If you’ve decided to teach abroad, it’s important to know that you’ve made an incredible decision. By going abroad, you’ll likely expand your intellectual horizons while simultaneously immersing yourself in new cultures which provide you with exciting ways to view yourself and the external world. To ensure that you can thoroughly enjoy your experience teaching abroad, it’s imperative that you take care of things at home first. Below you’ll find five things that you’ll need to take care of before you begin to teach abroad:
Before you leave to teach abroad, it’s important to take care of any lingering financial issues that you may have. Whether the issue is a tax liability or unpaid water bill, you don’t want any unresolved financial challenges to exist as you prepare to leave. Tying up loose ends can prevent you from experiencing harassing phone calls, work interruptions, and other disruptions that can complicate your ability to teach effectively and enjoy your experience abroad.
In addition to resolving all financial issues, make sure that you take the time to learn as much as you can about the new region that you’ll be teaching in. What is the dominant language? What are the normative eating habits for the majority of the populace? Do people tend to rise early in the morning, stay out late or night, take long lunches, etc.? What are the spoken or unarticulated rules of social etiquette? Is the culture profoundly individualistic, familial, social, or eclectic? Do religious values impact the way that educational systems function? Gaining this information can prevent unwanted cultural shocks that engender negative emotions or compromise your ability to teach effectively.
Before you leave to teach abroad, make sure that you put your items in storage. This step is important because you need to know where all of your personal belongings will be while you’re away. Note that putting your personal goods in the right storage unit can decrease the likelihood of them being stolen or damaged. Not to mention storage is cheaper than paying rent or mortgage while you are away. You can always sublease an empty apartment and not go in the negative.
When you leave to teach abroad, will you want your mail to be forwarded to you or kept with a facility until you return? Make sure that you answer this question and plan accordingly to ensure that you get all of your mail. If you don’t want anyone to send you packages to your temporary address, make this known as well.
If you’re going to teach abroad temporarily, it’s important to know what type of work you’ll be doing when you return. Do you and your current employer have an agreement in which you’ll temporarily resign and then resume working after your teaching assignment is complete? Are you teaching abroad as part of your current job? If so, did your employer outline specific roles and responsibilities that you are required to fulfill as part of the teaching assignment? Knowing exactly what is expected of you by your current employer as well as whether you’ll have a job when you return from the teaching abroad experience is imperative because it can prevent unwanted vocational and financial confusion.
Once you realize that you want to teach abroad, it’s important to start making plans and arrangements to ensure that you can work effectively and enjoy the time you spend in another country. To ensure that you can, review the information offered above to ensure that you are tying up all loose ends before you go!
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