Moving overseas can be a scary prospect. It can be even more daunting when you have to uproot your family. Because of this, many people don’t take the leap and try to forge a life working abroad due to how such a big life change might affect those you care about, whether it’s your partner or children. And it’s understandable to have trepidation about travelling to work abroad as it can be a challenging task to take on for just one person.
So, does that mean getting a TEFL Certificate and teaching English abroad is only for single people?
Of course not!
Here’s some of the most common questions along with advice so that you can decide whether teaching abroad with your family is a move that you want to make happen.
Can you Financially Support Yourself and your Family by Teaching English Abroad?
You can if you land one of those high salary international teaching jobs that are available in certain countries and if money is one of your primary concerns, you should focus on moving to a country that pays ESL teachers well.
While money is always a sensitive subject when concerning how to support a family, living abroad in certain destinations can actually be more affordable than where you currently live. Every country is different and offers its own lifestyle benefits and cons. Make sure you do your research before committing to any teaching job. Teaching abroad in places like the Middle East usually provide housing allowances and assistance for teachers with families so you can live together comfortably. It is advisable that you don’t take any free accommodation offered unless it’s your own private place as you do not want to be living with other teachers with your family in tow.
Will my Children be able to Receive a Good Education?
Depending on where you decide to go, moving abroad may give your children the opportunity to have access to and receive a higher standard of education than they would previously had been able to. International schools in foreign countries such as the Middle East, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Singapore to just name a few as an example offer amazing facilities and a large curriculum.
Your children will make friends with children of other nationalities and cultures. They will be taught by teachers like yourself from different backgrounds who will be able to offer your children various viewpoints that you would be unable to get back home.
These international schools can be quite expensive to enrol your children in, and some countries, like the Middle East, only allow foreigners to attend international schools. However, if you end up working for one of these international schools, you might be able to negotiate a discounted rate or even have your children attend for free.
If international schooling is out of your budget then your only other options are to home-school your children or have them attend the local public school if the country you’re moving to permits it. However, by having your children attend local public schools, your children will have to overcome their own cultural challenges such as dealing with the language barrier.
My Spouse Doesn’t Teach
If your partner isn’t a teacher like you then he / she may not appreciate leaving their career and lives behind to follow you so you can teach. However, you might be lucky and your other half is extremely well qualified and is able to resume their career in the destination where you have chosen to take a teaching role.
If that isn’t the case and you decide that you can’t afford to send your kids to an international school and your spouse won’t be working, then your other half could take on the role of home schooling your kids. If this is for a short period of time, like a year, then it could be a worthwhile experience for your entire family.
One factor though that you will have to look into if your partner won’t be working and you’re not married is visa requirements. Some countries, like the UAE, won’t allow you to live together if you’re not husband and wife. Schools can offer spousal visas, but again, you will have to be married for your partner to get one.
What will the Lifestyle be like for the Family?
Teaching jobs offer great holiday time that correlates with your children’s so moving abroad with your children will offer great opportunities to travel together. You can use your annual leave, national holidays and weekends to explore the very country that you’re living in.
Having children with you will also benefit you in getting to know others within the expat community beyond the teacher community. Your children will attend the same school as other expats and will want to hang out after school and weekends or will be invited to birthday parties. These social gatherings which will allow you the chance to meet the parents and make your own friends through your children.
Children are highly adaptable and are like sponges so by providing an environment full of immersive cultural experiences will only serve to benefit your kids in the long run. They will have stories to share when their older, be more open to challenges and be more open-minded people.
You Will Become Closer
If you decide that teaching abroad with your family is a move that you want to make, you will automatically become a closer family unit. You will face language barriers, culture shocks and a different lifestyle. You will be without your circle of friends and support network that you’ve built back home and will instead have to rely on each other. The experience will draw you closer and shape you all as individuals and a collective unit. You will create stories and memories that you as a family will cherish and tell with each other forever.
Moving abroad with your family so that you can teach English is a brave and rewarding choice. Such a move will require a lot of work to make it happen and it will take time for everyone to see the benefits, but this notion is not something that is beyond you and your family to turn into a reality.