Teaching Traveling: Want inspiration and guidance about how to travel the world by teaching ESL abroad? Behold the fabulous story of Nicole!
Nicole, Tell us a bit about your background.
Nicole: Hi all. I’m Nicole Brewer from Detroit, MI. I attended the University of Michigan and moved to Chicago where I worked in market research for a few years before being laid off. I found a job teaching abroad in South Korea and over 5 years later I’m still trotting around the globe teaching, currently in Oman. I attended grad school last year in Germany and did a 3 month research stay in South Africa before returning to Oman for another round of ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. I’ve managed to travel extensively during my time teaching abroad in Asia and the Middle East, trotting to close to 40 countries.
TT: Wow! Tell us more about your most interesting travels.
N: One of my most interesting travels would have to had been the 3 months I spent in Cape Town, South Africa last summer. I was so grateful to be accepted to do a summer research stay as part of my graduate studies with the Erasmus Mundus program I did in Germany last year. My graduate program is called NOHA (Network on Humanitarian Action), which I did in order to help with my long term goals of starting a travel related NGO/nonprofit inspiring youth to study and travel abroad.
During my time in Cape Town, I researched for my thesis and worked an internship at Sonke Gender Justice Institute. It was such an eye-opening experience living in Cape Town, going to UWC (University of the Western Cape) and also interning part time at such an amazing organization that is helping women and children. That experience of being in South Africa will forever stay with me.
TT: How did you find the money to fund this travel?
N: I received a scholarship through the Erasmus Mundus program that assisted with my living expenses to study abroad and work in Cape Town, South Africa.
TT: Awesome. Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful.
N: A moment from my travels that was particularly interesting and powerful would have to be from when I volunteered in Nairobi, Kenya a couple years back. I had reached out to my network/travel community, iluv2globetrot and social media pages about opportunities to volunteer abroad and learned about an organization called Streetlife Care.
I stayed for a week in Kenya with a host family and helped with a feeding program for runaway youth that were living on the streets of Nairobi. This experience inspired me to apply to the Humanitarian Action MA program that I recently completed.
TT: Brilliant. How have your travels impacted you as a teacher?
N: My travels have opened my horizons and made me more confident in being able to live abroad in the various settings that I have worked in. It’s opened my eyes to the amazing opportunities that come with being an English language teacher and I am able to share so many amazing experiences with my students which will hopefully in turn inspire them to get out see the world and use their English.
TT: Yes! How have your travels impacted you as a person?
N: I’ve managed to become more aware of myself, confident and humble through my travels. I think it’s important to educate yourself outside of the classroom just as much as inside and travels does just that. Through my experiences of living and traveling abroad, I’ve become not only self-aware but aware of the struggles and complexities that others have out in this big world. I’ve become more compassionate and truly want to do what I can to help others and educate others on how important travel is to live a fulfilling life.
TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?
N: First off, it’s so important to do your research in the countries that interest you before even starting the application process. There are loads of recruiters and programs out there for those interested in teaching abroad, way too many for me to list but I would suggest checking out travel communities such as iluv2globetrot as we have an extensive list of organizations that assist with getting a job in teaching abroad.
Also, our group is over 2K strong and many are willing to help, post job opportunities and answer questions about being expats or traveling abroad. In the end, I say just do it and go for it. I’m willing to bet you won’t regret it. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made to move abroad and teach English.
TT: Thanks so much, Nicole! Readers, what questions or comments do you have for this great Teacher-Traveler?