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If you’ve been dreaming of finally taking the plunge and moving abroad to teach English, then 2023 could be your year! If it’s something you’ve been manifesting, seize the moment and go for it! You never know what awaits you – it could be the best year of your life!

Why should I move abroad to teach English?

  • Whether you’re thinking of moving temporarily or permanently, living in another country can lead to great adventures! It takes you out of your comfort zone and leaves you with experiences and memories you’ll never forget
  • There’s no one who looks back on their life and wishes they’d travelled less… Travelling and exploring new cultures broadens your horizons and opens your mind in ways you’d never expect. Those that have the opportunity to see the world get to see a whole new perspective on things. You can learn about new cultures and make lifelong friends.
  • Teaching English and living abroad can give you a whole new set of skills that will be transferable if you decide to work in your own country. Moving abroad makes you more independent and a good problem solver! Also, if you move abroad, you are likely to learn a new language which is a great skill to have on your CV!

If you’re moving abroad for the first time and you’re not sure of the things you need to think about, here’s a list of the top things to consider before you head off into the TEFL world!

TEFL 2023 Plan

Prepare your documents 

This should be the first thing that you do before moving anywhere. You’ll need to ensure you have your passport, qualifications and any other ID up to date. The best advice would be to make copies of these before you leave while you have access, as you don’t know if you will do later, depending on where you are moving to. Most visa or residency processes require you to provide copies of important documents so if you already have these, then it’s one less thing to tick off!

Once you know where you’re going and when, double check what you need for the visa process (if any). Sometimes you need to apostille your qualifications before you go so don’t be too laid back about checking this! If you’re taking an internship then your TEFL provider will help you out with all these things, a stress-free way to move abroad!

If you don’t know any of the languages of the country you’re heading to yet, this can be daunting. You need to make sure you get the processes and paperwork right! Seek out the right information from the correct websites (government websites for example) or ask teachers who have recently been through this process. You can also often hire someone to help you with this like an accountant or consultant, which might be something to consider if you feel completely lost about what you need to do.


Do your research to make an informed decision 

There are many aspects to consider when moving abroad to teach English. What country? What city? Where will you live? What is life like in your dream destination? These and many more are important things to research before you take the plunge. It’s vital that you check out these things or you might end up in a place which doesn’t suit you at all. If you’re into a quieter country life but end up settling in a busy city because you didn’t do your research, it would be a shame for you to end up not enjoying your time abroad.

When you are thinking about moving abroad, you should prepare a short-list of places you’d like to consider. It’s fine to narrow down your choices to one country, but ideally you should have a list of 2 or 3 cities within that country. There are so many opportunities for TEFL teachers that flexibility is a great way to take advantage of these. You may end up being offered a brilliant position that you never would have considered!

In today’s digital world, blogs are a great resource to hear about people’s first-hand experience. Google some about the country or city you are interested in and get reading! Remember that a blog is often one person’s opinion. If you do read anything negative, it doesn’t mean that this will be the same for you, but it might be something to take note of.

 If you want to know what a city is like, then the best way is to talk to people who actually live there! There are always many active social media groups for TEFL teachers or expats in different cities. Remember talking to a TEFL teacher is great as it’s what you’ll be doing but other expats in different jobs also provide valuable input about things such as cost of living or daily life in a city. Join some groups and ask any questions you might have.

TEFL on the map, TEFL Where

Get a realistic sense of the cost of living

We all know that 2022 has been a difficult year for many across the world with rising housing prices and monthly costs. A lot of countries have experienced this just as you might have in your home country. Make sure you get a realistic idea of how much rent costs and other outgoings in the city where you want to live. It’s good to look online but remember prices can change quickly so if you are referring to a blog from 2018, this might not be the most up-to-date data. The world has been through a lot since then!

One of the best ways to do this is to look at local rental websites to get an idea of typical living costs. An invaluable resource is Facebook where you can find lots of local groups for expats and even ones for English teachers. Here you can ask people currently living in the city for realistic budgets and current housing situations. This will give you current information and also some more personal feedback about how to look for accommodation.

You can also ask your local school about tips for finding accommodation and housing costs. Some of them might put you in touch with their current teachers to talk about a typical teacher’s outgoings. Work out if you feel you will be able to live on your monthly salary after deducting rent, transport etc and then go from there. Remember that as a teacher you can also supplement your earning with online teaching or private classes. You can check out some jobs before to get an idea of the market or ask in Facebook groups how much teachers can charge an hour for a private lesson.

TEFL move abroad

What to take with you?

We can all go through life hoarding things and end up with a large collection of stuff! However when moving abroad you need to consider what you actually need to take with you and what isn’t necessary. Not only does carting a load of luggage with you cost more, it can be a huge inconvenience. If you’re not based in a city with a good airport connection then it won’t be easy to have to take all that luggage with you to your final destination.

You should think about the research you’ve done about your destination to know what to bring with you. Is it a sunny climate? Are there freezing cold winters? It’s important to be prepared with your clothes! It’s also a good idea to take a towel and a bed sheet with you if you are heading to a more remote destination, in case you don’t have access to a shop straight away. However, any other home appliances or furnishings just aren’t worth carrying! Don’t forget that as time goes by, you will collect even more things!

If you’re already living abroad but are changing countries, then think about things you don’t really use and ways to get rid of them. You can sell them online over Facebook marketplace or an app or even organise a sale amongst your friends! Don’t forget to check out local charity shops that would welcome a generous donation.

TEFL career


In Conclusion

Moving abroad to teach English can be an overwhelming process, especially for the first time. If you feel nervous before you go, remember:

  • It’s normal to be nervous! It’s a big change and a lot of unknown things while you settle in. Don’t let the first week’s nerves stop you from moving forward. It can be a bit hectic at first but then it’ll all be worth it!
  • If you’re moving abroad alone then you might feel lonely the first few days. Once you start working you will meet more people, most of them in the same situation as you! Try to throw yourself into talking to new people and get to know your colleagues! There are often many social events in cities to meet people such as language exchanges or book clubs. This is a great way to start making friends fast! It can be scary to show up at these events alone but there will be other people who do so too!
  • Start learning some of the language before you go. This will help you a lot and prepare you for being in a foreign country. Once you arrive, you can think about taking some local language classes (also a good way to meet people!) or going to language exchanges. The more you immerse yourself, the more you will feel comfortable in your new city.

Most importantly, moving abroad to become a TEFL teacher will give you experiences that you will never forget! Even if it’s something you do for a few years, you will be left with invaluable experiences and lifelong memories. If you’re nervous about taking the first steps, consider taking an internship where you receive more guidance to minimise any stress. Wherever you choose to go, you won’t regret it!

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