Thursday, July 30, 2015

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Teaching English Abroad

It's the old “easy way” to expatriation: teaching English as a foreign language abroad. More people than ever have gotten into TEFL jobs since the Great Recession / Great Depression II of 2008. And yet the field still has lots of opportunity available and is still growing. And for the average Joe, TEFL is probably still the most accesible route to expatriation. It's a relatively easy way to get a job with a middle class salary (depending on the country you go to) and temporary residence.

My story is a bit different than the average TEFLer's. I went to college to become a teacher in the U.S., so teaching is something I really wanted to do, although a lot of TEFLers also like what they do despite having no background in it before they start in the field. The glory days of TEFL are over. Nearly a decade into a “new normal,” we're way past the times when just showing up and being white with a pulse is enough to make big bucks. That doesn't mean things are horrible out there. If you do your research first, and work on your qualifications you will most likely have a decent time of it. 

Regardless of your background, I think any man who is interested in expatriation should strongly consider TEFL as an option. Here are three reasons you should...

1. There is still a big market for TEFL, but it's getting stricter.

TEFL is still growing, and most of that growth is happening in China. But even beyond China, there is still a huge market potentially waiting for you because there are so many countries in the world. And although salaries are not high in most countries, they are often good for where you are. Some think this market won't last much longer due to the decline of the West. Others think it will be around for a long time. I'm of the opinion that we've got at least a few decades left. So it's nothing to worry about in our lifetimes. The bigger issue is that the market is getting stricter. I didn't say “strict,” I said “stricter.” In many cases, that means you can't just be a white high school graduate anymore. Most countries now require foreign teachers to be college graduates and have some sort of language teaching certification, such as TEFL or CELTA. Many countries still accept teachers with little to no prior experience.

When I set out for China to teach English in 2013, I had no prior classroom experience besides what I had to do to obtain my degree. I didn't have any trouble getting a job, but several times my boss and coworkers brought up my lack of experience. (They were giving me trouble for other reasons. It had nothing to do with my actual teaching.) I finished the year contract there and then left. A few months later I got my TEFL certification, and then I found myself with greater options than before. Within two years of starting, I had a much wider range of opportunities, including more options for teaching at universities and international schools.

I don't recommend getting into TEFL without at least a degree first, but once you have that you are good to go. Countries tend to up their requirements for teachers over time. You don't want to delay getting into this job market. Once you become qualified and experienced, you can always leave and come back to it.

2. It gives you a place in society.

Expatriation is about so much more than just buying a plane ticket and showing up in a country. That can make for a vacation, but if you're looking to become more than a tourist you need more than that. You probably want a girlfriend abroad if you're a Happier Abroader, and you'll need to at least try your hand at a foreign language. But if you want to become a full-blown expat, there's something else you'll need: a place in the community. Having a job there is a great way to find your place. If you become a teacher (and act the role) then you will be liked and respected. In Asia, for example, teachers are respected. (Foreign teachers are often seen as the fun teachers, as compared with the local teachers also.) When you put a good effort into your job, take an interest in their culture and language, and be friendly, you will have a positive status. Your employer (depending on the country) will either have an apartment ready for you or will help you find an apartment to live in. You will gain friends and contacts through your job. (Pro-tip: you will be feeling the effects of your first job for a long time, as the contacts and opportunities tend to grow in this field, something that doesn't happen so much in the West anymore for regular Joes.)

When you go to a country as a tourist, you tend to stay in touristy areas – resorts or hotels, near places where lots of foreigners gather and take photos of the local sites. This isn't bad per se, but it's not the life of an expatriate. Staying in a country briefly as a tourist doesn't allow your roots to grow deep. You won't have much of a purpose, a chance to make friends and find a good woman, or a connection beyond the tourist dollars you throw their way.

Your purpose – your connection to a country or city – doesn't have to be a job. Perhaps you could start a local business (easier if you're married to a local a lot of times), go study abroad, volunteer on an organic farm (look up WWOOFing for that), or any number of things. But if you want to be more than a tourist, you need a purpose. TEFL just happens to be a relatively easy purpose to take on in your journey in expatriation.

3. It can make your money and opportunities go further.

As long as you don't choose to teach in, say, Western Europe, you will pretty much find yourself in a situation where the cost of living is much lower than you are accustomed to. If you teach in a country where you will get an apartment for free, your cost of living may be so low you'll kick yourself for not expatriating sooner. Your salary will often be higher than the local average, giving you a double advantage – more money and low prices. Prices for food, fuel, and just about everything else have risen massively in Western countries. Expatriation is one good way to get around this.

