There are many reasons why I wanted to teach abroad. However, many people out there want to teach abroad and never do it. Not teaching abroad is something I know I will regret if i don’t do it. I have wanted to do it the past two years since graduating college, but haven’t made the jump – until now. Now was the right time for me, and here’s why:
1. I’m young.
This one is simple. I’m young. I’m 24. I don’t have a mortgage or kids to worry about, so my life is not tied down in one place. Flexibility is not lacking in my life; I have the freedom to do whatever it is that I want, and I want to live and teach abroad. My job is the only thing that is currently “holding me back,” but that can be easily left behind in a matter of two weeks. Less if I want a bad reference in the future or if i just want to turn in my resignation in a James Bond-esque way.
2. My current job is boooooorrrrring….
While it currently is the only thing keeping me physically in the Milwaukee area, it is boring and not challenging, which therefore makes it unrewarding. I’ve written extensively about this before. My co-workers are amazing, and it will truly be difficult saying goodbye to them as they have helped shape post-college me. By teaching and living abroad, I am preparing to be challenged day in and day out, not only at work, but in daily activities. Living abroad will not be a cakewalk, but I look forward to the challenge as it will only help me continue to grow as a person.
3. I’ve always wanted to go live abroad.
Since returning from my study abroad trip, I vowed that I would 1.) return to Spain, and 2.) live abroad for an extended period of time without a program having everything set up for me. Unfortunately, I have done neither up to this point, and now I’ll be doing both in only two months! This was a promise i made to myself, which has gone unfulfilled for three and a half years due to finances, other obligations, and, most importantly, numerous nonsensical excuses. Looking back, maybe I should have gone right away after graduating college, yet I do not regret a single decision I’ve made, just as I plan to not regret this one.
A large part of my procrastination on this journey was the fact that I was in a long-term relationship. Every time I brought up teaching abroad it was met with a lack of desire to go with and a lack of support for me to go alone. This played out over the course of the relationship – three years – but now the relationship is over, and while not easy, it was necessary. If you’d like to read more, feel free, as I will spare the rest of you…and myself.
5. An opportunity to look into the teaching profession.
Off the relationship train now and back to the professional stop, I’ve been considering being a teacher since college. Well, actually since about middle school, but never really pursued it in terms of a teaching certificate and a degree. I have taught pottery and tennis lessons as well as volunteer at local Boys & Girls’ Clubs, so I have some “education” experience. In reading numerous auxiliar de conversacion blogs I’ve come across many people who say the program does not really give you valuable experience, while others have had worthwhile classroom time. I hope to be the latter as I’m hoping this year, if not more, gives me an insight into the world of education without having to have the commitment of paying for grad school.
I want to be immersed in culture and language. I want to live the way others live in hopes of understanding why they do things a certain way. Most importantly, I want to be able to bring some of their customs, language, recipes, and general ways of life and incorporate them in my own life and teach others around the world about them. It’s always been a widely held belief of mine that people should learn, understand, and accept others’ cultures. They do not have to like them, but they should accept them. At risk of sounding preachy, this is what I believe.
7. Breaking the routine.
Wake up at 6:15, eat breakfast, drive or bike to work, spreadsheets, spreadsheets, rubber band wars in the cubicles, lunch break, [repeat pre-lunch work routine], go home, [insert occasional happy hour], exercise, grocery shop, Netflix/computer, bed. This has been my average day since college. It gets boring. I love when I get to have time with my family and friends. The rubber band wars are pretty fun too, but overall my days are generally the same everyday. I want to be challenged by going to buy groceries, see new places, meet new people, and learn new words and phrases daily, even if this will undoubtedly make me want to burst into tears sometimes. I just want to break out of my daily routine, and I need to do it now. People say that humans are creatures of habit, and it’s utterly and completely true. I feel like if I stay in my current habits, I’m going to go crazy!
Travel bug. Wanderlust. Insatiable desire to see new places. Whatever you’d like to call it, I have it. We live in a vast world that is just begging to be discovered and traversed. My two weeks of vacation won’t satisfy me for now. I mean really, only two weeks a year! But then again thanks for that employee appreciation pizza lunch once a year. I need to get out and see the world. Exploring Google Maps doesn’t count, even though their street view is an incredible tool that if I’m not careful I can easily catch myself using for hours on end.
9. Encouragement from family and friends.
I’m lucky enough to be receiving loads of encouragement from my family and friends, some more than others, but still more than I ever expected. I feel as though I should take this encouragement and run with it, all the way to Almuñécar, Spain. In another year or two, they may not be as willing to accept my decision and may even be frowning upon it or questioning me. Admittedly, that would be incredibly difficult to go without their backing. My family and friends truly mean everything to me, so their support means more than they could ever imagine.
10. Uncertainty at my current job.
In a relatively recent event, about 2 weeks ago, my place of employment lost their contract beginning next year. Basically, it boils down to the fact that my safe, stable, well-paying, boring job is no longer so stable…even if it is all the other things. This just adds another reason for me to the “To Go” column – if I was even seriously making a To Go/Not to Go List at this point. (I’m not. No worries.) It’s just another sign that I feel as though the universe is steering me in the right direction and that teaching abroad is something I need to do now. It’s something I’ve needed to do for awhile, but now is definitely the right time for me to teach abroad.
Why are you teaching abroad, traveling, or just making a big life-changing decision now? Have certain things held you back in the past, but now you’re ready to go?