Jobs Icon Jobs Icon Jobs Tefl Icon Tefl Icon TEFL Tcp Icon Tcp Icon Teacher Certification Hire Teachers Icon Hire Teachers Icon Hire Teachers
teacher podcast blog banner for digital nomad episode with courtney brady

In This Episode of School of Talk


This episode features Courtney Brady. Six years ago Courtney decided to take a big leap. She sold all of her belongings and moved across the world to teach. It was THE best decision she’s ever made. Ever since that transition, she’s been on a personal journey of continued growth to create the lifestyle of her dreams. 

Today, Courtney is a teacher, blogger, traveler, digital nomad, holistic health advocate, and social media manager. She’s here to tell us a bit of her story and how teaching abroad propelled her into a world of freedom and adventure.

Episode Highlights:

Wondering how to become a digital nomad? Here’s how Courtney created the lifestyle of her dreams:

  • What inspired Courtney to sell her home, quit her job, and pursue a career teaching abroad
  • How Courtney prepared to teach abroad and found a job teaching overseas
  • The positive effects teaching in Asia had on Courtney’s life and sense of self
  • Simple ways aspiring travelers can learn about teaching abroad
  • Who to ask to get the best insight about visiting a new country
  • Follow Courtney on Instagram @journeywith.court

Sign up for a FREE information session about teaching abroad:

TEFL 101: How to Qualify to Teach English Online & Abroad

Episode 9 Transcript:

Intro: You’re listening to School of Talk. We’re creating a world where every child experiences the power of a great teacher. We believe education is the answer. It has the power to conduct change, improve lives, unlock ideas, create opportunities, and build connections.

It’s the single greatest investment we can make today to create a better tomorrow. That’s why we’re on a mission to train, inform and inspire educators around the world.

Each week, we dive into a topic related to education, teaching, and learning.

Whether you’re an educator by trade for an educator by spirit, we’ve got something for you. Open up your mind, and get ready to soak in some new learning.

Class is in session.

Today’s episode is brought to you by Teach Away.

Teach Away offers a full suite of services to schools, aspiring and current teachers from helping travel lovers get certified to teach abroad to offering international recruitment solutions for schools to providing world-renowned professional development courses.

Teach Away is here to create a world where every student experiences the power of a great teacher.

What inspired Courtney to sell her home, quit her job, and pursue a career teaching abroad?

Michelle: Today’s episode features Courtney Brady. Six years ago, Courtney decided to take a big leap. She sold all of her belongings and moved across the world to teach. It was the best decision she’s ever made. Ever since that transition, she’s been on a personal journey of continued growth to create the lifestyle of her dreams.

Today, Courtney is a teacher, blogger, traveler, digital nomad, holistic health advocate, and social media manager. She’s here to tell us a bit of her story and how teaching abroad propelled her into a world of freedom and adventure.

Courtney, thank you so much for being here with us today and sharing a bit of your story. I saw on your website that six years or so ago, you sold all your belongings and became a teacher.

Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Courtney: Yeah, I mean, first, thank you for having me here. Excited to talk about this today.

But yeah, it was it was roughly six years ago that I sold my home, I bought a home when I was 23 kind of was going after the normal, you know, successful or what’s to be, you know, the normal success in life, right, I was working at a bank, but I just knew there was something missing.

I’d always wanted to travel and go out and see the world. And the year prior to that, I had taken a trip to Vietnam, my first time overseas for a couple of weeks, where I volunteered teaching.

And I just fell in love with it and wanted to do it more. So as soon as I got back from that I immediately went into getting my TEFL certification.

And then it led up to me telling everything and getting a job teaching overseas.

Michelle: That’s very cool. And you mentioned volunteer teaching in Vietnam. What is that?

Courtney: So I just found a program online. I looked and it happened to be one that was where I ended up teaching English. There were some other opportunities you could do.

