Graduation has come and passed for many University students. Some may have jobs, others still on the quest for that ‘perfect job.’ From my personal experience I have learned that it’s difficult for any new college graduate to understand what the ‘perfect’ job for them really is. I thought I knew what I wanted, but in reality, how can anyone know without experience.
One thing I did know my senior year of college is that I wanted to travel or live abroad. I asked everyone I knew graduating if they wanted to go anywhere… no one was willing to take the leap with me. I craved something different, but I lacked confidence to do something by myself at the time.
2 jobs and 1 1/2 after graduating, I had now gained confidence to do something different. I was extremely dissappointed with my ‘real world’ experience. I was told by many people(even books) that once I was making good money in a career path I would never want to leave. How wrong that was for me. After getting a taste for the corporate life, I couldn’t wait to start running in the other direction. Money doesn’t seem that great when you don’t enjoy your life.
So 1 1/2 after I graduated, I quit my job and moved to Spain. People always asked me ‘Why Spain? I replied, ‘Why not?’
I didn’t know anyone in Spain nor did I speak the language, but I signed myself up for a TEFL course in Seville, Spain and planned to take each day as it came.
It took longer than I thought to release all the attachments to working and making money than I had thought, but as time passed my pace of life slowed down. Not by Spanish standards of course, but my view on the world had completely changed. I had lived away from everything I had ever known without any study abroad support. My time abroad and traveling was not all fun and games like many people think, but I’ve never learned so much about the world and myself before that point. I can’t imagine my life without the experience.
I think traveling or being an expatriate is a great experience; Going alone can be even better. For the first time you don’t have to fit into anyone else’s box.
Want to go abroad? I taught English while in Spain and found out I really loved it. Teaching can be a fun and easy way for a native English speaker to be an expatriate.
Here are some useful websites in looking for English positions all over the world:
- Dave’s ESL Cafe
- Teach Abroad
- ESL Databank and Spoken Languages
- ESL Teachers Board
- ESL/EFL Job Seekers
- ESL Dirctory
With so many options, what do you choose? You really can’t make a bad choice. Any new cultural experience will teach you about others, the world and most importantly yourself. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path.
Of course teaching English is just one of the options. Look for future posts to find resources for more options no matter where you are in your career.
And if you are looking for a cultural experience check out our Language Exchange Community to connect with someone in your city or on the other side of the world.