Teaching abroad can be a fantastic way to enhance your communication and project planning skills whilst giving you an opportunity to travel and experience the culture of another country. If you’re interested, read our tips on how to get started.
Here Francesca de Munnich, who completed the MSc Gender, Development and Globalisation at LSE in 2015 and now works as Policy and Campaigns Officer at the charity Breast Cancer Now in London, shares her experiences of teaching English in Japan:
Having lived in the UK my whole life, I knew I wanted to move abroad for a new experience and to develop my skills once I graduated from university. I decided that teaching English abroad would be a great opportunity to do so and put into practice what I had learnt on my Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course a few years earlier.
Life as an English teacher
Moving to Japan to teach was incredibly challenging at first for a number of reasons: not being able to speak the language, being so far from home and living and working in a completely different and unique culture. Yet these turned out to be the aspects that made teaching English abroad such a fascinating experience. Once I arrived, I was warmly welcomed by my students, colleagues and neighbours alike and quickly settled into my new life and job. I taught full time at a high school and also visited a special needs school once a month. Both experiences were demanding yet rewarding.
I have many cherished memories from my year in Japan, both inside and outside work. Highlights included climbing to the summit of Mt. Fuji, watching sumo wrestling and geisha performances, as well as experiencing the myriad of weird and wonderful festivals. What was perhaps most memorable, however, was seeing my students grow in confidence and enjoy using the English language. I believe there is nothing more powerful than finding a way to connect with others and I hope that my former students will be inspired to use English, not just in their studies, but also beyond the classroom to communicate and see the world.
What I learned
Although I have not continued my teaching career, I draw upon the skills I developed whilst teaching abroad regularly in my work in the charity sector. Learning to be flexible and resilient in new work environments, communicating clearly and effectively with others and working with people from a variety of backgrounds have all been highly valuable in my professional and personal development and I cannot recommend the experience of teaching English overseas enough.