When you travel abroad, you get to sample another country. You get a glimpse of other customs, architecture, food, clothing, language, the good stuff, and the bad stuff. You may leave a foreign country feeling inspired or sometimes with the strong desire to never leave your house again. Travel truly gives you a great experience, but to live abroad is to change your life.
Through travel you open your eyes to new ways of living. Through living abroad you come to understand other ways of life. And just as importantly, you evolve. Living in another country works you over like starting a new exercise regimen. You may enjoy or really struggle through the workout, but for the next couple of days, you discover soreness in muscles you didn’t even know you had. Within that soreness, you find strength. When I left the United States in 2013, I thought my experience on the other side of the world would be a temporary thing. Now I realize that my five years in Japan made me into a better person and that doesn’t go away when you cross over zip codes.
HOW CAN I LIVE ABROAD?: There are many options for those looking to live abroad, especially those of us who come from the United States and other English speaking countries. My life path guided me towards teaching English. As a young adult, I never wanted to become a teacher, but it enabled me to live in Japan and travel Asia. So, I gave it a try, and I loved it. I love the classroom setting, I love public speaking, and I feel so brave in front of my students. I am so thankful to have entered the JET Program in 2013. It is highly competitive, but I cannot recommend it enough to those of you hoping to live in Japan.
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN JAPAN?: I am so happy you asked! After Japan, I started working for VIPKID. What is VIPKID? It’s an online English classroom for Chinese and other international students. What is so awesome about working with VIPKID is that the pay is great, I get to set my own hours, and I can work from anywhere in the world as long as I have a good internet connection. VIPKID is the leading program for online ESL in China because they have a great curriculum and really competent teachers. That may sound a bit intimidating, especially if you lack teaching experience, but with my help you can breeze through the interview process. Just sign me up as your referral (code MARIA0415) here:
I DON’T FEEL CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO TEACH ESL: ESL ain’t no cake walk. Sometimes being a native English speaker and holding a bachelor’s degree is not enough. Certain countries require teacher certification or look for that shiny piece of paper, a TEFL/TESOL certification. While a Masters in TEFL or TESOL is always better, the good news is that there are many online certification programs that you can take at your own pace. In Japan, many teachers on the JET Program have to go to work during summer vacation! So, I used my free time at work to take the International TEFL and TESOL Training (ITTT) 120 hour TEFL course and was certified by the fall. In retrospect, I wish I had done a 200 hours or more course, but I found ITTT to be easy to understand and a good basic foundation in TEFL. To apply follow this link, and be sure to enter MCHAVERRI@MICA.EDU for a %15 discount! www.teflmate.com/apply/
I hope you feel inspired! Now go out there and start living the adventure you want to have.