2 December 2014
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in countries around the world is an increasingly popular option for graduates fresh from university. While some go on to make a career from teaching, it is commonly done for one year as an opportunity to travel while also earning money, before returning back to the UK to find work.
Teaching abroad is a major learning experience for anyone, and develops skills that will be advantageous no matter what field they will be returning to, so it can be a big CV booster. It is key to think about the soft skills that can be developed when teaching and living abroad, and how they will be useful in the type of work you want to do after teaching.
Creativity is something that is valued and desired in almost all roles in all industries, and is something you will develop in bounds being an EFL teacher. Whether or not you are following a curriculum, you will need to be inventive with ways to engage students and enhance their understanding, while working with a language barrier. Developing this ability to come up with ideas to solve problems, often on the spot and under pressure, will translate well to any given profession as a beneficial asset.
Self-confidence will undoubtedly be improved in teaching and living abroad: from making the decision to move to a foreign country alone, to standing up in front or a class of 50 eager children or a group of businessmen, to discussing teaching ideas with colleagues, teaching will provide ample opportunities in which a belief in yourself and your abilities are necessary. This ultimately makes people more motivated, driven and better at decision making and taking up leadership roles. This is a skill which is it is especially important for recent graduates to develop as they find their feet in the world of work in order to secure a competitive position and excel at it; being able to put forward ideas with confidence is essential for anyone looking to advance their career.
Adaptability and flexibility are highly sought after attributes in business. Employers seek out people who have the ability to adjust to changing situations and environments with ease, embracing new ideas and coping well with rapid change. This is something which is also vital for every aspect of a TEFL career. Living and working in a different culture presents numerous situations in which behaviour’s need to be adapted in order to be successful in the country to which you’ve moved. Choosing to do a challenging job in a completely new environment shows an immense willingness to learn and succeed outside of your comfort zone.
So, even if teaching isn’t what you want to be doing in the long-run but you have the desire to live and work abroad, TEFL can still provide you with experience which will be beneficial no matter what direction you go in.