7 Reasons Why Teaching English Around Asia is my Best Decision Ever

7 Reasons Why Teaching English Around Asia is my Best Decision Ever

Ever wanted to teach English in Asia? Perhaps in China or South Korea? Just go for it - it will be an adventure of a lifetime.

When it comes to making life changing decisions, no one wants to make the wrong choice. I mulled over the idea of moving to Asia for years and when I somewhat reluctantly purchased my one-way ticket to China, I wasn’t sure if I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life. However, a few weeks in and I knew that I did the right thing. Almost two years later, I am still in Asia and thanking myself for making the choice to teach English abroad. Here are seven reasons why teaching English in Asia is my best decision ever.

The travel

I spent my entire university career doing homework, picking up extra shifts at work, saving money and then spending it on travel. I would take a small trip here, a small trip there and daydream about a life spent travelling the world.

Once I graduated I realised that my dream could be a reality if only I settled down in another country. I chose China, got hired and spent the months leading up to my departure just staring at my map and making lists of all the places I would go. I visited every single one in my list. Throughout my year in China I visited most of the major cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Hong Kong. I made trips to Taiwan, South Korea and eventually to Japan. Since leaving China, I have visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand as well. As long as I continue to find teaching jobs in Asia, I can continue my quest to visit more countries in this region.

Also read: 7 Best Solo Wanderlust Destinations in Asia for 2015

The career opportunities

With a bachelor’s degree in political science, the only career opportunities in my home country were waitressing and getting paid barely minimum wage to work on local campaigns. As a passionate and starry-eyed twenty something, I was looking to make more out of my career. After landing my first teaching job abroad, the career opportunities have been abundant. While browsing job boards both at home and abroad, I find myself qualified for hundreds of positions. I have been offered jobs from previous co-workers and employers and have found numerous freelance work as well. To have the opportunity of a fruitful career is one of the best feelings in the world.

The people

The people I met since moving to Asia simply would have never graced my path if I stayed at home. I would have never met the lovely couple from New Zealand or the feisty girl from South Africa who instantly became my close friends. The Dutch girl who inspired me to finally create my own website or my Chinese co-workers who restored my faith in friendship all together.

I would have never been able to network with the people living lives that I admired and wanted to have myself. By meeting so many other travellers, teachers and freelancers, I have been able to create a network of people who inspire me, offer me opportunities and are available to give me advice.

The culture

teach english in asia

Learning more about the culture of the countries in which I taught has been beneficial for my personal growth and world outlook. From the drastically different cultural norms in China to the extremely polite social interactions in Thailand, I learned to be more aware of myself and my interactions with people. Viewing the holidays, traditions and religious influence amongst these places has also helped me to self-reflect on where I came from and view my own versions of these things as exactly that-versions. I began to understand the significance of other’s people’s cultures not only to them but to the world as a whole and also to myself.

The job

Learning to be a teacher has been one of the greatest opportunities I ever had. I learned so much about the working world and how it varies based on the culture you are in. I was taught useful skills and teaching strategies and was allowed to attend free workshops on career advancement. The job helped me learn about myself and my current place in the working world. Being a teacher in many Asian countries is highly respected and it was a nice change from previous jobs that I held back home. Waitressing and working in the customer service line left me feeling down about my position in the workforce and made my college degree seem useless. Once I became a teacher, I felt respected and felt like I was actually doing a job that made a significant impact on the people that I was teaching.

The money

Money is usually an important factor when it comes to any job. Although a few of the teaching jobs I have had do not pay well by American standards, I earned more than enough for a fantastic life in the Asian countries where I lived. I was able to live a comfortable life in which I rarely worried about money, could save for future travels and take trips to amazing places on every vacation I was allowed. With the salary and the general low cost of living in Asia, I was able to live a much more comfortable and secure life than I did while back in my home country.

The adventure

Adventure is really what it’s all about for me. I am grateful for the career opportunities and thankful that I could make a decent living, but the adventure is what made it all worth it. Every single day has been an adventure while teaching abroad. From the learning and experiences I get from the job, the students I get to meet and the unknown territory that I get to explore on a daily basis. Weekend trips involve excursions to Shanghai or visiting elephant sanctuaries and seeing Muay Thai fights. I may meet up with new friends for language exchanges or try new foods that I never knew existed. The interesting, unique and frightening, I see it all on a daily basis.

Also read: Asia Travel Bucket List: 20 Challenges You Must Complete

About Author

Shannon Ullman

Shannon is an American girl working towards a full-time nomadic lifestyle. She doesn’t like the idea of a 9-5 career and wants to blaze her own trail by travelling and working around the globe. She has a long way to go on her journey but is having the time of her life on the way. She left her country to live in China and has been moving around Asia for the past year and half. She is passionate about inspiring others to live their dreams, facing her fears, learning new things and visiting cat cafes as often as she can.


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