Trying to find a teaching job abroad? You'll want to take these things into consideration.

Finding a job abroad is no easy feat, but that’s not to say that it can’t be done. Teaching English abroad has long been a popular post-college career choice, and a wonderful step toward an international career.

Before landing my current position teaching English in Taiwan, I had to consider these three (fairly obvious but key) factors.

1. Location

Finding any job requires that you take a variety of things into consideration; in the case of trying to find a teaching job abroad, there are some additional things that you may want to consider that you would not have to if you were looking for a job locally.

People who choose to teach abroad often choose their destination based on a variety of things: salary, benefits package, and so on. For me, choosing a location prior to searching for teaching jobs helped me narrow things down significantly.

Do your research and look into things like weather patterns, unique cultural traditions, body language, and etiquette. Can you imagine yourself living with all of these things for a year or longer? If there is something about a potential destination that you just can’t stomach, maybe the destination you’re looking into is not the one for you.

Another major factor is the language of your country of choice. Yes, you are going there to teach English, but when you aren’t working, you will inevitably have to communicate with the local people. Do you speak the language already? If you don’t, are you willing to learn it?

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Language ultimately helped me determine where I ended up. I considered and sought employment in Japan for a while partially because I wanted to take the job as an opportunity to improve my existing Japanese language skills. A friend of mine taught in Korea, and she raved about the excellent benefits package she had received, which prompted me to consider Korea as a potential destination for a while. Ultimately, I decided that the enticing benefits package couldn’t outweigh the fact that I didn’t want to learn Korean, a language that I was completely unfamiliar with, so I turned my attention elsewhere.

Related: What It’s Really Like to Teach English Abroad

I knew that of the two foreign languages I had studied (Spanish and Mandarin) that Mandarin would provide the bigger challenge. Upon speaking with a friend of mine who had taught in China, I ultimately decided that teaching in China wasn’t a good idea for me. However, I still wanted to learn Mandarin, something that ultimately drew me to Taiwan.

Not only is learning the local language a valuable skill that will make everyday life easier in the country once you make the move, but it will also enhance your teaching skills. You may begin to understand the unique difficulties that locals face when learning a second language and begin to cater toward their needs, something that will make you a better teacher in the long run.

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2. Your Physical And Emotional Health

Any move or new job is a big step. It’s important to consider your physical and emotional health before you make the commitment to teach abroad. Your physical health is important, but it’s also important to consider your emotional health as well.

Most teaching contracts last a year, and a year is a long time. You must ask yourself if you think you have the skills to balance your own needs with your teaching responsibilities. For instance:

  • Do you have any pre-existing conditions?
  • Can you manage your symptoms enough to function on your own?
  • Does the country you’re trying to go to have adequate facilities to accommodate your needs?
  • Can you get your medication easily in said country (if you need medication)? What is the country’s health insurance system like?

Speak to any doctors who monitor you at home, explain your situation, and ask for their advice.

Bear in mind that there will also be a steep learning curve, especially if this is your first teaching job. Make sure that you are ready for that. Living abroad is a big jump, and you have to be prepared for your good days and your bad days.

3. Your Financial Situation

This one should go without saying. Some countries have a higher cost of living than others, and you must make sure that you have enough money to support yourself while you are getting settled. Add to that visa costs, plane tickets, and other necessities, and getting a teaching job can be expensive. Not all countries have a high cost of living, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you have enough money to support yourself.

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Related: How To Budget Your First Real Salary (free download)

In my case, I reached out to someone who had taken the same TESOL certification course that I did who ended up in Taiwan. She graciously answered all of my questions, one of which was average living expenses. Having a realistic idea of what I would be earning and spending if I chose to live in Taiwan was enormously helpful, particularly because the director of my TESOL course quoted an average salary that was significantly higher than what my friend was earning at the time.

Your financial situation shouldn’t be the deciding factor in where you end up, but it is an important thing to consider when looking for teaching jobs abroad.

Finding a teaching job abroad can be a long and arduous journey, but it is definitely a possibility, especially if English is your native language. It’s certainly a new adventure, and as we all know, growth happens outside of your comfort zone rather than inside it.