Studying Abroad: the FREE Way to Do it
There is no better way to learn about a country than to spend some time living there. According to this article from The Daily Beast, business students who go abroad gain knowledge and experience that gives them an instant advantage over their competition in the job market. However, in considering whether or not to visit other countries, many students and travellers alike are deterred by high costs or the thought of having a gap in their work history. There is an easy solution to this problem: go teach English in another country you can spend an elongated period of time in the country of your dreams for free, in fact, odds are you will make some money while you’re at it. The beauty of it is, if you are a current student, hold a bachelor’s degree (generally unimportant in what) and are able to read this post – you’re likely already qualified!
The thought of packing up, leaving your hometown/city, and going to live in another country for a while is enticing for many people whether they be International Business students or not. However, there are many obstacles that one must overcome prior to making this leap. Few people have jobs that are flexible enough to afford them the luxury of taking several months of vacation. Also, let’s not forget that even if you are able to get the time off, you still have to pay for it!
What about studying abroad? In going abroad you have the same basic costs as living stateside – food, rent, tuition, etc. However, study abroad programs that simply work out the logistics of taking care of these commodities for oftentimes are not the most cost-effective option. Not to mention the cost of living in other countries varies greatly and depending where you go – it could be one extremely expensive summer, semester, year, what have you. Granted, it is possible to work whilst studying abroad to help offset these costs, but many would rather take this opportunity to travel and, well, party.
Your wallet is already starting to hurt, isn’t it? Don’t fret, here’s the good news: the large majority of ESL programs cover your living expenses including food and rent, as well as your airfare. Most importantly, they pay you to do it. In some countries you can earn up to $20,000 per year teaching English and while that may not seem like much at first, don’t forget that your living expenses will more likely than not be paid for as well. Consequently, it may be beneficial for students thinking about studying abroad to consider putting it off until after graduation and saving themselves a whole lot of money. What’s more, ESL programs generally only require 20-25 hours of teaching per week. This means that your weekends are open for travelling and if you’re ambitious enough, getting another job is totally doable if you really want to take advantage of your free living situation.
So what about the fact that you won’t be attending classes? While I was studying abroad in Chile I had great teachers and I did learn a ton of Spanish in class. However, there are countless language skills resources available online which are either free, or relatively cheap, that teach the same exact material you will learn in classes. And to be completely honest, the way that I learned to communicate effectively and really learned the language wasn’t from taking classes – it was from going out, getting lost, and taking advantage of every possible opportunity to mingle with locals. What better way to do this than engaging on a day-to-day basis with Spanish speakers who you must relate to in order to do your job effectively?
Since I am very biased toward Chile I feel obligated to include the link to this program that is held via the Chilean Ministry of Education in conjunction with the U.S. Government:
Also, here are a few links to take a look at that provide information regarding, and access to ESL programs in countries all over the world: