OCCUPATION: ESL Teacher
LOCATION: Borneo, Southeast Asia
WHAT’S YOUR HUSTLE: I spent the year teaching English at University in Indonesia on the island of Borneo as part of a fellowship sponsored by the US State Department. I looked at it as Uncle Sam’s thank you to me for finally deciding to pay off my student loans. I worked with adorable and sweet students who never told me they came to school to “chill and get free condoms” like my little high schoolers in Brooklyn did. I had a lot of time to travel around the country and see Komodo Dragons, buffalo sacrificing funerals, caves filled with skulls and bones, and giant bats. I also got a fish pedicure, bought some vagina chalk (google it, it’s NUTS), and was called “Mister” every day.
WHAT DOES YOUR HUSTLE MEAN TO YOU: My hustle means using my degree as an ESL teacher to check out a country I didn’t know anything about and learn about a new culture. In addition to this I also got a chance to teach my students that getting “free sex” in the USA is not quite as easy as they make it look in the movies.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONLY THREE TOOLS FOR YOUR HUSTLE, WHAT WOULD THEY BE: Some teacher stuff, a good sense of humor (sometimes living on the other side of the world in a developing country can be a real kick in the pants), and a laptop to stalk family and friends back home (in a nice way).
A WORD OF ADVICE TO WANNABE HUSTLERS IN YOUR FIELD: There are lots of opportunities to teach ESL abroad. Many programs don’t require a background in education, you only need to speak the English. It’s a great way to earn some money while traveling and learning more about a place than what you can learn from Lonely Planet. Websites like DaveESLcafe.com has daily postings of jobs all over the place.