By Ken, Teacher in Warsaw

Hello everyone, it’s good to see you again! 


I have been lucky enough to have travelled to many places far and wide and also had the absolute pleasure of teaching in Tokyo as well as where I currently am, Warsaw. For me personally, travelling and teaching in other countries has been a life-changing experience and has definitely made me a much more rounded individual. In this blog I will be sharing with you wily watchers the wondrous world of teaching abroad. And with that horrendous attempt at alliteration out of the way, let me introduce to you why you should teach abroad. Starting with….


You only live once

(You might live more than once, depending on your religious stance. Anyway……..)

It might sound cheesy, but it’s true. Taking the deep dive into teaching abroad might seem scary, but it’s really exciting. The chance to submerge yourself into a rich tapestry of different cultural experiences is something that shouldn’t be missed and as aforementioned it’s made me a much more rounded individual. I have learnt so much on my travels, from my elementary school kids in Tokyo teaching me how to draw anime (which was AMAZING considering some of them were only 8!) to the present day where my Polish students tell me about Polish history and how the country has grown at an exponential rate ever since it had to be rebuilt after the Second World War. During my time teaching kids I learnt to be more open-minded and it really took me back to when I was a kid and made me realise how they see the world in a totally different light compared to us adults. It is an experience I will never forget and it taught me to be much more understanding and flexible in my teaching and thinking which has helped me tremendously in my teaching career and also my personal life also. (Also Japanese kids are adorable!) 


Broadening your horizons

Travelling and working in different countries made me realise that there are so many opportunities in life. It might sound dumb, but it really opened my eyes. In my experience it is VERY easy to settle down somewhere and not want to move and I feel a lot of people fall into this perceived trap. I’ve seen a lot of people end up in a dead-end job where they stay not because they want to, but because they feel they can’t do anything else and the longer they stay in the same routine, the harder it is to break. I would recommend everyone to work abroad at least once in their life just to escape and see what else there is on this precious planet! 



As a Scot this is a very appropriate word! 

If you’re fed up with slaving away for a corporate company that really couldn’t care less if you were alive or not then you may grow to love teaching abroad. I have worked for numerous companies in the UK and I ended up feeling trapped and smothered in the endless rat race which is a 9-5. Nowadays although I still work for a corporate company I can still teach whenever I want on my own terms. So yes, FREEEEDOOM! 


It’s hard to explain, but I feel much freer than I did back home in the UK. Maybe it’s my schedule, I’m not sure. If you’ve never taught or worked abroad this might sound strange, so you’ll just have to trust me! Working in another country has given me another lease of life. 


Food, glorious food

As a man who loves his food, living in other countries has exposed me to some absolutely wonderful delicacies such as okonomiyaki in Japan (a glorious mix of noodles, bacon, beansprouts and egg) and of course the lovely pillows of Poland that we call pierogi (in other words, dumplings). In between all of that I’ve been to Latvia, Italy, Spain, Germany and Sweden and tried each of their native dishes. It’s an adventure in itself! I never understood why you’d travel to other countries and just eat McDonalds, but hey, each to their own! I have to say, Japanese McDonalds is very interesting as it has a black burger which is coloured by squid ink. Never tried it as I’m not a fan of fishy things but still, it was a sight to behold! 


Stories to last a lifetime (and for lessons)

Not only will you have some amazing experiences that you wouldn’t experience in your home country, you’ll also be able to tell your students about different cultures and ways of living. This is particularly useful when you have lessons about varying cultural behaviours and mannerisms. My students are always interested when I tell them that Japan is a very conservative country and that despite their technological advances they still use cable internet and fax machines. Telling stories related to the lessons can really help enrich a student’s mind and really get them thinking and interested in what you have to say. It’s all fine and dandy being able to teach grammar effectively, but mixing it up and sharing cultural experiences really goes a long way in developing an interesting and engaging lesson.



As you probably have been able to tell, I am a HUGE advocate of teaching abroad! Of course it’s not all roses as you may have to deal with the language barrier and homesickness amongst other things, but it really is such an enriching and fulfilling experience that I wouldn’t swap for the world. The world is your oyster, and I guess it’s also your classroom too.


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