In 2014, about 82,000 British teachers were working in English-medium international schools throughout the world. This represents about 21.9% of the 457,300 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers currently working in schools across the country. The figure grew to 100,000 by the end of 2015 despite the critical shortage of teaching professionals in UK.
In light of this, the obvious question must be asked: why do teachers choose to travel and work abroad? What is the appeal of teaching overseas compared to domestically?
For starters, teaching abroad offers the opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures and lifestyles. For many, the years spent teaching abroad will prove to be a greatly satisfying experience as they learn to adapt to another culture and learn to live alone – without the support of family and friends -, which will ultimately help them to grow into more well-rounded individuals.
Monetary appeal is also a strong factor. Teachers are usually compensated at an equal or higher wages than what they could potential draw in the UK. The lower cost of living (because let’s face it, UK has a very expensive cost of living) also offers the chance to save substantially. Moreover, many international schools, especially in less attractive locations, offer foreign teachers free accommodation, along with other fringe benefits.
However, it is not always a bed of roses. Teaching abroad brings its own set of challenges. Teachers will have to adapt to the local cuisine (which could be insurmountable to a few) and customs (including dress code and social interaction), even as they struggle to learn the language. Jobs can also be a little unstable during economic uncertainties – foreign teachers are usually the first ones to go when enrolments drop. In addition, political unrest and high crime rates are cause for concern in some countries. Many Britons take for granted the country’s extremely safe political and social atmosphere – until they start traveling and working overseas.
Qualifications to teach abroad vary by countries. However, as a general rule, there are three common criteria which most foreign schools look for.
So, if you’re dreaming about spending a couple of years near the ancient pyramids of Egypt, commuting to work on the bustling streets of Hong Kong, or taking a weekly hike in Sweden’s serene pastoral landscapes, then read on. We’ve got a ton of information to get you started.