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Returning Home After Teaching English Abroad

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The return home after teaching English abroad

“I have been doing some EFL, up to university level, with just a batchelors in the history of art. Great. I have been doing this for three years now, and am contemplating a return to ‘real’ office project management style work. Do you know of those who have gone back to such a career path after ESL? Any words of wisdom?

Many thanks, in advance, for your help.”

Answer by Loren Everly

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Sara, I don’t think you should worry overly much. It’s true that some employers will see teaching English in different countries in a negative light. But other’s will see it as an asset. Just think about how to sell it to your potential employer.

You’re adaptable and work well under pressure having had a lot of international experience and exposure to a variety of cultures. I think it’s especially helpful if you want to be some sort of consultant, that you can work hard with diverse problems and tight time deadlines.

Prepare for the negative questions you might receive as well. If you’re like many of us teachers you’ve taken new jobs every 6 to 12 months during much of your teaching career and some months to travel as well. This can look bad on a CV. Come up with answers that are true for you to explain this behavior and why you’re ready to make a longer commitment for a position you really like.

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So, in short, my advice is to emphasize what you’ve gained from your experiences and be ready for some tough questions. I haven’t met any former teachers who are office project managers but I have met many other successful people who have spent time teaching.

Best,
Loren

Loren Everly is Vagabond Journey Travel’s English teaching abroad correspondent. He has been traveling the world for over a decade, often earning his keep teaching English as a foreign language. To date, he has taught English to speakers of other languages in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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