1. Where do you currently live?
I am living in Quito, Ecuador, South America. I have been here about 10 weeks.
I was working as an English teacher, but recently the company had to lay off some teachers. I am hoping to start work as a teacher again soon.
3. Why did you choose this career path?
I kind of just ended up falling into English teaching due to travelling through China and running out of money. Some Couch Surfers I stayed with said it was easy to get work teaching in China, and you don’t need any qualifications, so after writing on a Beijing website, a few days later I had over 20 replies. I started going for 3 interviews a day for a week or more.
You learn to survive and get on by yourself and make friends.
4. What advice do you have for someone who wishes to pursue the same career path?
Taking some kind of course is good. I ended up doing an online TEFL course to also have a qualification as well as my experience. Then go and try and get a job! Asia is pretty good to start off, and some parts of Asia pay quite well.
5. How has living abroad added to your life? What are some of the perks to living abroad?
I think you grow as a person. You learn to survive and get on by yourself and make friends. I think you learn much more than when living at home because you’re in a different country, probably a different language to your own, and you don’t know anyone or not many people. You learn to do things on your own and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, of achieving it on your own.
6. What advice would you give to someone who knows that they want to live abroad, but doesn’t know where to start?
Think about the continent or country you may like, which kinds of weather you enjoy as some people may not like really hot or cold weather. Beijing was very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter which I found tough at times. Research different possible countries and how easy it is to get work there. Ask any friends or check out websites and ask people in those places for advice, etc. Also think about what kind of work you will do, if you have the qualifications, if yours are recognised, and how easy it is to get a work visa.
7. What has been your most challenging experience living abroad? How did you deal with this challenge?
Language barriers can be hard and trying to find work. Trying to get work in Brisbane, Australia, was hard on a working holiday visa. You can’t get many types of work; not many employers will employ those with working holiday visas. It is more for farm work and fruit picking jobs which are in the outback and not city jobs. There are some jobs as Au Pairs, waitresses, and bar staff, but not all are well paid. I managed to get work as an Au Pair with a great family, and you live with them so free board and food. I had the use of a car, too.
8. How do you make friends and socialize abroad?
I always use Couch Surfing, whether travelling or living abroad. It’s great for making friends with locals and other expats. I created a community of us in Brisbane. There were 25 of us from 21 different countries that used to hang out regularly, and I was nicknamed the Ambassador of our group because I always organised our social life every night and weekend!
9. How do you stay connected to your friends and family at home? Have any come to visit you?
I Skype my family once a week or fortnight, and I have also started using Whats App, too. I send Snap Chats sometimes and messages on Facebook, too. My mum and sister came to visit me in Beijing for two weeks which I loved! It was my mums first time out of the UK, and she enjoyed visiting me and sight seeing, and I enjoyed hosting her and my sister.
10. How has your living abroad affected your friends? Family?
I don’t feel as close to some of my friends because I have been living out of the country since the end of 2009, and I am a different person now. I don’t enjoy my hometown so much as it’s quite small. I miss my friends and family and they miss me, and I miss out on things, but they respect me living the life I want, and they are happy for me. My family talk about me to friends and are proud of the things I have accomplished. Sometimes they wish I would return home and settle down and wonder how many more years I’ll travel and live abroad.
11. What positive impact did working and living abroad have upon your return to your home country?
I appreciated returning to my country and being home to see my family as well as not having certain things take a long time to be processed like they do in some countries. I appreciated having my mum cook for me and do my washing. Having a car again was great, too. Being able to find a job easily was good, also that we don’t live in poverty and things aren’t too expensive. I could also communicate and be understood unlike living in China where I had to get by without knowing the language.
12. Please add anything that you think women considering working, living and traveling abroad should know that has not already been covered by the questions.
Living abroad is a great experience, especially in a country that is very different from your own. You learn about yourself and that you can handle many things you hadn’t realised you could. You learn about the countries’ culture, people, traditions, history and customs and many other things that are maybe very different from your own countries culture, people, traditions and life, etc.
The people you meet whilst living abroad can shape who you are and teach you great things, and you can share amazing experiences with them and become friends for life.
You mature, too, with different experiences. Your personality can change and the things you liked or did before might change. The people you meet whilst living abroad can shape who you are and teach you great things, and you can share amazing experiences with them and become friends for life. I met so many amazing friends in Australia that I am still friends with, and we shared so many great memories. Almost every evening we were doing something and every weekend going to some event that I found out was happening, and we were all from different countries and cultures, but all got on brilliantly.