10 Ways Teaching English Overseas Will Change You Forever

It’s never easy to step into a new opportunity, but as you venture out of your comfort zone, you’ll gain much more than you’d ever imagined. Living and teaching overseas is a real-life masterclass in personal and professional development. A teacher from Laos shares her top 10 reasons that she’s forever changed by teaching overseas: 

  1. New Perspective—As you glean and learn from those who speak and think differently than you do, you will begin to see the world through a new lens.

  2. Healthy Dependence—When you’re living in a culture you don’t understand and speaking in a language you don’t know well, you will have to learn to depend on those around you for help. 

  3. Humility—Depending on others will humble you as you learn to ask for help. It will also fill you with gratitude towards those who take the time to teach you.

  4. Increased Independence—While you will certainly depend on locals to help you navigate life in their culture, you will simultaneously learn independence as you make decisions and grow in your personal strengths.

  5. New Skills—The new things you can learn overseas are endless. You will learn a new language, how to cook new food, how to make a lesson plan, and how to write a test. You will also learn to adapt quickly and be flexible with your time… and so much more.

  6. Patience—Learning and growing will take time, as will building relationships with locals and learning how to teach your students well. It will teach you patience, so it is well worth it.

  7. Compassion—As you make mistakes and fumble through language and culture, you will need compassion for yourself. This process will also lead to compassion, grace, and understanding for others—especially your students—as they do the same in trying to learn your language. 

  8. Confidence—Whether it’s a lesson plan that went smoothly, accurately using a new vocab word, or finding your way around town without getting lost, these successes will build your confidence and strengthen you to keep trying new things and growing.

  9. Strengthened Resolve—Throughout your overseas teaching career, your steadfastness will be strengthened as you learn to wait out the bad days and celebrate the good days.

  10. Lifelong Friendships—Not only will you learn about a new way of living, but many of the people you meet along the way will turn into lifelong friends.