For some, choosing where to teach seems as simple as throwing a pin at the map and hoping for the best. Whereas for others, a bit more research may be needed. Either way, we would recommend you ask yourself the questions below before choosing a destination to ensure that your international teaching experience is an enjoyable one.

How far am I willing to travel?

Not everyone is comfortable packing their bags and jetting off to the other side of the world. Make sure you consider how far you want to go and how easily you can hop on a plane to visit back home.

Do I want to live in a urban city or a rural area?

If you think you will miss the convenience of a weekly haircut, a corner shop that is open until night and the option of choosing from 30 different takeaway shops then perhaps you are not cut out for the rural life. On the other page, if you want a bit of peace and perhaps a slower pace of life, then you may be looking for a location that can cater to that.

Do I have a preference when it comes to climate?

In other words, do you like to layer up and don’t mind a bit of frost in the mornings? Or do you prefer a warmer climate which may come with monsoon rains? Weather has been proven to be a big influence on mood and outlook so make sure that you know what you want.

Do I have enough savings and income to live here?

The cost of living will naturally vary from location to location. Do your research before you choose a destination and ensure you can afford the costs that your destination may throw up from day-to-day costs such as rent and grocery shopping to the more ad hoc expenses such as going for a day out locally. In some cases, while you may be able to afford to essentials, you may not have enough left over to enjoy other activities outside of work if it is too expensive.

Am I okay living in a place with a completely different culture?

The whole point of teaching abroad may be to experience a different culture for most of us but are we prepared for the culture shock that some locations may present? Some locations are a lot more westernised then others and others may present a way of living that is very different to what we may be used to in the UK - from alcohol bans to different attitudes to wider issues such as gender equality. As a visitor to any country, you would have to be mindful of their culture so it is best to know beforehand what to expect once there.

Do I need to live somewhere that speaks primarily English?

Whilst the school you teach at may operate in English, the local community may not. It is important to ask yourself how easy it would be for you pick up the local language and what impact it would have on your day-to-day activities. 

What do I want to do when not teaching?

Whilst your job will take up a lot of your time, it is vital to have a good work-life balance so that you don’t burn out. Every location has its own charm and can offer you a variety of activities for you to take part in in your spare time. Have a think about what your destination offers and if you can imagine spending your time outside of work there. For example, if you are a big fan of a drink after work, does your destination offer a nightlife that can satisfy your needs? Or if you love a meal out but tend to go for halal food, does your chosen destination offer enough choice of restaurants that can cater for your dietary preferences?

There are many more questions you could consider but we hope this proves to be a good starting point. If you would like further advice from a team of recruitment specialists who are experts on the countries they recruit in, with some having taught there themselves then don’t hesitate to get in touch!