By Erin Critchley
Guest blogger from i-to-i.com

Six Priceless gems you’ll take from teaching English Overseas

By Jmho (Jmho’s file) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Some tailor made clothes from Vietnam, The latest gadgets from Japan, designer clothes from China…it’s great to pick up souvenirs along the way but what about those that can’t be bought?

Put your money away…this one’s covered!

Laughter

TEFLing provides you with a pot of funny stories “…What was the first thing to greet me on my first day at kindergarten? Twenty two-year-olds crapping into a vase. Standing in lines, pants down, ready for their turn to do their business into a vase held by the assistants so there I was, nervously waiting for them to finish so that I could crack on with my first lesson.”

True story! Seriously though, you’ll have a bundle of hilarious tales to tell from your time as a TEFL teacher whether it be miss haps in the classroom or cultural differences to make you giggle- you’re sure to get a taste of it all!

Confidence

What could be more nerve wracking than taking yourself off to pursue a completely different career, in a completely different place, with a completely different language… Ahhh! It’s enough to leave you trembling and tearing up that plane ticket. Once you get over these worries however you’ll ooze an inner confidence you can only gain from taking the plunge and travelling across the world. Exams, job interviews, public speaking, meeting new people- it’ll all be a doddle to you from then on!

Friendship

When teaching overseas your friends often become your family and a support network of brilliant companions is quickly woven. Rather than simply gossiping about the latest T.V program or what you’re doing at the weekend these new friends will be a shoulder to cry on when you’re homesick, help you overcome cultural boundaries and be there to laugh with you, soak up the atmosphere and most importantly- explore an amazing country!

The good news is, as you’ll make friends from all over the world you’ll never be short of places to visit!

Experience

Rather than simply travelling, teaching English is a brilliant experience and a valuable addition to anyone’s C.V. Planning lessons, managing the class and working with range of different people will give you pockets full of transferable skills and is sure to push your resume at the top of any employers pile. Marcus Fraser, a TEFL teacher in Vietnam agrees;

“I believe that as far as your resume goes having long breaks in work for ‘travelling’ sends up red flags for potential employers, where as saying you were teaching show’s you adventurous, a good communicator, pro-active and well organized.”

Patience

Different cultures have different ideas about time management. Five minutes in places like Thailand can turn into fifty and simple tasks can take time when language barriers come into play. You’ll be able to handle these occurrences with a smile once you’ve settled into the swing of things. Your bus a little late? Who cares when you’ve settled down a class of excited students or spent ten minutes waving your hands around and miming, trying to explain to the guy at the shop that yes you’re looking for shower gel and no you don’t have fleas…The top and bottom of it- don’t sweat the small things!

Memories

Ahhh the most important of all! Photos are all well and good but memories are priceless, whether it’s the time you attempted to speak the local language and offended a group of startled onlookers, realized that crispy spring roll you were tucking into actually housed a juicy chicken foot or wanted to weep when your students mastered their first conversation in English- these occurrences are sure to spread a grin across your face when you least expect it!

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