How do I get in touch with locals and the culture? Glad you asked! This is the second post in a series on getting in touch with locals during travels. Check back for more, or subscribe via email to never miss a beat.
In the first post of the getting in touch with locals series, I talked about how language study abroad helped me to experience a culture like no other. Well, in this post, I’d like to bring up the idea of teaching a language as yet another way to get immersed. I have both taught English in Ukraine and I have taught English virtually to students in Korea, and both times I was more than thrilled with what I discovered in my lessons. These were not just lessons for my students, but they were also lessons for me, the teacher.
In Ukraine, my students introduced me to their culture, and I’m so happy that they did. It is just so easy to assume that the Ukrainian people are all out to get you… and that seems to be true in a business sense. But that hard exterior often hides the true loveliness underneath — the caring side, the mama’s boys, the sense of hard work in the face of adversity. These people, my students, were amazing.
In Australia, I taught little Korean kids via the Internet, and that again was a learning experience. You always hear that these are the kids with the strictest regime when it comes to academics, but to see if for myself was mind-blowing. I’d ask my kids about their days, and just hearing about it made me sleepy. Poor, poor, overworked children!
Teaching English was quite a worthwhile experience on more than just a financial level and the opportunity to live abroad. I really loved how it helped me get in touch with locals during my travels.