If you are considering national recruitment programs like South Korea's EPIK or France's TAPIF, you may not have much say in your placement location. Conversely, if you are applying for individual roles, you will likely have a broader choice of destinations. But what is the ideal environment for overseas English teaching? Many gravitate towards urban centers due to the abundance of job opportunities and vibrant city life. However, we believe that the charm and advantages of teaching in smaller towns might be more appealing for some. Here are a few compelling reasons:
Less pollution and noise
Many of today's global cities are grappling with significant air pollution, a concern for many, including English teachers. Would it not be preferable to enjoy clean air and clear blue skies during your commute? Urban living also often comes with incessant noise – car horns, sirens, construction activities, and non-stop traffic. Imagine a tranquil life minus this constant din, where your teaching environment is only complemented by chirping birds or the occasional farm animal.
Less traffic on the roads
For anyone who has experienced city life, traffic woes are all too familiar. In addition to contributing to noise and pollution, heavy traffic can turn your daily commute into a nightmare. Why endure crowded, hot buses when you can cycle or walk along peaceful lanes? Not only does this make for a more pleasant start to your workday, but you can also wave goodbye to delays caused by traffic congestion or overcrowded public transport.
Also read: Can I choose where I teach English abroad?
Seeing students and families outside of class
In smaller towns or rural areas, you will likely encounter your students outside of school. While this may initially feel a bit awkward for some teachers, it is a fantastic opportunity for deeper connections. Young learners often enjoy interacting with their teachers outside of class, and parents appreciate updates on their child's progress during random encounters. If you are in the job long enough, watching your students grow up also becomes a unique joy.
Schools in big cities can often feel homogenous, lacking in distinctive character. Conversely, schools in smaller towns often celebrate unique traditions, adding a unique flavor to your teaching experience. These special events offer an opportunity to engage with the local community and form lasting relationships with students and colleagues.
Learn about the town and community
Lastly, educators working in smaller towns often find it easier to become part of local life. Many teachers report feeling more at home and experiencing less homesickness in smaller communities than in bustling cities. Engaging with the local community enhances your overseas experience in ways that no paycheck can match.