6 Things to Consider Before Teaching Abroad

If the day-to-day grind has got you down and you’re desperately seeking adventure, it may be time to start considering teaching English abroad. Teachers of all ages or experience levels can benefit from a completely different teaching experience that allows them to travel the world and make an impact in a foreign classroom. Not a teacher? That’s not a problem for all international schools. Some will hire native English speakers with non-education degrees or backgrounds, but may require TEFL or TESOL certification or other training. Before you take the giant leap to teach abroad, make sure you do your homework, talk to your friends and family, and consider these six points below to help in your decision making.

  1. Time frame:

    It’s important to give a lot of thought to the length of time you want to spend teaching abroad. The length of your teaching contract usually depends on the organization or the individual school, but most require teachers to commit to at least one year of teaching abroad. Some contracts may be longer or more flexible, so it’s important to know your options before signing anything.

  2. Language:

    Although English is the language of choice at many international schools, there are still plenty of countries where English is not a first language. You have to decide whether you want to teach in an English-speaking country where you’ll have the familiarity of the language, or teach in a non-English speaking country that forces you to be immersed in a different language. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it just depends on the experience you want to have.

  3. Salary and cost of living:

    Salary and cost of living are other important factors you should consider before teaching abroad. International teachers generally make a decent living teaching abroad and have good benefits, but it’s definitely worth comparing salary offers and benefit packages from one country to the next. Salaries vary based on your teaching qualifications, position, school, and the country’s cost of living.

  4. Organization:

    As you’re researching international teaching jobs, it’s important to research the private organizations that contract with American-sponsored schools overseas to make sure they are reputable and meet your requirements. In order to find the right international school through the right program, you should consider attending a recruiting fair and contact the organizations and schools directly. Ask your colleagues and friends if they can recommend a specific organization or international school.

  5. Culture:

    No matter where you take your teaching post, you’re going to have an eye-opening cultural experience. However, there is a big cultural difference between teaching in Canada or the U.K. and teaching in China or Saudi Arabia. Think long and hard about the kind of cultural experience you want to have and how shocked you want to be.

  6. Popularity:

    Deciding on a country to do your teaching stint is tough. You may have a few countries in mind, but are open to the idea of going somewhere completely foreign and unexpected. There are so many great options out there, some popular, some not so popular, but you should base your decision on what you want from this experience and what the school can give you, not just whatever is most popular. Keep in mind there’s a lot of competition in countries with the highest-paying jobs for teachers, so be sure to keep an open mind if your first choice doesn’t work out.

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