Three Tips for Teaching Abroad

In the film Dead Poets Society, starring the late Robin Williams as Professor John Keating, one of the students asked his teacher, “You can go anywhere. You can do anything. How can you stand being here?”

Keating replied, “’Cause I love teaching. I don’t wanna be anywhere else.”

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Four of the Best Places to Teach English in Asia

Where Do You Want To Go?

It’s the first question you really have to think about if teaching English abroad is on your radar.  There are a lot of options!  Europe and Latin America are always popular choices, but for a number of different reasons, teaching English in Asia also has great appeal for many  people.  High salaries, strong demand and a low cost of living are just a few factors that make Asia stand out to English teachers, so make sure that you put these five locations on your list of places to check out!

1. Vietnam 

Over the last decade, Vietnam has emerged as one of the most popular teach abroad destinations in the world.  With one of the fastest growing economies on earth, opportunity abounds in both major urban centers like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh,  as well as more rural destinations throughout the country.  And with a consistently low cost of living, English teachers in the region can live a comfortable (even luxurious) lifestyle, while still setting aside enough money to travel extensively.

But Vietnam’s fascinating culture and beautiful scenery are equally appealing to prospective English teachers, and it’s become an increasingly popular tourist destination for everyone from backpackers to retirees.  Grab some Pho at the night market in Ho Chi Minh, lounge on the beautiful beaches of Nha Trang, or bask in the wonder of Ha Long Bay.  You really can’t go wrong in Vietnam.

Click here for more info about teaching English in Vietnam.

Vietnam

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A Day in the Life: Teaching English in Thailand

Before moving to Thailand, I wish someone had given me a solid run down of his or her day. Do you have access to coffee? What kind of shoes do you wear? Do your students know how to even say “Hello” in English? Where do you eat lunch? Do your coworkers like you? Do you have a desk? What is grading like?

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Life After Teaching Abroad: Business School

By Amy Lum

When I graduated from Wesleyan University in the spring of 2010 with a degree in East Asian Studies, the economy was still suffering from the financial crisis of 2008 and the prospect of finding a job in the states was daunting, to say the least. I also wasn’t sure about what kind of job I wanted, so for me, teaching abroad was an easy decision to make.

Going Nowhere

 

In the fall of 2010 I completed my LanguageCorps training in Cambodia and Vietnam, and started a job in Ho Chi Minh City a few weeks after finishing the course. I stayed in Ho Chi Minh for three and a half years and moved back to America a couple months ago. I can’t say enough good things about my time in Vietnam. I traveled to over 15 countries, ate a lot of delicious and cheap Vietnamese food, made a great group of friends who I still see and keep in touch with, and learned a lot about Vietnam and Vietnamese culture from my students. Also, if you go to Ho Chi Minh you get to meet the two program trainers there, Hien and Linh, who are two of the best people you will ever meet. I never thought that I would stay there as long as I did, but there were always more places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do. Vietnam was basically a fantasyland!

Alas, there came a time when I knew it was time to return home. I really enjoyed teaching and it instilled in me a grave respect for teachers all around the world, but as a career, it’s not for me. About a year before I returned to the states I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school to earn a MBA (Masters in Business Administration). I completed my application, took the GMAT, and did a Skype interview all while I was still in Vietnam. When I was accepted into my program I was thrilled, but also terrified. Vietnam was my home for almost four years and I had become so accustomed to my life there. I was also scared about starting Business School. I’ve taken no business classes and being an ESL teacher has been my only occupation post college. I felt very intimidated thinking about how much more relevant work experience my classmates would have than me.  I even started to question whether I had spent too much time abroad.

Now that I have finished orientation and am set to start classes at Rutgers Business School next week, I have no doubts about my decision to spend almost 4 years teaching in Vietnam. Throughout my orientation I heard from my school’s Office of Career Management, experts on networking and personal branding, professors, and executives from a number of major companies. They all had the same thing to say about how to present yourself to prospective employers. It’s not necessarily about what you did before you started business school, it’s about how your past experiences have shaped you into the person you are today. It’s about connecting the dots. It’s about why whatever you did in the past will make you a successful employee in the future. This notion really stuck with me. I spent a lot of time this summer worrying about having no “business” background, but now this anxiety has almost disappeared. There are things that you can only learn, observe and experience while living and working abroad that can be applied to any future career.

