Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why the Hell would you ever want to move to Asia?

Every year, thousands of English speaking people from around the globe make their way to countries throughout Asia in order to teach. The people are as varied as are their stories and reasons for coming to such faraway places.

Some of these soon to be teachers are young and some are not so young. Some are somewhere in between! Some are normal while others are not so normal. Some are married while others come looking for love.

I have met hundreds of teachers over the years in South Korea, and Japan as well as my travels in China and throughout South East Asia.

I have asked many people how they ended up in the place they were and the answers were varied, but often there were themes. Here are some reasons so many come to Asia to teach:

1. Gap Year. Many young and recent university graduates simply don’t really know what they want to do after graduating from university or are not ready to settle into a career-oriented job back home. They are simply looking for a year of fun and adventure.

2. Adventurous types. There are some who move abroad because they simply find life in their own country boring. They want some more flavor and excitement in life.

3. Travelers. Teaching English is a great way to save money for future travels. Also, if you are already residing in Asia, it is a great springboard to so many other countries.

4. Career changers. I met many people over the years who gave up great careers in their native countries in order to teach. Many were burning out in their old careers or simply felt their jobs had little meaning. They simply needed a big change.

5. Heart broken. I met more than a few people who left home because of a broken heart and were simply trying to get as far away as possible from some bad memories.

6. The hopeless. I also have met people who seemed hopeless. When I say this, I mean that they lacked social skills and seemed to be void of any marketable job skills as well. They were the sort of people who would flounder in their own country, but due to the fact that their native language is English, were able to have a job in another.

7. Those struck with Yellow Fever. I’ve heard this term many times in the past ten years. There are lots of guys who are simply really into Asian women. Where are the majority of Asian women? In Asia!

8. Saving for bigger things. I have met many folks who are teaching in Asia with bigger plans in mind. They are saving for graduate school or in order to buy a house in their native country.

9. Bad economies. Since the global economic meltdown a few years ago (thank to the American housing industry), it’s much harder to find employment in some countries. That being the case, many people are looking abroad for work.

10. Mystery men. I have met some guys who seem so absolutely dysfunctional that I have no idea how they survived in their own country or how they don’t get deported from the one they are in now!

Now of course, these are just some sweeping generalizations I’ve made. They are based upon some of the people I have met abroad in my years working as an educator.

When working abroad, you will meet some amazing people. You will make life long friends and you will also meet some people that you wish you never had!

Life in Asia can be an interesting one!

You can follow me on Twitter: @jlandkev


Jenny Woolf said...

So which one or ones are you? :) This is an interesting list. And I wonder what dysfunctional Finns and Hungarians do since they can't easily get a job teaching their language. :)

Anonymous said...

It sure looks like you caught some yellow fever yourself. :)

Chad Vieth said...

I would love to visit, but not move. I love the cultures(Japanese and Chinese mostly for the history). I think i am so set in my roots as a Maritimer, I couldn't fit in. Heck, I was in Ottawa for a friend's wedding, and being away for a few days, felt wrong. LOL, what a weenie I am. I think the Japanese youtube posts I watch from you, Kevin and others is my little escape to a foreign land. So I thank you for sharing your life with us on YT and here.

Atley said...

dealing with yellow fever must be terrible. I can barely stand the sniffels but yellow fever is a terrible thing!