It was a blast! Although I was nervous at first, it was must more rewarding than I ever expected. While we often hear negative things about Mexico in the media, the truth is, it's a fantastic country to live, world and travel in. Here are my 8 reasons to teach English in Mexico.
8. The people
While many expats often struggle to meet local friends, I was inundated with kindness from many local people who I still call close friends to this day. I was invited to weddings, graduation parties, funerals and genuinely made to feel like family by my friends. This was important as I was on my own and it stopped me getting homesick.
On top of that, there are about 1 million US citizens in Mexico. In an large or medium sized city, it's very easy to meet other expats.
7. The beaches
Weekend beach trips are a common activity for expats and Mexicans alike. With temperate weather, swimming is possible all year round. There are a range of activities to do at the beach such as scuba diving, snorkeling, banana boating and even yachting. Of course, there's always my favorite option of grabbing a freshly made cocktail and reading a good while sun-baking.
6. Low entry Requirements
You do not need any University teaching qualification to be employed in Mexico, though a TEFL certification is usually required. Many teachers manage to obtain a working visa (FM3 Visa) without even being a native English speaker or holding a 4 year university degree.
The entry requirements and restrictions are really low. Unlike many countries, to be illegible for a working visa, you don't need a college degree. Don't need a passport from an English-speaking country. And there is no age restrictions.
Check out more detail on exactly how to get a working visa in Mexico.
It's even quite common to teach English on a tourist visa, at least for starters. I don't recommend that you plan on this though as you won't be guaranteed the legal advantages such as healthcare as you would with an FM3 Visa.
Check out our article on choosing a TEFL course.
5. The food
Some of my favorites that I have enjoyed both in the US and Mexico are tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas and anything with guacamole!
It should be noted that what Americans consider Mexican food, or Tex-Mex, is actually quite different to authentic Mexican food. For example, did you know that chili con carne is a Tex-Mex dish and not a traditional Mexican one?
Some of the most famous Mexican dishes that you might not have heard of are Huachinango a la Veracruzana, Chiles en Nogada, Pechuga adobada and Mole Poblano.
Mexico is home to the Chichen Itza archaeological site which is one of the 7 wonders of the world. An estimated 1.2 million people visit the ruins each year. There is so much culture and history to experience that living in Mexico is really the only way to have enough time to experience it all.
Then there's the famous Mexican parties. 'La fiesta' is alive and well in Mexico, with beautiful places like Cancun right up there with the best places to party in the world.
3. learn Spanish
On top of that, being bilingual is a fantastic skill set to add to your CV. Even if teaching English isn't a career for you, this is a fantastic way to add to your professional development, while enjoying the lifestyle which teaching English abroad affords.
While many Mexicans speak English well, you're going to want to learn Spanish. It's not necessary to speak any Spanish before arriving, but to get the full authentic experience and to make your life 10 times easier, you're going to have to study Spanish. Fear not, it's not as daunting as it sounds.
Spanish and English are actually quite similar and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll pick it up with no study at all. but if you really want to master Spanish, you'll need to put in some effort. There's ton of textbooks, apps and websites that are free. I recommend Duolingo and Study Spanish.
2. Diversity (see the real mexico)
Each region of Mexico has its own unique style boasting stunning biodiversity. Home to oceans sprawling with sea creatures, rolling hills and valleys, some of the highest peaks in the Americas, deserts that stretch on as far as the eye can see and lush rain forests, each part of Mexico can feel like its own country.
While Spanish is spoken by almost all Mexicans, there are dozens of other languages that are spoken as the first language by millions of people. Nahuatl is the most widely spoken indigenous language, with most speakers native to Central Mexico.
1. Proximity to the USA
First of all, the time zone is basically the same. This makes connecting with friends and family back home much easier. While staying in touch these days has been made much easier due to the internet, is can still be hard to fit in time to call with 6pm your time is 3am your family's time.
On top of that, watching live sports is not a hassle at all. I love sports (Go Seahawks!) so it was a nice bonus for me to be able to watch games live without having to wake up at ungodly hours of the morning. It may not sound like a lot, but after having lived in Asia, it was much easier for me to keep up to date when I lived in a similar time zone to The USA.
Another reason is cheap flights! While it can costs over $1000 to get to Asia, flights to Mexico can usually be found for a couple of hundred dollars. That's a huge saving right off the bat, which is important as you will most likely be scraping very penny you have together to cover your start up costs.