I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this, but one of my goals in life is to teach abroad. Mind you, I’m not any kind of professional teacher. I have, however, been told on more than a few occasions that I have a gift when it comes to teaching and the passing on of knowledge.
I have friends who are international traveling English teachers. They travel from country to country — wherever they can find a teaching job at the time — and settle there for a while, teaching English and learning the local language and culture through immersion. They’ve led such rich lives! I can’t even properly imagine it.
These friends (Tony and Kira) have told me repeatedly that I should do the same as them. They say it’s a perfect job for me. The perfect lifestyle for someone who craves continual mental stimulation and learning experiences.
I’ve always been afraid to do it, though.
Why? I have no idea. Probably just a manifestation of my whole depressive/anxious state. I am terrified of change or of places and things I’m not already familiar with. The great contradiction thereto, however, is that I always CRAVE experiences and knowledge I’m not already familiar with! In the words of the great Johnny 5, “NEED INPUT.”
Specifically, I would love to travel to Argentina — where my aforementioned love interest, Gabriel lives — and teach there. It would be a great opportunity! I’d get to leave the US, travel, immerse myself in a foreign culture, work on my Spanish, teach students our language (for better or worse), and spend a couple of years with Gabriel.
Where is the downside in this? I sure as hell don’t see one!
(Potential downside: We spend some time with each other and it turns out he can’t stand me… thank you, anxiety. Where would I be without you?)
So how do I go about doing this?
Well… that’s the tricky part. You see, I need a certification to teach. The industry standard certification program is called CELTA, and it’s administered by Cambridge University. There is a super high-intensity version of the program, which I’ve looked into and have since renamed the “No thanks.”
The program is also available as a six-month part-time course, which would be much more manageable. There is a location near me (Philadelphia, about an hour and a half away) where I could take the program and get my certification. It costs about USD $4,500.00 (plus travel back & forth, parking, and other incidental expenses).
After getting certified, I’d then need to find a position in Argentina and relocate there — traveling as lightly as possible — to teach. English teachers there make a pretty middle-of-the-road living wage, enough to get by on. I could tutor on the side for extra cash, work on my books in my spare time (you know, whenever I’m not showering love and affection all over Gabriel) and self-publish them from there. I’d probably do a solid two-year teaching rotation down there.
What Comes After?
Well, many people fall in love with the teaching abroad thing and either stay in the country they’re in or move on from country to country. Some end up coming back home to the US after their first trip abroad. How can I even guess what I’d end up doing?
If things really work out with Gabriel & me, I’d either put down my roots in Argentina with him or bring him home to the US with me when I return. If I really love teaching but want to return to the US, I could always put the certification and skills to use here by teaching at community centers and libraries, helping immigrants to master our language. There’s always a use for it.
What’s Getting in the Way?
Right now, it’s money. I need to come up with the money to pay for the program, in addition to coming up with more money to catch up on my bills.
Can I do it? I’m not sure.
I think if I really try hard, and hit everything from the right angle, I might be able to pull it off. It’ll just take a while. (Queue the impatience… 3… 2… 1…)
In the meantime, send some positive vibes my way, will ya?