Have you been lucky enough to land a job teaching English as a Second Language abroad?
If so, congratulations! You’re about to set off on what very well may be the most exciting time of your life!
You’re undoubtedly filled with questions and anticipation about what you will experience while teaching English abroad.
Using the beautiful country of Thailand as an example, let’s take a look at some of the points to consider before embarking on your new career of teaching English abroad:
Don’t Accept a Job Sight Unseen
Not everyone has the money to fly back and forth oversees for look-sees and job interviews. If you can swing at least one round-trip ticket, it would be in your best interest to visit the schools that have openings in Thailand before you sign any contract. Too often, teachers accept jobs abroad only to find out, once they arrive, that accommodations aren’t what they thought they would be, or that the school is stationed miles away from the nearest train hub.
Don’t Rent an Apartment Just Because It’s Cheap
If you plan to stay in an apartment during your tenure as an ESL teacher, don’t automatically count your lucky stars because you’ve found something cheap. Cheap in Thailand often means the same as cheap in America: police sirens, screaming babies and domestic squabbles. Do as much homework renting an apartment in foreign lands as you would do here at home. You don’t want your poor choice of housing to ruin your experience.
Don’t Fail to Research Visa and Passport Requirements
Every country has their own rules when it comes to allowing foreigners to enter their borders. These rules can get even more complex when it comes to foreigners intending to work in the country, rather than simply visit. Before you set off for Thailand, make sure that you understand the legal requirements for professionals who will be staying in the country and working for an extended period of time.
It May be a Great Place to Visit, but…
Working in a foreign country is far from a vacation. A country that you may fall in love with for a week can be a real culture shock when you are committed to a year’s worth of teaching. Thailand is a gorgeous country with much to see and do, but you should understand the laws, customs and culture once you’ve decided to live there. Remember: you’ll be living, not visiting!
Doing Too Much Research
While there are things that you’ll need to research, like protocols and available accommodations, there is such a thing as too much research. You don’t need to know how to get to every bus station in Thailand, which taxis to take to every restaurant, pub or shopping area in town or other such nit-picky details. Part of the fun of teaching in another country is exploring and learning from experience. Research the important things and leave the little things to chance; you’ll have more fun!
If you have already accepted a job, or are still considering a job teaching English abroad, you are well on your way to one of the most rewarding experiences of your teaching career.
Now that you’ve made your choice, sit back and enjoy the ride! You’re going to have a great time!
Diane Magruder is a travel writer and reviewer and, while she’s in between destinations, blogs for thailandholidays.net where you can find great deals on holidays to Thailand to check out your future teaching positions. She highly recommends checking out www.thailandholidays.net/phuket in particular.