So if you are questioning spending time abroad and away from a more traditional career path, don’t! If you are on the fence about taking the leap and leaving home, just do it! Whatever is at home will be there when you return. You will not only come back with great memories and new friends, but also have a set of experiences that will be relevant to you in the future.

And who knows? Maybe you will move abroad and want to stay. A friend of mine, and fellow LC grad, met his wife in Vietnam, got married last year and he and his wife are now expecting their first child. (Congrats Paul and Huong!)

Taking time to travel and having an adventure is something everyone should do. LanguageCorps offers a great platform to start that adventure. I’ll leave you with a great quote from Mark Twain that will hopefully seal the deal and persuade you to go abroad:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 

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Teaching English Abroad: Want to See What You’re Missing Out On?

Brandon is 20 something guy from Florida, and a self proclaimed Ginger.

This August, he packed up and headed off to Southeast Asia with his girlfriend Hope, to teach English in Vietnam with LangaugeCorps. They arrived a few weeks prior to the start of their TESOL course in Cambodia, so that they could explore the area a bit before starting class, and Brandon was kind of enough to send over a couple epic videos from their initial travels in Thailand.  Certainly looks like a good time, and it makes me miss Southeast Asia!

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What I’ve Learned while Teaching Private ESL Lessons in Thailand

Megan Stetzel

After graduating from LanguageCorps and traipsing around Thailand, I settled in Bangkok and taught for a language center. Most of my lessons were one on one with Japanese businessmen.  I had a few children and housewives as students as well but mostly middle aged Japanese men. The lessons were pre-designed and I rarely taught the same student twice. When I got off that plane in Phnom Penh, this teaching experience was as far out of my sights as my home town in NY was! I’d love to share some interesting lessons I learned while teaching private ESL lessons in Thailand.

Thailand Private ESL Lessons

Special request from a student.

1. Working for a Language Center means you wind up working with mostly Westerners.

My luck put me in a Language Center with mostly middle aged British men. To say the majority of them were quirky would be an understatement. Upon introducing myself to one named Michael he said, “Oh, Megan! Like M & M! My mom always signs her emails to me as M & M, Micheal’s Mother.” He was in his 50s. Oiy.

 

2. My job was really straightforward, each day we received a piece of paper with our lessons for the day.

Then we went to our file and !BEHOLD! there were the files of all of our students for the day. Within their files, there was information on what book and what lesson within that book they were on. I would spend 5-10 minutes refreshing myself with that lesson and the material covered so that I could sound like a knowledgeable little old English teacher. There was always some fun to be had when my student would pull out a different book or stare at me like I was speaking another language (HA!) and I would realize that I read that stupid doctor’s handwriting/chicken scratch/any-other-euphemism-associated-with-horribly-outrageous-handwriting completely wrong. I wasn’t supposed to be teaching prepositions, I was supposed to be teaching pronouns! Ugh.

Enter small talk 101.

3. Which brings me to my next point; 6 out of 10 lessons the students were sick of the actual material and would come in and just strike up a conversation instead.

At first, I dreaded these students. I’ve never really liked small talk in general, working at a restaurant definitely requires it so I can certainly say that I have advanced skills in the area but I never really enjoyed it. Now, after 3 months of constant small talk, I can small talk for an hour and a half and make my student feel just splendid about their English lesson afterwards.

4. Christmas morning doesn’t even compare in the happiness scale to opening a student file to find “N/S or CTL” (no show or cancel) scrolled across a high percentage of lesson notes. I got paid whether the student showed up or not, and I’d much prefer to read a juicy novel than talk about how to order in a restaurant.

