5 top tips for teachers relocating abroad
Ready set go… 5 top tips to make your relocation easier
It’s almost September- the time when most international school jobs start. Here’s my top tips to make your relocation abroad as smooth as possible:
- Attestation- get on it! If you are going to one of the many countries that requires your documents to be verified as part of the visa process, you should be doing this sooner rather than later. Legalisation, attestation, authentication – by whatever name you use, it means that you need to get the issuing country to validate that your document is authentic. If you are in the US, it’s even more complicated because you have to get them verified at state AND federal level which is why we have negotiated a special discout with US Authentication (click here) to do the dirty work for you. Please don’t delay and if you are unsure about what documents you need done, ask your school. A video explaining the process is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGIYiEyNZfk
- Scan your teaching resources and put them on a stick and/or in the cloud. You have spent a career amassing great teaching resources but when you only get a finite amount of luggage, why waste the weight by packing them? Instead you can scan it all and have it instantly wherever you go. Top tip: I also recommend you scan important documents such as your passport, medical records, degree certificates, important phone numbers, etc. Anything you might want to access abroad. The cloud is your friend!
- Shipping things. When shipping important documents, I highly recommend DHL. They seem to have the best worldwide network and the only thing that seems to work in countries like Russia, the Stans, China, etc. I would avoid any of your local postal services even though they claim to ship abroad because they won’t be specialists and will only interface with the foreign countries own postal service which may or (more often) may not be reliable. (If you are shipping boxes of goods, check out Seven Seas Worldwide because they specialise in shipping personal goods in smaller quantities. I use both of these companies myself because they have their own networks and don’t rely on complicated partnerships)
- Get your criminal check before you go. This is especially true if you are already abroad. With more awareness of Child Protection (yay!), many schools and indeed many countries are requiring a criminal check from every country you’ve been for the past 10 years. So if you are in China, or the UAE and intending to start a job in a new country, please get your criminal check before you go! It’s often impossible to get after you leave and I know of several cases where jobs have been rescinded because the candidate could not produce a check from a country where they taught recently. This is only going to get more important as time rolls on and more countries and schools take child protection more seriously.
- Prepare for culture shock. Even if you’ve travelled before, there will be an adjustment period. Remember that teaching abroad is an adventure and you are not alone. You will be able to have the experience of a lifetime and look back, saying ‘I did that!’. Be prepared to feel a number of things; excitement, anxiety, wonder and shock, and give yourself enough time for your new school to feel like ‘the new normal. Remember why you are doing this in the first place- to learn and grow as a person and a teacher, and remember that your school is no stranger to Culture Shock and will be there to support you.
Our video on Culture Shock explains what it is and what you can do about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLwaIre6piA