Living your Dream Abroad: Go Overseas!

Carrie Kellenberger's picture

I’m really excited to be presenting this interview with an outstanding teaching abroad resource and a valuable member of the travel community, Mitch Gordon. Please read on to get an insider’s view of how YOU can get starting living your dream abroad. ~ Carrie Kellenberger

Mitch Gordon is from upstate NY and lived in Taipei, Taiwan for five years before moving to San Francisco, where he currently resides.  Mitch is an entrepreneur, starting a number of companies in the field of education.  His most recent company, GO! Overseas, has quickly become the most trusted resource on the internet for researching study, teach and volunteer abroad programs around the world. The GO! Overseas website contains listings for nearly every program in the world, along with independent ratings, reviews, community forums and more.

 

Mitch Gordon

 

His first company, Reach To Teach, places teachers in countries around the world, primarily China, Taiwan and South Korea.  Mitch is currently a part time MBA student at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.  When he’s not working you can find Mitch playing rugby, hiking, traveling or reading (often in combinations).

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: As editor-in-chief of Go! Overseas, could you tell us about Go! Overseas and your goals for the site? What kind of services do you offer?

Mitch Gordon: I remember searching for my first teaching job abroad and what a stressful and difficult experience it was to find reliable information about schools. I soon recognized this problem created an opportunity to provide a solution, and GoOverseas.com (http://gooverseas.com) is the result. We provide a home for ratings and reviews for nearly every teach, study, and volunteer abroad program in the world. These are real ratings and reviews from real users.

We have many other great resources on the site. We post articles related to teaching, studying, and volunteering abroad on our blog, and we add new guest posts, interviews, and regular posts to our series each week. For example, our “Travel With a Purpose” series highlights a new country each week. The series offers practical advice on topics like finding a job and settling into your new life abroad.

Oh, by the way: All ended well for me. My first year teaching English in Taiwan was a great experience at a very good school in Taipei.

 

go! overseas

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: Wandering Educators is a community site for educators and travelers, so let’s chat about teaching options first. Which sections on your site deal specifically with teaching overseas?

Mitch Gordon: GO! Teach Abroad is focused on everything related to teaching overseas. It lists every teaching program in the world together in one place. Let’s say you’re interested in teaching in Argentina. You would be able to compare different programs and salaries, program durations, start dates, benefits and a lot more on our Teach in Argentina page. We make it easy for you to find the right program for you by eliminating the need to visit hundreds of other websites.

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: What kind of things should teachers consider before they move abroad? Can you direct us to three articles that should be a must-read for anyone considering a teaching position abroad?

Mitch Gordon: Wow, that’s a tough question to answer with some brevity!  I think the most important thing is for each individual to carefully consider his/her motivation for wanting to teach abroad. Do you really enjoy being around children? Are you a patient, flexible person who typically deals well with a little stress?

Teaching abroad is a serious commitment. Making the decision to accept a position affects many different people, from the students, parents, co-teachers, and school staff that you will be working with to the friends you will make while living abroad.  Giving teaching abroad a “try” is not fair to everyone mentioned above. Teachers need to be 100% committed to the idea of teaching abroad before signing a contract.

This is a topic that is often discussed on the GO! Overseas blog.

 

 

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: Which countries seem to be the most popular teaching destinations?

Mitch Gordon: Currently, the most popular countries in Asia are South Korea, Taiwan, and China. In Europe, the most popular countries are Spain, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Unless you’re a EU passport holder, it can be tough finding a job in Europe though.

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: Can you offer a few tips to teachers who are considering moving abroad to teach for a year?

Mitch Gordon: Sure! I think the most important step is to decide where you want to live abroad.  I often speak to people who go to their second choice country because the salary is higher.  It’s all a matter of degree, but I wouldn’t recommend making a decision based on a few hundred dollars. Think about all the memories you will have in a year. Think about learning a new language. Think about which culture you find the most intriguing and interesting! Don’t just think about the money. Is $1,000 USD (maximum) worth changing a decision about an entire year of your life?  When you’re 50 will you think about your experiences or the few hundred extra dollars you earned?

I’d also recommend planning ahead. Start researching and applying for jobs at least six months before you would like to arrive in a new country. This will allow you enough time to plan for a smooth transition. Consider the type of school you want to work for as well. Good schools plan ahead when hiring their teachers. You don’t want to be stuck with a leftover position!

I would consider using a good recruiter, such as Reach To Teach.  They will help you find a great job and continue to support you after you start teaching.
(Full disclosure:  I am also affiliated with Reach To Teach)

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: Does an ESL teaching certificate help with the job hunting process?

Mitch Gordon: It depends. If you want to teach in Europe, having a certificate like CELTA or Trinity TESOL is definitely recommended. Some Asian countries have also started to make this a requirement, although you can still find a job without a TEFL. Most importantly, earning a TEFL can help you become a better teacher. For that reason, it’s worth becoming certified, but make sure you do so with a reputable program.  For more details on different ESL certification options, I’d recommend visiting this page: TEFL Certification.

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: There are lots of ESL teaching programs out there. Do you recommend any in particular?

Mitch Gordon: First things first: Decide which country interests you the most. The second step is finding a good program. ALWAYS make sure you speak directly to a teacher who currently works at the school you are interested in. Any school proud of its program will be happy to put you in touch with one of their teachers. If they stall, this should raise all kinds of warning flags!
As for recommending programs, there are a number of good programs out there. Use Go! Teach Abroad to research programs in the country you are most interested in.

As mentioned previously, I would recommend Reach To Teach as a reputable company run by people who care about the teachers they work with.

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: Go! Overseas also has a lot of information on study abroad and volunteer programs. Can you give us a brief overview of these programs?

Mitch Gordon: Sure. The GO! Study Abroad and GO! Volunteer Abroad sites are very similar to the GO! Teach Abroad site. You can search by country for essentially every program in the world. We have ratings and reviews, along with a lot of useful articles and resources. If you know which country you want to volunteer/study in, it’s a great way to research the best program for you. It’s also a great place to just browse and dream about your next vacation!  A vacation with a volunteer component is a great way to give back to any country you choose to visit.

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about Go! Overseas?

Mitch Gordon: GO! Overseas is a community site, so please get involved. We encourage everyone to post questions in our forums and comment on articles. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter. If you have already participated in a teach, study or volunteer program (or some combination thereof!) give back to the community by leaving a rating or a review.

 

 

About GoOverseas.com
GoOverseas.com connects global citizens with study, volunteer and teaching abroad opportunities around the world. Every day, thousands of users find volunteer, study and teach abroad programs through GoOverseas.com.   Each program listing includes user generated ratings and reviews. All listed programs have the opportunity to apply for the independent Go Overseas verification procedure, noted on each program page with the patented medallion. The wider Go Overseas community includes regular articles, a blogging community, forums; travel related writing contests and scholarship opportunities. Join the global community at GoOverseas.com and Travel With a Purpose!

 

 

Carrie Kellenberger is the Reach to Teach Editor for Wandering Educators. She lives and works in Taiwan.

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