I like to think that I am pretty eloquent and confident. However, when I try to speak a new language, especially with a native speaker, I become shy and have about as much of a personality as a bag of bricks.
There is a distinct personality shift that occurs when you have a lot to say, but you only have a kindergarten-level vocabulary with which to say it. As an online English teacher, understanding this dynamic helps me focus on creating a relaxed and fun learning environment where the student can feel comfortable making mistakes.
Being a virtual educator and a digital nomad is such a unique professional experience. Being a digital nomad allows me to spend extended amounts of time in cities where I may not know the local language.
Having first-hand experiences with the frustrations of learning a new language or not being able to communicate effectively in a foreign language enables me to relate to and empathize with my students.
Living in different cities around the world also allows me to better understand cultural differences and native language nuances that my students bring to the table. Traveling helps me be more aware of how these factors can affect their language learning process.
I have benefited so much from knowing English as I travel around the world. Almost everywhere I’ve been in the world (so far), there has been someone that at least speaks basic English and can help me if I’m lost or need information.
It is a perk that I definitely don’t take for granted. It inspires me to share this amazing global language with others. In addition to professional reasons, so many of my students are learning English because they want to travel more. Knowing English helps them feel more secure and confident when traveling internationally – and I’m the lucky one that gets to be part of their journey!