Now in his 5th year as an international educator, Ben Goddard describes his love for teaching and his inability to imagine himself doing anything else. He finds much value and reward in helping high school students develop and prepare for university.
The possibility of living abroad had been on Ben's mind since his travels in his younger days. During one of his many journeys, he found out about international education from a teacher who had taught in China. At first, Ben was surprised to discover the breadth of schools throughout the world looking to hire teachers. He speaks of his international teaching experience thus far with gratitude:
"Getting into overseas teaching enables me to experience different cultures around the world while doing a job I love… I can't see myself doing anything else with my life now."
Ben started teaching in Jakarta, Indonesia as an English language teacher in 2011, after completing his undergraduate university degree. On the advice of an acquaintance he met while traveling, he then earned a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). With his new qualification, Ben was able to land a position in Kazakhstan, where he has taught for the last two academic years. Meanwhile, he has earned his Post Graduate Certificate in Education and is now studying for a full MA in Education at the University of Nottingham.
In his latest job search, Ben was keen to find a position that would allow him to return to Southeast or East Asia. A colleague of Ben's in Kazakhstan had secured his job at the Search Bangkok Fair, so Ben enlisted the help of Search Associates. He comments on his experience with Search Associates:
"The agency is definitely a useful recruiting tool to use as you are given so much information on the schools before you apply. In my opinion, it is all about finding the right 'fit,' and sometimes you are not able to know exactly if a position would be suited to you from just visiting a school's website."
Finding the site easy to use and very helpful, Ben used the Search Associates website daily during his search from October through February. The dashboard on searchassociates.com allowed him to learn a great deal about schools without having to leave the site. With the help of the website and the support of his Senior Associate John Ritter, Ben secured a position in February, 2016 to teach English at ULink College Guangzhou (ULink College) in China. Ben offers some practical tips for finding a school that is a good fit:
"Before I approached the school, I visited their website. I made sure I had a good idea on what the school's mission/vision statements were, what curricula the institution uses, and the location in general. I knew that ULink College was right for me. These factors, along with the fact that I really enjoyed visiting this part of the world while on holiday, made me realize this was an opportunity I would have to consider."
Ben is also eager to pass on wisdom gained from his own experience, in addition to advice he received from his Associates:
"… flexibility is really important. If you are willing to consider opportunities, which, perhaps, other people are not, the better chances you have of securing a position…Having an open mind and tolerance of different cultures… is important. One thing I have learned about the U.K. (where I am from) is that it is an organized place compared to other countries I have lived in. If you teach abroad, you will encounter problems that you wouldn't in your home country. It is best to relax and take these problems in your stride. The benefits of international teaching far outweigh the negative aspects of living and teaching abroad."