#1: Work Experience and Choosing a Career Path
Teaching abroad is not just an excellent resumé builder; it is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new environment and develop new skills and work experience. Even if you did not study Education in college, teaching English abroad may spark interest in a new career path. I myself was not an Education major, but teaching English in Thailand for the last six months has surely made me think twice about becoming a teacher back home. I have really enjoyed working with my students. This experience has opened up a whole new world for me.
#2: Building Confidence
There is something empowering about packing up a suitcase and moving yourself halfway across the world for a few months. For many reasons, this can enhance your confidence and allow you to establish a new sense of freedom. Before moving to Thailand, I was a shy college graduate, who was looking to step outside of her comfort zone. I was expecting to teach a small classroom of young kids. However, once I found out I’d be teaching hundreds of university students, I got a little nervous. I was never good at being in front of the classroom, or being the center of attention. Of course, that changed after I began teaching. I still don’t like being the center of attention, but I feel very comfortable teaching and being in front of my students. I’ve always wanted to develop at least some comfort in public speaking, and this job has allowed me to do just that.
#3: Mindfulness and Spirituality
Lastly, let’s get into the part about spiritual growth. Thailand is the perfect place to dive into some mindfulness practices and do some soul searching (as corny as that sounds). Thailand is largely a Buddhist country. Buddhist philosophies and spiritual growth go hand-in-hand, even if you are not actually Buddhist. The act of moving to a new country and being present in a new culture itself requires you to be more mindful. If you want to read more about assimilating into new culture, check out my previous blog “New Culture & New Beginnings” ;)
Moving abroad for a few months is almost like being in quarantine (in relation to what is currently happening in the world with the Coronavirus). I set a goal to work on myself while living in Thailand. I wanted to rediscover myself and form some new, healthy habits. I had more time to workout and focus on my fitness, I was buying and reading a lot of books (more than I’ve ever read at home), I was journaling a lot about my life and time in Thailand, etc. I tried to be productive with my time when I wasn’t at my school working/teaching. I did have a decent amount of free time to myself, so I wanted to make the most of it before it was time to return back home. The main idea is that when you’re exposed to a new environment with new resources, you have a choice to utilize those resources to your advantage. You get back what you put in!
#4: Exploring and Traveling
I’m sure that those who seek to work abroad also seek adventure. So lastly, I wanted to write about how easy and affordable it really is to travel around Thailand. By living there for almost 6 months, I got to travel around the whole country and see almost everything I wanted to see. I did spend the majority of my weekends in my province to do some local exploring, as well. I saved my longer travels for school breaks and long weekends. My travels were quite efficient and unproblematic. I found it easy to book flights, arrange bus tickets, and call for taxi’s (I liked using Thailand’s version of Uber called ‘Grab’). Thailand has beautiful beaches and beautiful mountains. If you’re looking to work in a country that is extremely affordable and has everything to offer, Thailand is your place.