5 Reasons to Teach Abroad Alone
Traveling to a new country for six months or a year sounds intimidating enough – but going completely on your own? It sounds terrifying – crazy even. You don’t know the language, you don’t know where to stay, you don’t know who to go to for help if you need it.
As scary as it was though when I moved to Taiwan, I didn’t know a single person in the country. A couple years later, I had a group of some of the closest friends I’d ever met in my life. I don’t regret for an instant deciding to teach abroad alone, and here’s why:
You have a chance to find out who you really are
Alright, the idea of finding yourself through travel might be a cliche, but cliches only exist because there’s some truth behind them. When you travel abroad alone, you have a chance to get away from all of the expectations that people have about who you are, what you like, what you do, what you eat…
You have the chance to just be you – Finding out just who that is when you are completely starting over on your own is an incredibly valuable part of teaching abroad alone.
You’ll have more chances to practice your language skills
One of the best things about teaching abroad is the way that it forces you outside of your comfort zone, and forces you to put forth some serious effort to communicate and connect with people from a very different culture.
When you travel with someone that you can talk to in your native language, it’s easy to fall back on that – and easy to miss out on some great friendships and relationships, and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn a language by immersion.
You have the freedom to choose how to spend your time abroad
There are so many different places that you can go to teach English abroad, and so many ways that you can spend your free time.
If you teach abroad alone, there will be no one influencing your choice of country or city, no one dragging you out to clubs at night when you’d rather get up early for a hike the next morning; there will be no one to try to convince you to take a trip with them to Hong Kong when what you really want to do is spend a week in a remote village somewhere in northern Thailand.
You have the freedom to trust your gut, and follow where it tells you to go during your time overseas
You’ll learn independence and self-reliance
When you’re freaking out because you can’t figure out how to order dinner, or you get yourself totally lost trying to read the bus schedule in a foreign language, it might be comforting to have someone always standing beside you to help you through it.
Working through those tough times on your own, though, is one of the ways that living abroad builds self-reliance and independence. And the mindset and skills that you will learn from those experiences will stay with you through the rest of your life.
You’ll form much deeper friendships
Being far from home, seeking out adventure, dealing with the challenges of a completely unfamiliar environment, and often feeling a little bit lonely – these are the things that bonds us travelers together.
We reach out to one another because we understand that in this situation more than any other, there is such a deep need for meaningful connections and friendships.
We support each other through the culture shock and stomach bugs and adventures gone awry, and through it all, we form bonds that will last a lifetime. Moving abroad with someone can shield you from the discomfort, fear, and loneliness that often comes with living abroad alone – but those are exactly the things that form deep bonds and bring us together.
Are you traveling abroad alone? Have you done this in the past? If you would like to add anything here then let us know in the comments below.