It's that time of year again, when thousands of students all over the UK receive their exam results and are left either ecstatic because they've achieved a place at University, or disappointed in the fact that this year, they haven't quite made the grade.
As members of what David Milliband recently described as the "pinched" generation, life for those who missed out on a university place could be tricky. It's a struggle; even work experience, considered extremely important, is in short supply. For those who are reapplying, a year is a long time to wait, so travel is something that many will consider.
TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) is an increasingly popular option for students looking to do something beneficial, worthwhile and enjoyable. It's a pretty inexpensive travel option, as many employers cover flights, accommodation, insurance and visas. Not only that, but it allows you to develop important new skills and get some hands-on experience which looks great on a C.V.
If you don't have a degree, it doesn't matter. It certainly won't hold you back. In some countries like Japan or South Korea, a degree is necessary, but there are hundreds of TEFL locations where it is not a requirement. For those positions, completion of a 100 or 120 hour TEFL course would set you up nicely for securing a teaching position. Courses are flexible, and can be completed entirely online (at home, in your pyjamas) or through a combination of online and classroom learning.
Pay will vary depending on where you want to go and who employs you, as will contract durations and things like free accommodation and flight reimbursements. As well as the many paid positions there are volunteering positions available too - far more challenging but deeply rewarding - where you can really get back to basics, working in underprivileged areas that are often very short of resources.
Excuse the cliché, but it really is the experience of a lifetime; living, travelling and teaching in some of the most intriguing countries in the world. Awareness, cultural sensitivity, self-sufficiency, understanding and communication skills are just a few of the attributes to be gained through teaching overseas. This kind of opportunity simply isn't available in the UK at the moment. These skills are widely transferrable and will set you apart from others - university admission officers and employers recognise their importance. It could be a great aid in the reapplication process, highlighting a certain maturity and understanding that without this kind of experience, you wouldn't necessarily have.
Missing out on university this year doesn't have to be a disaster, it could be a chance to see the world, gain some work experience and give your C.V. a bit of a boost. You will return from your adventure abroad extremely satisfied, better prepared for the future and with a fresh outlook on life - guaranteed.
Follow Alana MacPherson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@TEFLorguk