Is Teaching English Abroad a Good Way to Escape PC Culture?

how to teach English abroad

If you are from the English-speaking West, you have likely noticed a drastic change in society during the past few years or so. It seems that we have quickly constructed a culture in which one must walk around on eggshells out of fear that they might offend someone and be labeled a bigot, homophob, sexist or any combination of these. The culture of political correctness and identity politics has become the norm throughout the UK, Canada, Western Europe and now even in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The culture of identity politics and censorship is no longer something that exists on the fringes of society, but has become the new standard. We are not only bombarded by its manipulating rhetoric, lies and exaggerations in the media, but in our everyday life as well. Whether its in the workplace or at university, it is like a plague that permeates throughout society. The real tragedy of the PC culture is that it seems to be dividing us more than ever. Have you ever felt like you just want to be yourself and discuss freely with people of other cultures, backgrounds and sexual orientation, but refrain from doing so because there could be consequences?

Before you rush to judgement and accuse me of hate speech or being some sort of white nationalist, keep in mind that I am not a Trump supporting, NRA card carrying member of the Right. I have a diverse array of friends and come from a very working class background. I fully support universal healthcare, fair wages for workers and I  believe 100% in global warming. However, I am entirely convinced that what is coming out of the far left is not only hindering our ability to speak freely with one another, but a real threat to democratic discourse and rationalism.

What does taking the ‘Red Pill’ have to do with teaching English abroad?

Whether you are a working professional or a university student, chances are that you have felt handcuffed at one time or another by contemporary culture that seems hellbent on turning everyone into either a victim or a villain. Maybe you are looking for an outlet or an escape. It might not be permanent, but at least temporarily. It could be that you just want to go someplace where you can be yourself and you can truly interact with not only another culture, but interesting people of the West as well. As I have said many times in this blog, teaching English abroad and living overseas in general is not for everyone. However, if you are sincerely interested in the idea and would like to give teaching a shot, then why not teach abroad? Assuming you meet the qualifications of having a four-year degree and a TEFL certificate, you can not only financially support yourself, connect with another culture through teaching, but also have the chance to live in another country where the PC culture and victimhood does not dominate mainstream society.

It can be an opportunity to experience something genuine, real and authentic. A chance to realize once again that the world is truly a beautiful place filled with interesting people regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or background. Personally, I taught English in Japan from 2007 to 2011. The political insanity that exist in America today was not as prevalent then, but it was definitely there to some extent. As a graduate student at the time, despite my leftist leanings from an economic perspective, I still had to be careful what I said and who I engaged with when it came to political discussions. For me, living abroad was an outlet and it allowed me to grow as a person, and engage with other perspectives without being ridiculed or feeling that I had to constantly defend myself. I wasn’t there to get on my high horse and preach to the Japanese and other Westerns about the progressive agenda. I was merely there to experience something truly unique and I was fortunate enough to have had that opportunity. When I returned to the United States in 2011, I noticed a change in American culture and that nefarious change has become more noticeable now more then ever.

Does PC culture exist outside of the English-speaking Western World?

For the most part, the answer is no. In fact, such a concept really does not make sense in many parts of the world. In most countries, the only thing that really matters is the family and the character of an individual. One thing that also really impressed me in my time spent in both Asia and Latin America is the way in which men and women embrace each other. There is not this friction and sort of animosity between the sexes that has crept up throughout Anglo-Western culture. What I witnessed on many occasions in Asia and Latin America was more of a mutual respect for each other. Men are allowed to be men and women are allowed to be women and each side admires the other. It is important to point out that there is a perception in the West that women throughout Asia and Latin America are submissive and oppressed. While that may have been true at some point in history, that for the most part is not the case anymore.

Just as here in the United States or the UK, men of the younger generation outside of the English-speaking West are also expected to clean the house, take care of the children and respect  the ambitions of their wives. Is there the occasional chauvinistic jerk? Of course, they exist, but it is not the norm and quickly becoming a relic of the past. With that being said, if you are some creepy Western male, don’t confuse the absence of political correctness in other parts of the world as a license to do and say anything.

Do the Social Justice Warrior types also teach English abroad?

Yes, these types definitely teach English abroad. You can also find quite a few of these types backpacking all over the world. However, being abroad in the non-speaking West is the great ‘equalizer ‘to their tyranny of thought. Let’s say you are working at a school somewhere in Asia with several other teachers. You will run into these types of individuals and I certainly did when I was in Japan. But unlike in your home country where you have to live in constant fear of being fired or the target of a witch hunt, these types become utterly powerless when abroad. This is mostly because cultures of the non-English speaking West could really care less about political correctness and identity politics. People of other cultures often say what is on their mind and ask direct questions. Whereas many of these questions might be deemed offensive back home, they are part of the norm abroad.

If you are an easily offended person and your jaw is constantly touching the floor, then you may want to do the world a favor and not teach abroad. Sure, people in Asia and many parts of the world are polite and will merely smile when you go on one of your political tirades or lecture others on how they should think and behave, but don’t confuse that smile with agreement. Don’t be surprised if you get questions if you are a single man like, “are you gay?” or if you are a single woman, “why aren’t you married.” In other words, the ‘filter’ that confines our thought in the West often does not exist in other parts of world. Personally, I always enjoyed that part about being abroad. Not because I would ask those same sort of questions, but I respected the bluntness and directness of certain individuals even if it was somewhat rude. The problem back home is that we have become so used to existing in our ‘safe zone’ that individuals are often shocked when they hear something deemed out of the norm. But there really is no reason to be ‘shocked’ or ‘appalled’. When you are living abroad, at the end of the day is more about who you are as an individual and the way in which you can interact with a vastly different culture and your fellow Western teachers.

This is a blog about teaching English abroad. This topic is inappropriate!

My rebuttal to this inane argument is that teaching English abroad is much more than merely teaching and if you honestly believe that it is only about teaching, then you are completely missing the bigger picture. It is a lot about being a person from the English-speaking West and functioning within a culture that offers a drastically alternative perspective of reality. In the end, I decided to return to my country and this is where I will stay. However, I cherished my time abroad and a lot of that was because I was able to step out the superficial guise of the my own culture and exist in another.

About JT 71 Articles

JT taught English for four years in Japan. He also has extensive experience teaching ESL in the United States. JT has also traveled throughout Asia and South America. He began JimmyESL in 2014 as a way to provide honest information for those interested in teaching English abroad. These days, he spends most of his time building Wordpress sites, blogging and teaching others the nuances of digital marketing.