Is Living and Working Abroad Appropriate for Me?

Am I Cut Out for Life Overseas?

You might be. Only you can decide if a career in TEFL – teaching English overseas – is the right path for your life at this time.

What are the things to consider?

Do you have a family that you are responsible for? How would they feel about moving overseas and living in a foreign land?

Do you have a spouse? How would s/he feel about giving up their job? Will she be able to find work overseas? Is she interested in teaching English also?

Do you have children? How will you educate them while overseas? How might they feel about giving up their friends?

Do you have debts that must be paid while you are overseas?

Are there special medical issues for you or your family that must be considered?

Do you have the financial reserves to return to your home country and re-establish yourself if things don’t work out?

Have you ever taught before? Do you have any reason to believe that you might enjoy teaching English?

Have you ever traveled or lived overseas before? Did you enjoy it?

Would you find the daily problems of living and working overseas frustrating or a refreshing challenge?

This list is only a beginning. As individual as each person is so are the questions that need to be answered in making this decision.

What qualities are needed to succeed?

My observation has been that people who succeed in TEFL overseas have the following characteristics and knowledge:
* They have reasonable expectations about their new occupation and what it can and cannot provide for them
* They understand that their new country is not like their home country. Solutions to problems that work at home often don’t work overseas
* They realize that problems they had at home will probably also exist overseas.
* They know they will have good days and bad days – just like back home
* They know they may experience good bosses, bad bosses, good jobs and bad jobs – just like back home
* They are flexible people who can roll with surprises and “punches”
* They are willing to work under different cultural expectations and are willing to follow different cultural work rules
* They are resilient and can bounce back from a bad situation
* They are not generally moody or depressed
* They view their success as a personal challenge
* They spent a considerable amount of time researching their move, before they moved.

Does that fit you? If so, get on board!

TED’s Tips™ #1: Before you head overseas, do an honest assessment of yourself.

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Author: Ted

Semi-retired EFL teacher/teacher-trainer working and living abroad since 1989 in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.