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teacher abroad in spain

We’re celebrating 20 years of teaching abroad with 20 tips for teaching abroad!

Whether you’re a seasoned educator looking to broaden your horizons, or an aspiring teacher with a passion for travel and cultural immersion, these tips will equip you with advice to help you make a lasting impact on your students and make the most out of your unique teaching experience abroad.

If you’re considering teaching abroad or at home, take advice from these seasoned experts.

We’re sharing tips from our teach abroad experts at Teach Away, as well as members of our online teaching community. Learn how other teachers found success and start teaching with confidence.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to share some wise words with us on our social platforms!

Tips From Your Teach Away Experts

“Take basic language lessons with a tutor in-country or in advance of travelling to your destination! It saved me so many times when trying to do the day-to-day tasks like ordering food delivery, taking a taxi or just being able to show your appreciation in the local language.”

Lloyd Ffrench, VP of Sales at Teach Away and experienced ESL English for adults teacher, São Paulo, Brazil

“Embrace this opportunity to learn and appreciate different cultures. Engage in discussions about diverse backgrounds and encourage your students to share their experiences. By demonstrating an open-minded and inclusive attitude, you’ll foster respect and understanding among your students, creating an enriching learning environment where everyone’s perspectives are valued.”

Michelle Dzisiak, Global Marketing Lead at Teach Away and experienced K-12 teacher, Toronto

“Approach your teaching abroad adventure with an open mind. You may have an idea of where you want to teach, which is great, but stay open to hearing about and exploring different places. Over the years I’ve heard from many teachers that first started out really wanting a position in a particular country and they end up finding their dream role in a place they never considered before. The best moments in life are sometimes born out of our ability to let go of expectations and just let the universe take you to where you were meant to be :)”

Paula Swirla, VP of Marketing and People at Teach Away

“Really consider the city/town/village that the school is based, since this is likely to be where you will live. Yes, moving to a fantastic country sounds exciting, but you need to ensure you move to the right area based on your interests, since if you are not happy with where you are living, it can have a negative affect on the overall experience on teaching abroad.”

Ryan Stevenson, Sales Lead at Teach Away and experienced K-12 teacher, Italy

“Learn the language! Even if it’s just basic words to get you by in the supermarket and taking a taxi – it’s super helpful. You never know, you might fall in love with learning a new language and it turns into a hobby. Be sure to immerse yourself into the culture and make friends with people who are from that country. It’s quite easy to stick with other teachers from a similar background to you. However you will get much more out of the experience but making a variety of friends.”

Rebecca Steedman, Customer Success Manager at Teach Away and experienced ESL English for ages 5-12 teacher, Shanghai, China

“There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to your students. Every student’s case is different! Make the lesson exciting and be flexible in adapting your style on case by case situations…that’s how you create a unique and authentic teaching experience for your students that will set you apart from all other teachers.”

Sepp Nasri, Senior Program Marketing Coordinator at Teach Away and experienced ESL teacher for adults online; Wroclaw / Warsaw, Poland; Kyiv, Ukraine

Teach Abroad Tips You Shared With Teach Away

On learning the language

“Make an effort to at least learn the basics of the local language. It will make daily life so much easier and allow you to connect with locals and have unique experiences.”

– Jamie, Threads

On mindfulness

“1. Be open-minded AND respectful. You’re entering someone else’s home. Be mindful of that.
2. Ask questions for understanding. If you still don’t understand, ask another clarifying question.
3. Try new things that you wouldn’t try at home because…well, opportunity may only knock once.
4. Step out of your comfort zone but keep your intuition intact.
5. Even if you are introverted, be friendly and kind so that you can get new friends immediately. You’ll need a hug on your tough days.
6. Breathe and enjoy the new experience.”

Shore Eure Wright, Facebook

“Know that you are going as a global citizen. Learn how you can add value to the education system of your host country. Hard work and patience in the first year is important. Evaluate your experience year over year. Not day by day. The importance of patience and time is one of the Indigenous principles of learning. I recommend using this principle as a teacher abroad. Resist instant gratification and you will have an amazing experience.”

Sukh Sandhu, Facebook

“Remember you are going to learn as much (maybe more) than teach.”

Melissa Ferri, Linkedin

On being culturally sensitive

“If you go to Japan, prepare to be surprised that the teachers actually not only make a difference but are respected quite highly … Learn the language first, and THEN speak it softly.”

Dan Anderson, Facebook

“You might be going to an American school, but that doesn’t mean everyone there needs to behave or do things like in the US (or whatever curriculum/country you are used to). Be flexible.”

Wendy Toral, Facebook

“Be humble and never try to look interesting and better than the others. Respect the local norms and customs.”

– Ben Brahim Nordine, Facebook

“Remember you’re the visitor, and respect the people and their culture. Patience is truly a virtue.”

– Anastasia Means-Dallas, Facebook

On remembering to enjoy yourself

“I spent 10 years in the UAE across 3 different Emirates. The biggest issue is culture shock. Things are NOT done the way they were at home, and you are a guest in their country. Tempers will flare during the first few weeks as you are missing family and ‘your’ way of life. Find a veteran teacher who is in that country and from your home country. That person will be your lifeline for the first few months. Make friends, they will help you navigate while giving you someone to vent to. Find something you enjoy, that may not necessarily be what you would have done at home, and find your bliss.”

– Beverly Newell, Facebook

“Be aware of your surroundings, their traditions, and laws. Keep yourself safe. Enjoy your experience.”

– Mary Anne Horn, Facebook

On asking for help

“Ask lots of questions! Don’t go into it feeling like you have to figure everything out for yourself. International teachers are a family away from home. Embrace it and know that most are more than willing to answer questions, guide you, and help make the transition easier!”

– Kady Melvin, Facebook

On safety

“Always keep enough money in your account to go home in case of an emergency.”

– Yvonne Beaudry, Facebook

“Study all the laws which are related to children, students, teachers, and education, the educational system from that country, social benefits, legal advisory for teachers.”

Carolina Ortega, Facebook

…And finally, on why you shouldn’t wait

“If you go into international teaching thinking you have nothing to learn, you are in for a big surprise. The only regret I have from my international teaching days is that I wish I had started sooner.”

– Joyce Kaufmann, Facebook

Bonus Tips!

“Be fluid. Like water in a brook, if a rock is in the way, be ready to change direction and do something different. I found I had culture shock expecting things to be done the same as home, but when I learned to just go with it, then I chilled out.” – Natalie Steele, Facebook

“Ask the school what you could expect in the orientation programme (if there is one). If it is not carefully planned out it’s a [red flag emoji].” – Aneske Cunningham, Facebook

“Immerse yourself in their culture! Taught 2 1/2 years in Abu Dhabi, best adventure in my life!❤” – Tinie Bowman, Facebook

Ready to get started teaching abroad?

Thank you to everyone who shared your tips for teaching abroad.

If you’re ready to get out there and continue on your teaching journey, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Happy teaching!

*Some quotes featured in this blog may have been edited for clarity and brevity to accurately represent the essence of the original testimonials.

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