Getting paid to travel and paid to go on holidays are two totally different things. If you become an ESL teacher, you will still have to work. ESL teaching is merely a door that allows you to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time, allowing you to earn money during the week and travel a foreign land on the weekend.
Advantages and benefits of ESL teaching
- Traveling to a country and living in a country can be two entirely different experiences. Living and working in a country will allow you to get to know the culture much better and see/experience things the average tourist would never see/experience.
- It is relatively easy to land an ESL teaching gig. Some countries are harder than others, but if you do a basic TESOL course and/or have a tertiary level education (in anything, not necessarily English literature) you can land yourself a job without much hassle.
- The salary is enough to live a very comfortable life in the country you choose.
- This can be both advantage and disadvantage. You will have celebrity status at your school, and just like celebrities on TV, people will gossip about you. It's not something that has ever bothered me, but I don't try to keep every aspect of my life a secret. I feed co-workers and students positive things about me which I find directs gossip in positive directions.
Disadvantages and problems with ESL teaching.
- Culture shock - Chances are you will be in a foreign land surrounded by unfamiliar customs and a foreign language thousands of kilometers away from your friends and family.
- Xenophobia and discrimination - Some countries can be quite xenophobic and discriminatory, especially if you are black, overweight, have tattoos, are homosexual or are male (some countries prefer female teachers).
- Depending on the country you are working in, while the salary will be enough to enjoy a comfortable life in the country you choose, compared to back home you might be earning a pittance making it all the more difficult to pay off student debts or move home when older.
As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. Before you decide to make the jump, think long and hard about what it is you really want to achieve. Is it that you do want to travel, or just that you think life in your home country is boring. Life is what you make it. If you are from an amazing country like Australia and feel bored then the shine of a new country will wear off quickly and you will likely find yourself bored again in a matter of months.
So, think long and hard an ESL career. It is a great opportunity to get paid to travel, but it's not a holiday. You still have a job and responsibilities, but it can be path way to seeing the world and exploring new cultures.