Wanted: intrepid explorers…adventurers with a thirst for different cultures…must be willing to taste new and exotic foods…have a deep and friendly smile…age unimportant…you choose your working hours but remember to leave enough time to travel, an instant social life filled to the brim with colorful people who will genuinely try to make your life as easy as possible and you’ll even get paid!
That would be my perfect job advert and I guess it’s one that I have replied to many times over the last 13 years.
You see, my ability to speak English to other people has opened lots of doors for me. It has been my passport into many beautiful countries and has allowed me to fulfil my passion for travel beyond my wildest dreams.
Back in the day—before the Internet and all this social networking—teaching English abroad was a well-kept secret, coveted by a select bunch of hardened travelers who didn’t seem willing to share their knowledge…and who could blame them.
Skip forward 20 years and teaching English abroad has got to be one of the easiest ways to integrate into a new society. You can find a job on the Internet before you travel or just turn up in a new country and begin your search…it won’t take long before you find that perfect vocation.
Personally, I like to get off the beaten track when I teach English. Sure head for the main tourist destinations and you’ll find an abundance of work and willing students but if you really want to explore the culture then follow my lead.
Loja in Ecuador is a real treasure. The locals are very friendly but ever so conservative and shy so don’t be surprised if you become a novelty in that city. People will welcome you with open arms because they are not that used to seeing foreigners. It’s a great place to begin your new career as there are two universities and plenty of schools and I don’t think I met another English teacher during my whole stay. Loja has a vibrant music scene and a café culture where people pass the time. It’s easy to find accommodation, the streets are safe, and the bus terminal—located north of the city center on Av. Gran Colombia e Isidro Ayora—is a great way to explore the rest of Ecuador and the north of Peru.
If you’re not too busy traveling in your spare time, Loja is also a great place to learn or improve your Spanish. The accent is quite slow and very clear and hiring a private teacher will only cause a very small dent in your pocket.
Loja would also appeal to older travelers who want to teach English as the pace of life is not frantic and rushed but more customary and the locals respect their elders.
I really do hope some of you lucky readers get to experience this fantastic way of life and remember, that plane ticket is only a few keystrokes away.
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