Joel Kingsman at the YMCA in Taiwan

November 11, 2016, by Joe Ward

Three Tips for Teaching English Abroad – And How to Find Funding

By Joel Kingsman, MSci Physics

Are you interested in undertaking work experience in another country, but worried about the cost? The International Work Experience Grant can offer up to £1000 to support you.

Designed to enable students to undertake work experience opportunities that they might not otherwise be able to afford, the grant will support expenses such as accommodation, travel and visas, living costs and vaccinations.

In this blog, we meet Joel Kingsman, studying for a masters in physics, who undertook work experience at the YMCA’s English camp in Taiwan.

Can you give us some details of your placement?

I worked for the YMCA of Taichung City, Taiwan. My role entailed helping the YMCA run an English language camp for local primary school age children.

This involved teaching English, organising and running a variety of activities and working with Taiwanese colleagues to ensure the welfare and enjoyment of the children.

What new skills did you learn?

I’ve shown my initiative and ability to thrive in a foreign land and culture. After jumping in at the deep end I’m now confident I can tackle and adapt to whatever problem other employment will throw at me.

My leadership, teamwork and communication skills have gone through the roof after working with people from another nation so much and with such a variety of ages.

What would you say was your greatest achievement?

Leading a science club session where we made water rockets. It was a challenge to come up with ideas to do for a two hour session, but they loved it!

What would you say was the biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?

The language barrier especially when working with more shy children. Required a lot of patience and co-operation with the Taiwanese staff to help these children get involved. But seeing them grow in confidence and enjoy themselves was a real delight.

Can you give us three top tips to share with other students thinking of doing a placement abroad?

  1. Learn as much of the language as possible. Even if you’re not perfect, locals will still probably understand you and really appreciate the effort. Being able to cause a few smiles just by speaking a little Chinese to shopkeepers, with locals at the basketball courts and with the children made every day so much brighter.
  2. Make local friends. I’d have really struggled this summer without the Taiwanese staff at the camp. Not only did they help me out at work and in settling into life in Taiwan but they became and remain dear friends. They shine through as my best memories of this summer. Furthermore, be involved in a community outside your placement so you have an escape from the bubble of your internship and understand how life is for locals or long term expats. For me that was an incredible group at Taichung International Fellowship Church. Whatever exciting place you have in mind remember that its people that will make you happy.
  3. Don’t worry about leaping into the unknown. Culture shock and being so far from home can be tough. I wanted nothing more than to go home on my first day, but it ended up being the best time of my life. No matter how you feel at first, give it a week and see how you feel. You’ll get used to being abroad and make friends. And besides if it doesn’t work out you can always come home. But if you seriously want to do a placement abroad then go for it. I can’t guarantee you’ll have an amazing time, but you may regret not giving this adventure a chance.

If you want to get more details on the International Work Experience Grant and could help you fund some work experience overseas, visit our webpage to find out what it can be used for and your eligibility. You can also complete an expression of interest for funding, which will be assessed by our team.

You should also read our information about internships abroad and the things you need to consider when applying for work experience in another country.

Posted in International Work Experience Grant