An Ultimate Checklist for Teaching Overseas

An Ultimate Checklist for Teaching Overseas

Teaching overseas can be an adventure of a lifetime but it can also be an eye-opener. If you’re looking for a job abroad, you should research destinations, visa and work requirements, and cultural nuances to begin with.

Be prepared for a cultural shock; the more different local customs, the greater the adaptation time. Needless to say, it would be unprofessional to up and relocate before familiarizing yourself with the local culture first.

So, how do you prepare for teaching overseas?

Let’s go through an ultimate checklist!

Research Destinations

As aforementioned, researching destinations is the place to start. Different countries have different customs and legal requirements for foreigners, so compare teaching opportunities, language competencies, and paperwork required to get an idea of what to expect.

Also, don’t forget to weigh your teaching and other aspirational goals against the local educational systems. Look into curriculums, extracurricular prospects, and teaching methodologies.

Before you go, you can also join expat or visionary communities online. You’ll be shocked to discover how much you can learn from like-minded people!

Visa and Work Requirements

Getting a hold of visa and work requirements is crucial. Fortunately, this step is pretty straightforward and boils down to ensuring legal compliance.

However, one particular aspect to research thoroughly is the legal status. E.g., if you’re planning to freelance or country hop while teaching, research tax requirements.

Mike Wallace of Greenback Expat Tax Services, an expert in helping with overseas adventures, notes, “When you’re planning a move abroad for the purpose of teaching, make sure you understand the ins and outs of staying in compliance with your taxes. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but there are tax credits that were put in place to help people just like you!”

Language Preparation

If the teaching language differs from your mother tongue, you should prepare well for the role. This step takes time, so think ahead.

If you’ll be teaching in your mother tongue but are moving to a country where another language is being used, learning key phrases at least will help your transition.

There are many instances where employers offer language lessons as part of the package, as eLearning is popular with big organizations these days. So, you may want to compare opportunities before picking a single employer.

In some cases, employers provide language training as part of the job package, especially with the rise of eLearning in big organizations. It’s wise to compare opportunities before choosing an employer. For instance, if you are moving to a country with a different language, preparing in advance or taking language training can smooth your transition.

Cultural Understanding

Local customs, traditions, and social norms may vary greatly from your home country, so it is recommended to research cultural nuances before moving abroad.

On top of preventing misunderstandings, the practice will also help with avoiding cultural shock, which may be significant if you’re moving to a country where the culture is significantly different. It will help you fit the curriculum into students’ experiences.

Teaching Overseas


Make sure to gather references and recommendation letters from former employers or professors to increase your chances of landing an opportune job.

Even if you’ve already picked an employer, a better opportunity may come along later on.

Teaching Opportunities

As regards teaching opportunities abroad, there are a couple of guidelines. Look up international schools, language centers, and government programs to begin with.

International schools, as a rule, pioneer educational diversity and exchange and can help you expand your teaching methodologies.

Government programs have an agenda of their own, so you’ll be expected to contribute to the target initiatives they’re promoting.

Salary and Benefits

When it comes to compensation packages, you should look into other elements than salary. For starters, think about housing. Some employers offer housing allowances or offer accommodation.

Next on, look into medical insurance. There are many employers who offer jobs to students (especially in ESL schools) who don’t pay much or offer health insurance but are relying on young travelers who need pocket money for their travels.

Supplementary perks range from transportation allowances to professional development opportunities, so it’s important to plan ahead when picking the right offer.

Currency and Banking

Understanding the local currency, exchange rates, and banking options is paramount. Also, relying on local banks and credit cards is typically a better solution than relying on a bank located in your home country. Fees can be tremendous!

However, if you need to observe international money transfers and manage financial commitments at home, research domestic banks before setting out.

Travel Arrangements

Travel arrangements, that phase of moving abroad that often gets overlooked, are immensely important. Unless you’re traveling to the country next door, you’ll need to keep track of dates, routes, airlines, and different time zones, which can be particularly difficult if you’re moving house.

It is also recommended to arrange transportation from the airport to accommodation upon arrival. Typical options include taxis, shuttles, and public transit. If accommodation is part of the package, your employer may arrange transportation as well.

Basically, teaching overseas requires meticulous preparation, including language learning and cultural training. Finances, cultural shock, accommodations, transportation, taxes, health insurance, and banking are some of the most essential topics to research.  

Once you relocate, there’ll be a whole new world to discover: from the best local groceries to your favorite cafes. Living abroad is an adventure that requires lots of hard work to be fruitful.

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