Teach English abroad. If you’re tired of the corporate wasteland and if the end is more important than the means (if being there is more important than getting there) maybe a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) job is a good option for you. Let me guess, ever since you saw The Last Samurai you’ve been dying to live in Japan. Make it happen. There are loads of resources out there for those who want to give TEFL a shot.
What do you need to do? First, you have to have a university degree. The great thing is that it doesn’t matter what subject. Even people with useless Liberal Arts degrees (like me) can get in. Second, you’ll need TEFL certification. Find out the hows and whys in Confused About How to Choose a TEFL Course and Why to do a TEFL Course?
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So, those are the basics. How are you going to hack it for a year out of your element? You’ve got to be one of those people who puts the “p” in personality, not only for student interaction but also for your time off. If you’re too shy to make friends or don’t want to go out and LOOK for the other English speakers in your area, you probably aren’t going to have much fun.
Can you adapt to the local culture? You’ve got to do a little soul searching to answer this one. Your accommodations may or may not be up to your western standards. Can you live with that? The hardest thing for me when traveling overseas is the lack of food variety. In Udon Thani, Thailand, I became the one Italian restaurant in town’s biggest client for three weeks. I love Thai food, but it was hard to eat it three times a day. And that place had the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. As a student in Spain, we were only allowed one shower a day. That may not bother a lot of people, but I was used to two and I was DIRTY after hanging out at the discotecas all night. You just have to know it’s not going to be like living at a Sandals resort and going out to teach the locals for a few hours a day. But that is what can make it the most enriching experience in your life.
If you’re tired of the budgets, flying every week and constant meetings and phone calls associated with regular business travel, but you just can’t see yourself working in a cube farm, this may be a good escape from the wasteland for you. You can always come back to that 60 hour a week high pressure sales job or whatever it is that you “do” when you’re year is up.