Living abroad was something that I had always wanted to do, especially after my semester long study abroad trip to Granada, Spain in 2010. However, after graduating from college I followed the traditional path most other do. I landed a 9 to 5 job that was in the field I studied. I had my own cubicle and sat in front of a computer most of the day, while attending the occasional meeting. I will admit that I was lucky to be offered a job right out of college, considering the economic climate and all, and it wasn’t just your ordinary entry level job. This was a job that I imagined doing when I was in my 40’s, in terms of pay at least.
While I was very grateful about the job, it was never clicked for me and never was something I had a true interest in. The paycheck was nice, but the cubicle and spreadsheets didn’t make up for it. I had this deep desire to travel, explore the world, and live in another country again where everything was new, exciting, and sometimes scary.
The monotony of my current life was wearing on me, and I could tell I was becoming unhappy as a person. I did not want to fall into this trap of being stuck where I was because years later I would still be miserable sitting in a cubicle, even if by then I had moved up to an office. I began looking around searching for other jobs and exploring grad school programs that had peaked my interest, but nothing ever excited me enough to actually apply, even after job shadows and everything. In pondering all my possibilities, I kept coming back to two things: Living Abroad and Education.
As mentioned earlier, ever since I studied abroad, I had decided that one day I wanted to live abroad. With no specific country in mind, my options were wide-open. Now, the education part is something that I noticed throughout my past work experience. I realized that it was the one thing about all my prior work experience that I enjoyed the most, although, it can be difficult at times. I had taught tennis lessons to kids and adults as well as pottery lessons for a few years. I had also done quite a bit of volunteering at the local Boys and Girls Club, so working with people and in the field of education was something I also knew I wanted to do. I figured what better than to combine both of them!
I dove in and started researching as many teach abroad programs as possible, which there are a seemingly endless number of different programs all over the world. I also began reading as many blogs as I could find about teaching abroad and going to their first posts about why they decided to do it. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas was incredibly helpful and has a great website of her own! Luckily, I also had a few friends who were teaching or who had taught abroad, in Spain, South Korea, and Ecuador, that I was able to ask questions. I would like to apologize to them though, since I asked them each about a thousand questions over the course of the year as I was contemplating teaching abroad. The one thing that surprised me about the answers I received was that they all reiterated one thing: if you don’t go, you will always regret not doing it.
That message really stuck with me. I knew for a fact that if I didn’t pursue this now, I would eventually regret not doing it and look back and always wonder what if? Knowing myself, I knew I would not be able to live with that, which is why I have decided to leave my risk behind and jump in feet first. I am well aware that my “great” job will not be there for me when, and if, I return, but I am perfectly content with that. Right now, I am just living in the moment and pursuing something I have always wanted to do. In the long run, I know I will be happier with myself.