5 Common Misconceptions about Teaching English Abroad


Now that you’re on the verge of fulfilling your long awaited dream of traveling the world teaching English, you’re probably hearing countless stories and comments from friends and family to dissuade you from chasing your dream. Let them talk! Traveling the world teaching English will be a life changing experience which will improve who you are in a countless number of ways.

The following are 5 Common Misconceptions about Teaching English Abroad:

1. Living abroad is a dangerous life. Wrong! If you take time to analyze the statistics researched and published by reputable international organizations, you will come to realize that most regions of the world have lower crime rates than virtually all major cities within “first world” countries. For example, according to recent statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), cities in Mexico count with a lower crime rate than cities in the United States.

2. You will get lost in translation. Language barriers will indeed be something to contemplate when choosing your teaching destination. If you’re on your way to your first teaching assignment, selecting a country with a similar language would be in your best interest. For example, countries with romance languages such as Spanish, French, or Portuguese always make for excellent first destinations. In any event, an English teacher is expected to speak only in English while on school grounds and day to day life is not that difficult to manage. Furthermore, expect to speak some phrases in the local language after a couple of days since immersing yourself in the local language will have you speaking like the locals in no time.

3. You will only teach English. When you accept a job from a school overseas you have to realize what type of school you will be working with. Language Center? K-12 Private School? Only language centers focus exclusively on English as a Foreign Language while K-12 schools have you cover other subjects such as math, science, or geography in English. Worry not, the proper TEFL course will provide you with the training you need to meet up to the challenge.

4. You will live on a day to day budget. Not true. Keep in mind that when you are living in a foreign country you are not living as a tourist but rather, as a local. Your income as an English teacher will provide you with sufficient funds to cover your living expenses regardless of where you wish to teach. There are also some excellent locations that currently have a massive demand for EFL teachers and pay competitive wages which serve for building up some savings while you travel.

5. You will not have time to travel. Incorrect! Keep in mind that teachers have very long vacation periods and get all official holidays off. This means that you will indeed have time during the school year to take weekend or week long trips to different regions within the country you are in to explore and get to know more about the local culture and what it has to offer.

Don’t be afraid to become a better person through travel. The world is a marvelous place and it’s just waiting for you to explore it!

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