I always had wanted to go to Asia, because it’s so different from here, right. For me, that was my factor that kind of drew me into going there. And, yeah, and then we ended up- I didn’t quite know what I was teaching or what I was doing…and it ended up being with a massage school.

There’s a lot of people in Vietnam that are blind. And they unfortunately, don’t have some of the, you know, tools and things and resources that we have here as much. So we went into that little massage school and got to help them with their English because they often are, you know, working with tourists that come in and stuff like that. So they want to become better in being able to speak with them.

Michelle: Very cool. And and what age range was that? Was that adults? Or was that children that you’re working with?

Courtney: This one was mostly adults, but they did vary in age. So some of them were quite young, like 17, 18. I want to say up to you know, I think there was a couple that were even in their 40s. So quite a variety.

How Courtney prepared to teach abroad and found a job teaching overseas

Michelle: Wow, amazing. So then you fell in love with teaching. And then when you came back home, you decided to get TEFL certified. Is that correct? So did you do for for those that don’t know what a TEFL certificate is? Can you just explain that?

Courtney: Yeah, so it stands for teaching English as a foreign language. And I did mine fully online. I was still working at a bank. I was doing mortgages actually. So I was able to do it with a lot of flexibility. And yeah, it was like a three month program, had great courses. And I learned I learned a lot from it. But being able to like actually go in to, to the teaching into the classroom is where I definitely develop my skills more.

Michelle: And that’s typical of any time type of teaching program, give me you can kind of absorb all the knowledge that you can get your hands on. But then when you get there, it’s a whole other learning curve and usually learn as you go a little bit. That’s amazing. And so you got certified and where was the first place that you went to go teach?

Courtney: So I ended up getting a job in China. in Chengdu, to be specific, if you don’t know of it, it is it is this huge city known for the pandas. And I got a job with an organization there. And it’s a training school.

So it was like an after school weekend program, and I was working with very young kids there. So like ages, three to headspin, like up to 12 years old to quite a variety, but mostly like 3 to 6 year olds.

Michelle: Oh, that’s amazing. Very cool. And was it hard to get a job in a different country? Or did you find it was easy?

Courtney: Um, I kind of both. So this is my first time, right, and kind of not knowing what I was getting into. And there’s actually so much opportunity, I wouldn’t say it’s hard in the sense that you couldn’t get one I feel like anybody who, who is native in English, especially in Asia, they are in demand, right, they really are looking for people.

So I don’t think it’s hard to find one. But like finding the right one, because there are there are scams out there online, too, that I’ve run into as well. And so just being careful and feeling like it’s a place that you know, is going to fall through, especially when you don’t speak the language, and it’s a country that doesn’t speak a lot of English, you really want to make sure that you have help or, you know, you find the right program, the right school, that’s going to support you.

Michelle: Right. And I’m sure that there’s organizations, companies and things like that, that can help guide people. Because you know, moving to a different country in itself is a lot and then trying to find a job and do all of these other things, you want to make sure that you’re just set up properly, and that you are, you know, whatever you’re doing is like a trustworthy source and all that kind of stuff. So I’m sure that was a lot to take on.

And you said that you quit your job, working at a bank and you sold all your things like, was that decision something that you thought about for a very long time? Are you someone who does things on a whim? What went into that?

Courtney: I would say there was a mix of both. Not it’s not something I had thought about my whole life now. Or that I knew I wanted to do at high school or anything like that. It was just kind of this step where, you know, my 20s, like I said, I was kind of on this path to you know, what traditional, what you feel like you have to do, right?

You go to college, you get the normal job, you buy a house and, and all that. And I was in some relationships at the time to that, I think, kind of where I held myself back from going out and traveling and doing other things that maybe kind of I was a little bit drawn to so it wasn’t definitely something that I thought about for super long time. But it was on my heart for a while to go overseas and that’s what brought me to Vietnam.

When I started to volunteer, and then from there, it was pretty much like, then that’s kind of where this spontaneous became, that’s where I, you know, immediately signed up. And then, you know, a few months later, I put my house on the market. And we’re kind of just happened quickly, I would say But yeah, so maybe kind of a combination of.

