Will teaching English Overseas be the right thing for you?
Will you be happy and successful working and living abroad?
Will you be happy and successful? That is a question that only you can answer. Take a good look at yourself before making the final decision – you can use the guidelines and questions here to help you.
Living abroad can be a life filled with new, wonderful and enriching experiences but at the same time you’ll have to face challenges, problems and difficulties. It is not for everyone.
While you can easily sort out simple problems back home, some of those simple problems can be a real headache abroad. In some countries getting a driver’s license is almost equal to getting a bachelor’s degree.
Take into consideration the follow issues:
Are you responsible for your family? Would they be comfortable with the idea of moving and living overseas? If you are not on the same team as your family things might not work out so well.
Do you have a spouse or partner? Will s/he be giving up their job, find a job overseas or be interested in teaching English also?
If you have children how will you educate them overseas? How will they deal with the transition and feel about giving up their friends? Educating your children while abroad can be very expensive – International schools fees can cost you an arm and a leg and may be more than what the ordinary English teacher earns monthly.
Should you pay off debts? If yes, choose your country carefully because while it may be easy to save up to US$1000 in some countries you’ll find it difficult to save in other countries. You can live well on the local economy but even saving for a ticket back home once a year may be difficult in these countries.
If things don’t work out will you have some financial reserves as a back up when you return to your home country? It’s always good to have a little bit of emergency money to fall back on.
Do you (or your family) have specific medical needs? While medicines and medical care can be cheaper than what you are used to (sometimes as little as 90% less than you would pay in your home country) some countries are not up to date with the latest in cutting edge medical care and drugs.
It’s best to ask your physician first if you have a chronic or complex medical issue and make sure what is available in the foreign country.
Are you an experienced teacher or is this your first time teaching? Do you think you will enjoy teaching English? Teaching is a “helping” profession, you’ll work with people – is this your kind of job?
Have you ever traveled overseas? Did you enjoy it? What about living overseas? It helps to know this. Before I made the big change I have only been across the border to Mexico for a few days, but at age 37 I went to Africa. It was a huge transition, but it worked out okay for me, it might not work out for everyone.
How would deal with the daily problems of living and working abroad? Will it be frustrating or a stimulating challenge? You’ll find daily frustrations in many countries.
This list only gives you an idea of what you should keep in mind as an individual before making the decision.
What qualities do you need to make a success of yourself?
People who succeed in a TEFL job overseas usually have the following qualities and knowledge:
They have reasonable expectations about their new job and what they will get out of it.
They understand that their new country – and all the problems and solutions – will not be same as their home country.
They realize that the same problems they had at home may exist overseas.
They know that, just like in their own country, they will have good and bad days.
They know that, just like in their own country, they may experience good bosses and jobs and bad bosses and jobs.
They cope with and withstand adversity, be flexible enough to roll with the punches and have the ability to bounce back from a negative situation.
They are able to work under different cultural expectations, work ethics and rules.
They don’t get moody or depressed about minor issues.
They view their success as a personal enriching challenge.
They do a lot of research about the move they are going to make.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Listen to the voice of others, but also listen to your own voice, your heart! Do you really want to make this move? I had a dream of living abroad for years. It was in my heart. If I had no dream or desire to succeed, I would not have survived those two years in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
TED’s Tips™ #2: This decision doesn’t have to be a ‘for the rest of my life’-decision. If you don’t like life abroad, you will always have the freedom to return home. At first just look at it as a one or two or three year experience. After that time you will know for sure if you want to stay out in the new world you have found.