5. I went to Thailand and wound up teaching private lessons at a Language Center. The majority of our clientele were Thai right? Wrong. Japanese! Japanese businessmen to be specific.

6. When you are living in Thailand, teaching Japanese men, finding relevant examples could prove to be rather daunting. Supermarket? Wegmans, easy. Wrong. Book store? Barnes and noble, even more wrong. Department store? Robinson’s in Thailand, Macy’s in NY, one of these have to be relevant in Japan, right? Wrong, and my student has only been in Thailand for 3 days.

Ha, this lesson will be interesting.

7. I now consider myself an expert in Pictionary, Taboo and Charades.

8. At times I got so busy I didn’t really even have a chance to look at the name on the file until the student sat down in front of me. Well, I had a series of questions I would ask students who I haven’t taught before. “How long have you been in Thailand?” was one of those questions. Well, then that student responds: “I’m Thai.

9. A handy little skill I now possess: the ability to read AND write upside down. If you have any occupations that this skill can be put to good use in, please let me know! Should it go on my resume?

10. Being a Speech Pathology major also comes with an innate ability to immediately recognize even the smallest sign of a speech impediment even in a non-native English speaker. Unfortunately, Japanese and Thai cultures are not keen on admitting that anything is wrong at all, especially with their children.

11. Students varied significantly. Some students came in and barely participated. Those were infuriating lessons. Some students loved learning the language and came in with their own topics or questions. And some students have, “Doesn’t like to be interrupted,” written on the outside of their file.

Don’t mess with that lady.

12. Going along with the theme of each student being very different; some students would say they are lonely in Thailand or that they want to take you out to dinner. Or they ask what ‘slut’ means. Life as a 1 to 1 English was always fun, you can’t deflect questions very easily when you’re stuck in a 5’  x 5’ room with just you and the student.

You can just pray for the next bell to ring.

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Teaching Pre-K Abroad: A Survival Guide

Jenny Tolep

Somebody is always screaming, a dozen dirty diapers provides a less-than-refreshing aroma and “Ring Around The Rosie” has played so many times that I could pull my hair out. Welcome to my life teaching Pre-K abroad.

When I decided to teach English in Thailand, I never thought I’d be caught dead teaching Pre-K.  In Thailand, teaching Pre-K means teaching 17 two year-olds for seven hours a day, five days a week.

It can be tough to manage such a young age group, but luckily I’m not alone. I’ve got a wonderful Thai co-teacher by my side and an assistant — sometimes two assistants. Teaching Pre-K is a challenge and takes a lot of patience and discipline in order to handle so many students.

Teaching Pre-K Abroad

Teaching Pre-K Abroad

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Do Your Future a Favor and Teach Private ESL Lessons while Abroad

We’re happy to bring you a guest post today from James Heywood.  James has a background in language and linguistics and has lived and worked in Sydney, Paris, Auckland, Dubai, and Istanbul, and is co-founder of TurksLearnEnglish and Off2Class. Off2Class (lesson plan content for private ESL teachers) was launched to provide lesson content resources targeted to those looking to teach private ESL lessons abroad. James can be contacted at james@off2class.com and is happy to offer advice or assistance to the online teaching community.

kris-and-james

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Today we catch up with James Heywood. After an overland trip from Southeast Asia to Turkey, he fell in love with Istanbul, and soon after decided to call it his new home. To support himself, he gave ESL teaching a try and eventually had enough private students to quit his day job at his private school. Seven years after his first ESL lesson, James has started a project to release his own ESL lesson plans for other teachers building their own independent teaching businesses. Today, James would like to give advice to other ESL teachers living abroad, focusing on the importance of private lessons.

Private lessons can be lucrative while abroad… and when you move on

Private lessons are a great way to supplement your day-job income from your school or language institute. Many students (and their parents) are willing to pay a premium rate for an ESL teacher with whom they have a personal relationship. While teaching abroad, you will be in a great position to teach private ESL lessons as well. Of course, it’s not a good idea to teach your day-job students on a private basis. But regardless, in your current employment you will be exposed to plenty of parents and other contacts that are looking for a private tutor. Do not let these opportunities go! Actually, if there is a single piece of advice to offer teachers who are abroad or intend to be, it is this: save each and every contact detail you have about your current students, and if you teach young learners, establish a relationship with their parents too.

