Are you a recent graduate? Looking for a career change or break from corporate life? If so, you may be considering a year teaching abroad. You’ve probably heard stories of deep, meaningful, life changing experiences. You have heard rumors of teachers making good money and leading comfortable lifestyles. Everything you’ve heard is wrong. I’m here to save you. You’re welcome. Through my time at Go Overseas I’ve interacted with 100s, perhaps 1,000s of people who taught abroad. I know of at least two who had negative experiences. Why risk being the 3rd?
Read on for the ways teaching abroad will ruin your life.
There are a lot of Children in the World
Do you really think impacting the lives of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of students will change the world? Do you think feeling a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment by changing the life of your students really matters? It’s hard to make a difference in every child’s life, so why bother? Creating a great lesson plan takes a lot of time and preparation. I believe it was Yoda who said, “Don’t do it, or even try it”. This is similar to the Nike motto, so it must be true.
I’ll tell you what you can control: Your DirectTV remote on a Friday night. And with the new season of “Game of Thrones” coming out, it’s too risky to leave the country and rely on a shaky internet connection. Life is better experienced through the television, it’s the American way. Watch a TV show about teachers from the comfort of a couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. The experience can’t be altogether different. Megan Boyer, recent college graduate, offers appropriate advice, “I can’t change the world all by myself, but I can damn well change the channel.”
Learning a New Language is a Fad
You may be aware that more than a billion people speak Chinese. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, speak Spanish. Do you know another language a lot of people speak? American. If you’re reading this, you speak American, or a bastardized version stolen from us by people with funny accents and bad teeth. You’re welcome, chaps. If you had listened to Chamberlain, you’d be speaking German, so I’m assuming you prefer this arrangement.
In any case, learning a new language seems like a waste of both personal and professional effort. When you’re finished reading this article, you’ll probably find a cute cat video, viral monkey video, or an awesome fail compilation. See? Wasn’t that more rewarding than spending a year abroad learning a new language and giving back to others while on a personal journey of growth and adventure?
Teaching Abroad is Risky Work
If you speak to people who have taught abroad, they will describe the experience as one of the best of their lives. Consider, however, the people who haven’t taught abroad. Perhaps they would have had negative experiences. If I’m right about this, you might be one of the hypothetical people who have hypothetically bad experiences. The logic is hard to deny. A prospective teacher, Jasmine Pederson, explained,
What if I don’t like the food, culture, language, students or people? Sounds risky. Also, I might miss Season 3 of Homeland.
Teaching is a life changing experience. You make meaningful connections with new friends, co-workers and students. You make a difference in the lives of your students. You learn a new skill, gain confidence and character by immersing yourself in the language and values of a new culture. If this sounds challenging, you are absolutely correct. Why add extra stress to your life? Most challenges in life aren’t worth finishing. That’s the way most people approach new experiences, and why should you be different?
There are Better Job Opportunities for New Graduates
The economy is excellent for new graduates and career switchers at the moment. In a world of uncertainty, take the safest route possible: Move back in with Mom & Dad. It won’t be new, but the lasagna will be delicious.
You may have heard that employers value time spent abroad. While true, this also depends on whether you desire an average or extraordinary career. Average means safe, and safe means better. With this in mind, land that office job at 22 and stay there until you retire. If you wait until you’re 23 or 24 every possible job opportunity will be gone and it will feel like you’ve returned to a post-apocalyptic job market. While that may be hyperbole, it also may not be. You only live once, so live a cubicle life of passion and inspiration.
Please Don’t Train our Competition
I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Asia is doing well economically. Why make it easier on them by educating the next generation? American students are falling behind their international peers in every category other than confidence. You’re needed on the home front to teach students a little about math and a lot about confidence.
America needs you and everyone knows that tests are biased against students who don’t care. As a compromise, if you insist on teaching abroad, only teach your students English, math and science. Just don’t instill them with our level of confidence.
America has Everything You Need
America is the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the Earth. Even our 51st state, Canada, is pretty awesome. You can find Budweiser abroad, but finding 24 packs can be a challenge. Why give all that up for a job teaching in China? Getting used to new cultural norms is challenging and may change your world view. You may come back wiser, smarter, more knowledgeable and more focused. That’s too big a risk. If you’re not from America and want to visit, welcome. We have excellent internships in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Please speak American only. It’s a law, I think the 2nd Amendment. I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the 2nd Amendment lately, so I assume that’s what they’ve been talking about.
Based on the above scientific evidence, I think we can agree that teaching abroad is challenging, inspiring, life changing work. If that sounds intimidating, it should. Don’t push yourself too hard. It’s the easy things that make life worth living. Also, Honey Boo Boo airs at 2pm China time, which is right in the middle of your work day. We encourage you to actively and passionately embrace apathy. I know you’re saying, “That sentence was an oxymoron.” OK, but do you really have to call me a moron? You have a choice: 1) Meaningful, Life Changing Adventure 2) The Water Cooler. It’s up to you to make the right choice. Right? Right!?
P.S. - don't get any ideas that studying abroad or volunteering abroad won't ruin your life too.