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By Steven Sanders

Although I enjoyed teaching in the UK, I was always first out of the school gates with my passport in hand whenever the winter, Easter or summer holidays would come around.

After spending two years flitting between my two passions, I decided the best approach would be to simply combine them and teach abroad. I researched available positions and accepted a teaching position in Italy. The image of the country’s famous art and cuisine made handing in my resignation easier.

It’s important to understand that teaching in another country isn’t always just a smooth transition into a new job, however, it has always been these potential banana skins that fueled my desire to explore the wold. I began to see the positive aspects of uprooting.

I always enjoyed fully immersing myself into new surroundings, even when on vacation, and the thought of progressing with a new language and becoming a familiar face in a foreign place was something I thrived on.

Anywhere in the world, rural or urban, you can find ways to immerse yourself into your local community through being socially involved, and many schools are open to ESL teachers setting up extracurricular activities in something you are passionate about: sports, the arts, knitting – you name it!

Committing time to learning the local language will always have its benefits, and can be another source of motivation to pry you away from expat clubs or western movies and music.

Aside from this, it’s important to remember that teaching abroad is not a vacation, and the students – as well as the school – need a teacher who is enthusiastic and dedicated.

Combining this desire with the advice above will see you reap the rewards that ESL teaching offers, and allow you to feel part of where you live, and not just a temporary figure dreaming about home comforts.

Steven Sanders is a Placement Coordinator at Teach Away. Sanders taught English in Italy and Bolivia.


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