Teaching ESL overseas is a fantastic opportunity, but it takes a very unique sort of person to truly thrive in this environment.

If you are thinking of teaching ESL abroad, here are five signs that it is the right thing for you to be doing with your life for the next year.

You have a strong interest in another culture

Teaching ESL abroad isn’t the right choice for someone who just wants a quick vacation. The people who fare the best teaching abroad are the ones with a strong interest in getting to know another culture and language. Teaching abroad is a rare opportunity to be completely immersed in another culture, from the language to the work environment to your friends and recreation activities.

You enjoy working with kids

Almost all starting ESL positions involve working with children. Working with kids from kindergarten up through high school age doesn’t necessarily have to be your life calling in order for you to love teaching ESL – but if the thought of a classroom of 9-year-olds makes you cringe, you ought to reconsider a different means to fund your travel. This kind of work can be demanding and emotionally draining, which is why genuine enjoyment and appreciation for the little moments with you students can make all the difference between having a fantastic and meaningful year and waking up every day dreading going into work.

You are tired of being stuck in the same rut

I remember all too clearly the general boredom and frustration I felt with my life shortly before making the decision to teach abroad. I remember thinking that there was no way I was going to be happy doing what I was doing long-term. I was tired of feeling stuck where I was, tired of the future looking like just more of the same. When you hit a point where you are ready for a big change, you know it. When you are ready to hit the brakes and make a sharp turn in a new direction away from wasting away the hours a soul-crushing job, you know it. Teaching ESL is no small change; it’s for people who are ready to shake their lives out of the rut they are in and never look back.

You are motivated and independent

No one is going to be holding your hand through the process of teaching abroad. Even if you go through a well-established program such as EPIK or JET, which will sort out your housing and provide a lot of assistance with paperwork, you still have a lot to do on your own. Once you are settled in to your new home, it will be up to you to take charge of your new life, find meaningful connections, pursue educational and professional development outside of your work, and explore the culture and opportunities around you. The people who thrive abroad are the ones who are motivated to seek out new experiences and opportunities, and independent enough to

You feel a restlessness and yearning for something new

Teaching ESL isn’t just a new job; it’s a completely new life. It’s an adventure that is sure to irrevocably change you. Some people are perfectly happy with their lives mostly as they are; they are just sick of their particular job or particular neighborhood and want a small change; other people long for the world. If you are just looking for a way out of a job that you are sick of, moving halfway around the world might not be the best option. If you are one of those people who longs for adventure and the unknown, then you’ll find teaching abroad the perfect opportunity.