As someone who works with children, I hear a lot of excuses.
“English is too hard.”
“But, I can’t remember that word.”
“I already have so much homework.”
From kids, they’re acceptable excuses. We work past them. It pushes me to be a better teacher, and it pushes them to be better students.
Now from adults, excuses are unacceptable. Especially when you’re making excuses about something that could better your life.
Where do these excuses come from? Personally, I believe they come from fear. You can give me a hundred reasons why you don’t want to pack up and move, but I know in the end that you’re just afraid.
So, I’m done being nice. I’m done listening to your “but’s” and your “if’s”. I’m calling you out on your terribly annoying excuses as to why you can’t explore the world.
Here are the most common and most annoying (Have I said the word “annoying” enough yet?) excuses I hear on teaching English abroad.
1. I Have No Money
Join the club! I sold everything before I moved to China. I had enough money to go out and enjoy my remaining days with friends and family, buy a visa, and a plane ticket.
Some travelers come here with almost nothing. I’m not joking. I’ve met a guy who came here with $50, which is about 300RMB. That lasted him until his first paycheck. Why? Because the cost of living is incredibly low and you don’t need to pay rent. Don’t believe me? Check out my article here on how much money to bring to China.
Another applicant found a ticket from Chicago to Beijing for $450. Less than $500 to get you from one side of the world to the other.
Take your last paycheck that you slaved 40 hours for and do yourself a favor – get a plane ticket. Not just for China. Go anywhere.
2. I Have No Time
Um…are you joking? You have no time? What exactly are you doing right now that’s so important? Hey, twenty-something’s, I’m talking to you!
Your job at a coffee bar or as a receptionist isn’t getting you anywhere. I’m speaking from experience. I thought I was going places, but really, I was just comfortable. Idle. Not going forward and not even going backward. Scary.
Oh, did you mean you can’t commit to a year-long contract? Last time I checked, a year was 365 days. If you don’t have that time to educate yourself on the world you live in, but you have 365 days to spend complaining about a job you hate or how your friends went to the bar without you, then you are a perfect example of someone who needs to hit the reset button on life.
Okay, okay. I know you work 40+ hours weekly. I know you’re ready to throw that in my face. If you want to work less weekly, then you, my friend, should apply for a job with us now.
3. I’ll Miss My Friends and Family
That’s one of the most exciting parts of traveling. You get to miss the people you’re used to spending your time with. You get to branch out and make an entire set of new friends. You could be on your way to meeting your future husband, wife, or best pal.
“I feel like I’d rather miss my family and friends right now than be with them.”
These are the words of my surprisingly wise boyfriend. Perhaps a feeling that only a traveler would understand or even enjoy.
4. I Don’t Speak Chinese
Okay. Shut up.
I’m joking. Kind of.
You don’t need to speak Chinese. At all. After two and a half years, I’m still not fluent. Again, this is another exciting adventure to embark upon. Once you start picking up Mandarin, you get to start talking to people you’d otherwise never have the chance to speak to before.
Learning another language is a confidence booster. It looks good on a resumé. It’s sexy. Your brain actually grows from it! These. Are. All. Good. Things.
Imagine you get a great job after your year of teaching. Your boss explains in your mandatory Monday meeting that the branch will now start doing international business with a Chinese company. The boss needs someone to translate. No one can do it except you! High-fives all around.
Now imagine your new Chinese girlfriend wants to bring you home to meet the family. You charm her family by explaining that their daughter is the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen, all in Chinese, of course.
What’s that? Her dad’s the mayor?! And he’s giving you the key to city? Awesome!
5. I’ve Heard Bad Things About China
You’ve probably also heard bad things about your phone company, but for some reason you still decided to sign a two-year contract with them.
Let’s face it, bad things happen everywhere. Every country has their flaws, but can you really base your opinion on an entire country because of what the news told you? That’s the kind of close-mindedness that makes people afraid to even move to a new city within their own country.
As the saying goes, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. There’s certainly a reason Shanghai houses more than 175,000 expats alone.
Coming from a previously high-maintainence girl, you’ve really got nothing to lose.You can read the blogs and watch the documentaries, but you’ll never really know until you get here.
6. I’ve Never Travelled Before
What does this even mean? Who cares? Is there someone telling you that it’s just too late to travel? And if so, who said it? Let me at ’em!
We have applicants who are in their early 50’s telling us how they wish they had devoted more of their lives to exploring the world.
Again, I am not just talking about coming to China. If you need to prepare yourself for a cultural change then go to a new city for a few days. Take a road trip from the east coast to the west coast. Do not limit yourself to the square mile you spend the majority of your time in.
Now, before you tell me you don’t have the time to do those things, please refer to number two. If you still don’t get it, well, I just can’t help you.
7. Teaching English Abroad Sounds Hard – I’ve Never Done it Before
Remember that time you applied for that serving job? You didn’t think you’d get it because you had no experience and you had no idea how you could manage five tables at once.
Look at you now! You’re training the newbies on how to get higher tips and showing them the ropes of the serving world.
How did that happen though? How did you get so good at what you do? Oh! That’s right! Someone trained you and you kept on practicing all while building your own confidence. Adding a couple more notches of skill under your belt.
For teaching, it’s the exact same. It’s likely you’ll be terrible at it at first, like myself. You’ll get better and you’ll then be sharing your story and showing the newbies the tricks you’ve learned throughout your teaching career.
8. I Could Never Live in China
How do you know? Have you ever lived in China? Probably not.
Perhaps you’re talking about China in the 1700’s. In that case, I couldn’t agree with you more. I mean, I couldn’t do that either.
I prefer to live a modern lifestyle. You know, with phones, tablets, cars, bars, grocery stores, shopping centers, hospitals, clean water, electricity, entertainment, coffee houses, air conditioning, etc.
Oh wait, that’s what I’m doing. Because it’s 2014 and China is the fastest developing country in the world.
9.) It Just Sounds Too Good to be True
Yeah, I’ll give you that. It does sound too good to be true. Rewarding career, low working hours, high salary, month-long holidays, free housing, low living costs, yadda, yadda, yadda.
This is real and the only thing I regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
Still not convinced? Then you’re probably not meant for an opportunity like this. And hey, that’s fine with us. We really only want open-minded, fun, and outgoing people to share the experience with.
Do something big. Apply now.