In the past 2 years 3 of my students chose to travel abroad to study English for about 6 months and another 2 will be going this year. I always encourage my students to follow their dreams and living abroad is something that will change them forever. Some students come back with a new found appreciation for Japan (the fantastic food, the politeness, the heritage, etc) while others fall in love with the countries they visit (the nature, the independence, the attitude). Either way it will give them a better perspective about the world in which we live in and how to interact with one another.
Recently a student went to Powell River, in Canada, and sent me an email to tell me about her life there. These days with internet access available at nearly every school it’s easy for me to keep in touch with students thousands of miles away and help them with any questions they might have. Obviously culture shock is always an issue so I’m happy to lend a helping hand when I can. At first, things can be tough but after they get used to their new life and make new friends the more they enjoy themselves. Sometimes they come back a new person with a new outlook on life. They bring with them a new found confidence in speaking up and voicing their own opinions.
Students can then share their experiences (both positive and those not so positive) in class which lead to great discussions as each person has a different take on things. In a few months time two of my students will be returning to Japan and I can’t wait to hear about all their adventures. Until that time I’ll just have to make do with emails and chat. It’s great to know that I can still be of help even though I’m here and they’re there.