I need help! In 2003-04 I spent a fantastic year traveling and now it seems that all I can do is sit at work trying to concoct different ways of getting out there again (I'm sure I'm not alone on this front). My dilemma is this, my fantastic year, left me with some fantastic credit card debt (for the sake of debate, let's say it's over $6,000). I know, I know, it wasn't smart but the memories it bought me are invaluable.
So here's what I think now; I'll never be truly free to travel again (longterm) until I get this monkey off of my back. Honestly, I think I could manage to wipe it clean in one year's time, but this would leave me with no options for a travel savings either. I just managed a 2 week trip down to Peru, but it really just primed the pump and I am now looking at trying to manage another longterm venture. At the moment, I'm looking at two options:
1. The Peace Corps - my father was a volunteer in the 60s, when I was 7 he moved my family to a remote island in Micronesia for a year where he was stationed years before (thus the seed was planted), so I think I'm an excellent candidate. The upside - no cost and even some cash to travel on at the end. The downside - 2 year committment plus hopefully an extended travel period afterwards (I'm not getting any younger, but this really doesn't worry me as much as it once would have). Also, I hope I would not be joining for the wrong reasons.
2. Teaching English as a Foreign Language - This is actually where my question lies for any of those who have experience here. I realize it depends on where you go and a lot of other factors, but I'm wondering how much one would likely have to save in advance to teach in say Eastern Europe or Japan. Can money be made, or is more living expenses? Is there a big difference between obtaining TEFL on the internet for roughly $300 vs. obtaining it abroad for several thousand?
If anybody out there has weathered this storm or if anybody has any incite to any of these programs or any other options, I would be forever grateful for any advice that can be offered.
John, speaking of Peace Corps, check out this thread.
Even though, you have that as an option, it isnt as easy as it may seem to be accepted for it. If the right intentions arent there, they may be able to read between the lines because the application process is very long and strenuous. I met someone that worked for the Peace Corps when I lived in New York and I was told that to be accepted for it is almost as hard as being accepted to an Ivy League school. You can read some of the basic requirements on their website posted on the link above. Back when your dad did it, it must have been easier, as the program was fairly new.
There are a number of members here in TP that do exactly that...travel around the world while teaching English. You may have to commit to living in a specific place for a specific lenght of time, but I am sure you will be willing to make that compromise.
Anyway, I am not 100% sure how to go about getting those English teaching jobs but I am sure you will get some help on that from other members. Good luck!
Yes, I know the Peace Corps application process is quite thorough and involved (I've been looking into it since I graduated from college). I wouldn't say that I necessarily have the wrong intentions, but I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that the desire for travel, adventure and meeting new people and cultures was a big factor - but I'd like to meet a peace corps volunteer who didn't have that somewhere in their mind as well. But, like I said, it is an option. If I do not get accepted, I guess there's a good sign that I best explore other options. I don't think it can hurt to apply, as you'll never know until you try. I do think that is where they weed out the (excuse the expression) half-assed from those that are truly serious. Okay, now I'm just thinking out loud. I think I am going to go visit a recruiter near my home and I'd imagine that would get me sorted with many questions.
Does anybody know of any volunteers in the travellerspoint community?
A friend of mine taught English overseas (Korea). I've pinged him to see what advice he can provide. There is a show I have seen on the Life network here in Canada called English Teachers which is an "award winning" documentary on English teachers. You might want to check if it is shown somewhere in the US.
Also, you might want to think about a job in the foreign service for the United States - working at US embassays around the world.
and it's really easy to do a TEFL course, just one month although be warned it's intensive! you can use it anytime in your life though it's a preety cool thing to do and I'm definatelyt going for it when I graduate
From what I can tell getting the TEFL anywhere wouldn't make much difference. Don't quote me on that though. Another bonus for teaching english is a degree. A college/university degree goes along way when wanting to teach over seas. It doesn't need to be in english either. Any degree at all. Though I think a second language helps too.
I actually have a degree in English (not teaching English), so that may help. I took a month-long TEFL course in college during what we call J-term. I have no idea if that certified me, and at any rate, it was quite some time ago and I wasn't all that serious about it back then so I'd like to go through it again if that's the route I end up taking.
Am I correct in assuming that with pretty much any TEFL job, you are responsible for the getting there and setting yourself up with living arrangements and what not?