I had the opportunity to speak to Jed Willard, one of the Founding Partners of LanguageCorps, which offers TEFL training and job placement in Latin America (Mexico, Ecuador and Costa Rica) and Asia (Vietnam, Korea and Cambodia, among other places), and asked him for his opinion on what participants can hope to gain from a year teaching English and living abroad.
Aside from the more obvious benefit of having an interesting life experience, Jed spoke about the more concrete practical ways in which a year spent teaching and living abroad can benefit you in the job market. He did point out that these benefits will depend dramatically on each person’s individual situation.
Certainly, being able to say you worked and lived in China for a year will make you at the very least memorable to potential employers. Jed pointed out that the twenty-first century will be a globlized century and that employers in many fields put a priority on hiring candidates who are comfortable with and experienced in dealing with diverse cultures, different languages and challenging circumstances.
While someone who decides to continue teaching after a LanguageCorps experience will reap many practical benefits from teaching English as a foreign language, the experience attained by people going on to study or work in other fields can have a practical aspect too. For example, a future doctor who spends a year teaching English in Vietnam can gain first-hand experience of the ins and outs of the medical system in a developing country. And even the amount of Vietnamese language he can pick up during LanguageCorps’ week-long language program and from his time living there will set him apart from other doctors.
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In short, aside from the once-in-a-lifetime experience which teaching English abroad can offer, there are numerous concrete benefits as well. What are you waiting for?
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Find out more about LanguageCorps here.