Western millennials and Gen Z teachers have less opportunity in comparison their parents or their International counterparts in Asia and Middle East. Fact.
Recently a good friend of mine took the 'leap' to teach internationally at a reputable school in Doha, Qatar. As I have worked Internationally since the age of 16 in Asia and the Near East, I found his family's apprehensions and perception towards living and working outside the UK at first comical but then rather disheartening.
"They pay you so well, because their country isn't safe"
"Just watch yourself, you can't trust people abroad, especially when it comes to money"
"Are you sure it's legitimate? I don't see why you can't just work here for a bit"
For context; we come from a typical small town in the North of England, which is on the map for a crooked church spire which we built wrong during the Black Plague which we now all celebrate as ingenious engineering. Typical.
Here, you would be considered lucky to find a job paid more than £22,000 p/a. "But don't worry!", they say, there is zero possibility of jobs being "illegitimate", "untrustworthy" or "unsafe" here at home - really? How about over-worked, under-paid and disrespected?
The biggest 'mental bubble' which pops in most teacher's minds when they start teaching abroad is the perception that the International world has a poor quality of life in comparison to the West.
Fancy testing it out for a few weeks to see if it's for you? Well we run over 95 weeks of theatre workshops for many private schools all over the world. If you like it your brief experience of life abroad, we'd highly recommend a great company such as COBIS to help you transition from the UK daily grind to International work.
While this may be true for some unfortunate citizen's of countries with poor government regulation and state aid, I have yet to come across a Western teacher who hasn't asked "Why didn't I do this sooner?".
Perks of International Education
With International salaries starting at around £24,000 p/a, PLUS accommodation, air travel, visa & admin costs and food expenses included, I ask why is there still such a stigma around work beyond the shores on Britain?
International private school students are driven, well-behaved and on the whole a pleasure to teach as you see their respect for your occupation. Try asking an over-worked, underpaid teacher from the UK or USA state-system if this is their experience. I'm sure you can guess the answer.
What about lifestyle? Weather, the possibility of romance and fruits and vegetables which aren't shipped 10,000 miles to a preservative container to you are the start of the perks.
The real reason people turn down work abroad is because they are subconsciously afraid or have roots which are too set to be able to break from. These are the people who will attempt to deter you from leaving the West.
Your parents and family - the people you trust most - will have mostly have nothing but cautionary tales to discourage you from leaving them. But trust me, as soon as you are abroad and they become technologically literate with applications such as Whatsapp & Zoom, they will support you.
It is work first, holiday second
Working abroad does not mean weekly Ibiza-style parties in the sun 24/7. Strangely, as soon as Brits gets on board an aeroplane, many of them switch to from a stereotypical prudent British Lady or Gent to 'spring-break party-mode'. Westerners are recruited for their reputation of professional qualities, please don't spoil the trust that is placed in you.
Of course, it's important not to develop the classic 'Marco Polo Syndrome' - if you spend enough time in any country, naturally there are things which begin to rub you the wrong way. The food which at first was a delight becomes somewhat receptive and your craving for a 'Proper Yorkshire Brew' begins to grow. But isn't that what it means to become worldly-wise? But hey, if you're growing bored, there are always new countries to jet off to.
How it will help you to develop into a mature human being
When you do visit home again after a long period aboard, you will have developed a fabled fantasy of how life is in your country or city. You may, as I have, become patriot towards what the West does very well in comparison to the rest of the world.
Upon returning, however, you will see your home with a foreigner's eyes. You'll remember the all the reasons of why you had Wanderlust in the first place. It won't take long before you get itchy feet again and jet off to discover a new part of the globe.
I don't know about you but at the end of my life, I want to say that I drank life to the dregs. I want to understand why people from other cultures think differently to me, and then challenge and update my own belief system.
I want to take the best part's of all the countries, food, lifestyles and beliefs I experience and build them into an experiential portfolio which I can savour at my own pleasure.
Yes, as the world globalises and develops, there are still many things wrong with it. It can be "unsafe", if you are not conscious about how you behave.
But surely in this unprecedented time in human history, do you want to be someone who faced change and the challenges globalisation brings head-on?
Or do you want to stay in your little rainy town, just making enough money for those 2 weeks in the sun in Spain every year?
Do you want to forge change in the world for the better and spread the superb ideas of the West such as; Education, Freedom of Speech, expression, equal rights for all races and gender?
I know my friend will be doing, how about you?