Is Teaching Abroad The Right Choice for You?


It sounds brilliant in the dark of a British winter to teach overseas, but there is a lot more to it than packing sunscreen and dark glasses. There are many important aspects to going to live abroad and for a big step like this, a lot of research should be done in advance.

The following includes some very good advice from working abroad:

  • Why do you want to teach abroad? It is not really an answer to any personal problems you may be experiencing - all that will happen is that they will come with you, so try and sort them out and then see if you still want to teach in another country. Don't go because you enjoyed a holiday in the location - living there and being away from friends and family is not at all the same. Your only really valid reason is that you want to experience teaching children with a different cultural outlook and if that is your reason, you'll be fine.
  • Before you accept a post abroad, do as much research on the school as you can and don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Make sure that you will be happy living under the cultural restraints that some countries will impose. Do a lot of reading to begin with but don't just think you will 'manage' if a lot of your interests will be closed to you - this is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, not a penance.
  • Keep a copy of your passport for emergencies - if you have to leave your accommodation in a hurry it could be your most valuable possession.
  • This is a job, remember, not a holiday. Some countries expect a longer working week than the UK so you might not have much free time.
  • Don't expect everything to be the same as at home. The school day will probably be very different as well as the curriculum. The standard of living is likely to be different also but even if it is the same or higher than you are used to, local customs will have an impact, so be ready to adapt.
  • Contact the British Embassy or High Commission if you run into any problems.
  • If you can make sure that you have a local contact/friend/colleague - it is always useful to be able to ask any questions you may have of a person in the know.
  • Save some of your salary every month for emergencies, such as a plane ticket home, hotel accommodation or other needs you might have unexpectedly.
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