Monday, April 21, 2008

Part 2 of Teaching English Abroad: Three More Important Things You Didn’t Know About

Letters to the Author
According to many of the letters to the author that I regularly receive, there are more than a few misconceptions about what life is or is not supposed to be like when living abroad. In keeping with the increasing trend towards people moving abroad to retire, change their lifestyle, experience new cultures, get closer to their “roots”, and in general to improve their overall living conditions. As mentioned previously, such a move, while having a number of benefits, can be the proverbial double-edged sword. These are more of a few “Caveat Emptors” to be reckoned with.

5. Don’t Expect a Perfect World Abroad
Don’t expect a perfect world abroad because we don’t live in one. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that, but just in case, there it is in black and white. In many countries you would expect to have well-provided services, you’re in for a surprise. Power fails and stays off for days. Water outages can occur. Water that is available may not always be potable with additional steps on your part. Phone service may be sporadic or unavailable. Also expect it to be more expensive than you’re accustomed to. Traffic as illustrated in the video of Panama City in Panama below, may be a nightmare most of the day with transit and vehicle insurance laws usually being unenforceable.

6. If You’re a Minority, You WILL Be Discriminated Against
As I mentioned earlier, as if you didn’t already know, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Blacks, women, nationalities from certain countries, religious and ethnic group members and “senior citizens can all experience discrimination in some form or other. You can however, prepare for it and take steps to circumvent or avoid it. It’s much harder (but not impossible) to get an EFL teaching position if you’re over 50 or so, are black or of certain religious groups. The importance of having good, well-recognized credentials cannot be over-emphasized in this regard.

7. Start Learning the Local Language
Start learning the local language NOW, even before you get any further along towards your prospective destination or new home. Use dictionaries, language guides, a community college or language institute short course. Try video and audio tape series and whatever else you can dig up. Practice something in the language everyday from now on. Listen to local radio stations from your target country on the internet if need be. Get a private tutor for a short intensive series of practical language lessons. Make no mistake, you WILL need it. If you need to learn a foreign language really quickly and easily, check out my eBook HERE.

This is Not to Discourage You
This is not to discourage you from considering, then acting upon a deep-seated desire to live, work or travel abroad. You should be as well-informed as possible before the move. Take a short “pilot trip” if you can. Sniff around, meet people, check out the local and regional newspapers and telephone directories for leads and information. Get a local cell phone number. Don’t give up, just don’t be anymore of a “victim” than you might have to be otherwise. Have fun, enjoy and good luck in your new destination, wherever that might be.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title you want at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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