Teaching English as a foreign language continues to be a popular travel option. Studies estimate that there are around 15 million teachers of the English language alone, which is the most spoken language in the world. Given this demand, it’s no wonder teachers are everywhere, working in places beyond their home country. In fact, TEFL estimates that approximately 250,000 English teachers work in foreign countries each year.
This is because teachers are in one of the best positions to engage with the local culture, visit new places, and meet new people when working abroad. As they interact with students on almost a daily basis, teachers need to adapt to cultural differences and new environments. They can also learn to communicate with locals— enabling them to foster positive relationships and become more open-minded. This experience opens up a unique perspective on life, which can be best captured through photography.
Photographs serve as a great reminder of their travel and immersion in local culture and are the perfect way to document their experience. If you’re a teacher looking to pursue photography, either as a way to remember your trip or as a hobby, here are some of the best cameras for teachers abroad and some tips on how to be respectful.
While the temptation may be to invest in a new camera, you don’t need to splash out on a brand-new model to take amazing shots. Even on a limited travel budget, teachers can get top-quality cameras at affordable prices by looking at second-hand models.
One of the best types of cameras for traveling is the mirrorless camera. These are very portable compared to traditional DLSRs, as well as having some features that they may lack. These include silent mode, live preview, and 4K video recording. Used mirrorless cameras from renowned brands, including Sony, Nikon, and Canon, can be purchased online at big discounts, with their quality almost like new. Older mirrorless models like the Sony Alpha a7II, which came out in 2014, are great all-rounder cameras. The Sony Alpha a7II has a 24.3MP sensor, fast hybrid autofocus, and five-axis image stabilization. The camera is also sealed against dust and moisture, making it a durable option for traveling abroad.
Ricoh GR III
If you want greater portability and ease of use, compact cameras like the Ricoh GR III offer professional performance. Despite its pocketable size, the model packs a lot of features, including a 24MP APS-C sensor, dual-type autofocus, and an easy-to-navigate menu system. With its built-in USB-C port, you can quickly charge your camera with a phone charger when needed.
For the best balance between size and camera customization, the Panasonic Lumix G100 provides an edge over smartphones and compact cameras with its ability to change lenses. This mirrorless camera also boasts 20.3 MP, an electronic viewfinder, and a touchscreen to simplify navigation. In addition to pictures, the camera can capture high-quality videos as high as 4K with great audio.
As teachers working in an unfamiliar place, it’s important that you remain cautious to prevent offending others. Below are some tips to respectfully engage in photography while working abroad.
Especially when taking photos of children and teens, photographers need to get consent from adults first. For the best privacy, consider taking photos from different perspectives and angles, such as the side, the back, or focus on specific activities.
Speaking a foreign language beyond the classroom can go a long way in connecting with locals and improving daily life. It also helps avoid miscommunication when asking for permission to take pictures. To best master the language, travel with a companion familiar with common courtesies and local slang.
Before attending any cultural event, learn about its background and rules beforehand. This knowledge can not only keep teachers respectful of the event, but it also elevates appreciation for local culture and values. Make sure to turn off the camera flash when photographing performers. Otherwise, it can disorient and distract them.
Photography can go a long way in capturing special moments while working abroad. As long as you remain respectful of the local culture, you can make the most out of events and create quality photos. If you want more travel advice, visit my travel category for more tips and guides on international travel.