Yes, most positions will offer sun, a tax free salary and numerous travel opportunities, but have you considered the costs in moving abroad? There are obvious costs, such as baggage fees and removals, but also some hidden ones such as attestations of your degrees, health checks, visa costs and DBS/police checks. All of these things can add up quickly so be sure to ask your school’s HR manager for a full breakdown of fees and costs involved and who will be footing the bill. Lots of schools offer a relocation allowance to cover these incidentals but forewarned is forearmed so do be sure to ask.
Your salary that you have been offered now may not be the salary you end up on if you are converting it back to your home currency. Make sure you check out the fluctuation trend and factor this in when accepting a position, especially if you have financial commitments in your home country such as mortgages and pension plans. Some currencies are pegged to the USD so you always know what you are getting but others are ore volatile and the salary you accept may not be the one you end up with after you convert it.
Probably the most important- and least tangible aspect to consider before moving to an international school abroad. Recruiters will always have this to the forefront of their minds, but similarly you need to ask yourself the question: How much of a fit is this school for me? Consider not only the country what that has to offer, but also the curriculum the school runs. Disillusionment sets in quickly when you are away on your own and the grass can always look greener from afar. The last thing you want is to struggle to implement a programme that you have not “bought” into. I have seen educators transition into new curruluca and take to them like a duck to water, the change invigorating their practice. Likewise, I have seen teachers come to schools expecting everything to be as it is in the UK/AUS/US and becoming totally disaffected in short space of time.
Cost of living
How much is a loaf of bread in Maputo? What would you pay for a beer in Dubai? What’s the average electricity bill in Cairo? What is the cost of a taxi in Buenos Aires? How much is petrol in Almaty? Getting a sense of what you pay in living expenses can help you to decide where you would like to relocate to and you will be surprised at how this can color your view. For example, salaries in South East Asia can seem low in comparison to Europe and the Middle East, but if you factor in cost of living and what that translates to in savings potential, then you could be better off relocating to Bangkok rather than Berlin. Consider also your lifestyle and what you want to get out of the move. Dubai is a great place for go if you want extravagant parties and great nightlife. The money is decent too, but you can find yourself dirhamless at the end of the month after one too many of the infamous Dubai brunches.
I once interviewed a fantastic English teacher in London. It was clear that she was conscientious, cared about her students and had a profound love and knowledge of her subject. I really wanted her to come and work at the school. However, she had started to climb the ladder at her school and was beginning to carve out a niche for herself within the system. I knew that our school would likely place her on a different track and the potential for her career goals to become derailed was there. The takeaway from this is to consider where you are now in terms of your career goals and how a move abroad can potentially help you reach them. Some teachers move overseas for a “busman’s holiday”, preferring to see it as career break for a couple of years before slotting back into their old jobs- and this is totally fine. Others see it as a means to enhance their practice and bring something back to their own countries that will set them apart from domestic teachers. Take a career audit of where you are now and where you’d like to be and consider how a move abroad can help you reach that goal.
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