If one day you want to pick up and move on from the current place you call home, you can take your students with you through online teaching. The greatest challenge to all new private teachers (especially online teachers) is to find students, yet the task is so much easier when you have a bank of contacts to begin with. Save every detail. You will not regret it!

In my experience, once I had built a strong rapport with students and parents, the requests for private tuition started to roll in. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of teaching in Turkey was to learn just how much developing economies pour money into education. Where national school systems may fall down in some areas, parents are ready and willing to spend considerable amounts of money to ensure their children develop high proficiency in the English language.

More on online teaching…

In my case, the grind of moving from one private lesson to another in a city the size of Istanbul eventually started to wear me down. It was time to teach online. At the beginning of 2013, I stopped face-to-face lessons, set up a simple website and began moving my current students online. I love online ESL teaching because it’s flexible. It allows me to teach from wherever I am on the planet. I highly recommend it to any teachers considering the move. Even if you have no plans of moving from your current home abroad, you should still give online teaching a try to get comfortable with the format. During summer vacation you’ll still be able to teach your private students, as they move to summer homes or to vacations in other places.

As a private ESL teacher, my biggest pain point had always been the amount of time required to prepare lessons. So at the end of 2012 I decided to go one step further: I co-founded a business which offers ready-to-use lesson content for English as a Second Language teachers, called Off2Class. So far we’ve got a variety of teachers in a number of markets using the service. If you’re teaching private lessons, whether in-person or online, please feel free to get in touch with us and we will set you up with an account!

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From Waitressing in California to Teaching English in Cambodia

By Caitlin Werd

Caitlin Werd, also known as Caitlin Seandel, is currently teaching English in Cambodia. To date she has been in Phnom Penh for a little over 8 months teaching, writing, and volunteering. She will travel throughout Southeast Asia before returning home. She enjoys the company of dream chasers and limit pushers, as she herself is one. She thanks you for taking the time to read her post and hopes that you are either enjoying your current adventure or busy planning the next one. To see more of her work, please visit her website at thetravelingplankton.com.

Caitlin Teaching English Abroad

Caitlin’s post originally appeared on Pink Pangea:

http://pinkpangea.com/2014/07/from-waitressing-in-california-teaching-english-in-cambodia/

It doesn’t really make sense that my last blog with Pink Pangea will tell the story of how I found myself in Cambodia, but for those of you who have read at least half of one of my blogs, I think it is an important story to tell.

It was December 2012 and I had just graduated from San Diego State. I was packing up my car, preparing to move back home. I had no job lined up and I was feeling helpless and fearful that after graduation I would be back in my parents’ house and end up working at a local bar where I would see everyone from high school.

With that fear in my head, I left beautiful San Diego and eight hours later was unpacking my car and moving back into my old room, which I had not occupied for the past five and a half years. I was anything but excited and was actively applying for jobs. Each day, I would switch off between applying for “career positions” as well as jobs in the service industry.

Due to my dwindling bank account, whatever job lead bit first was what I would have to take. I was getting really tight on cash and when Stadium Pub, a local bar, called me about an interview, I was beyond excited. I nailed the interview and a few days later got a call asking if I still wanted the serving position. I accepted instantly and before I knew it, what I had feared most had come true. I was moved back in my parents’ house and was working in a bar that was the most popular among my high school acquaintances.

I started at Stadium Pub in January of 2013. I was making friends, making money and making memories. I also continued to apply for “careers,” conducted informational interviews and became a volunteer blogger with a human rights organization, called Ella’s Voice. It wasn’t until six months had passed that I started to get frustrated. I was angry.

