Life Lessons from Overseas: A Teacher’s Guide to Teaching Abroad

As an ESL teacher for so many years, I kind of learnt how to be prepared for the students with a guide to teaching abroad, especially when you work online.

One of the joys of this profession is the ability to teach from different places. It doesn’t matter if you are abroad on holiday, visiting my parents back in Brazil – like in my case – it is always possible to tutor if you have a reliable internet connection.

Thinking about it, I am here to provide valuable insights and guidance for teachers considering or already engaged in teaching abroad.

Teaching abroad can be a rewarding and life-changing experience, but it comes with its unique challenges and adjustments. Here are some tips for life as a teacher abroad:

Cultural Sensitivity

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I am quite suspicious of talking about embracing local culture. I guess it is more due to the fact I like learning languages and I do like travelling around knowing basic words to communicate myself to the locals.

I find it quite offensive not knowing a bit about the place you are visiting. For a teacher, it is more like a duty to embrace the local culture and customs with an open mind. Be respectful of traditions and norms that may differ from your home country.

Learning the local language must take some time. But it is also easier when you are integrated into the local community. While not always required, learning some of the local languages can greatly enhance your experience and help you connect with students and colleagues.

You can always take part in some volunteering programs and events in your area to make this task a bit more enjoyable.

Why not prepare gifts to give back to friends, students, and new teachers that you just met? You can always think about personalised teacher tops, teacher bags, teacher stamps and teacher clothes in general.

Connect with fellow teachers, students, and the local community. Building strong relationships can be one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching abroad.

Also, it is always a good idea to be well-informed. Stay up to date with local and international news. Being aware of current events will help you navigate cultural and political contexts.


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If you are a teacher (or even a student) trying to adapt yourself to another country, you need to remember that it will take some time until you get used to the new life abroad.

The best thing to have in mind is being flexible and adaptable. Things may not always go as planned, so it’s important to be able to adjust and find solutions on the go.

Expect and respect the moments of homesickness. It’s a common feeling among ex-pats, so have strategies in place to cope with it, such as connecting with fellow ex-pats or setting up regular video calls with loved ones.

To beat homesickness, the best thing to do is stay connected with loved ones. Keep in touch with family and friends back home. Being abroad can sometimes be isolating, so maintaining those connections is essential for your well-being.

Keep in mind that you are embracing a new life. Make the most of it. Make the most of your time abroad by exploring the region and nearby countries. Travelling can enhance your cultural awareness and provide enriching experiences.

Be prepared to try new things. From food to new places to visit and of course, the language you are teaching and the local studies that will enable you to grow professionally and socially.

Embrace Your New Teaching Life

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Teaching abroad is not only about entering the classroom every morning and helping the students with their needs. There are a lot of bureaucratic issues to deal with. So, it is better to prepare yourself for all things that matter.

Understanding educational systems is one of those things. It’s better to familiarise yourself with the education system of the country you’re in, as it can vary significantly from one place to another.

Ask for tips from your work colleagues to avoid etiquette mistakes. It’s quite important to respect the differences.

Start with recognising that teaching methods, classroom etiquette, and expectations may be different. Show respect for these variations and try to find a balance between your teaching style and local expectations.

Remember that teaching (and studying abroad) can be a great step to developing your career.

You Seek out opportunities for professional development and continued education. Teaching abroad can offer unique experiences and training.

Familiarise yourself with important issues such as health and safety and emergency contacts.

Research healthcare options in your new country and make sure you have health insurance that covers your needs.

Understand the visa and work permit requirements for your host country. Ensure that your documentation is to avoid legal issues.

Teaching life abroad can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. So, the best advice that I can give to you is to be patient.

Be patient with yourself and your students. Learning and adjusting to a new culture takes time, and you may face language barriers and other challenges.

To make things easier for you in the classroom. Consider even the availability of teaching materials in your host country. Bring essential materials from home or explore local resources.


Remember that teaching abroad is a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. Embrace the challenges and experiences that come your way.

Teaching abroad can be a transformative experience that allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of your students while gaining a deeper understanding of the world.

With the right mindset and preparation, you can thrive in your role as a teacher abroad. It will be an unforgettable experience in your life.

*This is a collaborative post

Simone Ribeiro
Hi! I'm Simone, a citizen of Britain, where I live for over a decade, and of Brazil, where I was born. Midlands Traveller is where I combine my passion for travelling, business and an Eco-friendly lifestyle.

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