Heading to a foreign country to teach English has long been the first taste of life abroad for many a young person fresh out of college, but now it’s a popular route for people of all ages.
Wisconsin native Colleen Hyde headed to Jeju Island, South Korea to teach when she was 33. “Jeju has a subtropical climate, beautiful beaches, a volcano (Mt. Halla), and a culture that is unique from the mainland,” she says.
“I fell in love with the photos of orange groves and cherry blossoms.” Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) jobs are available in virtually all countries where English is not the first language. Teaching gives you a chance to earn money while experiencing a new culture, with time to travel and explore your new corner of the world.
“I was an English major in college and had always thought that I would teach in the future,” Colleen says. “I also wanted to travel more and live in different cultures.”
Colleen spent every weekend exploring Jeju, from hiking on extinct volcanoes and discovering secluded beaches, to taking in the many colorful festivals. “One of my best memories was attending the Jeju Fire Festival and getting to set the mountain on fire with a torch along with my sister and friends,” she says. “It was magical!”
Asia, with its huge and young population and intense emphasis on education as the path to prosperity, is the number one destination for those seeking to teach English abroad. English is the language of commerce. They know they need it to get ahead.
More people like Colleen—over 30, 40 or older—are looking for opportunities to teach English as a second language overseas. Asian countries tend to pay better than European countries, particularly when considering the cost of living. It’s a good way to put some money aside while waiting for a pension or Social Security to kick in, or add to your nest egg.
For example, a public school ESL teacher in the English Program in Korea can make from $2,000 to $3,000 a month (depending on the exchange rate and certification level) and more at the university level.
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