Everybody benefits from a little time off – to reflect, to learn, to experience new things. After a year of hiatus, professionals and students alike often discover invaluable truths about themselves and the world. Whether a person is fresh out of university and searching for their life pursuit or a middle-aged person hoping for some reinvigoration, a gap year spent exploring can shed some light on what in life is worth pursuing.
Of the many ways to spend a gap year, teaching English is one of the most popular. Teachers — native English speakers in particular — are in high demand around the globe. From Africa to East Asia to South America, taking a year off to travel can be financially feasible for those interested in teaching while travelling.
Finding a teaching gig in a foreign land, whether in a paid or volunteer capacity, is quite easy. Job boards are ubiquitous online. Interviews can be arranged via applications like Skype. Many times, it is possible to secure a teaching job in the destination of choice using the web. For the more adventurous, options increase once a teacher is in-country and available for in-person interviews.
The volume of social interactions afforded by teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) allows teachers to really get a taste of their host country. Many people find the experience so rewarding, in fact, that although they initially may have only planned to stay abroad for a gap year, they wind up settling down as an expatriate, or “expat”.
Because of the increasing interconnectedness created by globalization, travelling for a gap year is more common and easier than ever before. Many developing nations welcome Westerners with open arms as guest workers, both for the economic and cultural advantages that they desire. English ability is a necessity for business growth, and many people in developing nations admire the products of Western cultures such as music and movies.
Spending a gap year abroad, teaching English or simply travelling, can broaden a person’s horizons. Experiences abroad impart new ideas, new ways of looking at the world, and new friends that can last a lifetime.