How Teaching English Abroad Enhances Your Career Prospects

 

Hello everyone, how are you doing? Linda from ITTT, back again with another live session. I’m super excited to be here today to talk about this exciting topic, teaching English abroad and how it enhances your career prospects.

I'm just going to wait for a couple more people to join, you know how it usually works. Once we are a good sized group of people we can start diving into this topic. If you can hear me and if you can see me please leave a comment. We are live on Facebook and on YouTube at the same time, so wherever you're watching from just leave a quick hi or hello in the comment section and also let me know where you are watching from. I am in South Korea about an hour and a half south of Seoul in a city called Cheongju. I've been living here for six years and I have also been working for ITTT for about the same amount of time.

I know I wasn’t here last week. Usually we go live twice a week. Me once a week and my colleague Liza once a week, but last week I had to skip because I had issues with my throat. In South Korea the weather is getting warmer and we start turning on the AC and that mix of hot and cold always gets to me, especially with my throat. But I am back this week and I'm super excited. I see we have Renu from New Delhi, thanks for joining. We also have Min Pei from Myanmar, hi good to have you here today. Many people from Asia already today. Let's see if we can also get people from other parts of the world. Sometimes we have people from the US watching where it's still Thursday night. Sometimes we have people from the Middle East, also Latin America. We always have a really mixed group which I super enjoy, that's why I do this every week.

Like I always say, it's not only me here talking about teaching abroad and TEFL, it's also you teaching me things and we're exchanging ideas and that's what I love so much. Hey Juliana, nice to see you too. Before we dive in, please don't forget to like and subscribe to our Facebook page and our YouTube channel and all our other social media. I'm going to show you the handle names later on, but you can find us on pretty much any social media. Please like and follow and subscribe so you don't miss any of our future live sessions and any of our other amazing content that we share on there. We share a lot of TEFL information, teaching ideas, job offers, all kinds of stuff.

If you're listening to this as a podcast episode, thanks so much for downloading. We really appreciate it. We always turn our live sessions into podcast episodes and we recently hit a milestone. I think it was 3,500 podcast episode downloads, which is super exciting. Thank you so much to everybody who's doing that. I also want to mention that we have as always a 30% discount link that you can use. We only share the 30% off links during the live sessions so take this opportunity if you're interested in teaching abroad. If you want to take a TEFL course this is the best deal that you can find. You can scan the QR code in the upper right hand corner here. If you cannot do that, I'm also going to share the direct link with you in the comment section. Just click on it and it will lead you straight to the application page. Fill out your application and then you'll see the discounted price.

Throughout this live session feel free to ask questions or comment, I really like to have a conversation with you guys. I don't want this to be just me talking, so please leave any comments or questions, anything is welcome. There will also be a Q&A session at the end where you have a chance to ask more questions.

Right, let's dive into today's topic, teaching English abroad and how it enhances your career prospects. I'm going to make myself a little smaller now so that you can see the slides and I am keeping an eye on the comments, so thank you Patrick for the thumbs up. I always start my sessions by introducing myself because we get a lot of new people every time. My name is Linda and I am on the one side a travel writer and content creator under the name Linda Goes East. You can find that at lindagoeseast.com. It's an Asia travel platform where I share my experiences about teaching English and living in China and Korea, and also traveling in Asia. If you are interested in teaching English in Asia you might want to check that out, you're going to find a lot of useful information there. You can also find me on Instagram at Linda Goes East. I love sharing my content there and I love engaging with you guys, so if you send me a dm I'll be sure to respond.

I'm originally from Germany and the US. My mom is German and my dad is American. I am based in South Korea. I started my abroad journey back in 2012 when I first moved abroad to China. I did an internship there at a German online marketing startup and I loved it so much that after completing my bachelor's degree in San Diego I returned to China for another year. Then I moved to South Korea six years ago. On the other side I'm a TEFL and TESOL marketing professional at ITTT. That stands for International TEFL and TESOL training. You can find us at teflcourse.net and on Instagram at International TEFL Training. ITTT is a leading TEFL and TESOL course provider and we offer a wide variety of different courses. We are always evolving and adding new courses to our range to fit the current needs of the market. So whatever you're looking for we're likely to offer it.

All right then, we are ready to jump in. Basically, why I picked this topic is because we get this question a lot at ITTT. People ask, will teaching English abroad hurt my career? Because some people don't want to do this long term, they might just want a break after college, they want to do a year or two abroad and then come back home to dive into their career and work in the field that they actually majored in. Most people don't actually major in TEFL or teaching English as you don't need that to teach English abroad. You don't have to have a major in English, but they're still interested in going abroad and teaching because it's a great way to get international experience and to see something of the world after college or even later in life. Some people are worried that a gap year abroad might hurt their career and that is basically what I'm going to talk about today.

