Teaching English overseas
A) Another chapter in my line of stop gaps bridging engineering and a presently unseen fate?
B) A stop gap in traveling, which is obviously the truest passion I have?
C) A new career. The end of the stop gap?
I have no clue.
I am most likely weeks from jumping on an airplane to a new country (surprise, surprise) — but with a different purpose. I have long thought about teaching as a way of surviving in this world. I have enjoyed my VERY limited amount of time teaching or explaining ideas to people and seeing how it betters the person’s understanding. The concept has intrigued me for years.
Why teach overseas and not in the US you may be asking? Many reasons. The heaviest three are: my love of learning about new cultures, the income you can save in specific countries teaching English as a native speaker, and the bureaucracy of teaching in the United States is well documented and a turn-off. I am likely headed to Asia, with South Korea being the most likely destination. Asia has many diverse cultures, which I have experienced so little of thus far. I can learn about a foreign culture, save money, and push myself mentally in a way I never have before with this new challenge.
I have been trying to solve a question I’ve been fighting with for years: I now know what I enjoy filling my days with thanks to travel, but what can I create a career out of in which I would enjoy the activity day in/day out. Many people in the US tend to find a career that maximizes income based on natural ability, and they then attempt to fill their off time doing the activities and enjoying the goods they bought with their wealth. My goal is different. I want my ~40 hours (or the amount of time necessary for a career) filled with something I enjoy consistently and when I leave the workplace, I fill it with more things I enjoy. That’s my ultimate goal: fill every waking hour with something I enjoy. Truly enjoy. The type of enjoyment where you don’t justify your actions based on money. I promise that most people would not be sitting in a concrete building staring at computers for 8+ hours a day if there weren’t a paycheck. Can I find a job where I would consider doing the job for free because I love it that much? That’s what I want eventually. Maybe it’s just a pipe dream, but I’m going to try.
Now, I don’t believe in permanence > meaning if I do end up teaching for the next five plus years, I am not suddenly a “teacher” unable to change careers. I will reevaluate fairly constantly, as I have been doing and figure it out as I go along.
However, I believe I know my ideal lifestyle – which is how you begin looking at what jobs may suit you: hiking in new places wherever I can. The problem with that as a job is: it is seasonal and unless you’re guiding tourists, it cannot be simply hiking; you need to pay attention and tend to many requests and situations.
I met an Austrian doctor on my jaunt in Patagonia who lived, to me, a brilliant life strategy: sign a one or two year contract doing something you love, enjoy your life during that contract, save like crazy, and take a break between new contracts to explore something new. This teaching job for me will be that. A year as a teacher in Asia, saving money, and then fleeing to India(?) and getting lost in what I hear is an incredible, unique and bizarre culture. The food is fantastic, the people are excessively nice or crazy, and the sights vary drastically from the Himalayas to the tropics on the ocean. I need to do some kind of epic hike next year, whether it’s in the Himalayas or on the West Coast of the USA. Following that, another contract? But as everyone knows, I rarely stick to a plan, so we’ll see.