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5 things I will do better next time I teach abroad

Students

Nothing in life is perfect; we all know that to be true. There are always regrets, and the "what if" scenario is something we always consider. This list is most certainly not a list of regrets, rather a list of future goals for the next opportunity I have to teach abroad.

1. Spend more time in my local community

This one is huge. While living abroad, I was so focused on seeing as much as I could see that I missed out on so much by not spending time in my local community. Next time I teach abroad, I plan to take full advantage of the amazing opportunity to make myself a part of the community I live in. Tourists never get to do that!

2. Be more of an adventurous eater

This one I got back and forth on. Do I wish I had eaten a snake’s heart and blood immediately after it was killed when I had the chance? No, I am not disappointed that I chose not to do that. I do, however, wish I could go back and be more open-minded to trying everyday delicacies that I passed up at the time. While living abroad, do as the locals do – and that means trying everything, whether you like it or not!

3. Give my students more attention

Teaching abroad is not the same as traveling abroad, or even studying abroad. This is something I learned very quickly when I started teaching, but not something I really considered before. The main reason to teach English overseas is to help give your students the skills to have more opportunities in life. I am not a qualified teacher – I had no experience in the classroom before going overseas (I did get TEFL certified, which helped a lot!). I did the best I could, but I always wish I had done more for my students. Years later I don’t know exactly what “doing more” for them looks like, but I hope to find out one day!

4. Spend less time being mad and annoyed at things I can’t control

I don’t know about you, but I am not all smiles all the time! I try to have a positive outlook on life as often as possible, but I definitely get mad and annoyed at times! Next time I teach abroad, I hope not to get irritated or angry at things that are completely out of my control, and really not a big deal. Things will go wrong, that is inevitable, and if the situation at hand is not life-threatening, it is a small problem that can probably be easily resolved. I wish I had this mentality the first time I taught abroad and will strive to have it next time I do. 

5. Be prepared that life will not be the same afterwards 

Everyone tells you that you are not the same person after living abroad, and I truly didn’t believe that until it happened to me. I wish I was more prepared to be antsy all the time to go abroad, and I will always be planning my next adventure before my current one was done. As is life, my friendships and relationships changed after being 6,000 miles away for three years. However, I became independent, open-minded, and adaptable from my time teaching abroad, and I am so grateful for that. I only wish I had embraced these changes sooner. Next time I teach abroad, I will be even more open to the personal changes I am bound to make.

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