Top 10 Reasons to Teach Abroad
February 25th, 2018
Here at The International Teacher we know that education isn’t always palm beaches and small class sizes, but when teaching internationally it can be. By deciding to work overseas you have the freedom to choose the sort of life you want to live. Some people spend every weekend taking mini-vacations to different countries while others choose to spend it relaxing with friends in your home-away-from-home. Whatever you’re looking for, teaching internationally offers a huge range of professional and personal opportunities that remaining in the UK or the USA simply wouldn’t provide. Because we’re a team of international educators, we want to share our top 10 reasons for teaching abroad to help you decide if it’s right for you.
International schools often feature a british-like calendar year with half-term holidays spread throughout. Most offer a week off in October and February, two weeks off in December and April, as well as a lengthy summer holiday. As a result, you have the money and the time to travel. Most international teachers take advantage of their many holidays by traveling within their new home country or elsewhere in the world. It’s finally time to buy that scratch-off world map!
Typically, teaching isn’t a profession that draws people for its high salaries. However, reflective of the enormous amount of work that goes into teaching, international schools often offer teachers highly commendable salaries. While it is important to do your research on salaries when offered a contract, most international schools offer competitive salaries allowing teachers to save, take those trips and most importantly, enjoy life! If your looking for some extra savings, some areas known for offering high salaries include the Middle East and Asia.
3. Long-lasting Friendships
International schools are comprised of an entire faculty of people in the same boat as you! That means most of your colleagues living abroad are all-in, go-getters ready to join a staff party, take a long weekend trip or just chat at break time. Many teachers abroad strike up strong, lifetime friendships with colleagues and because your school faculty consists of staff from all over the world, building friendships with people from different countries and backgrounds is part of the package!
International teaching contracts offer a variety of benefits you wouldn’t find in a job back home. Some of the benefits international teachers enjoy include flights at the start and end of your contract for yourself, spouse and dependents; free or discounted tuition for teachers with children; and professional development opportunities. On top of it all, most schools also provide comprehensive healthcare coverage, relocation allowance, housing allowance and even gratuity for the number of years you maintain a position at the school.
5. Great Students and Small Class Sizes
International communities offer so much in terms of diversity. A new international teacher can expect to have students with a range of backgrounds in their class. This diversity lends itself to an open-minded, caring community of learners. To top it off, it is very uncommon to find class sizes above 25 children in a primary school, with most having 20 students or fewer. Furthermore, reputable schools abroad provide teachers with additional support through the means of a Teacher’s Assistant for each class. While staffing can vary from school to school, this is a pretty standard expectation. Having an assistant coupled with small class sizes and generally well behaved children can make your teaching dreams come to life!
6. Choice of Curriculum
Feel like your national curriculum needs improvement? Luckily there are many more to choose from. International schools either clearly identify with one country’s national teaching standards/curriculum or take what they like from each and teach their own. That said, it is not uncommon to find American teachers in British Curriculum schools or an Australian in a Canadian school. Another choice is to opt for an IB World School who are arguably the world’s leading international curriculum, promoting open-mindedness and resilience in students through inquiry-based learning. That being said, there is so much choice to be had, some teachers stick with what they know, others like to have a go at learning something new. The choice is yours.
7. The World is Your Oyster
Being able to design your life is incredibly rewarding. Whether you dream of living on a tropical beach, in a highrise in Tokyo or in a small, secluded village in Europe, teaching abroad gives you the choice of location, weather, culture, language and country to live in. Furthermore, getting an international teaching job does not have to mean permanent relocation. In fact, many international teachers spend 2-5 years in one location and then take up a post at their next international school. This allows for diverse life experiences and the opportunity to sample all that the world has to offer.
8. The Food! Oh The Food!
Truly experiencing a culture means immersing yourself in a country’s sights, sounds and most importantly, its food. When travelling overseas you have the chance to try some of the most delectable and strange dishes imaginable (Fried water beetle anyone?) but when you live in a country as an expat teacher you have the unique opportunity to sample a much wider selection of dishes that are truly reflective of its culture. Bratwurst at Oktoberfest is one thing, but trying a locally prepared cheese and pear risotto at a mountain lodge in the Italian Dolomites? That’s a whole new experience.
As an international teacher, adventure will become a well-known companion in your life. Being a part of an international school means joining a new culture and immersing yourself in a new country. By choosing a life that is outside your comfort zone, every action and exploration is an adventure. Finding the truly local bars and restaurants? Adventure. Planning a road trip through your new country’s national parks? Adventure! Inventing a new sign-language to communicate with taxi drivers? Definitely an adventure.