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Returning Home After Teaching English Abroad

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 [...]

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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  • Caitlin March 8, 2011, 10:53 am

    EFL and other teaching abroad is a “real” job… it’s just that a lot of people turn it into a joke job because they are just looking for some fun time abroad.

    Sorry I know that was not the point of the article but I just had to say…

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 8, 2011, 12:08 pm

      Very true. The only major transition between a foreign English teaching post and a “real job” in your home country should merely be location. It is funny how I’ve watched teaching English abroad move from a gig that backpackers could just walk in and out of into a real career. This profession has change drastically in the past ten years.

      We just applied for what is tantamount to volunteer (stipend only) teaching positions in Georgia (massive government program to teach the people English instead of Russian) and they company wanted two interviews, a video of us stating our purpose, education certification, resume, police background check, medical records . . . for an f’ing stipend job!

      Unbelievable.

      The days of be being able to stroll into a Chinese city and pick up a few classes are over.

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  • Teach English Abroad March 18, 2011, 5:22 am

    If it wasn’t a real job, I wouldn’t have been doing it from last 10 Years. Of course its a real job and all you need to do it seriously is passion for two things that is English Teaching and Traveling. Your body should be flexible enough to travel and sustain in any part of the world and your mind should be patient enough to teach all kind of students. I would love to meet Loren Everly in person someday!

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    Steve Brown

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