Some people who head overseas to teach English grow to love the lifestyle so much that they never return to work in their home country. However, for the majority, the move back home will come at some stage, whether after a single year or much longer. For some it can be a difficult experience as you are no longer the person you were when you first left home. Everything can feel different, from the everyday language to the time zone, from the climate to the cuisine. Reverse culture shock can be genuinely unsettling. One way you can combat this, and continue the international focus of your new found way of life, is to find a job that allows you to use the new skills and knowledge that your time abroad has given you.
Can I carry on teaching English in my home country?
One obvious step for many teachers is to simply continue working as an English language tutor. If you live in or near any relatively large city you are likely to find language schools and community colleges that offer English lessons to foreign students, immigrants or refugees etc. With overseas experience and a TEFL/TESOL qualification, the chances of finding a suitable job are high. In recent years the demand for online English lessons has really boomed meaning you can also work from home teaching students from all over the world. Some teachers even go on to set up their own language school or online teaching business.
Can I join a non-profit or volunteer organization?
Depending on where your overseas teaching took you, you may have experienced life in environments that are less advantaged than your home country. This personal insight is highly sought after by a wide variety of organizations that work in developing nations across the world. If you have experience working in a diverse, multicultural environment and are keen to give something back to the wider society, this could be a very fulfilling option for you. Many of the skills learnt while teaching abroad are highly transferable which opens up all sorts of possibilities in this field.
Can I work in the travel industry?
If you found that your favourite part of your teaching adventure was the adventure rather than the teaching, you could consider the travel industry. If you wrote a blog during your travels, or simply have a way with words, then travel writing is a career that comes in many different forms. You might have to start off contributing work for free initially, but with hard work and a bit of patience you could well find the perfect job. Another option is to look towards travel agency work. There are plenty of high street and online agencies that are looking for experienced travellers to fill a variety of positions.
Will my cultural awareness & language skills help me find a job?
If you have spent a considerable time in one country you might find opportunities for work with organizations that have a connection to it. Embassies, consulates and international companies are often looking for people who have a good understanding of their culture and experience of living in it. If you also picked up a good standard of the local language during your stay then your options are even greater in this field. Potential opportunities include translation and interpretation, foreign language instruction, support roles for international students, recruitment and many more.
Should I go back to school?
Your time away from home might well have changed the way that you see the world and your future within it. Heading back to education to gain higher qualifications that allow you to widen your job opportunities is certainly a viable option. If teaching is now in your blood, gaining a Masters or Phd in TESOL, linguistics, or something similar will open the door to higher paying education jobs at home or abroad. If you have had enough of teaching, there are plenty of other educational avenues available where your international experience will stand you in good stead.
Can teaching English abroad be a long term career?
It is not unusual for returning teachers to quickly have a rethink and decide that they aren’t ready to stop just yet. Every qualified teacher with previous overseas teaching experience is in a great position to land another job in the country of their choice. You could head back to the familiarity of where you have already been, or even better, try somewhere new that will further broaden your experience and offer a whole new set of adventures. A long-term career in overseas teaching is entirely possible, particularly if you invest in higher level teaching qualifications such as a Diploma in TESOL or a DELTA certification course. Another good option is to use your experience and move into teacher training or writing teaching materials etc.