6 Things To Do when Your Dream's Been Crushed

I was going to title this “Where do we go from here?” but I can’t say that without singing this. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it does gets in my head for weeks…

So… my last two posts were kinda downers. I talked about finding some scathing reviews of TEFL programs as well as an extremely disappointing interview with a local TEFL program. But you forgive me because I gave you pictures of cute animals, right?  (If not, go here and keep looking until you do forgive me.  Then come back.)

But enough pity party! Let’s move forward, shall we?

Am I giving up on my dream of international adventure? No! I am, however, getting more creative. I may still be smacked down one day, but that day is not today!

So if you can’t really go to the UK because you need a job before you get there and TEFL’s potentially out, too, what do you do?  You can’t travel around the world with no job, right?

Option #1: Do TEFL anyway.

Those reviews are just that: those people’s reviews of TEFL. Doubtless there are people out there who have had good experiences. Plus, I don’t plan to do it forever like some of the reviewers.

Problem: The certification is $2K; do I really want to invest that much money on a gamble?

Option #2: Teach English on my own terms.

I kid you not, the same day I wrote that post on my depressing Google search I also got a link in my Twitter feed to @wanderingearl‘s blog, which included this post about how two guys with no experience became English teachers in a foreign country. It was easy. They posted a bunch of handwritten signs around a local university: “Learn English from two native speakers. First lesson free.” They got calls and met on the lawn with these students, just having conversations and learning informally. Charged them about $3 per lesson.

Brilliant! Go straight to the people who want to learn! And college students are a great target audience. Amy said she’s employed (whether formally or informally, I’m not sure) by a company to teach English, and she basically just sits down to have coffee with people.

Problem: That’ll only work short term. Unless I can figure out how to get a “self-employed” visa to last longer than three months. And income may be sporadic and unpredictable.

Option #3: Teach English in some other way.

Found a listing on this page about a program where you live with a host family in Italy for a few months and teach them English informally.

Problem: It’s also only short term. Also need to check up on the validity of this program to make sure it’s not a scam!

Option #4: Au-pair. That’s a fancy term for “nannying”.

Even more posts on this page for nannying positions for six months to a year. Again, that link’s looking at Italy for argument’s sake, but there’s lots of locations to choose from. My friend RaeAnne did this for a year in Torino; I’ve been trying to reach her for an interview.

Problem: I don’t have any previous nanny experience. While I am pretty good at entertaining 70 kids for an hour each week in Sunday school, I don’t know how I’d do with just a few kids for 70 hours a week. And I could potentially be paired with a nightmarish family.

Option #5: Don’t work.

Not ideal, but a possibility. Keep on the go. Be a nomad. Move around. Spend a year traveling the globe.

Problem: Money’d be going out and likely not coming in. That’s an expensive year. And I can definitely see myself getting bored.

Option #6: Wing it.

For any of the above, maybe just by going and spending time somewhere I’ll meet friends and make local connections and someone will offer me a job. Or have an idea I have not yet discovered on something else I could do to be gainfully employed.

Problem: No guarantees on anything.

* * * * *

Bottom line, I’m still keeping my options open and not closing up shop on my bigwhatif. If this is something God wants me to do, I have no doubt that He’ll open the right doors.

Speaking of which, if any of you know of any open doors, you know, like American companies with satellite offices in other countries that want to hire a woman with over seven years of executive assistant experience and wicked sweet Microsoft Office skillz who’s also good at public speaking and makes awesome chocolate fudge… You know, ask them to give me a call…  

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3 Responses to 6 Things To Do when Your Dream's Been Crushed

  1. Earl says:

    Hey Alissa –

    I just wanted to offer a couple of points in regards to this post.

    Well, of course I’m biased to the way I taught English in Thailand but keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be short-term. I ended up teaching over there for over 6 months and my friend stuck around for 1.5 years. All we did was renew our visas in a bordering country every couple of months. And as along as you pick a country whose youth are interested in English, then hopefully you won’t have a shortage of students.

    Also, if you have 7 years of executive assistant experience, have you checked out Elance.com?

    This site allows you to bid for projects that other companies around the world need done and if they accept your offer, you complete the work, email it to them and they pay you. It’s a bit complicated to set up your account at first but one of my best friends has been offering her ‘executive assistant’ services on Elance for 1 year and has been earning more than enough to keep traveling around the world. Just another option 🙂

    And finally, there is simply no way of knowing what opportunities are out there until you do take the first step and start traveling. I never knew about teaching English until I arrived in Thailand! So as long as you keep an open mind, you’ll discover plenty of ways to sustain a traveling lifestyle once you get out on the road…

    Anyway, good luck with your decision and thanks for mentioning my blog!

    • Alissa says:

      Thank for your comment, Earl! I totally appreciate you chiming in with your experience.

      I was thinking short-term in the sense that most countries (as I’m discovering) only let you stay for a few months. But, as you suggest, country-hopping in the same general region is probably a good idea! And it lets you see even more of the world!

      Had never heard of Elance – I’ll have to check that out! 🙂

  2. Pingback: As They Say In Syria, Shukran! | Wandering Earl

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