Australian native, Louis, taught English abroad in Southeast Asia and had a very rewarding experience! He travels extensively and manages an impressive Instagram account. Read about his experiences working abroad:
In Torres del Paine, Chile
1. Where are you from?
My name is Louis, and I’m from Melbourne, Australia. I operate a travel Instagram account called One Globe Travels which documents my travels around the world. This year I want to do some more volunteer work in Cambodia and Sri Lanka.
2. What made you decide to teach abroad?
I have only taught abroad once, and it was in Laos in 2016. I have travelled a lot, and I wanted to give something back to the community. It was also a great opportunity to go to a country I had wanted to travel to for so long.
3. What country did you choose to teach in?
I chose to be in Laos, mostly for personal reasons as I was desperate to do some volunteer work in the country.
4. Which program hired you?
I didn’t do it through conventional methods. I got into contact with a local school that teaches English in Luang Prabang and they can use all the help they can get.
5. Was teaching abroad your first experience in Laos?
Teaching English in Luang Prabang was my first experience with teaching English and was my first time being in Laos.
6. What grades did you teach?
They didn’t really have grades as such, more a collection of children who were grouped together based on their experience and knowledge of English.
Not all children in third world countries can attend school as much as they would like to. Some have to stay at home on certain days to help out with family duties, so they may only be able to attend school once or twice a week, while others are able to attend more frequently. I was teaching children that already had a decent English base knowledge.
7. Had you worked with children in education before teaching abroad?
I was working as a swim teacher for children for a few years, and then moved onto swim coaching at a state and national level. Although not teaching English, I was teaching young children swimming skills and in charge of running and organising classes. As I moved into coaching, I was responsible for planning sessions and writing programs, which I would then teach to my swimmers.
8. What surprised you most about the education system in Laos?
I was surprised at how eager the children were to learn! They were so excited to get to school every day, and they were very excited to have someone white teaching them English for the day. Compared to schooling systems in Australia.
9. What were your favorite/least favorite parts of the job?
Favourite part of the job was playing with all the school kids during lunchtime! One of the kids would have a ball and there would be a giant game of soccer being played. Everyone would play together and it was just so much fun!
The worst part of the job was being in a third world country, and everything that comes with that. The children were living extremely hard lives, and it was hard to not become a little emotionally attached to some of their struggles.
10. What was your favorite word or phrase your students used?
Khob Chai which means “thank you!”
11. What was your favorite part of living in Laos?
The food, the people, the weather, the city! Too many things to list!
12. How has teaching abroad helped you in what you’re doing now?
Teaching and volunteering abroad was an extremely rewarding experience, and something I want to incorporate into all my travels in some capacity! Really want to teach English in Cambodia this year.
13. What advice would you give a prospective teacher abroad?
Do it! You’ll have an amazing experience, and it will open so many wonderful pathways for you. You’ll meet amazing people along the way, and learn more about yourself!
Thank you, Louis! Good luck in your future adventures!
Follow Louis’ travels on his Instagram account:
If you are a volunteer, language assistant, or English teacher abroad and would like to participate in an interview, let me know via the contact tab!
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