My first job in China was in a third tier city. My current job is in a major city, and the costs are about the same. The only higher price I've noticed so far is that taxis are 50 cents more to start. I spend about $200 a month. My apartment is free. That's it. I bank everything else. I could spend even less if I wanted to, but I do want to do some fun things from time to time, and eat some Western food occasionally. That extra money can go into savings or more travel. You could save money year to year, moving around and teaching in different countries. Eventually, you could find a long term place to live.

Once you gain qualifications and experience, your opportunities will expand, unlike in the West in this era. I'm still keeping in touch with friends whom I met when I first started in China, and making new friends. This includes people who help me find jobs. I even took an eight month break in between jobs, and after that I got back into it easily.

After I had been at my first job for several weeks, it dawned on me: I'm living the kind of life I could've had in my own country 50 or 60 years ago. It's rarely possible for the average guy in the West anymore. In TEFL, you can still live that equivalent kind of life: middle class job, your own place to live, positive social status. And once you start, your opportunities can greatly expand.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

3 Reasons Why You Should Read Expatriation Apocalypse!

Hi everyone, Ghost here. Today's post is brought to you by a donation from Ghost. Ah, sorry, wrong script. Anyway, I'm here to plug my new book. Hmm. Too blatant. Anyway, read my book now. Ghosts need to eat too. You can find it on Amazon and Createspace:

Here's the idea: expatriation is becoming a more difficult game to play. I'm still trying to figure it all out myself, but I have figured a lot of things out. I'm very sympathetic to the plight of the young, broke, hopeless man who is stuck in Western society. That was my story, and it didn't start changing until I embraced expatriation. Expatriation Apocalypse! contains a lot of the knowledge and wisdom I've acquired since I started traveling two years ago. Here are three reasons you should read my book:

1. No bullshit.

I don't sugarcoat. As I state in the book, I don't believe in “happy chapters.” What's a “happy chapter”? It's a final note about how there is still a chance that everything will OK. There is hope on the individual level, but I offer no such consolation for Western civilization. There is no happy chapter in my book. Western civilization is sick and the illness is terminal. I believe the window for expatriation will eventually close. My goal isn't to alarm or scare anyone – my goal is to motivate you with this fact. 
If you're a young Western male, and you're stuck at home with no job and relationship prospects, then you want to start your journey today. That brings me to the second thing...

2. You'll find tools you can start using today.

In Expatriation Apocalypse! I compiled a lot of resources from the internet, many of which I have used myself. These resources are about making money online, finding jobs abroad, foreign dating, language learning, and more. Instead of overwhelming readers with a massive list, I narrowed my list of resources down to things that I either used myself or looked into thoroughly. Everything in my resources section can be used right away. There are no get rich quick schemes or unrealistic ideas. The idea is to keep things true to life. You probably aren't going to score a six figure job, start a hugely profitable business, or get into some fortuitous windfall. The idea is to make good choices and build up what you know and what you can do. Big dreams can be realized by a succession of many small steps.

One chapter of the book is also dedicated to getting a TEFL job abroad. This is what I do and although the market is growing more competitive, it is still realistically attainable. In my book I talk about how anyone can get into this field as a way to expatriate.

3. It will change your perspective on expatriation.

Expatriation isn't easy, but a lot of expats and wannabe expats over-complicate things. Hey, it's great to have a pension, big bank account, a business, and other financial means before you expatriate. But do you have to have these things? Not at all. A lot of expats talk about needing a few thousand dollars a month to live in a given country. If you're a retiree, perhaps you aren't willing or able to rough it a bit. But if you're a young guy? Make some sacrifices, plan well, and go without some conveniences and you won't need to break the bank to start expatriation.

In the book I also talk about simplifying your life. That is vital. Being able to let go of physical things is a must. They say you can't take it with you into the afterlife. Well, you can't take it abroad with you either.

