Should I Teach English Abroad? Here’s How 4 English Teachers Answered This Question For Themselves

May 13, 2015
Should I teach English abroad?

Should I Teach English Abroad? Here’s How 4 English Teachers Answered This Question.

Updated 2017

Should I teach English abroad?

Should I teach English abroad? Well, your answer depends on a few things. My answer to this question would be a hell yes!

But, don’t let me try to convince you to start a new career teaching ESL.

Here are four people who once asked themselves the question, “should I teach  English abroad?”

Each one of them decided to say yes.

Read on to find out what drove them to teach English, the challenges that they faced,and the benefits that they have received from their experience.

Should I Teach English Abroad? Claire Said, “YES!”

Should I teach abroad?

This is Claire, and her inherent curiosity led her to teach in Thailand for five months.


She graduated from an American college with no idea what to do with her degree. So, she followed her instinct to travel.


Claire was worried that she was sacrificing career development. And, this made her worry even more about her long-term financial planning.

Should I teach abroad?

But, once Claire moved to Thailand, she realized that teaching abroad was giving her even more career opportunities for her future. 


With dreams of one day working for an organization like the UN, she found that her experiences in Thailand could make her a suitable candidate for the job.

Should I teach abroad?

“Working as a teacher is a tough job and I will show potential employers that I have patience, empathy, and problem-solving skills.”

She believes that her experiences abroad have also trained her to be fiercely independent, a better communicator and more globally informed.

Should I teach abroad?

After recently receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Germany, Claire plans to use the skills she has gained in Thailand and apply them to her new classes in Berlin.

“My motto is “never stop being curious.” Ever. So I’ll be traveling in various contexts for the rest of my days!”


Should I Teach Abroad? Amy Said, “Hell Yes!”

Meet Amy, a New Zealand native who left her home in Auckland to teach ESL in China for over a year.


Being a generally impulsive person at heart, she decided to leave home in order to immerse herself in another culture. She struggled with leaving friends, family and the comforts of home.

Should I teach English abroad?

However, she knew she wanted the self-growth and new opportunities that would come with taking the teaching position.


She took a job teaching in  China, and it seriously helped boost her confidence. Her ability to build new relationships flourished, and she realized how adaptable she was in unknown situations.

Should I teach English abroad?

Living overseas offered her more freedom, more choices and skills that she incorporates into her life today.

“ I use it to show employers that I am fearless. I use it to strike up conversation at the Chinese supermarket in Auckland. I use it to inspire myself to see more of the world and create genuine friendships with super cool people.”

Should I teach English abroad?

Should I Teach English Abroad? Fintan Said, “Why Not?”

Should I teach abroad?

Fintan graduated from his university in England with no idea what to  do with his career. 

After hearing about teaching English abroad, he felt that it would be the perfect fit given his urge to travel. Plus, the financial opportunity was something he didn’t want to turn down.

Should I teach abroad?

He was intimidated by the thought of traveling so far away by himself. And, he was worried that he would have wasted his time and money on a teaching certification course if it didn’t follow through.

So, despite his fears, he left England to teach in China. After 15 months and counting, Fintan has found that his experience has heightened his confidence, and allowed him to become more outgoing and friendly.

Should I teach abroad?

He has also been forced to look at the world with a less biased and western-centric point of view. Teaching in China has made it more feasible for him to travel.

Should I teach abroad?

And, he also believes it has increased his chances for a teaching career back in the UK.

I think it’s important to try to make the most of your youth. I want to be able to look back on my life one day and think that I took some risks, had some adventures, did some dumb shit, met some cool people, and generally had fun while I was young enough to avoid any major responsibilities, like raising kids or paying off a mortgage.”

Should I Teach Abroad? Shelby Said, “I Need to do This.”

Should I teach abroad

Meet Shelby, an American English teacher who has taught English in China and Taiwan for over three years.

She always had an interest in education. And, throughout college, she spent her spare time studying Chinese.

Should I teach ESL

So, moving to China to teach English was an obvious next step for her. 

 Shelby is a planner so she spent months weighing out her choices to make the most logical decision for her career.

Should I move abroad

She struggled with the idea of leaving her friends and being forced to make new ones. But, her teaching experience taught her the value of meeting new people with different perspectives.

While working at a school in China, Shelby met her now husband, who was once her co-worker. 

Should I move abroad to teach

Aside from her relationship, she has seen that her life abroad has paid off in many ways. Now that she’s back in the U.S, she believes that she has access to better opportunities because of her travels. 


“I was able to save more money than I was ever able to at home, all while taking advantage of extensive vacation time. A week off means a quick and affordable trip to Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, or within the country. A week off work at home, however, would never feasibly offer those types of opportunities.”

Shelby’s time spent in China has also changed her views and her career path. She decided to  take up a Master’s program in global sustainability and renewable energy while she was teaching in Taiwan.

should i really teach abroad

Her first person encounters with environmental damage and lack of awareness in both China and Taiwan had sparked her interest in this new career path.

“My ecological footprint has been cut more than in half since moving to Asia. Seeing people live happily on less makes you rethink wants versus needs, and helps to realign your values. When I finally do move back to the Western Hemisphere, I’ll be bringing back an entirely new lifestyle and way of looking at water, food, energy, and products.”


Despite their fears, concerns and worries, all four of these individuals left everything they knew and loved for a life abroad.

They knew in their hearts that although the choice was terrifying, their lives would benefit from making the move.

 If you are looking for something different or something better, don’t let your fears hold you back from taking the leap into the unknown.

Has anyone else taught English Abroad? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments.

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