What I always tell people who ask this question is that teaching English abroad is a smart move and it enhances your career prospects both at home and also on the international job market. In today's session I'm going to cover seven ways that teaching English abroad is going to enhance your career prospects and I'm going to call them teaching abroad benefits. So we're going to cover seven of these benefits and at the end there'll be one slide where you are able to add any other benefits that you might think of while I'm doing this presentation. Because I'm sure there are many more than seven benefits. So just keep thinking about that while we're going through those seven different benefits.

Okay, teaching abroad benefit number one that I'm going to talk about is you will gain real international work experience. So why is that important? Employees with international work experience are highly sought after by any kind of business back home or anywhere across the world. If it's an international company they are going to look for people who already have international work experience and so moving abroad to a different country shows that you are a risk taker who is up for new challenges. Working abroad in a different country also makes you see things from a different perspective. You might learn a new way of thinking and that is something that enhances innovation or that brings about innovation. If you can think outside of the box, if you are able to see things from different perspectives, that's what any employer of any company really needs and wants in an employee. So that is benefit number one, that you will gain real international work experience and that is highly sought after by any kind of business.

The risk taker aspect is something that I've experienced. I moved to China all by myself in 2012, I didn't know anybody, I didn't know the city and I was only 19. When I went back home a lot of people thought that was very impressive, that I was really brave and they were really impressed by that. Employers are the same, they're going to see that because not everybody does that, not everybody just goes and moves to an entirely different country where they don't know anybody. That says a lot about you and so you're going to get a lot of plus points when applying for jobs after this experience.

Moving on to teaching abroad benefits number two. Your experience teaching English abroad will make you stand out, and specifically what I mean by that is stand out on your resume, on your job applications. I think everyone knows that human resources staff only spend a few seconds skimming through an application, they don't read the whole cover letter, they don't look at the entire resume, they just skim through it and if there is something like international work experience on there it is going to make them notice you. It will set you apart from other applicants and ultimately give you an edge over the competition.

I actually heard that out of all the applications only two percent are going to be actually invited to an interview. So having that international teaching experience is going to definitely draw some attention to your resume as it's going to be different from all the other ones. For example, if you taught English in South Korea and then you go back home and apply for a job at say Samsung or a Korean car company, it's definitely going to stand out and be a huge plus if you actually worked or lived in the country where the company is from.

So teaching abroad benefits number three. You will learn how to adapt to new situations and to live and work with people from different cultural backgrounds. That's also very important. You're going to be faced with a lot of new situations, you'll learn how to adapt to a new environment, you'll learn how to work with people from different cultural backgrounds and those are all skills that are highly sought after in today's business world. When you go back home and want to work for an international company or you want to go to a different country and work for an international company, those skills are going to be so valuable.

When we talk about working with people from different cultural backgrounds, taking South Korea as an example, it's not going to be just Koreans that you're working with. There will also be other foreign teachers that work in your school. For example, in the school that I worked at there were eight or nine foreign teachers and it was a very diverse group. There were people from the US, from Canada, from the UK, from Ireland, from South Africa, from Australia, from New Zealand, and from all over. And even though we were all native English speakers, the cultures are still very different and you learn a lot about those other countries. So it’s not only about the country that you are working in. I think that's something that every company is going to see and value.

This is definitely something that I have also learned because different countries do things very differently, especially in Korea where hierarchy is very important. The work environment is very different. In the US, for example, it's more like we're all friends and we call each other by our first name, things like that. It is pretty much the polar opposite of that in Korea. The hierarchy is very important. You address people only by their title, like manager or hr manager, things like that. You never call them by their names. So adapting to new situations is definitely something that's sought after.

Thank you Patrick. Patrick says, I'm close to finishing my TEFL certificate so I really appreciate the contents of this session. Awesome, thank you so much. Zohair makes the point that you nurture your intercultural awareness, the similarities and the differences, you find it easy to adapt with everyone and others, you feel at ease working with others.

That's another great point because your co-workers and all the people that you're going to work with are going to see that you're able to fit into this intercultural environment and they're also going to like working with you. That's a good point, thanks so much for that comment.

Moving on to teaching abroad benefits number four. You will develop organizational and communication skills as well as the ability to manage groups. Communication skills are not only useful in the classroom, they can also be applied when working with co-workers on projects in other fields. This is very important. For me this was a thing when I taught kindergarten kids and elementary kids in my first year in Korea and then I moved on to teaching adults and business English students. I think that you can really fine-tune your communication skills when teaching children, especially children from a different country, because you're going to learn how to present information in a way that everybody understands easily and that is the key to communication. That's a very important communication skill that you can also apply later on when working with co-workers.

