Teaching Traveling: Is it possible to find work teaching abroad as a non-native English speaker? Learn how Nuria did it by starting out as an Au Pair nanny! Tell us about your background, Nuria.
Nuria: Hello. I’m Nuria Auguet; I was born and raised in Spain. I love travelling and have lived in different countries around the globe where I dedicated my time to kids and education.
I graduated from the University of Girona with a degree in Elementary Education with a major in English. I studied ERASMUS in Sweden, where I did my final school project, teaching in a Swedish primary school. In my time in Sweden, I discovered more about myself as a teacher and my passion for education.
In 2008, I moved to Toronto, Canada for one year where I studied TESOL and TYC Diplomas. I worked as a nanny so I could pay for my Studies and afford a year in Canada. A few years later, I studied a Master in Bilingualism and Bilingual Education.
I returned to my home country of Spain where I taught for two years. I began my career in education as an English teacher in a private language academy and moved on to the public school system.
After that, I decided to move forward and start my international career. I taught in Beijing, China for one year, teaching full time in a Kindergarten and part time in a language Academy.
Next, I taught in the Gulf nation of Kuwait for three years. Finally, I am currently teaching in a dual-language program in Austin, Texas for the Austin Independent School District.
My top three destinations I’d love to teach in next are Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
TT: Amazing! Tell u s more about your teaching and traveling.
N: One of the best things of teaching internationally is all the travelling that goes with it. Teaching in Beijing allowed me to travel extensively around Asia in amazing countries like China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. When in Kuwait, I travelled to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Oman, Iran, Cyprus, Morocco, Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka.
I loved every bit of it! Now in the States, I took a two week trip to Mexico all by myself. But, no doubt, my favorite adventures were to Iran and Palestine. I will never forget the friendly people I’ve met and all the stories I shared with the locals.
TT: So wonderful. How do you find your teaching and traveling opportunities?
N: When I was in Canada, I remember one day walking around the city and I saw a Chinese language school, so I decided to register and started to learn Chinese. After a few years I thought I wanted to teach in China so I could practice what I learned. As I couldn’t get a job as a teacher because of the Visa regulations (not being a native English speaker) I decided to work as an Au Pair for 3 months so I could try to find a job once in China.
That’s when I started my career as an International Educator. Once in China, I got an email from a school in Kuwait and was so excited that I took the job and stayed there for three years. Now I am working in Austin, in a program called Visiting Teachers through the Spanish Ministry of Education.
TT: Brilliant. How did you find the money to fund your travels?
N: Before I started my career as an educator I worked as a nanny in different countries (Ireland, US, Australia, China, Canada) so I could afford to travel. Then I got a scholarship to study in Sweden.
When I started my career as an educator, I could pay for my trips while doing what I loved. Oh, and I love to use Couchsurfing when travelling, not only because its more affordable, but cause is the best way to meet locals and learn the local culture.
TT: Agreed. Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.
N: I’ve had many interesting moments when travelling and living overseas. One adventure that comes to my mind is when I travelled to Zanzibar with a friend from Spain. We were staying with our host from Couchsurfing.
I said something in Catalan, a Romantic language spoken in Eastern and Northeastern Spain and my mother tongue, when our African host unexpectedly replied. We were shocked! He was a Tanzanian who spoke not only his own language, but also English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, and Portuguese. That was amazing and such an inspiration.
Another wonderful moment I’ll never forget is singing in Chinese for a Chinese TV in Shanghai through my Au Pair Program.
TT: Love it! How have your travels impacted you as a teacher, and in your current career?
N: When travelling, I try to visit schools. I love to see the differences but most important I love to see the kids so excited to learn. Visiting rural schools in developing countries in Africa or Asia has made me realize teaching doesn’t just come from a book or a computer. Traveling and teaching has reminded me of the diversity that exists in the world and that no matter what, children are the same everywhere and are so curious about learning.
TT: So true. How have your travels impacted you as a person?
N: Travelling made me a better person, more open minded and able to understand about different cultures. This definitely helps in the teaching career. Traveling solo helped me to become more independent.
The more I travel and interact with strangers, the more I realize that I have nothing to fear and much to gain. It is always a learning opportunity.
TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?
N: People have told me “I don’t know how you did it.” It was not an easy journey, and I have heard many “no’s” for an answer. I couldn’t get a job as a teacher in China, so I started as an Au Pair. I did it because that’s what I wanted to do; I’ve been persistent. Being a non-native English speaker doesn’t help sometimes, but I’ve been fighting to get the career I dreamed of.
There are many recruiters and programs available for teachers like Serious Teachers, TIEonline, ISS, Search Associates, Linkedin, and Dave’s ESL Cafe. I’d suggest uploading your resume online. Oh, and Couchsurfing for travelling, so you get to meet locals :)
And don’t give up following your dreams!
TT: Thanks so much, Nuria! Readers, what questions or comments do you have for this traveling teacher?