How Traveling The World Inspired Me To Teach English
2019-03-27 Linda Dunsmore Alumni Experiences
In April 2018, I quit my job and began traveling around the world. Since then, I taught myself Russian and improved my teaching skills by helping others with languages I am familiar with. The more places I visited on my journey, the more I became interested in foreign languages.
I had the chance to teach people German and English, while also learning other languages and alphabets from them. I realized that while helping others, I developed a passion for teaching. I decided to travel to Southeast Asia and acquire a TEFL certificate, which enables me to teach English and live in a foreign country. This decision should benefit and influence my life and personal development.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Michael G.
“Learn from locals while teaching them.”
My first learning experiences on my journey around the world showed me that getting familiar with the country, people, culture and language, not only improves your ability to communicate, but it also expands one's understanding of people, characters and personalities.
In Armenia, I helped a ten-year-old boy with basic English words and numbers. I translated it from Russian (the second language in Armenia) to English and helped him improve his writing and pronunciation skills. In Iran, I met a woman who wanted to work in Germany as a nurse. In order for her to achieve this dream, she was required to provide a CV in German, so I helped her translate it properly. I met a man in Iran who was very interested in philosophy. He was very motivated to learn German in order to be able to read the original literature of his favorite philosophers. We practiced some grammar and spelling to help him achieve his goal.
These are just a few examples that showed me the importance of learning new languages. It is imperative to have these skills in order to obtain a higher education, enhance career opportunities and for personal growth. Foreign language exchange is a good way to help improve and contribute to the lives of others.
“Traveling is one of the best ways to improve and educate yourself.”
An important point about foreign language experience is the personal aspect for the teacher. Traveling itself is one of the best ways to improve and educate yourself by learning about new countries, people, culture and languages. Becoming more confident and independent is one of the benefits of traveling, because you have to deal with a lot of unfamiliar situations and find solutions quickly and on your own. For example, figuring out where to stay, where to get food, how to handle your budget and how to get around.
“Once you're able to communicate, there will be new opportunities!”
Exploring a new country also requires dealing with a new language. In this case, it would be helpful to learn some basic words and phrases, as well as getting familiar with the new alphabet. It is possible to learn with dictionaries or learning applications, speaking to people in their mother tongue and also listening to people speak in order to try to understand. Once you're able to communicate, there will be new opportunities that can help you learn more, meet new people and even make new friends. Language exchange brings a lot of advantages to the everyday life even if it is just being able to ask for the bus.
“It’s not just about providing knowledge but also gaining knowledge while teaching.”
Another aspect of language exchange is not just improving yourself or helping others while traveling, but also actively teaching languages to foreigners in schools and institutions. In that case, it is not just about providing knowledge to students but also gaining knowledge while teaching because you become aware of ways to improve yourself. You can learn from the mistakes of the students and get inspired by their ideas and points of views. Apart from that, working with people and giving them knowledge is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Once you see them improve and being motivated, they become happy and confident, and so do you.
Also read: 5 Simple Ways To Motivate Your EFL Students
Are you ready to get inspired to teach while traveling?
We can see that there are a lot of benefits from language exchange for people who learn and also people who already speak the language. So it is a good choice to learn a new language and implement it in real life. These three aspects that are mentioned above are just examples for a few advantages of language exchange. Everyone who has the opportunity, will find out that there are even more benefits to be discovered by themselves.
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