Congratulations on earning your teaching degree!
With this qualification, you have opened the door to a lifetime of possibilities, including the opportunity to work in a variety of schools, countries, and even online. As a qualified teacher, you possess valuable skills such as organization and communication that can even be applied to other fields.
You may be wondering, like many new graduates – can teach abroad and see the world? The answer is yes! Teaching abroad can be a fantastic way to gain new experiences, meet new people, and broaden your horizons. In this blog post, we will explore what it takes to teach abroad and how to get started on this exciting adventure.
Should I teach abroad as a new graduate?
You may have heard experienced teachers discussing their time working abroad and be wondering if it’s something that would suit you. Some new graduates may have done their teaching practice in an international school and want to go back or they may have spent time living abroad. Others may have never travelled but still, feel the pull of adventure.
International schools boast wonderful facilities, diverse student bodies, and competitive salaries and benefits for teachers.
Top 3 things to consider
Most countries have government requirements that grant working visas to teachers with a minimum 2 or more years of experience. There is a preference for several years of teaching experience. In Indonesia, visas are now granted to teachers who have had 5 years of experience. Schools on the Search Associates database regularly list updates to these rules. Registered candidates don’t waste time applying if they can’t pass that first hurdle.
New graduate ‘firsts’
In your first couple of years of teaching, you need to focus on your teaching and a new school. At home, you will most likely have a mentor teacher who will help guide you through all the firsts – parent /teacher conferences, open nights, reporting, assembly, etc.
Living in a new country
Your first year overseas can be very overwhelming. You really need to be confident with your teaching in order to cope with being away from home and in a new country. You will need to deal with so much more, including language barriers, a new culture, setting up bank accounts, working out where to shop, etc.
We started our first posting in Hong Kong with 6 years of teaching experience. In our first few weeks, we experienced food poisoning, severe homesickness, and no furniture in our flat. We didn’t even know how to dispose of our rubbish. Our classrooms were still under construction and the air-conditioners were broken. It wasn’t easy! But any hardships such as cultural adjustment and homesickness are soon forgotten as you embark on an amazing adventure. Plus, the rewards are substantial such as teaching motivated students, having well-resourced schools, travel opportunities, and the opportunity for financial security. Every experienced international educator will say it has changed their lives for the better.
Still have your heart set on applying?
It is possible to get a job abroad as a new graduate but it is harder. International schools spend a lot of money just getting teachers to their schools. They expect employees to be able to hit the ground running. We do place some teachers without two years’ experience, but only in the less competitive schools.
Consider an intern program
At Search Associates, we work with some schools that run an intern program. Interns are hired for a single school year, usually in August, and ends in June. Interns earn around half of the salary of a full-fledged teacher, but the opportunity for savings still exists. Housing, airfare, and insurance are usually provided, so it can be possible to put aside some money from monthly earnings, (which will vary depending on the school and its location). Housing is often shared with other interns and can be a great way to make friends. After a successful year as an intern in a good international school, many more doors open for you in other international schools, as a full-time teacher, than is the case for an inexperienced new graduate. And you can then take up a full-time job with greatly increased confidence.