How could it be possible that I was not getting a single millimeter of feedback, literally jobs weren’t even responding back with a “no.” I am competent in Spanish, have completed two degrees and two internships, worked 4.5 out of the 5.5 years in college and participated in many student organizations–and I wasn’t landing anything. Not only was I frustrated, I was unsure. Did I really want to plunge myself into a 9-5 job right now, more importantly a 9-5 job in the United States? Ever since my semester abroad in Madrid, my desire to travel was (and still is) insatiable.

I vocalized my concerns to my parents, and my dad’s reply was, “Why not teach English abroad?”

Never had I heard a better idea! From there I was off researching distant and foreign lands. I knew I wanted to go to Asia but I wasn’t sure where. I started looking into South Korea because some of my friends had taught there and really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

After doing some research, I narrowed down my requirements:

I wanted to be in Asia. I wanted to go somewhere where I knew no one, and that none of my close friends had been before (that crossed off South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand) and I wanted my world turned upside down.

I continued my search and found a company called LanguageCorps. I saw that they offered courses in Southeast Asia, and then I saw Cambodia. To be honest I was scared to even click on the link. I had heard about Cambodia, but I did not know anything about it. I clicked on the link and started doing my own research, reading blogs, history books, watching documentaries. I even looked at their identification cards, anything to make me feel more comfortable with this completely foreign and intriguing land.

Instantly, I was drawn in. I was enticed because the thought of moving to Cambodia scared me. It scared me out of my mind. The first thing that I thought was what if I died there? I researched for a week, skimming the surface of Cambodia’s history, culture, and geography.

Read the rest of Caitlin’s Story at Pink Pangea! 

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How to Stay in Touch with Your Significant Other while Teaching Abroad

Since you were a child, you’ve dreamed of working as a teacher in a far off and distant land. Now, you’re about to do just that.

Staying in Touch While Teaching Abroad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, there is a downside to your upcoming adventure— your significant has obligations back home, and is not going to be able to teach abroad with you. If you are concerned about staying in touch with your sweetie, there are plenty of ways to instant message, text, video chat and more. For example, consider the following:

Smartphones Are Super

People who are traveling abroad should definitely consider bringing along their smartphones, notes Quick and Dirty Tips. If you don’t already have one, or desperately need an upgrade, check out the latest smartphones such as the Galaxy S 5 as a terrific smartphone that works well overseas.

Look into international data plans from your current carrier, or buy a data plan for your phone once you arrive to your new home city. However, data plans abroad tend to be the more economical solution. Understandably, if you are not sure which plan to purchase, LanguageCorps staff will be able to point you in the right direction (some programs even include a cell phone).

Smartphones also have a variety of apps available. Quick and Dirty Tips also provides examples of video messaging apps like Facetime (only for Apple products), Google Hangouts, Skype and Viber, which all are easy to use and actually allow you to see your significant other and have a conversation. If you need something quicker, WhatsApp is a popular international texting app.

Seek Out Free Wi-Fi

To avoid the humongous phone bills that can happen with overseas data usage, find Internet hotspots with a website like Wefi. This will allow you to use free Wi-Fi whenever you can as opposed to the more expensive data from your plan.

You also should see if the school has free Wi-Fi, or you can use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi router by tethering it to your tablet or laptop. If your phone doesn’t allow this feature, you can purchase a MiFi device, which is essentially a small Wi-Fi router that works with a SIM card.

Most LanguageCorps training centers are equipped with WiFi, and internet cafes are increasingly common throughout most regions as well. However, do keep in mind that these public Internet hookups are not always secure, so use them to talk with your spouse but not necessarily to look up your bank information.

Don’t Forget Emails

A tablet or laptop can be a handy and convenient tool for staying in touch with loved ones back home, notes ICAL. Rather than have rushed phone calls with less-than-ideal connections, you can take your time to compose thoughtful letters about your adventures as well as upload photos and videos of your school and colleagues. Another advantage of emails, notes Life After Study Abroad, is that you can still communicate with your spouse without having to think about time zones; you can write a nice letter at 2 p.m. while your spouse is snoozing thousands of miles away.

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