By: Vera Dedyulya
The very first time I thought about teaching English abroad, it seemed almost an impossible challenge to accomplish. But as you know, nothing is impossible if you try enough. Thus my dream about "far-off place" came way faster than I even got prepared for it. It was literally an incredibly rapid move. The day I went to a Chilean consulate in Toronto to apply for a working visa, I expected to get a final decision at least in 3-4 days (maybe a week, or even longer). Can you imagine my surprise when I was told the visa would be stamped in 40 minutes? 40 minutes! My so far unbeatable time frame of documents' procedure. Now I was sure that Chile and I were meant to meet each other and enjoy this journey of a lifetime.
To make my long Chilean tale shorter: I found the job in the capital of Atacama Dessert - Copiapo city, in the high school for kids at risk (yes, living in the driest desert in the World didn't seem challenge full enough to me). During my one year service, I traveled far and beyond the country: experienced earthquakes, saw a blue whale, tried lots of local cuisines and danced the Cueca, even hiked the mountains and visited the Machu Pichu Inca city.
The only thing that frightened me more than a possibility to get caught by a volcano eruption (thanks to the Universe, it only "smoked"), was the thought of "What shall I do when I return home?"
Well, returning home and going through a "recovery" period - it's tough. You miss too many people and the endeavour way of life too much. Nonetheless, with time I've found some fascinating things and hidden powers of how to escape the tedious office job. For example:
1) Social media and content writing:
Yes, yes, correct. During your service, you, for sure, explored the local culture, traditions, food, and have seen breathtaking views and sceneries. And if you managed to post everything right away - you are my hero, as even though I have lots of media materials, I never had time to share it all on the go. I was just too fascinated with living the life.
Moreover, don't tell me you did those boring classes with no icebreakers and games - definitely, you planned the most engaging English lessons ever. So, it means you already have great content to share and skills to create it. Most importantly - this is your time to influence & motivate future ITA Alumni (and make it easier for them to get ready to the journey).
2) Back to school:
In my personal experience of working with kids ”at risk”, my eyes got "opened" with an entirely new world and passion for teaching and social work. I still remember how happy my Chilean teenagers got when I organized a pizza party with Pokemon trivia for them, or how excited they were to participate in the World traveling challenge (my classroom management system) and help me decorate our English room.
I think a lot about them coming and asking to stay in the class with me because they didn't want to go home or were afraid to. This experience has influenced me more than I could ever have imagined, and I am happy I was able to provide these kids with a safe environment they could enjoy. Thus, I'd love to go back to school and transition this experience into a new exciting career.
3) More work opportunities:
Being a teacher means acquiring a superhero role. Now you are capable of managing any job not limited to being a student, advisor or tutor, coordinator, working for a non-for-profit sector. Even organization, hospitality, and administrative work - anywhere you go, your multitasking talent and patience developed during your teach-travel experience is worth a gold medal.
4) More teaching:
Please, note that the market is moving from offline to online English education. Thus, you can teach from any part of the world, and not only English. Let’s say your first education is:
Economics - you can explain statistics
Linguistics- teach how to write a persuasive essay/ cover letter/ pitch
Marketing - define what a strategy is and how to out-beat the competition;
IT - how to write a website
And so on and so on - possibilities are limitless.
Note: It's a great opportunity worth using, as the prognosis tells us that by 2021-2023, the online market will grow significantly. What means all the specialists that work from offline will move to the online sphere. This is why it’s better to enter the market now then compete with an even higher number of specialists.
5) Off for a new journey: steady-ready-fly.
If you are not ready to settle down yet, plant a tree and build a house, then why not continue exploring this wonderful world? I am more than sure that my journey hasn't finished yet; I am eager to meet even more friends and get to know even more places.
So, here I go!
Vera Dedyulya is 27 years old from Toronto, Canada, with an associate's degree in Hotel Management. She has already changed her born-at-city for new adventures twice (firstly moved to Lithuania, then to Canada) before taking the new challenge of teaching English in Atacama desert, Chile.