You will also have learned how to manage a group and have developed your leadership abilities. You're a teacher and you are managing your students, but that takes practice, it's not as easy as it might seem. As with anything, it gets better over time. You're not only going to be able to manage a group of students, but you're also going to be able to fit in and work with your other co-workers which are two very different dynamics. So that was teaching abroad benefit number four, organizational and communication skills and the ability to manage groups.

Now we can move on to teaching abroad benefit number five. I think this is a very important benefit to talk about, you are likely to develop foreign language skills. While living abroad in a different country where they probably speak a different language you are at least going to pick up some basic words. How to say hello, thank you, how to take a taxi, how to buy things, that's the minimum you're going to learn. I can guarantee that after a few months of living somewhere those are the things everybody pretty much always picks up and then you can obviously turn that into something more by attending language classes. They're pretty much on offer everywhere and you can then build on that. Foreign language skills are definitely a wonderful benefit in today's globalized world and a true asset. It's definitely something that's going to help you in the workplace.

Acquiring a second language opens doors to new career prospects at global companies back home and also abroad. If for example you go to Spain or Latin America and you learn Spanish that's obviously one of the big languages that they use in many countries all around the world. Things like Chinese are also super useful these days, but really any kind of language even if it's just spoken in one place is going to be a huge asset. Also, if you have never learned a foreign language before and you're an English teacher, it's actually going to make you a better teacher. It's going to make you a better teacher because you understand how language learning works, you can feel for your students. I definitely recommend wherever you go teaching abroad that you take language classes. It would just be such a shame not to take advantage and usually they're not that expensive because you are in that country. It's really easy to immerse yourself into the language.

We have a comment from Patrick. Do you still teach or are you now full time with the marketing side of things?

So at ITTT I do not teach at all, I only do marketing. But I also teach English and German on the side. It's been great fun, I actually started teaching online this year for the first time. Before the pandemic I was teaching a lot of different in-class classes in Korea, but then everything was put on hold and we moved online. It was actually quite fun and that's when I also started teaching German which has also been really interesting. So yeah, I still teach and do marketing as well.

Okay then, let's move on to teaching benefit number six. You will build a global network of contacts. This might be a little bit hard to understand, especially if you're new to networking and what networking means. But it's actually so valuable for your entire future, you can really make something out of it. Coworkers, friends and other people you meet abroad add value to your professional network. New connections can lead to limitless career opportunities back home and abroad. There are a lot of different ways you can go about this. Obviously, the first kind of new connections you make are at the school you're working at. Some of your co-workers will already have experience working in this country and maybe they've even worked in other countries, so that's great to have that connection. Maybe if you also want to work in this other country your co-worker can hook you up, give you contacts to schools and other things.

Also, there are embassies and chambers of commerce and they have events and for example as an American you can go to these events hosted by the US embassy or the American chamber of commerce. Those are great places to network as well, you can meet some really interesting people and make some great connections. It doesn't have to be only foreigners obviously, but also local people, I think that's also something that's very important.

Joey has a comment to add. I completely agree with you about international connections and working abroad. It has changed my life.

Yeah, I've met so many interesting people who have all these connections. You soon realize, especially in a country that's relatively small like South Korea, that your friend is a friend of this person and this person, it's all connected and you just need to utilize that and make the connections that will benefit you later on.

Juliana says, I felt that at my former student clubs.

Yes exactly, great. Joey has an example for us. For example, I get wonderful teaching English assignments all over Russia. I am currently planning my 11th trip there.

Wow, that is awesome. I remember when I was taking Korean language classes at the local university and one of the managers for that Korean class told me they were looking for an English teacher at the university for speaking classes and asked wherever that was something I'd be interested in. So even going to a language class can lead to a new opportunity in the work field. That's a really good example. I think that is one of the most important benefits of teaching English abroad because you are going to meet so many people and with social media now you can add them so easily. You can follow them on Instagram, on Facebook, on Linkedin and then you can reach out to them. Maybe a great idea would also be to print business cards for yourself so whenever you go to an event you can just hand them out, that's something that a lot of people do. It's not weird, it's what a lot of people do.

There are also job fairs that you can go to where people from other countries can come. In Korea they have an international job fair so foreigners can go there as well and you can connect through that. Any events like these are great. But not only events, you're going to meet people no matter what because the expat community is small and tight. A co-worker of yours is going to introduce you to their friend who is a friend of this ambassador maybe, or works at an international school or whatever. I've met so many people who work at Volkswagen in Korea or at Samsung or all these big companies, so that can be a real asset for you if that is something that you want to pursue when you go back home for example.

