Lexi Ward

Have you recently been thinking about teaching English abroad, but wondered if you are the right fit for the job?

Teaching English abroad has gained enormous popularity over the past 10 years. Through social media and travel blogs, people are portraying their lives while living abroad, and most of them are doing it by teaching English as a Foreign Language. Have you ever wondered if teaching English abroad is right for you?

Here are the top 5 traits of people who teach English Abroad successfully.

1. Adaptability

Whether it's due to a cancelled flight, an English lesson that doesn't go as planned, or language barrier mishaps, being adaptable is one of the most important traits to being successful at teaching English abroad. Once the initial excitement of moving to a new country settles, you are left to navigate your new city, adapt to new cultural norms, and adjust to your new job. While stressful situations may arise, being flexible and adaptable will lead to a world of possibilities, friendships, and opportunities in your new home.

2. Cultural sensitivity

This one may seem obvious but moving to teach English abroad means that you must be respectful of the cultural norms of the country you are moving to. Some mannerisms that we might find rude in the West are completely acceptable in the East. Additionally, you may find greetings in Asia to be a simple head nod, where in Europe a casual friend may kiss you on both cheeks. It may be wise to do some research on the country you are moving to, and to be open to learning new cultural norms. You might find that even prefer the relaxed nature of your new home!

3. Adventure seeking

This doesn't mean you have to be 100 percent fearless and jump out of airplanes or hike Mt. Everest. In fact, many adventures begin with a general feeling of fear, but you take that step forward anyway to experience something new and amazing. This might simply be stepping onto the plane to move abroad, trying bizarre local cuisine, or travelling to a small seaside town with only a few phrases of the local language. Adventure seekers make the best English teachers, because they see every day as new adventure, even within their classrooms.

4. Values work/life balance

This was probably my favourite part of living and working abroad in Asia, and it was something I did not realize how much I valued until I returned home. The teaching schedule of a teacher working abroad is a lot less intensive than it would be at home. There is minimal outside work that you will need to complete, and the hours of a typical English language school are late afternoons and evenings. This gives you many hours of the day to try new things. Want to take language classes? Go for a morning hike? Try a new hobby like Tai Chi or rock climbing? These are all available and usually significantly cheaper than if you were at home. Take this year abroad to really explore your interests!

5. Willingness to create meaningful relationships with students

This one is simple. Don't like kids or have any interest to teaching? Then teaching English abroad is probably not for you. Teaching is the type of job that can make your own life miserable if you do not enjoy it. And you probably already know if it's something that doesn't fit your personality type. But, if you value the intrinsic rewards of helping others, and seeing the smiles of children everyday when they see their favourite foreign teacher walk into the class, then teaching English abroad will be an unforgettable experience. You do not need to have years of teaching experience or know every grammar rule; you just need empathy and compassion for others. Plus, it's a lot of fun!

If these 5 traits describe you, then why not explore the possibility of teaching English abroad with EF? You do not need prior experience, the salary is competitive, and you'll meet so many amazing friends from all over the world! Check out Education First's website - - for more information on how to apply.

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Lexi Ward

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