Teachers are a dedicated bunch, but there is more to life than lesson plans and assessments, so how will you spend your time outside school hours? Once you find a school you like, you’ll know where you will be based if/when you get hired. See what you can find out about this region. What is there to do? Is there an expat community? (try Facebook groups or Meetup.) Is there a sports facility or gym? Movie theatre? Green spaces? A faith-based community? Volunteer opportunities? A climbing hall? Shopping mall? Board game café? Local market? Check out the grocery store and restaurant options around. Find out about the public transportation system (if any) because you might be relying on this to get to work.
Everyone has unique preferences about how they live and work. Here is an example of how considering my carbon footprint impacted my experience in 2 vastly different countries.
Being an environmentally conscious person living in Japan was great because I could walk to work and take public transportation across the country. I separated almost all my trash, recycled a lot more than I could in Canada, and managed to furnish almost my entire apartment second-hand. When I moved to Botswana on the other hand, I struggled to adapt and had to find creative ways to reduce my environmental impact. Recycling was not present in my community, there were hardly any green spaces within the city I was in, and it wasn’t as pedestrian-friendly. There were many things to love about both countries but for me, I found the environmental aspect important and it continues to shape the locations I choose to live and work.
Another aspect to consider is as climate-related extreme weather increases, you might want to find out about the chance of heatwaves, floods, forest fires, etc.
Even within a country, cities can vary greatly so take the time to look at what your time outside the classroom would be like and make sure it will be a good fit for you. Can you see yourself creating a nice work-life balance there? You will not find the 'perfect' place, but you will find places that will stretch your view, and provide new experiences and opportunities, which is why most people choose to teach and travel abroad to begin with. It is important to go into a new country and culture with an open mind so you can experience the wonderful uniqueness of each location! But don't forget about what is important to you. For those who are very outdoorsy and love to be in nature, living in a very urban centre might not provide the time to recharge you are accustomed to. Or for someone who has only lived in an urban setting moving to a rural location may require a bit more adjustment than say another urban setting. It is not to say you cannot do either but it's important to be able to access resources or activities that can give you comfort or help with any homesickness (because the reality is it does and will happen at some point in your travels).
Next up, The Paperwork! Being prepared for the paperwork that can accompany the visa process is an important step in making your travel and teach dream a reality. By informing yourself and being methodical in your approach you will complete the necessary steps to making the move!
To find out more about beginning the search for an international role click here
Meet the author:
Tiana Bogaert is the brilliant mind behind our international teaching articles. Coming from Ontario, Canada and trained in primary/junior education, Tiana infuses her writing with a rich tapestry of firsthand experiences. With a teaching portfolio spanning five countries and volunteer roles in three more, she brings a unique global perspective to her insightful articles. Tiana is an educator and a seasoned traveler with 45 countries under her belt, sharing her vast experiences abroad into the fabric of her writing. Join Tiana in this series as she invites you to explore the process of finding your own intersection of teaching and travel.
Have more questions about teaching abroad? Send your questions to Tiana at email@example.com