We have reached the last benefit that I'm gonna talk about, so teaching abroad benefits number seven. You will have plenty to talk about during job or graduate school interviews. Thinking about job interviews and graduate school interviews they always want you to talk about situations where you had to adapt to new situations or you had to deal with a problem and how you solved it. So teaching English abroad you're going to have a lot of these situations that you can talk about. A lot of people have difficulty answering this question because they never really had to adapt to any new situations, but when you go abroad you live in a different country, you work as an English teacher, you teach non-native speakers, you're going to be faced with problems every single day. You're going to have to adapt to a new situation every single day. You're going to have so much to talk about and this can really get you into the door of a really great job or a really good graduate school.

This is now the part where I'm going to ask you if you have thought of another benefit of teaching English abroad. Those are my seven that I've come up with, but I'm sure there are more. So if there's something that I didn't mention that you thought of, now is the time to share that with us. Maybe that's it, maybe you don't have another one to add, that's okay, you can leave a comment later if you thought of one more advantage or benefit of teaching English abroad that I didn't cover. Feel free to leave that in the comments section.

So which benefit do you think is the most important? I think the connections part is really important and that's something that you can really take into your own hands. I think also because I love learning languages, the language learning part is great. Wherever you go and wherever you teach, just take a language course, why not? It's just great as it opens doors to so many new things for you personally. You'll be better able to integrate into the local community and things like that.

Midman says, thank you for sharing.

Thank you so much for watching and staying until the end, you're awesome. Zohair says, thanks dearest you nailed it. The presentation was so informative, you covered all the benefits.

I hope so, I'm sure there are more. But I think those seven are definitely the key benefits of teaching English abroad. If you come up with another one please leave that in the comments, I'd be really interested in hearing that from you.

Lisa says, thank you for your knowledge sharing. I have a question. Okay, but before I answer your question and before we move into the Q&A session I just want to quickly mention how you can find ITTT online. You can find us on our website teflcourse.net and also on Facebook. Many of you are already watching right now on Facebook so you know where to find us. You can just click on the Facebook page like button. We're also on Twitter and Instagram at International TEFL Training. We're really trying to grow Instagram so if you have an Instagram account, could you please go there and just follow us, that would be so great. You can also follow me on Instagram at Linda Goes East.

Also, please don't forget that we have this 30% off offer during our live sessions. You can scan this QR code right here and I'm going to share the discount link into the comment box one more time. You can click on that and then you can also get your 30% off. Okay, so now I'm going to make myself bigger again and go back to Lisa's question.

Lisa asks, do you have a chance to work as a TEFL teacher if English is not your native language?

My co-worker Liza goes live on Tuesdays and she's from Russia and she worked as an English teacher in China, so she has a lot of experience of teaching English abroad as a non-native English speaker. There are many countries where you can work as an English teacher if English is not your native language. What I recommend is to tune into Liza's live sessions as she talks about this in many of her sessions. I see you're watching from Facebook, so there's a folder in the video section that says live sessions. You can find her videos there. You can also go to our FAQ page and I'm going to share that link with you right now. This question is also answered there with the specific countries where you can teach as a non-native English teacher. It's definitely possible, it's not only for native English speakers.

Okay, Juliana says, thank you so much I learned a lot from this live session. Patrick also says, I can't add to your content but happy to give you a big thank you. Marcia says, thanks for everything again Linda, greetings from Chile. One of these days I'm going to write on your Instagram.

Please send me a message, I'm super interested in Chile. I do want to do a live session about teaching English in Latin America, but I have never been to Latin America let alone have teaching experience there. So I'm trying to gather as much information as possible and possibly also get a guest on who will be able to share more information about that because I know a lot of people are interested in teaching in Latin America. I could obviously just do it and throw out the facts that I find online, but I'd rather have someone who's actually had experience with me.

Zohar says, I’m looking forward to other presentations of yours, have a nice night from Morocco.

Thank you so much, have a great night as well. Okay, if there are no more questions I can sign off, but if somebody still has a question feel free to ask. If you watch the replay you can also ask your questions in the comment section and we will get back to you. Thank you so much for watching, I really appreciate it. This was such a great group today, thanks so much. I always talk about our TEFL family and I really feel like our family is growing, we're sharing and exchanging information, so that's what I really love about this. That's why I really enjoy going live because of all the great people here, it's so nice.

Have a great day, I hope to see you next week. I'm going to figure out what I'm going to talk about next week. If you have a topic suggestion, let me know and then I can prepare something and talk about that. Don't forget to like and subscribe and don't forget to take advantage of the 30% off deal. If you don't yet have a TEFL or TESOL course, this is a great opportunity to do so.

Stay safe and have a wonderful day or evening or night wherever you are. Thanks so much for watching and thanks so much for your comments. Bye, bye.

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