Your entire perspective will change at some point. It certainly will after you expatriate, but if you start changing your perspective before you go abroad you will be better prepared and adapt better to new environments when you start traveling.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

12 Reasons Why Men Have A Better Dating and Social Life Abroad

You know, when we HAers (HappierAbroaders) spread our good news gospel that Western men and East Asian men (Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, Singaporean) can have a better dating and social life overseas, we often hear the following one or two explanations from the mainstream crowd. These are cliches that attempt to invalidate our message and support their politically correct belief that people are the same everywhere:

1) You are a foreigner and have novelty appeal over a local, so they see you as a chance to practice their English and learn about your culture. Many also feel obligated to treat foreign visitors with hospitality too, so they try to be extra nice to foreigners so that they will have a good impression of their country. (e.g. white people in China and Taiwan usually get extra hospitality from locals)

2) They perceive some potential benefit from knowing you. If they are from a less developed country, they think you are rich and so your money gives you social value. Or they may be hoping to get a visa or green card to America or a more developed country, so they see you as a ticket to move abroad for a better life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

3 Negative Social Truths In America You Aren't Allowed To Talk About

By Winston Wu

For some reason, virtually critics of America nowadays only talk about government tyranny, conspiracies, or economic problems and issues, as if those are the only things wrong with America and everything else is fine. But nothing could be further from the truth. When you walk around any US city or suburb, you will see many depressed looking guys with hopeless looks on their faces, as if they have nothing to live for and have been numbed down to not care or not feel anymore. It's a very sad sight to see.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Can You Count, Suckers? Can You Dig It?

By Andy

Lately, I've felt as though I've needed some extra motivation to accomplish things. I got that recently in the form of some Skype video chats with two foreign women, respectively. It's amazing how just seeing a person I've been keeping in contact with for quite a while since our last meeting in person can brighten my mood and renew hope for the next real life meeting. I also believe that what could help myself and like-minded individuals in completing our tasks, accomplishing our goals and traveling abroad without fear, is some inspiration. I recently saw a movie clip, and was moved by it so much that my wishful thinking took command and now, I feel as though The Happier Abroaders need the same kind of inspiration.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Cost of a Super Bowl Trip vs. The Cost of a Trip Abroad

By Andy

Which is better, a trip abroad or a trip to the Super Bowl?  Is it preferable to spend a week or two in a foreign land, meeting new people; or taking a trip to another part of the country with your buddies for a few days? Is attending the Super Bowl cheaper than traveling abroad? Which is the overall better experience? Officially, that is debatable.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Do It For Yourself

By Andy

The other day I recalled one of my trips abroad. It was just over a year ago, when I was out on a date, at a cafĂ© in Eastern Europe, having a pleasant conversation with a beautiful Slavic woman. In the middle of our lovely chat, out of nowhere, from across the table, she commented on my muscles. She said she liked muscles, and was so impressed by mine. Now, I’m not a bodybuilder nor do I have the body to compete in a competition or be a model, but I do work out on a regular basis, and look decent for someone who has spent the last few years erasing many more years full of bad habits and poor diet. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five Reasons Why the Gym Is NOT a Good Place for Dating

By Andy

By now you're probably aware that this is the time of year where the new year’s resolution gym-goers come out of the woodwork. If you're a regular gym-goer like I am, it's bad enough to have to search for a parking spot and wait your turn to use weights or machines during the month of January. What is worse is that regardless of what time of year it is, unless you're Mr. Olympia, you're probably not going to be getting any dates at the gym. That is one of the things I've noticed while frequenting the gym more often and switching gyms in different cities over the years, it is not a dating paradise. Simply put, gyms in the U.S. are not a good place for men to get dates.
Here are some reasons why: 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Traveling While Black Part 2

Why I waited so long
As I mentioned, the motivation for sharing this has been brewing, but there've been some other reasons why it's taken me this long to speak out.

1. I have a dear friend who has three daughters.
During my most recent six-month stay in China, I would often write private emails to my friends in the states letting them know everything (and more) that I'm sharing with you in this book and this chapter. Once, I even joked that I should write a book about dating overseas for Black men. One of my female friends half-jokingly, --but with a real exasperation at the underlying reality it hinted at--asked me not to write such a book encouraging mass exodus, as she wanted the pool of eligible and available Black men to be there for her daughters when they reach dating and marrying age. She didn't want me diminishing the pool by telling men what they could be experiencing overseas. (Seriously. I'm not kidding.) So, while I haven't forsaken my friend's daughters, I'm sure she'll understand that in the words of the great philosopher, Mr. Spock, "the needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few."

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Traveling While Black Part 1

C O M I N G B L A C K T O A S I A? Brother, You Have NO idea! 
A curious and observant nomad dispels some myths, allays some fears and corrects some misperceptions of what "traveling while Black" in Asia really means. Tales of Black Privilege in China (and Beyond)

From my Jamaican in China Blog (available in the free ebook "Guess Who's Coming to Dim Sum: The Jamaican in China Chronicles." Download free here: