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Questions regarding age, religion, and nationality when teaching abroad

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Do international schools have an age restriction?

Many countries of the world have age restrictions for work visas. Some of the age restrictions relate to your age at the time your visa is issued, and others relate to your age at the time you are working in that particular country. Most Middle Eastern countries, for instance, either will not issue a visa or charge a much a higher visa fee for teachers who are 60 and over, so many schools will refuse to consider teachers who are older than 58 years old at the start of work.

We welcome teachers of all ages, but obviously teachers who are 55 and older should be prepared to be more flexible in terms of location requirements to allow us the best chance of success.

Will religion be an issue, if it is different to my own?

Many countries of the world have an official state religion, and some international schools have religious affiliation that can be the same as or different to that of their host country. In most countries expatriates are free to practice their own religion provided they do not proselytise, so you will find Christian churches in the Muslim country of the United Arab Emirates for instance, and you will find Synagogues in Buddhist Thailand. There are, however, certain combinations of religion and region that might be more problematic than others. For instance, a Jewish teacher might feel uncomfortable with a placement in the Middle East where religious tensions are higher, than in Singapore.

How will my nationality affect my work visa?

All countries have different rules for how to obtain a work visa depending on your country of origin. Some schools, such as many in western Europe are not able to sponsor work visas at all and must hire only European Union teachers. Make sure you check with your Teachanywhere consultant and your hiring school so that they can advise you of the correct procedure.

I am not a native English speaker, but I speak English fluently. Am I still eligible to apply?

The international schools that we work with prefer to hire native English speakers, however there are some schools that will accept non-native English speaking teachers but you cannot have a strong accent. If this is the case, then you are still eligible to apply.

Why won't you accept teachers from non-English speaking countries?

The international schools that we work with are located in countries where English is not normally the first language, or where there are children from expatriate families from English speaking countries.

What happens if I have dependents?

Travelling abroad with a family can open up a world of opportunity for you as a teacher and for your dependent family - your children will learn and grow. However, teachers with families face different challenges than single teachers and some schools are more family friendly than others. It is best to discuss this with your consultant.

Emotional and Logistical considerations

Teachers bringing a family along have a built-in support system and access to a wider social network which can make transitioning abroad easier. However, having a family represents one, two or three more people who can have cold feet about working abroad, have trouble adjusting to the new environment, develop culture shock or develop medical problems that require treatment back home. However, once families are settled, we find that teachers with families often stay longer in a position than those who are single.

Teachers with families are often homeowners and must consider the logistics of selling or renting the property for the period of the contract. How will you manage the property and do you have enough savings if the property is not rented for a few months?

Financial considerations

If you are fortunate enough to have a partner who has their own employment package then you will not face the same financial difficulties as a teacher who is the sole/main bread-winner. If you are the main breadwinner then you need to consider the following:

  • School provided housing is usually a shared or a 1 bedroom apartment and might not be suitable for a family
  • Some schools will provide a stipend in lieu of housing but it is often not enough to cover the rent of even a 1 bedroom apartment. This is especially true in the Middle East - stipends usually cover half the cost of an apartment
  • International schools serving a mainly local population might not be culturally suitable for your child they may be the only expatriate child in their school, which can lead to adjustment problems
  • Schools will not usually pay for benefits for family members such as flights, medical insurance etc
  • Not all schools provide free tuition for children of teachers. Some provide only a discount and all would expect you to pay for uniform, books, lunch fees etc even if tuition is free.
  • Most schools prefer single teachers who cost them less to support.