Teaching abroad is probably one of the greatest opportunities young Canadian post-grads have. You get to travel, experience new cultures and get paid while doing it.
If this is something you've ever thought about but you just don't know where to begin, we've done a little research to get you started.
Why should I do it?
Um, why not! You're young, you're free and nothing's holding you back. Jennifer Demjen is a 26-year-old Canadian who has been teaching abroad for over four years. She knew she always wanted to travel, however, after completing university it seemed nearly impossible with a student debt.
"When I realized that international schools in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia offer competitive wages, round-trip flights and pay for your living accommodations my decision was pretty easy," she said to us in an interview.
What credentials do I need?
If you speak English, there isn't a lot more you need to worry about. Contrary to what most would think, you don't need to speak a foreign language in order to teach English abroad.
While some international schools require a teaching degree, there are a lot that don't. The majority of language schools simply require a university degree. It doesn't matter if you majored in physics, philosophy or psychology, you can still teach English abroad.
In some cases, you may also need a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certificate. This can be done very inexpensively online.
How do I apply?
There are plenty of sites online that help you apply for work at international schools. It's literally as easy as a Google search. Once you've found a country and school that's suited for you, job applications can be submitted online. Applications processes usually start in November, according to Demjen.
What's the travel visa process?
The process of getting travel visas vary from country to country. Demjen, who is currently teaching in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam says the Vietnamese visa process was quite complicated and expensive.
However, she spent three years teaching in Cario, Egypt where The Canadian international school of Egypt took care of everything for her. You can visit the handy website, GoAbroad.com to check Canadian work-visa requirements from country to country.
But moving to a foreign country sounds daunting.
Two big things that come to mind when you explore the possibility of moving to a new country: Where the hell am I supposed to live? How the hell am I going to fit in?
Contrary to what you might think, finding a spot to call home abroad is not hard at all. Firstly, the international schools you work for help you find an apartment and secondly, they pay for it too!
Fitting into another culture, on the other hand, can be a different ballgame. "For me, it came quite easy as I am drawn to new and different experiences, things and people. I jumped right in and enjoyed every moment," Demjen said.
Which was originally meant to be one year of teaching abroad has quickly turned into four, "I enjoyed it so much I haven’t moved home since!"
Demjen says there is one key thing in adjusting to new cultures, "It is important to educate yourself by building friendships. You've got to truly experience the culture with understanding, patience and an open mind."
The worst part?
Is it all rainbows and butterflies? Not always. Demjen notes being far from her family as the hardest part in the entire process, "Being away during Christmas, birthdays and the birth of new family members has not become any easier."
However, she credits some special people in her life for helping with the hard times, "The great thing is that the friendships made abroad are always strong ones. Everyone helps each other through those types of moments that we all know too well."
The best part?
The new cultures, the people, the new friendships, the list goes on for Demjen. She says he life feels like a perpetual holiday doing what she loves, teaching and travelling.
"The culture in Egypt, the culture in Vietnam, they give me so much passion to teach these children and become consumed in their world," she says. "When working abroad you are able to build new, meaningful relationships with people from all around the world."
Where should I go?
GoAbroad has forecasted 10 of the hottest places to teach in 2019. The winners are: South Korea, Chile, Russia, Senegal, United Arab Emirates, China, Colombia, Morocco, Japan, and Spain. So get out there, people! The world is waiting.