If in doubt just go

If you’re a risk taker then read on.

My advice to new TEFL teachers who are worried about finding a job teaching English abroad is just go, what’s the worst that can happen?

I’m presuming that you have saved some money for your adventure and have researched into when term starts or when the best times are for finding a job in your chosen location.

Here are some advantages of finding a job after you arrive.

Track down dodgy employers: The director might seem lovely on the internet, and the telephone interview might go okay, but the boss may not be as they appear. When I got to Bangkok I found out that my boss was strict catholic nun and I wished I hadn’t signed that six month contract.

Get to know the area. Unless you know the place in which you are applying for jobs, I’d strongly recommended spending some time in the area before you commit to living there for a long period. This especially applies to large cities. When I prearranged my job in Bangkok I regretted not doing more research as my school was right out in the sticks, at least an hour from the action in the centre. This is also important for more dangerous countries. You might find that the school is in a dodgy area or close to a ghetto. Arriving a month before term starts should be plenty to get to know the area.

Keep your options open. If you’re lucky and arrive at the right time you might be able to get a couple of job opportunities before you make a decision. Imagine having the choice of three schools, you could even bargain over your rate of pay and working conditions. It might be difficult to do this from your home country.

Make your mind up. Perhaps you know which country you want to live in, but visit various cities before making a commitment. Maybe you’ve fallen in love with the idea of learning Spanish in Spain, or you have a strong desire to become a Samurai warrior in Japan while you teach English. However after two days in Madrid you may find that you’re sick of the noise and traffic or you arrive in Tokyo and feel insignificant in the immense population. Spend some time visiting the country before you make your mind up.

I’d definitely recommend getting to a place before you find a job. Of the five countries I’ve worked in, Ecuador, Brazil, Australia, Thailand, and Spain, only in Thailand did I prearrange the job. My experience in Bangkok was a nightmare to begin with; a strict boss and prison like conditions, but in the end I enjoyed my time there.

If you have any success stories of finding a job on arrival, or perhaps nightmare situations after selling up your house and moving abroad, then leave a comment.

So what’s the best way to get a job once you arrive? Have a look here: the best way to get a job on arrival

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