minute of every day was me being surrounded by folks from “Belo” and I had to learn quickly what it meant to live in a foreign culture.

But what really kicked off my travel habit?

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Travel Blog Success Review
Monday, February 1st, 2010

Think blogs are just for keeping your friends & family updated on your travels? Think again. The rise of travel bloggers has grown so much that World Hum called 2009 the “Year of the Travel Blogger”.

“Sure, travel bloggers—like travel blogs—have been around for years. But this year, travel bloggers began organizing in new and increasingly prominent ways—and as never before, they were treated to many of the same perks (and some of the same scrutiny) as traditional big media travel journalists.”      - World Hum

So if you have big dreams of doing more with your travel blog, you’re in good, and very crowded, company.

How do you make yourself standout? With Travel Blog Success!

Travel Blog Success

We recently shared David Lee’s career break story, and featured why we love his site, Go Backpacking. And now David has used the successes he has learned in travel blogging to help others achieve their goals.

There are a lot of great resources to help you build your blog, but you could easily spend countless hours sifting through forums, tweets, and websites trying to figure it all out. Travel Blog Success presents it all in one place.

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Favorite Website: TED Talks – Ideas Worth Spreading
Thursday, January 7th, 2010

TED - Ideas Worth Spreading In his recent guest post, Sabbaticals and the Pursuit of Happiness, Clive Prout makes reference to a video presentation on TED Talks given by Dr. Martin Seligman.

If you don’t know what TED Talks is, you should! TED is a small nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It started out as a conference bringing people together from the worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design (thus, the TED). During the annual conference, attendees get to hear riveting talks (18 minutes in length) by more than 50 remarkable people.

The site TED Talks grew out of the idea to give everyone on-demand access to these most inspiring voices.

The TED content has expanded to include talks on business, science, culture, arts, and global issues. Dr. Seligman’s talk is found in the Culture section under “What Makes Us Happy”. Another notable talk in this category is by Stefan Sagmeister titled “The Power of Time Off”.

Sagmeister is a notable designer based in NYC and is also known for shutting down his shop every seven years for a year sabbatical. That’s one idea we know is worth spreading! His reasoning is that we spend the first 25 years of our lives learning, the next 40 years working, and the final 15 in retirement. He wanted to intersperse some of the retirement years within the working years.

He also recognized the value of time off to rejuvenate and refresh his creative outlook. After his first sabbatical, he found that:

  • His job became his calling again
  • Over the long term it was financially successful
  • And everything his shop designed in the seven years following the first sabbatical was originated in that year.

We highly recommend you take the 18 minutes to listen to this fascinating talk. And thank you for helping us spread the idea on career breaks and sabbaticals!

Favorite Website: Passports with Purpose
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Passports with Purpose Since launching Briefcase to Backpack, we have found that the travel blog community is a very supportive network. So it’s great to see travel bloggers come together to also support a great cause.

Passports with Purpose was founded in 2008 by four well-respected travel bloggers: Beth Whitman (Wanderlust and Lipstick), Debbie Dubrow (Delicious Baby), Michelle Duffy (WanderMom), and Pam Mandel (Nerd’s Eye View). Together with over 60 bloggers they represent the “Passports”.

So what’s the “Purpose”? Raising funds for American Assistance for Cambodia (AAfC), an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving opportunities for the youth and rural poor in Cambodia. The goal this year is to raise $13,000 to help build a school in rural Cambodia.

Casio Digital Camera In order to raise funds, the participating travel bloggers are hosting giveaways ranging from cameras, books, hotels, and gear. A highlight of items include:

(For a complete list, visit Passports with Purpose – Donation)

For each $10 donation that you make to AAfC before December 21, you will be entered in the giveaway(s) of your choice. What a deal! Even if you don’t get the item of your choice, it’s a winning opportunity.

We love this idea and will be sure to participate in it next year. But that won’t stop us from shopping this year!

Favorite Website: Indie Travel Podcast
Monday, May 25th, 2009

Indie Travel Podcast Since the moment I started prepping for my career break in 2006, I started listening to the Indie Travel Podcast (ITP). At the time, they were only one of two travel podcasts out there covering long-term travel around the globe. Now, the market has exploded, however I still always stay true to Craig and Linda of ITP.

Through iTunes they provide easy to download 20 min. podcasts about how to pack, how to stay in a hostel, what to do when you miss a flight, the 15 essential items you need in your bag, how to buy insurance, and a million other travel topics. And you can find three years of archived travel tips, city guides, interviews, and even videos on their website.

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Favorite Website: SmugMug
Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Pictures are one of the most important things on my journeys; they are my eyes, and heart; often showing the emotions of my journey that words cannot show. While traveling around the world I took about 50,000 pictures and reduced that down to about 11,000 worth keeping on my laptop. I traveled through India, Africa, remote areas of China, and I crossed bodies of water in boats; all leaving me a bit on edge as I hoped and prayed that my laptop (mainly my photography) was safe and secure.


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