“Long-term travel can be an expensive proposition, accessible mainly by those who have a dispensable income.”
The world is a playground, and for those who are able to have sabbaticals or breaks from their studies are able to take full advantage. Time is on their side and the opportunity to expedite an adventure is very much a reality. These nomads are able to go wherever the tide takes them and know when they come to shore something will be waiting for them.
Sometimes travel can be without any real purpose. Internally, traveling is an extremely rewarding experience, requiring strength, confidence and independence, although, many of these attributes can be acquired whilst you’re out there. Externally, traveling is a challenging enterprise; it can help to build resumes and personal statements for colleges if combined with learning activities such a volunteering abroad. Teaching abroad is one way to experience the benefits and freedom of travel, whilst also gaining real work experience, a deeper understanding of another culture, and have a chance to make a contribution to the lives of those with less. Volunteering can provide you with an in-depth cultural seasoning, unattainable from the normal binocular, happy snapping tourist. Teaching abroad means you’re able to have an intimate relationship with the countries culture, living with a local community and by immersing yourself in it, is the one and only way to fully understand and have the true cultural experience.
This type of project will open your eyes to the world, by placing emphasis on the discovery that you’re actually a small drop in a huge ocean, whilst remembering an ocean is created by a multitude of drops. You will become a valued and active member of the community in which you are situated. Allowing you to analyze the wider, panoramic picture, so you can establish an understanding into how grateful people are for the work you are doing.
Children attending schools in impoverished countries hugely benefit from international travelers volunteering as teachers. Teaching English is one of the main opportunities readily available, and is by far the most popular. Not only do projects like these educate the not so fortunate, but they are also providing a great advantage to those teachers’ future career prospects. Volunteering abroad stands out on a resume, it articulates to the employer that the candidate is rounded, someone who has experience in educating pupils in a different neighborhood, an opposing culture, resulting in the intrepid knowledge of their topic. Make a difference to those you are teaching, just as they will make an impact in your own life as volunteers and students both share and learn about each other.
A difference between traveling abroad and teaching abroad is that most of the time, the latter, has your expenses and living costs paid for. This happens whilst you’re developing new skills and experiences, establishing new friendships and bonds which can’t be broken- it’s your adventure and only those who are with you will ever know what it was like. Cementing language and cultural bridges within the classroom are created when teaching in a foreign country. It is also the perfect opportunity to learn another language, a gem, which will open new doors to possible career ventures that weren’t accessible to you beforehand. French, Spanish, Arabic or Chinese are all useful languages to have an understanding of when working internationally.
Today’s job market is a highly competitive environment with many hurdles to climb in order to stand out. Teaching abroad can boost many attributes employers seek when hiring; interpersonal, leadership and communication skills are the key to furthering a career, achievable through building your resume when abroad. Employers are unlikely to give you a job without experience and it’s hard to attain experience because of the competitiveness of the industry. Small schools and organizations that you work with are often keen to make the most of other skills you have to contribute, from sewing to social media, and are full of opportunities to build your résumé. Gaining a TEFL Certificate or BTEC qualification whilst abroad will also give you other chances to travel and be paid for teaching abroad.
Begin as you mean to end. Enter with the correct state of mind, fully embrace everything which is thrown at you, and you will reap the rewards, especially upon arriving home. Career prospects will be greatened and your life enriched. Look at it as an investment into your future, you might not be full of confidence on your flight to new pastures, but once you’re home that confidence will shine through in the interview room. Life is an adventure and the world is an inviting place just waiting to be explored. Take the plunge and don’t look back.
Ed Hawes is the Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO that runs over 300 conservation, community, and adventure projects in 57 countries across the globe. He can be found blogging on Frontier’s Gap Year Blog or posting on the Frontier Official Facebook page. Tweet us your thoughts @FrontierGap.