Teachers from all over the world have been travelling to different countries for work for years. This experience is exciting because it provides educators with the opportunity to do what they love while living in a different country. For some teachers the process can be a bit daunting especially if there is some amount of uncertainty with how to go about it properly. Here are some tips that may help:
Research: Take the time to find out about your recruiting agency. Visit their website, check out their licenses and references from other persons who have used the agency before. Online teaching forums are great for getting tips on every aspect of teaching abroad that you may be curious about. Seek out other persons who may be interested and listen to their ideas. Ask specific questions about the agency they used and the experiences they have had. This will help you to make a few informed decisions.
Professionalism is key: This is one of the more important rules to remember. Be prepared for work. Adhere to the prescribed dress codes of the institution at which you work. Dress appropriately at all times. Ensure that your clothing is clean and properly ironed and that your hair is neat; face shaved. Keep in mind that some piercings and tattoos need to be removed/properly covered. Practice being at work ahead of the required time so you can review what you need to get done for your work day. Treat colleagues with respect. Be friendly but remember that you are at work and some comments/actions may not be appropriate for that forum. Do not complain; especially to work colleagues. You have a job to do and it should be your main focus.
Be Smart: Take the time to read up on the laws that govern the particular region that you intend to work in. Learn as much as you can about their culture and lifestyles. Try to read online Newspapers for the region as well so you are aware of the current state of affairs there. If the language is different, give yourself a jump-start by doing some classes so you at least know how to exchange common courtesies “good morning”, “hello”, “thank you” upon arrival. If you are really good with languages, awesome! Your new colleagues and the natives will be impressed by your efforts to fit in.
Attitude Matters: This is an exciting new opportunity so BE excited about it. Practice being as polite. Think before you speak especially if you are in a situation that seems unfavourable. A positive attitude goes a long way in opening the right doors. Find ways to engage your new colleagues that are socially acceptable. Bring with you a small cultural gift. This is a good gesture and it will also remind you of where you are from and that you are where you wanted to be.
Go For It: Once you are settling into your new home, school and community… go for it! Get out of your house and see what your setting is like. Walking (ensure that it is safe to do so) is an excellent way of finding little hideaways and key markers as to where you are. Try new foods, dances and touristy things that you find interesting.
Mental Preparation: You are in a new country and things may be very different from your home country. Try to enjoy the moments. Be thankful that you have succeeded in achieving your goal of securing a teaching assignment overseas. Others may not understand your motivation for teaching abroad so be content that your reasons are important to you. That is what is MOST important. Do it for yourself. Your new job provides you with an excellent opportunity to meet new friends, explore and do what you love. Enjoy the journey and be aware in each moment of just how lucky you are.
Be Happy: Even if some family or friends are sad that you are going; be happy. Your happiness will put them at ease and make things less tense when the topic comes up. Technology makes it super easy to keep in touch with family and friends. Make it a priority to gain access so you can check in online and keep in touch with your loved ones. If you enjoy writing you can create a blog to share your stories of your journey in photographs and print. Even if you don’t like writing other social network platforms such as Pinterest, Vine, Instagram, Tumblr and more are great for sharing photos and videos in your down time. Spend some time on the social websites so you can see what your friends are doing and for them to see that you are doing well. Build new network where you are and to keep the network at home engaged!
Home: There are pieces of home that you will need to take with you for sentimental reasons and practical reasons. Try not to take too much clothing because there will be plenty of places to shop while you are there. Use the things that remind you of home to motivate you and cheer you up when you feel alone. Make yourself a traditional meal, drink or listen to your culture’s music and dance. Watch videos online and talk to your new colleagues/friends about some of the things that you love about your own country. After all, others want to know about where you are from.
Financials are important: Keep in mind important financials that will require sustenance even though you are away such as taxes, insurance plans and other monetary obligations. Keep licenses and bank accounts current. It is important that you save some money where possible so as to ensure that you can take care of travel expenses and other expenses in the event that you have to leave suddenly.
Focus: The temptations for illicit activity are rampant wherever you may go. Be alert and smart. Avoid using drugs. This could make the difference between you losing your job/freedom and staying. Random drug tests are done in some countries to ensure that persons are not drug users. Be discreet in your personal dealings. Trust your instincts and learn the laws that govern the land!