Feeling Stuck? Why You Should Teach Abroad After Graduation

Now several months have passed since you graduated college. All your classmates and friends are applying for jobs and starting their careers, but you’re still searching.

Slowly but surely, the questions start creeping in. “Did I pick the right major?” “Do I have enough internships?” “Is this what I really want to do with the rest of my life?” “Where DO I see myself in five years?!”

How do I know? That was me two years ago.

Do You Really Want that 9-5 Yet?

thought I had it all figured out. I would graduate and start a career in International Education. I’d get a job at an amazing company in Washington DC, helping Americans study abroad in “non-traditional locations”. I’d decorate a cute apartment, work the 9-5 and save up for the inevitable costs of being an adult.

As a chronic overachiever, I’ve had the “American Dream” beaten into me since birth. I always studied hard and worked harder. I would overload myself with internships and activities to get into the best college and find the perfect job. But when everyone was applying for jobs and accepting graduate school offers, I couldn’t help but feel trapped. My worst fear was getting my dream job.

I was so afraid that I would find an amazing job with a fantastic company and never leave. I was so worried that I would never see the world. I didn’t want to spend all my hard-earned money decorating an apartment and buying a car. I wanted to explore Tibet, backpack Southeast Asia, and experience expat life in China.

So that’s precisely what I did.

teach abroad

My students and I on Halloween

While I don’t normally talk about the posts I write on other sites, I really wanted share this one with you guys. I’m a staff writer for a website called Go Overseas, where I write monthly articles on teaching abroad and travel in Asia.

I know I’ve mentioned many times, that teaching English is a great way to fund your travels around the world. However, money isn’t the only thing you’ll gain.

So whether you’re feeling trapped by the American Dream, or you’re panicking because you haven’t found a job for next year, relax, and get a job teaching abroad. As someone taught English abroad after graduation, here are my reasons why:

Don't rush into the 9-5, try teaching Abroad for a few years before you settle down

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1. You’ll Have More Independence in Work and Life

Contrary to what everyone tells you growing up, most people don’t have an amazing job immediately after graduation. Many recent graduates get jobs as receptionists or waitresses while they apply for graduate school or search for other jobs. Inherently, your lack of job experience puts you at the bottom of the food chain. Teaching, on the other hand, allows you to immediately take charge of a classroom and in many ways be more of your own boss than you would elsewhere.

Furthermore, you’ll be more independent financially. Lots of people move back home for a few months, and rely on their parents to help them through the first year. It’s actually pretty rare for anyone to be on-track to their “dream job” immediately after graduation.

Teaching abroad as a salaried professional, you’ll be able to immediately support yourself post-graduation. I was proud to be living on my own, debt free, paying for everything myself. It felt good to have a job with a salary. It was a feeling of accomplishment I’d never felt before.

ESL Teacher China

My students on Sports Day

If you’re having trouble securing a job that will support you, consider teaching abroad. Many programs will give you free housing and discounted meals in addition to a full salary.

Not to mention, teacher salaries are normally more than enough to afford a comfortable living in your host country — meaning you won’t be counting coupons every month while you wait for your next paycheck. You’ll also have extra money you can put towards paying off those student loans before they accumulate too much interest.

2. See the World While You’re Still Young

As a young twenty-something with no real commitments now is the perfect time to see the world! The older you get, the harder it becomes to leave everything behind. Slowly, the commitments and excuses accumulate until suddenly you wake up and you’re married with kids and a mortgage.

There will never be a perfect time to move abroad. There will always be something holding you back, whether it’s family and friends, a relationship or maybe even furniture and car you don’t know what to do with. If living abroad is something you’ve always dreamed of doing, now is as easy as it will ever be.

I have met so many older travelers who have quit their 9-5 jobs to travel the world. A common theme among all these older backpackers is that they wished they took the time to travel the world when they were young. These people followed the beaten path and realized ten years down the road that they were missing something. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “You’re so smart! I wish I would have been brave enough to live abroad in my twenties!” Learn from them.



About Richelle

Expat, traveler, and spicy food lover, I've spent the last few years living in China and traveling around Asia. In my spare time I enjoy salsa dancing, exploring night markets and stuffing my face with street food.

4 comments on “Feeling Stuck? Why You Should Teach Abroad After Graduation

    • I definitely agree, teaching abroad is a job. I just think so many people rush into the first gig they can find at home, when they could have a more meaningful position abroad, and travel in their spare time!

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