10 things to know before teaching abroad
May 24, 2021

Many people who are teaching abroad want to do it for one of two reasons. Either they want a new experience, or they need the money. If you fall into either category, then there are some things that you should know before teaching abroad to have an easier time and get more out of the experience. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 things that every educator should know before teaching abroad!

1. Research the teaching requirements in your destination country

Make sure that you know what qualifications are needed to teach there and make any necessary changes before heading over so that you can be fully prepared when arriving at your new international school.

Check which documents are required to get a work visa for that particular country, and make sure you have them ready before flying out so as not to waste any time when it comes time to apply!

Talk with other expatriate teachers at your international school about what they wish they knew before teaching abroad.

2. Have a plan and research the culture of your new destination

It’s important that you know the culture of your destination and what to do once you get there. You should research customs, traditions, holidays, language barriers, currency differences, etc. before arriving so as not to be taken by surprise on arrival day.

3. Do some reading about the history and traditions of the area!

It’s important for teachers who want to work abroad to understand how they can integrate their current knowledge with what they will learn there, so do some reading about the history and traditions of the area. Research the history and traditions of your destination to understand how you can integrate both with what you already know.

4. Understand the local educational system of where you want to teach

Although the teaching system of your destination is more than likely going to be very different, you’ll need to understand how it currently works to make the necessary changes.

For example, if someone wanted to teach math or science in an Arabic country they would not only have a difficult time with language barriers but also because these subjects are taught in a completely different manner.

It is vital that before teaching abroad, those who want to teach in the system understand how it works and what their role would be as an outsider.

Likewise, if you are from a western country then researching more about teaching methods used in other countries will also help you better prepare for your new life ahead of time.

5 Understand your students’ lifestyle

It’s important to understand your students’ lifestyles and what they are going through. For example, teaching English in South Korea will be very different from teaching it in Japan for many reasons including cultural differences like how the culture views education or communication styles. As such, you’d need to prepare differently for these two countries which mean understanding their lifestyles.

Understanding your students’ backgrounds gives insight into their culture and can help you understand how best to teach them.

6. Reach out to former international teachers for advice

If you haven’t already connected with a former international teacher, reach out to them for advice on teaching abroad. They will be able to tell you what they wish someone had told them before their first day of teaching in another country and give you helpful tips from the perspective of someone who has lived it.

The views of a former international teacher are invaluable. They can give you insight into the culture and customs, as well as helpful tips for teaching abroad that will make your transition smoother.

7. Go beyond school life

Class time is important but it’s only one aspect of your teaching abroad experience. You’ll get invited to social gatherings and popular events. You might have access to a school’s extracurricular activities or resources that you can take advantage of in your teaching.

8. Get to know other foreigners

Your teaching experience will be a lot richer if you befriend other foreigners in your community. You’ll learn about what life is like from their perspectives, and they might even help you understand the culture more deeply.

9. Prepare for sensitive situations

You’ll be teaching in a culture that is different from your own and there will inevitably be some sensitive topics to discuss. Your students might ask you about life back home, or they may feel the need to confide in you with an embarrassing secret. Be mindful of how much information you dish out because it can have serious consequences for them.

What you do in the classroom can have long-lasting effects on your students. Be mindful of what they say and how it may affect their future, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way!

10. Be open-minded and flexible

When you teach abroad, there are plenty of new things to experience. Your students must know how much you want them to have an open mind and be flexible when they come across something unfamiliar or uncomfortable.

If you are teaching abroad in a different country, it’s important to be flexible with the food and dress codes. For example, if your students say they don’t want to eat something unfamiliar or wear long sleeves because of religious reasons, respect their wishes.

Conclusion

If you are thinking of teaching abroad, these tips will help to improve your teaching performance in a foreign environment. What is the best way to start? Read as many books and articles about living abroad that you can get your hands on! You may also want to take some lessons from teachers who have experience living overseas. They’ll share their tricks for adjusting quickly, finding food they like, communicating with locals, or getting around town without speaking the language.

Most teaching abroad opportunities are found in Asia. However, the interest in teaching overseas is growing every day and there are now positions available all over the world from Europe to Africa.

The benefits of teaching abroad can be great but it’s important that before you make your decision about moving to a new country you research everything and understand what you’ll be getting yourself into.

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