Many of us dream of quitting our jobs and moving to an exotic country to have completely new experiences. What better New Year’s resolution then to completely restart our lives abroad?
Leaving everything behind for a new life of adventure seems like a great idea but then fear shows its ugly head.
- How will I make money?
- I don’t have enough savings.
- What do I do with my things?
- What if I can’t find a job when I return?
- What if I get sick?
- How will I find a place to live?
- What about language barriers?
After a quick run-through of all the worst case scenarios, staying home and avoiding any risks seems to be the wiser choice.
Moving to a foreign country doesn’t have to cost much money or be particularly risky. In fact, you can have someone in your new country sponsor your visa, help you find an apartment, get set up and even pay you a salary. Relocating to a foreign country can be almost risk free if you choose the right path.
The secret that worked for me when I came to Japan, and has worked for countless others all over the world, is to teach English. There is no easier or faster way to move to a foreign country than to take a job as an English teacher.
Some people may not want to be an English teacher. Some may not like having to work for another company again. I understand those complaints, however I think working in a new job, in a new country with completely different customs, food, and environment is unlike anything you have ever done before. Living and working in a new country will give you insights and a connection that travelers will never experience.
It is quite possible to move abroad and save $500 to $1500 per month in countries like Japan, Korea and Taiwan. If you are happy to just cover costs, then other countries like Thailand, China, The Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Argentina, etc. also become viable choices.
If you have any university degree finding a suitable employer can be a quick and easy process. Reliable teachers are hard to find so if you follow some commonsense professionalism you will likely stand out from all the mediocre job applicants. As a former school owner, I can attest to the low quality of job applicants.
$2000 to $3000 and a few months of lead time are all that is necessary to get set up and working in a new country.
The Typical Process
Step 1 – Spend some time researching what country you would like to work in. Check out YouCanTeachEnglish.com for detailed information on numerous countries around the world. I have done several interviews with English teachers in countries around the world on the site so read what experienced teachers have to say.
Step 2 – Start looking at job sites for the country you are interested in. There are many positions for schools around the world here, but a quick Internet search will likely show the best sites for jobs in that particular country.
Step 3 – Start applying for jobs.
Step 4 – Consider taking a training program. Teacher training programs like TEFL and CELTA can help you learn how to teach English and make your transition to a teacher easier. A training program will help you stand out from other applicants but they are not a requirement in most countries.
Step 5 – Research the companies interested in hiring you to make sure they are reputable and offer good working conditions. Some schools will reimburse airfare, some schools provide free accomodations, some may provide contract completion bonuses, some will have longer vacation times. Make sure you evaluate the entire employment package and benefits when considering an employer.
Step 6 – Accept an offer. Once you accept a position, you will likely have to send a certified copy of your degree, sign a contract and possibly get a medical check up. Once this information is sent, it will probably take 4 to 8 weeks to process and get sent back to you.
Step 7 – Go the the nearest embassy and get your work visa validated in your passport.
Step 8 – You are now ready to go and teach. Have a great trip!
The Fast and Dirty Way
This is not the most recommended way, but in countries like Japan and Taiwan it is quite possible to show up on a tourist visa and look for work in the country. This can be a little faster and will allow you to evaluate schools and locations in person, however you will likely need more money upfront to start. When you arrive in the country there will be no one to help you, leaving you to find accommodations and get set up on your own.
Once you find employment you will have to leave to a nearby country to have your visa validated in your passport. This is relatively inexpensive because foreign countries are so close.
This is how I came to Japan and many others have followed this same path but your life will be a lot easier if you have your employment and visa sorted before you arrive.
Even if teaching is not your calling in life, living and working in a foreign country can open your eyes to a whole new world of opportunities. Sometimes it is important to make a quick and clean break with old habits and routines. Start teaching and earning some income, travel frequently in your free time and start working on your true passions. Teaching English is not for everyone, but I can guarantee that you will be better for the experience if you are willing to embrace the opportunity.