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4 Things to Consider Before Teaching Abroad

4 Facts to Consider Before Teaching Abroad

Teaching abroad sounds like an amazing opportunity if you are a teacher and would like to travel! But before you go, we have some tips to make sure you are prepared and safe. So let’s start here…

We will start off by assuming you have two true passions in life. You love them equally, and you’re looking for a career that would allow you to experience both. One is teaching English: whether you’re currently involved in the profession, or have always wanted to give it a shot. The other is travel: new adventures, broadening your horizons and discovering yourself.

Let’s also assume that you’ve heard all about the amazing opportunities available for English teachers looking to apply their trade abroad. It seems like the perfect match, and you know that this is exactly what you want to do. So far, so good. But assumptions aside, there are some factors to consider before you embark on this awesome journey.


4 Facts to Consider Before Teaching Abroad

1. Contracts and Visas

Most of the time, work contracts are arranged before you leave, and visas have to be arranged beforehand. More often than not, employers will help you arrange the right visa. But something you do need to take into consideration is that in certain places, there are restrictions and conditions attached to those visas. This could apply to changing jobs as well as restrictions on leaving and re-entering the country. Always make sure that you check, and double check all of the conditions stipulated in any contract entered into.

It’s also a good idea to also check on potential employer’s credentials and credibility by doing a quick online search. Contacting the consulate or embassy of the country you’re going to is also a good idea. Certain schools and agents will make promises that aren’t in line with policy, and you’ll be able to get some good advice and feedback from these institutions.


2. Credentials

This is a particularly hot topic, and you’ll hear lots of different opinions. From TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) to TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of another Language), there are so many options in terms of required qualifications. The bottom line is that you need to check on the requirements from the country/region/institution you’re interested in going to work in. Certain existing qualifications you might have will be OK for one country or region, but not for another.

The same goes for different institutions. Once you decide on where you’d like to teach, and which type of institution you’d be most comfortable with, check on the requirements and do what you need to do. One very important factor to remember here is that there are many institutions and agents who will tell you everything that you want you to hear, just to get your business.

Be careful of fly-by-night institutions and qualification packages that aren’t legitimate. As always, check with official organisations and with English teachers who’ve had experience with travelling.

3. Regional Cultures

You’ll be going abroad, which almost always means a different culture; a different way of doing things, and certain things that might be lost in translation. This is one of the reasons you’re making the move, and it’s exciting, educational and character developing. The key here is to be open to learning.

Leave any preconceptions or assumptions at the door, and go with an open mind. You’ll soon learn as you go, and the best thing about being an English teacher is that cultural differences can be a part of your syllabus. After all, the entire objective is to teach and learn through the process.

Culture while Teaching Abroad

4. Perseverance

Once the excitement of researching your options, accepting an offer, travelling, and assimilating into you new job wears off, frustration can often set in. You’re in a foreign country, you might miss friends and family, and you might also get frustrated with how long the process of teaching English is taking. The key here is perseverance. Hang in there.

As with anything worthwhile, it takes time. Not every student is going to catch on quickly, and learning any new language is a process. The most appealing part of this journey is taking everything in and learning, as well as teaching your students. Give yourself time to get into the swing of things, and remember why you decided on this move in the first place: to learn, grow and teach!

Have any of you traveled abroad to teach and embark on this journey?! If so, let us know about your experience in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

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