Where is the Best Place to Teach Overseas?
Aug 19, 2008 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) 2970 Views
Where is the best place to teach overseas? It is hard to decide where to go when you look at the scope of unique and exciting experiences that are available in the different regions around the world. This article is designed to give you information regarding the way your decision about where to teach overseas can affect your lifestyle while you are teaching abroad.
Choosing the best place to teach overseas may be tied up in the kinds of things you like to do outside of work. You can continue many of your favorite leisure activities while you teach overseas, or take up new ones. Many international teachers move to regions that allow them to indulge themselves in this way.
If you ski, then Europe and Korea are options you may consider. You can teach in Vienna for example and take a train to the slopes for the weekend.
Divers tend to look for international schools in Thailand or the Philippines. Thailand currently has many more international schools than the Philippines, so you are more likely to find a teaching job there.
Because most international schools are situated in urban or suburban areas, there is usually a wealth of activities you can take part in. While living in Bangkok I have attended Indian musical evenings organized by the Indian Embassy, attended numerous balls, learnt how to ride a horse and taken numerous dancing lessons in many different styles. My colleagues are more adventurous than I, they run in marathons, compete in triathlons, mountain bike, dive, play golf, and the list goes on.
To find out if you will be able to continue your hobbies in different countries you can search on the internet or check out the 'activities' section of the relevant Lonely Planet Guide.
At home you probably have many friends outside of work, this can be difficult to achieve when working at an international school, especially if you frequently move around to different schools.
One key ingredient to making friends with local people can be how much effort you are willing to put into overcoming the language barrier. Learning the local language will also help smooth your life in your host country.
To avoid this issue you can choose to work at an international school in a country where the majority of the population speaks English! In many countries in Western Europe, for example, a large proportion of the population speaks English fluently, so the language barrier is practically nonexistent.
To make friends who are expatriates but not teachers you can join groups like the Hash House Harriers (who organize group runs) and national groups like the New Zealand Society.
Teachers with children that are looking to teach in a country with a lower cost of living than at home will discover that the lower cost of living also carries across into the cost of child care too, particularly in-home child care.
When you teach abroad you can choose to live and work in a country where you will be able to afford a nanny. Many international teachers with children employ nannies, especially in South East Asia where the cost of living is very low, and as a consequence, local salaries are low too.
Even teachers without children can enjoy the benefits of domestic help in countries where domestic helpers are relatively cheap to employ. Nearly all of my colleagues have maids or cleaners who come in and take care of everything from cleaning the apartment to doing the food shopping and collecting dry cleaning.
There are many different factors to consider when you are deciding where the best place to teach overseas is for you. But the main thing to keep in mind is that while you may have a wish list of where you want to go and what you want to be able to do once you get there - it may not work out the way you planned.
For example, there may be no teaching vacancies in your specialty in the country of your choice in the year in which you are applying. Or, there may be schools very interested in employing you but not in the region you were hoping for.
The key to being happy and fulfilled when you are teaching abroad is flexibility and a commitment to making it work for you. It is not going to be just like home, you will face challenges, and that is the best part of teaching overseas, no matter where you decide to go!