Can I teach English abroad if I have children?

Although it is not particularly unusual for teachers with children to head overseas to live and work, there are several important things to carefully consider before you decide if it is the right option for your family.

What are the financial implications of teaching English abroad with children?

Wherever you live in the world, bringing up children is typically an expensive undertaking. With that in mind, you need to make sure that teaching English abroad is financially viable for you before deciding to leave home. Teacher?s salaries vary greatly from one country to the next so where you decide to teach can have a huge impact on your prospects. Popular regions such as Europe and Latin America have plenty of job opportunities, but most teachers would find it hard to earn enough to support children in these areas. In contrast, Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Taiwan have a mix of high salaries and a low cost of living which means it is much easier to support a child on a single salary.

What options do I have for my children's education?

If you have a pre-school age child, the cost of daycare or a nanny will need to be considered and this will be much more affordable in Asian countries rather than in Europe, for example. If you have school age children you will need to do plenty of research to find out what options are available to you in your country of choice. In some countries you will be able to send your child to a local state school, while in others this will not be feasible. If it is possible to do this, you will still need to decide whether this will be a suitable environment for them to learn. If the child already speaks the local language to some degree then they should find it easy enough to adapt to their new environment, however, for the majority of children this option will involve having to quickly learn a new language. Young children often find it quite easy to pick up a foregn language, although for teenagers it can be a much more difficult proposition. If local schools are not a viable option, an international school is generally the only real alternative. These British or American curriculum schools offer a very high standard of education, however, the fees involved are generally beyond the reach of most ESL teachers.

What about medical insurance and access to healthcare?

The most affordable destinations for teaching English abroad are usually developing nations that often lack the high standard of health care that you might be used to in your home country. Having said that, many of these countries still have good medical facilities that are very affordable by western standards. In some countries it is routine for employers to provide health insurance coverage for their teachers and in some cases their dependants. It is advisable to research the contracts that you might be offered in different countries as free health care might make a big difference to your budget and your peace of mind.

What about visas for my children?

If your teaching job comes with a work permit then you should find that you also receive a dependant visa for any children you bring with you. In countries where it is hard to get a work visa and teachers commonly work on a tourist visa, you will need to check how this might affect your child?s chances of enrolling in a local school. Before making any final decisions you should contact the local embassy to make sure you know exactly where you stand.

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