Why Teach Overseas - A Wanderlust Resolution

by Chelsea Cullen

Why Teach Overseas?

New Year’s resolutions occur every year in order to improve one’s current status. Healthy eating, sweat perfusing workouts, rigorous job applications, and other processes occur in order to achieve that celebratory goal: happiness. A simple concept and yet extremely difficult to obtain. ‘Why teach overseas?’, you ask. Well, teaching overseas provides one a rustic key to unhatch an array of opportunities to turn that pipe dream into a reality.

Skeptical? Let me divulge 4 main reasons why YOU should ditch the confined cubicle and embrace the nomadic educator lifestyle.

1. Culture

Teaching overseas permits you not only to witness different cultures, but be a part of them. Tossing the title “visitor” for “community member” opens up the doors to authentic “wanderlust.” Invitations to traditional celebrations, home cooked family meals, and daily activities are just some of the bonuses that teaching overseas offers. The items listed above will generate memories and experiences unparallel to anything you may have encountered before. I can personally attest to this.

Why teach overseas when I have what I need at home?

Coming from the bustling city of New York, uprooting my life to rural Thailand exposed me to interactions I have never encountered before. I am constantly invited to strangers homes for dinner, weddings, and hiking just to name a few items. A Thai friend of mine, Fah, recently invited me to witness permaculture on the outskirts of town. When I arrived, mud houses, ponds, fruit fields, etc. welcomed me with warm breezes. After filling my quench of curiosity, these strangers prepared a meal over a makeshift stove for us. We ate with our hands and drank out of reused plastic bottles. If I characterized the event as humbling, it would be an understatement. I lack the vocab to truly expose how influential this interaction was. No amount of money could buy such happiness and joy between strangers turned friends.

Teaching overseas provides you the opportunity to have such cultural experiences. Who doesn’t enjoy laughter, good food, and pure happiness on a regular basis?!

2. Educating the World’s Youth

Watching a child’s mind flourish with awe and wonder on a regular basis will be a life-changing moment. The ability to leave multiple impressions on children across the globe is priceless. Wherever you end up in life, you will have left little traces of yourself stretching across continents.

Why teach overseas if I can teach right here?

In Thailand, teachers are treated with high regard. Students immediately idolize and love their teachers. Little hands reach out for a high five or hugs daily. Being surrounded by joyous smiles infects you with something: happiness.

On the first day of school, I was like every other human being: nervous and apprehensive. “Was this the right decision? What happens if they do not like me? Did I put deodorant on? What have I DONE?!” Were a few of the blaring questions plaguing my mind. As I stepped through the door, little Thai children bombarded me with hugs and smiles. I cannot express how comforting this small act was. My anxiety received eviction and instant love became new tenants. “Teacher! Teacher! TEACHER!” billowed through the halls of my new school turned home. This interaction continues to happen. I love going to work because I know my students will be there beaming with open arms. I do not know many people who enjoy their job, let alone going to work. This concept alone is why you should teach overseas in 2018.

‘I love going to work because I know my students will be there beaming with open arms’

3. Self-discovery

Embarking on the journey of life is not an easy task. Teaching overseas encourages you to discover “who you truly are.” At first,  excitement and a tinge of fear permeate the soul, “Can I really do this? Can I be successful? Is the hype really true?” All of these inquiries and uncertainties receive overwhelming relinquishment when you step off that plane in Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, or wherever! When you shed the skin of self-doubt, a strange Beyonce phenomenon erupts. Empowerment and strength rise from the ashes. Leaving any comfort zone is commendable, but taking a leap of faith to achieve your dreams is brave.

Why teach overseas, outside of my comfort zone?

When I decided to teach overseas, I combated myself on multiple occasions. I did my research, read the hype, scoured over TESOL courses, and gazed at clearwater pictures but still had reservations. One day I came to the conclusion; if I did not try, I would regret stagnant living for the rest of my life.

‘Teaching overseas infuses your life with undeniable joy.  What else could you want from a profession?’

When I stepped off the plane in Thailand, I knew the following weeks would be an adventure, but I was exactly where I was supposed to be. This initial gut reaction proved to be true. I am discovering more and more about myself with each passing day. My confidence has flourished, but more importantly I am the happiest I have ever been. I tell you this without any hesitation. Teaching overseas infuses your life with undeniable joy. What else could you want from a profession?

4. Financial Stability

A topic usually evaded or brushed to the side is financial stability. All of the items listed above sound appetizing, but now you might be curious about an income. You can definitely live comfortably teaching abroad, but the level of comfortability depends on the country.  South Korea offers paid accommodations and competitive pay; while Thailand proposes less hours and a decent salary in comparison to the cost of living. If you crave more money than the salary provides, options exist to increase your income; tutoring, blog writing, or swim lessons are just a few items to expand the bulge in your wallet. To put it “real” to you, finances are not a problem and you will not be scrounging for coins. Financial security does exist abroad.

Why teach overseas if I can make more money at home?

In America, I was teaching outside of New York and making well over $50,000 yearly. This is an exuberant amount, but there was a catch. After rent, food, student loans, and exercise facilities, my income magically disappeared every month. When I relocated to Thailand, my salary was cut in half, BUT I now have more money than ever before. Rent, food, gyms, and other items in Thailand are extremely cheap. The lack of expenses has permitted me to save money. These new funds help me pay off loans and travel around the world. For example, I am visiting Penang, Malaysia in two weeks for 5 days. I average a new country every two months because of the excess amount of money. Financial stability is a basic human necessity and teaching overseas fulfills this essential need.
As the New Year rings in, think about your goals. Do you want to reinvent yourself? Does traveling mixed with a great profession interest you? Yes? Then take the plunge into teaching overseas! Acknowledge your apprehension and fear, but do not let temporary emotions dictate your happiness. We only receive one trial in this game of life. Teaching overseas has been the best decision of my life.
I do not cast out fluffed words to inflate fairy tales, but genuine realities in hopes of inspiring others to experience leisure living whisked with adventure. Join me in this wanderlust resolution or should I say wanderlust revolution!

What are you waiting for?! Your oasis awaits. See you soon! Sawatdee ka!

For more information on teaching overseas, select your 2018 adventure here!

To follow Chelsea’s journey, read her blog at http://educatedexplorer.blogspot.com/

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