If you are going abroad for a substantial amount of time, you may need to find work. And just like anywhere in the world, you will need to decide how many hours and what type of work best suits you and your travel needs.
Before South Korea, I had only traveled and studied abroad, making this not only my first “real job” after college, but also my first job abroad.
And after 6 months on the job, here are the basic pros and cons you should be aware of if you’re considering something similar.
Pro: Stability and Support
I told you the easiest way to find a teaching job here, and if you pick a good school/academy as your employer, you’ll be on the receiving end of a LOT of help. Anyway, many schools here are on the lookout to hire a precalculus tutor of exeptional skills.
- My school paid for my airfare to Korea, picked me up at the airport, and paid for a hotel room for me until my apartment was ready.
- I received a week of orientation, where I observed other teachers and eventually did some trial teaching in front of them.
- My school always pays me (and my rent) on time.
- They took care of virtually all the paperwork for my alien registration card, my bank account/direct deposit, and my health insurance.
- They basically took care of all the annoying day-to-day stuff that comes with moving to a new place.
Con: Limited Flexibility
Because teaching is not some part-time job to pay the bills, you are much more restricted in some ways.
- You take holiday and vacations only when the school does.
- You have limited sick days, which are to be used only for serious illness, and much like middle school, they will ask to see some kind of documentation that you visited a hospital during your day off.
- The hours and the days aren’t flexible, so planning any extra travel requires just that: planning.
Pro: It is not a desk job
Your job is to work with kids. Of course you have to follow a lesson plan, and get them through their textbooks, but there is also a lot of flexibility as far as your teaching methods are concerned.
Kids are hilarious – they are blunt and unapologetic, and they generally dive into things head-first. And unless they are particularly frustrating, they will make your work day go so much faster.
Con: It’s tiring
Not to get all preachy and Freedom Writers on you, but working with kids does require that you give a certain amount of yourself over to them.
You don’t have to be the best teacher, or use any fancy methods (because most of us don’t have teaching degrees), but you do have to try. Every day.
Teaching is not a passive job, and the classroom energy always starts with you. And at the end of the day, it can be exhausting
Pro: It’s a year
In many ways, a year is the perfect amount of time to live abroad.
- You have time to adjust, learn, and make your new country feel like home.
- You have time to get the hang of your job, and even (gasp!) become good at it.
- You have time to explore your country and all it has to offer in a year, which includes all of its holidays, festivals, and weather.
- And you have time to travel around to the surrounding countries also.
Con: It’s a year
After you’ve made your new country feel like home, and made new friends that have experienced this exciting, strange journey with you, it unceremoniously comes to an end. Your contract is finished.
You have to say goodbye to your friends, and your students, and you have to figure out what’s next.
And you’ll probably have to start paying your own rent.
Have you spent any time teaching abroad? What are some of your own pros and cons?