Teaching Abroad Myths Debunked

November 5, 2018
API Teacher in Costa Rica smiles with one student

Teaching abroad is one of the most fulfilling, rewarding experiences you can have! But if you’ve never done it before, it’s hard to know what to expect. Today we’re breaking down some of the most common misconceptions. Hopefully this will help you make the best decision on where/when you want to teach abroad!

API Teach in Thailand participant, Katie, with a few of her students

Teaching Abroad Myth #1: You have to speak the local language

While it certainly helps to know what your students are saying, being fluent in the local language is far from a necessity. In some of our teach abroad programs around the world, we do ask you have a basic knowledge of the language of your host country. However, it’s not crucial to be fluent!

There are a few reasons why API (& most companies offering teaching abroad opportunities) don’t make this a requirement. Studies have shown that one of the best ways to master a new language by truly immersing yourself. Learning by translation can often make things more difficult. When a student learning English knows that English is the ONLY way they can truly communicate with you, you’d be surprised to see how quickly they can pick it up!

If you’re curious about what a day in the life of a teacher abroad is like, check out this post from one of our API teachers!

Myth #2: There are not a lot of location options

Whether you’re wanting to make a difference in the outskirts of a Chinese province, or with school children in bustling San José, teachers who head abroad with API can choose from 7 different countries for placement! We provide teaching abroad programs in China, Vietnam, Thailand, France, Italy, Costa Rica and Mexico. You can browse these locations and find the perfect option for you here.

Myth #3: There are only opportunities to teach English

Placements are actually customized to the teacher’s skill set… so if you have a background in any mainstream subject – such as math or science – you could be placed in an international or bilingual school teaching a subject you love, in English! There’s no need to worry about being caught in a position where you’re teaching a subject you’re not familiar with.

Of course, API offers more than just English-teaching positions! We also offer tutor abroad opportunities. Similarly to our other programs, we do want teachers to have a basic understanding of their home language. But if you feel like you don’t know enough, no sweat! We are here to help you and to answer any questions you may have about being ready for this chance of a lifetime. Read up on one API tutor’s experience in northern Italy here!

Myth #4: You only teach young children

When you picture “teach abroad” you might imagine a classroom full of young children. But teaching and tutoring abroad provide opportunities for people of all ages. In addition to our great teaching placements, API also offers opportunities for you to live with a host family and tutor their pre-teen/teenager in everything from math to English!

Now that we’ve debunked these teaching abroad myths, let’s get to some API teach abroad truths!

Teaching Abroad participant smiles with student in Costa Rica classroom

Truth #1: It is a time commitment.

As with anything worthwhile, teaching abroad takes time! At API though, we understand that some people do not have the ability to spend a year teaching abroad, so we DO offer a variety of time commitments; starting with 1 month and 3 month program options. These commitments vary depending on where you’re teaching.

Truth #2: We offer various start dates

Again, we know life is crazy, which means sticking to a strict teach abroad timeline may not be possible for everyone. Some of our programs run throughout the entire year, so you can choose from a variety of start dates. You can also choose from a variety of time commitments during the program. Some of our teaching abroad programs require around 15 hours per week while others require 20 or even 30 hours. It’s up to you!

Truth #3: It’s a fully immersive & rewarding cultural experience

Many of our teach abroad programs allow teachers to live with host families. These host families provide some meals and can be a great source of comfort and fun! Other program locations place teachers within a shared apartment or university style dorm. All program locations allow teachers to have their own room.

Give us a call if you’re interested in learning more: 800-844-4124.






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