The positive effects teaching in Asia had on Courtney’s life and sense of self

Michelle: right, very cool. Very cool. And what what were like some positive things or like good takeaways, I guess that you gained from that experience? What positive effect did it have on your life?

Courtney: There’s just I feel like the list is endless. I could probably go on and on. It’s definitely gave me just a whole new perspective on life and also myself just as a person, I kind of grew up very shy.

You know, quiet, I still am not the loudest person in the room, but it definitely helped me get to know myself better and what I’m capable of.

I gained so much confidence, you know, not only I mean, being in a different country, I mean, that takes a lot and I didn’t know anybody didn’t know the language that showed me my kind of resilience and ability to adapt but also teaching, you know, brought me a lot of confidence too, you know, standing in front of a classroom of kids…that didn’t know what I was saying!

So yeah, I mean, there’s just, there’s so much more that I could say that I gained from me, I gained a family of friends that were that I taught along with that live around the world, I made local friends to and really got to connect with a culture so different than my own. Those are some of the top things, but there’s so much more.

Michelle: Oh, it’s amazing. Yeah, I think a lot of people that I speak to that talk about traveling to talk about this feeling of resilience that have helped build within them, because it’s scary, like moving anywhere, let alone to a different country, by yourself, even with somebody, it’s very intimidating.

And I think maybe proving to yourself that you can do it and surviving, it’s like, oh, wait a second, like, on the other side of the world, there’s just people, just like me, and, you know, even if there’s a bit of a language barrier, you realize that it’s actually not as scary as you might create it to be inside your head.

So that’s very cool. And you should be very proud of yourself for doing that.

What are some other countries that you’ve lived in or taught in since this big move?

Courtney: So I’ve been to, I want to say 15 or 16 other countries. From when I went to Vietnam, that was my first time overseas. You know, I’d been to Canada, Mexico, but it was my first time really traveling. So I’ve done a lot since then.

And the only other country that I actually technically lived in was Singapore. That was my latest teaching job. I worked all through the pandemic. So that was interesting. You know, being somewhere.

And then I did travel a little bit in between those two, and I was teaching online for a while while I did that. I also did some work exchanges, where I stayed with a family in Turkey for a few months. And, you know, technically I was kind of living with them. And then I was teaching, kind of tutoring their son English in exchange for that, too. So I’ve kind of stayed longer term in some countries, but technically, I’ve just lived in Singapore.

Simple ways aspiring travelers can learn about teaching abroad

Michelle: Wow, very, very cool. And do you have any advice for somebody that might be considering making a move like you did?

Courtney: Go for it. If you’re thinking about I think it’s, it’s just so much that you gain personally. And also, I don’t know, it’s just it can be very life changing. It’s so much different than just traveling. I mean, traveling and experiencing other countries is amazing, too. But actually living somewhere else is just completely different experience that you have to learn how to rent an apartment, pay your bills, where to get food, you know, all these kinds of things in somewhere that’s just completely foreign.

I just think, like I said, you can just gain so much confidence within yourself and learn how much you’re capable of. And, you know, just teaching in general, I think is, even if it’s not something you want to do forever, I feel like you gain so many skills that can just be transferred, through anything that you end up doing with your career or in life.

Michelle: Yeah, that experience, those soft skills that you gain as a teacher are so transferable. It’s honestly, like, it’s more of an investment in yourself in your own career than anything else.

Because if you can say that, like, Hey, I’ve taught English to 15 year olds in a different country like that, to me is someone who is resilient, is confident, is organized. So there’s lots of other skill sets that come with that. So pretty cool.

What would you say is the hardest thing about living in teaching abroad? In your experience?

Courtney: Um, good questions. There’s definitely a lot of little things that can be tough. Definitely, I mean, being away from family and friends back home that’s always gonna, I think, be a challenge. But I will say that there’s so much support and you will find people that become family.

The differences in culture, you know, that really depends on where you go of how much difference that might have compared to where you used to, but I think there’s always going to be some maybe little frustrations that you might run into or difficulties where you have to, you know, learn and adapt and luckily with like technology and things like that, there are a lot of tools to help support you in that, which is good. And yeah, I would say those are the top two things. Yeah, just missing people back home and, you know, just having to be open minded to those changes you’re gonna run into are those differences?

Who to ask to get the best insight about visiting a new country

Michelle: Totally. And you said that you found community? Wherever you were based on like, the tools you were teaching at? Is it? Was it easy to make friends? Or did you become friends with the other teachers? Or did you join some sort of communities? Like, how did you make friends overseas?

Courtney: That’s a good question. I’ve had some different experiences. So in China, I happen to just, when I arrived there, there was 12 other teachers that started at the same time as me. None of us knew each other, there was like two couples that came one or two, that came together, they did.

Other than that everyone, you know, was in the same boat. And we all just kind of joined together became a family just immediately from day one. So that was really special. We spent holidays together. And there were other teachers. And then I also met other teachers through that same company, because it was big, there’s a lot of schools.

So that was quite easy when I was in China. There were also local teachers that worked with us, made good friends with them.

When I was traveling by myself, it wasn’t always quite as easy. And then also in Singapore, I came in kind of by myself, and there wasn’t as many teachers my age or were that were new. I was kind of like solo trained and kind of just thrown into it.

So I thought that one I did make friends with teachers as well. But I also kind of had to put myself out there a little bit more.

Finding groups, there’s great Facebook groups you can usually find for cities that you’re in for expats and things like that.

So kind of just being not being afraid to find stuff like that and put myself out there helped me meet people even outside the school, too.

Follow Courtney on social media

Michelle: It sounds like if you’re open to meeting people, there are people around that you can kind of like engage with it’s just, it’s a little bit of a mental block, kind of just making sure that you are opening yourself up to those experiences, too. That’s fantastic.

Is there like one message or recommendation or something that you would like to leave the audience with today?

Courtney: Um, I would say, you know, if it’s something you’re thinking about, and you’re still unsure, reach out to someone and ask questions, whether, like you said, there’s organizations that help people to find jobs, you know, use one of those, they usually have people you can talk to, or, you know, I’ve had people just DM me on Instagram just to ask me questions about my experience.

And I was happy to share. There’s a lot of blogs out there. So that’s one thing you know, reach out and ask for help.

If you’re just still kind of uncertain if it’s right for you do a lot of research as well on the city or country that you’re planning to go to: what are some tips, you know, what is it like to live there, you can find other just general expat blogs of, you know, people’s true experiences.

I think when you take time to look at these things, you can put your mind at ease a little more and kind of help you see is this the right place and the right thing for me.

Recommended reading:

Michelle: I love it. That is great advice. Thank you so much for being here, Courtney. Is there a place that our audience can find you online?

Courtney: Yeah, so probably the best place is Instagram. And yeah, like I said, if if it’s something you’re thinking about doing, I’m happy to answer questions.

Michelle: That’s awesome. Thank you so so much. Thank you.

Thanks again to Teach Away for sponsoring today’s episode.

If you’re interested in teaching abroad, if you absolutely love to travel, or if you’ve been cooped up in your home for the last year and a half and are itching for an adventure, Teach Away can help you see the world while teaching English abroad.

They’re hosting an information session that will explain to you how you can teach English online or abroad. And by signing up for the session, School of Talk listeners will receive a 20% off coupon to use toward one of Teach Away’s internationally recognized TEFL courses.

So head over to to learn more about teaching and living abroad and find out where teaching can take you.

Outro: Thank you for listening to this episode of School of Talk. If you enjoy today’s episode, be sure you subscribe to the podcast. If you love today’s episode share this with a friend. Class is dismissed!


Sign up for a FREE information session

TEFL 101: How to Qualify to Teach English Online & Abroad

Recommended for you: