Practical Preparations For Teaching English Abroad Programs
Mar 5, 2012 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) 2430 Views
Whether you've already been offered a chance to teach overseas through one of the many teaching English abroad programs now looking for qualified teachers or you're just beginning to explore the idea, you should start preparing to go overseas now. It can take 2-3 months or more to get all your ducks in a row before moving to a foreign country for a year or more, and preparation is the key to a successful temporary relocation.
Getting Proper Documentation
You'll need a valid passport for traveling abroad. It can take a few months to apply for and receive a passport, so be sure to get your photo taken and apply as soon as possible. Many countries also require a visa (and perhaps a work visa to teach), so do some homework by contacting the U.S. Department of State or visiting their website to determine what documents you'll need to travel to your host country. You should also make copies of everything from your passport to your health insurance and life insurance information. Give one set of documents to a friend or loved one you trust and keep another set with you at all times when overseas. A contact sheet listing the information for your accountant, doctor, lawyer and family members is a good idea as well.
See Your Doctor Before Committing To Teaching English Abroad Programs
In most cases, there are no medical restrictions you'll need to worry about if you'll be teaching in a foreign country, but it's a good idea to get a clean bill of health from your physician before leaving. You should also tell your doctor what countries you'll be living in and visiting so that you can receive the appropriate vaccinations for common foreign illnesses. If possible, ask for a professional referral to a doctor overseas who speaks English. If you get sick while teaching overseas, you'll be glad you prepared in advance and can communicate clearly with whoever is treating you. If you take prescription medications, get a three month supply of all your prescriptions as well as a prescription slip so that you can get more medication at a local pharmacy while you're abroad.
Settle Your Finances
If you use auto debit to pay bills, either put someone in charge of monitoring your accounts or make sure money will be going into your account regularly so that you don't end up with an overdrawn account. Contact your local IRS office to find out whether you have to file an income tax return while teaching overseas and what paperwork you'll need to fill out. You'll want to put away some money to take overseas with you. Usually $1000-$2000 is sufficient to get you through the first few months in case there is a delay on your first paycheck abroad.
Prepare Emergency Contact Information
Teaching English abroad programs always encourage their teachers to give as much contact information as possible to their family and friends back home. In an emergency, your family should be able to contact not only you, but your employer and the company that recruited or contracted you. Once you arrive in your destination country, find out where the nearest consulate office and the American Embassy are and get their contact information.
Teaching English abroad programs are known for taking good care of their teachers working in foreign countries. If you do run into an uncomfortable or confusing situation, contact them right away. They'll be glad to help you out.
AIDC has successfully placed educators in teaching English abroad programs in over fifty foreign countries around the globe. If you're interested in a challenging and rewarding place to teach, Abu Dhabi offers an exciting opportunity to teach in a progressive Muslim country. To apply for an Abu Dhabi teaching experience, visit AIDC's website.