By Jami Marcotte
Like most other Generation Z-ers I know that I spend a lot of time on social media. And it’s a pretty exciting place. I get to see all the cool things people do—exploring the Amazon, participating in medical aid programs abroad, sightseeing in Europe, scuba diving in the Caribbean, and more. I often find myself scrolling through feeds and fantasizing about the extraordinary experiences of other people.
So when I was presented with an opportunity to teach English abroad with Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF), I didn’t hesitate. For a long time, I had felt the need to do something different, to step beyond my invisible boundaries and do something for the greater good. Now, I can finally stop fantasizing and start actualizing these distant dreams.
Teaching abroad is my adventure, my chance to do something exciting and meaningful. Here are five reasons why you too should get off the couch and teach English abroad:
Adventure awaits you, but you’ll only discover it if you break out of routine. Living abroad is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a different culture and explore a part of the world you’ve never appreciated before. For example, in Israel I can walk through history, explore beautiful rivers, waterfalls and seas, and eat rich food that is a product of so many different peoples coming together. Every day is a new experience that brings new opportunities and new stories.
Not only do students learn from teachers but teachers learn from students as well. In your classroom, you will hear stories from students with backgrounds different than your own. You will learn about their community through their eyes and they will challenge you in ways you cannot challenge yourself.
In an increasingly globalized world, it’s important to learn how to work with people across different cultures. You will strengthen your interpersonal skill by overcoming language barriers and adapting to different lifestyles. You will also create international connections that can offer more job opportunities, mentoring, support, and more.
Teaching abroad is about helping others just as much as helping yourself. Being in a new place is not always easy, and the need to overcome obstacles will teach you patience, flexibility, and problem-solving.At home, we are used to everything being easy to navigate; abroad, you will become more self-sufficient.
As an educator, you impact the future of the country. You are helping students become more productive members of their society. A program like MITF, where you teach English—one of the most popular languages in the world—is especially meaningful because you are creating space for people from different countries to communicate and come together.
People with amazing, meaningful lives weren’t born under a lucky star—they just took the opportunities that came their way, and, through those experiences, even more doors opened. MITF is that adventure of a lifetime for me, and teaching abroad can be that adventure for you, too.
Jami Marcotte is a 2019-20 Masa Israel Teaching Fellow, teaching in Rishon LeZion as part of the Israel Experience programs.