What started as a health crisis for one and then several other countries spiraled into a global pandemic almost overnight. There’s no doubt about it – COVID-19 has forced us all to adapt to new challenges and a constantly changing world. If there’s one thing which is for certain, it’s the inability to predict what’s to come next.
While almost every industry has been dealt a heavy blow, the travel industry is reeling particularly hard. There are so many questions circulating around how, when, and if the travel industry will rebound once the world manages to contain the spread. Will the rising unemployment levels mean no one will be able to afford to venture abroad for the near future? When will borders re-open? How will travel providers ensure the health and safety of their travelers? I unpack all of this and more here and discuss the form of travel I believe will become increasingly popular for millennials and Gen Z.
How will we afford to travel abroad after COVID-19?
There are very few people around the world whose income has not been reduced due to COVID-19. Whether you’ve been laid off entirely, forced (albeit politely) to accept a reduced salary, it’s hard to even think about traveling overseas these days when you’re barely able to pay for the bare necessities.
But will the desire to travel overseas stop? There’s no way. You’ve been cooped up in your house for how many weeks now, unable to see friends and family. You desire the much-needed human connection and interaction we need as a species. When lockdowns do end and its safe to go out into the world again, demands will change. The hunger for meaningful human connection, life-changing experiences, and cross-cultural immersion will likely be at an all-time high.
And where there’s a will, there’s a way.
How will we travel?
The more luxurious and leisure forms of travel will likely take a while to recover because of how much they cost. People will likely opt for longer forms of travel, and more meaningful experiences. They will avoid overcrowded, less hygienic cities and instead choose less populated smaller towns and cities around the world.
Health, safety, and dedicated support will be more important than ever too.
Bus tours like Contiki and Topdeck may struggle as people look to avoid being confined to small spaces with large groups. Those looking for more meaningful travel experiences like volunteering in Africa or south-east Asia may be extra careful as health and hygiene precautions come into question.
But the burning question remains: If meaningful travel experiences are what we flock to, how will we afford them? Fortunately, flight prices should be very reasonable as airlines look to fill seats when borders re-open. However, that doesn’t make affording the $3,000+ 2-week volunteering trip anymore feasible, nor the $4,000+ unpaid internship.
Teaching English Abroad
Teaching English abroad is no new thing, but it may be the most accessible way of meaningful travel once travel restrictions are lifted. Not only do you get paid very generous salaries to teach abroad, but it’s a rewarding and life-changing experience. It’s also probably the most culturally immersive travel experience you can choose.
You can expect to spend 6 months to a year teaching English abroad. While some countries pay more than others, the cost of living is always far lower than what you’re used to back home in the States or the UK. What most people don’t realise though is that teaching abroad is so much more than the money you make.
You’ll be providing a skill that has a major impact on your students’ future employment opportunities. In many of these places, the ability to speak English can impact the quality of life significantly. It can mean the difference between earning minimum wage or obtaining a high-paying tourism job in Thailand or Costa Rica. In the more developed countries, it helps one advance their careers significantly in the global economy which is very active in the likes of Japan or South Korea.
Not only will you be making a meaningful difference in your students’ lives, but you’ll experience first-hand how friendships, respect, and compassion can be fostered across cultures and languages. You’ll embrace diversity and the beauty in the different personalities, interests, cultures, and languages our world is comprised of. This is probably the most life-changing experience of it all. You’ll be forced out of your comfort zone and may face some challenges along the way. Through it all, you will become a more open-minded, adaptable, and compassionate person. You’ll grow immensely through this experience – both professionally and personally.
And of course, teachers have the benefit of school holidays. So you can expect to have ample time to put your teacher’s salary to good use and explore all that your new home has to offer.
How will you afford to Teach English Abroad?
Yes, there are start-up costs but these are easily paid back within a matter of months with the salary you’ll be earning.
There are cheaper ways to teach abroad too. You can find a cheap TEFL course to do online or find a job free of charge online or through a recruiter. It’s important to remember that you’ll be going to a completely foreign country. You will be working at a school where most staff do not speak English. Also, you will be setting foot every day in a classroom where classroom management will be a whole different ball-game in your new cultural environment. It’s important to be mindful of the experience you’ll be embarking on and how comfortable you feel with going the cheaper route.
Teaching abroad is arguably the most meaningful travel experience out there. You’ll want the best training, a guaranteed job placement at a reputable school, cross-cultural training, and a safety net of support for anything you may need help with throughout your teaching adventure.
This is why TravelBud offers all-inclusive Paid Teaching programs, ensuring every aspect of your experience is of the highest quality. Rather than only providing your TEFL training, we guarantee your job placement at a carefully vetted school. We tailor our TEFL courses to the country you’ll be teaching in, providing in-depth culture and language training. Additionally, to ensure your teaching experience is as meaningful and smooth-sailing as possible, we provide dedicated 24/7 in-country support.
We care about your health and safety.
This all sounds like a dream come true to someone having planned on traveling abroad for the last 6 months. However, who’s looking out for their health and safety amidst the global pandemic the world is still facing? While it all rests on when borders re-open and governments allow international visitors again, the majority will be increasingly concerned about their health – and rightly so. We are living in a world where social distancing and nationwide lockdown is the norm in most countries at the end of the day.
So while you can look for teaching jobs using free job posting websites or recruiters, there will likely be a trend to avoid the unpredictable and cheaper routes, opting for more comprehensive paid teaching programs like the ones offered by TravelBud. Always read up on the company you plan to teach English abroad through to see if there are red flags. As a rule of thumb, always avoid companies that have very few and/or very poor online reviews or who advertise salaries or benefits that seem too good to be true.
Program providers like TravelBud, who offers paid teaching programs abroad in Costa Rica, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam offer a comprehensive and holistic package. This includes 24/7 support, both in helping you prepare for your trip abroad (there are a lot more ducks you need to get in a row before you can embark on this adventure), but also for the duration of your time in the country you’re teaching in. It encompasses everything – from being available to answer any questions or offer advice on things like renewing your visa, as well as a 24-hour emergency contact line for anything more serious and urgent.
Demand for English Teachers is HIGH
When schools all over the world closed, many English teachers opted to head home. We helped 50% of our teachers return home safely while the other 50% opted to stay at their placements where we supported them in ensuring they still earned an income.
With so many teachers returning home, and schools starting to re-open in countries like South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam, there is a massive demand for English teachers. Additionally, students are in desperate need of receiving English language education for the sake of their livelihoods and future careers.
So if you’ve given up hope on traveling abroad when the world re-opens, don’t fret. Teaching abroad will not only be your most financially sustainable means of travel. It will also be the most meaningful and culturally immersive experience you could ask for. Countries like South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and Costa Rica need English teachers more than ever. And with it typically taking 3-6 months to get all your ducks in a row to teach abroad, now is the perfect time to enroll with TravelBud and let us help you with all your planning.
Our globalised world needs English teachers and we all need to explore again and experience deep, meaningful human connection across cultures. Click here to begin working with our experienced Enrollments Coordinators today!