*(This is an article on Teaching in Asia – for advice on International Teaching Interviews, click here)*
Everyone seems to know someone who has taught English in Asia, or is about to. It’s a great way to travel a part of the world often overlooked while working at the same time to fund your adventures. When your decide to spend a year in Asia (or longer!), the paths open to me seemed endless and overwhelming – where do you look for reliable information and what do you need to know? From my experience, I can give this advice:
Ask Your Friends
If you decide to teach in Asia, chances are solid that you have a connection with Japan,
China, Korea, Taiwan or any number of other places through a friend of a friend. Ask
them how it was – first-hand knowledge is great for more unbiased opinions of the
experience than you can get by talking to a company recruiter.
Degrees are Important
Many companies only ask that you have a degree in something and be a native speaker
of English. You can still get a job without these things but it will greatly expand your
options and your pay scale. There are many jobs open to native speakers of other
languages, but because English is the current language of business, it is highly prized.
Check Out International Job Fairs
If you are still in university/college, there are likely international job fairs at some point in the year on campus. Present at these fairs will be recruiters from any number of companies and a lot of them can get you to teach in Asia. Ask how long the contract is, what the work involves, what qualifications you need and any other things you can think of. Take brochures, find out if they have an English website and get a business card to arrange later contact if you want to pursue it later.
Patience applies to around 98% of the experience, especially when
you’re teaching, but the process leading up to actually getting over there can take a bit of
time. After that, the visa may take time to be granted – some countries it can take months,
others a few days if you’re lucky. If you have not yet obtained your degree, you’ll also
have to wait for that before you can get your visa. Think of it as practice for the plane
ride over, which is ridiculously long too!
There are many other things to consider for teaching in Asia, but the main thing is to have
fun. They may ask you to teach in a very different manner than you’re used to, using technology or strategies that seem odd, but just go with the flow and chalk it up as a learning experience. It can be nerve wracking at times as it will be extremely outside of your comfort zone, but if you decide to take the dive and give it a try you will learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible – and you’ll never regret it.