There's no question that this can be a truly enriching life experience, full of excitement and new adventures, and for many, that alone is reason enough to take the plunge. 

But, let's put our serious, 'planning for the future' head on for a minute. How is this going to help you get that dream job as a lawyer or economist? If your life ambition is to cultivate a successful career in teaching then the professional benefits are obvious, but can a year spent at the front of the classroom do anything for a seemingly irrelevant career?  

Yes, would be the simple answer to that question. English language teaching requires a seriously polished set of skills. Here are just 5 ways teaching abroad can help you gain kudos with future employers regardless of industry.


1. Openness to Experience

For the majority of people the challenges involved in picking up and moving to a completely different country seem insurmountable. Heading into the unknown to take on the task of shaping young minds automatically shows a level of independence, open mindedness and adaptability valuable in almost every profession.


2. Confidence

Confidence is key to most things in life, it provides people with the courage to go forth into the world and really strive for what they want. What’s more,  an air of confidence allows prospective employers to have confidence in you too.

As a teacher, an important responsibility is to motivate (sometimes, erm...reluctant?) students and impart wisdom. I challenge anyone to stand in front of a classroom, all expectant eyes on them, day after day and not come out the other side feeling like they can conquer the world.


3. Communication

How many times do the words 'confident communicator' or 'excellent communication skills' appear on a job advert? How about… All. The. Time.

Effective communication is a biggie on every employers wish list, and teaching English abroad is really strong evidence of that skill. It relies on the ability to communicate with people who not only don't speak the same language as you, but also, don't share the same culture.


4. Thinking on your feet/ Problem solving

There comes a time in the career of all ESL teachers when that lesson plan born of blood, sweat and tears, meticulously created to incorporate tasks for all levels and ages, to be interactive and inspiring, just goes straight to hell.

Maybe the students complete it in the first 10 minutes, maybe they won't even entertain the idea of cooperating. Whatever the reason, something beyond the teachers control happened that called out for some seriously swift problem solving, and impressive on the ball thinking in order to get through the hour (relatively) unscathed. 


5. Commitment

It takes more than just an application form and a plane ticket to get to the front of that classroom. There are weeks, maybe even months of hoop jumping to be done.

Visa forms, more Visa forms- this time in the right coloured pen. Many many checks- reference checks, medical checks, criminal background checks, the list goes on.

Inappropriately timed Skype interviews consisting of taking it in turns to yell 'Hello? Can you hear me now? How about now?'

Having persisted through all of that to gain the coveted title of 'English Teacher' takes a real and impressive commitment to achieving results that, if transferred, would impress any future boss. 


So there it is. 5 (of many) ways teaching English abroad can help a non teaching career. 


By Natalie Gray


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