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May 16, 2023
14 min read

Teaching Abroad Made Easy: Your How-To Teach Abroad Checklist

Teaching Abroad Made Easy: Your How-To Teach Abroad Checklist
Written By
Deepali Shah

Deepali Shah

Deepali uses writing & teaching to inspire & impact. With creativity & empathy, she aims to engage & enlighten. Look for her next piece & get ready to be inspired.

Hello, fellow educators! Are you ready to start a new adventure and take your teaching skills to the next level? Teaching abroad can be an enriching and life-changing experience that offers a range of benefits.

From personal growth to professional development, teaching overseas can expand your horizons and offer unique opportunities.

However, before packing your bags, you must understand all the requirements and qualifications for teaching in a foreign country. But don't worry; we've got you covered with this guide. We've curated a checklist of every requirement you need to fulfil before you start teaching abroad, like meeting educational and language requirements, obtaining necessary visas, and acquiring teaching credentials.

You'll also receive valuable tips on securing a competitive salary and benefits package, such as housing allowances, paid vacation time, and flights home.

If you still need to figure out the benefits of teaching abroad, check out our separate blog post dedicated entirely to this subtopic.

1. Researching and Choosing a Destination

1.1 Considerations When Choosing a Country to Teach Abroad

  • You should understand differences in language, social customs, and traditions. By considering these differences, you can decide which country would be the best fit for you to teach.
  • Conduct thorough research to ensure you are comfortable in your new environment. Then, with adequate preparation, you can quickly adapt to the unique culture.
  • Consider your preferences and goals when choosing a country to teach abroad. For example,
  • If you want to improve your language skills, consider teaching in a country where the primary language is not your own.
  • For those seeking a diverse cultural experience, teaching in India or Brazil can be a great option.
  • If you prefer a more familiar culture, teaching in a country that shares your cultural background may be more comfortable.
  • Climate and natural landscapes also play a role, with options like Thailand, mild Greece, and Canada offering unique experiences.

1.2 Researching Teaching Opportunities

  • Thoroughly research the job details and requirements for securing teaching positions abroad. First, identify countries with high teacher demand, such as China or UAE. 
  • Look for the right fit based on your skills and experience, like international schools for a diverse environment or language schools for teaching specific languages. Knowing specific requirements, such as mandatory degrees or certificates, for teaching in a country is crucial for the application process.
  • Finally, research salary and benefits packages to determine the best job offer for your needs.

1.3 Finding Information About Living and Working in a Foreign Country

  • Research the local culture, healthcare system, housing, and transportation.
  • Explore the local job market beyond teaching.

You can also watch our masterclass on moving abroad to teach. It will help you make an informed decision about teaching abroad and choosing a suitable country.

2. Meeting the Requirements

Group of teachers discussing international school qualifications and requirements.

We will cover the critical requirements in three main areas:

2.1 Education and Certification

  • You must meet the specific education and certification requirements for the country where you want to work.
  • Suppose you're going to teach English. In that case, you'll need a bachelor's degree and an English teaching certificate such as IELTS, TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA.
  • Some countries may also require a master's degree or specific teaching experience. This qualification will provide you with the necessary knowledge and an easier job application.
BONUS TIP: The PgCTL is a teaching diploma widely recognised in all UN countries. If you're interested, you should consider exploring more about the PgCTL program here. 

2.2 Visa and Work Permit Requirements

Each country has its rules and regulations regarding work permits and visas; therefore, ensure you have all the documentation to work legally. Failure to obtain the proper visa and work permit could result in legal issues, deportation, or even imprisonment.

2.3 Health and Insurance Requirements

  • Some countries require foreign workers to have health insurance coverage covering all medical expenses, including hospitalisation and emergency medical care.
  • Now, after Covid-19, some countries may require specific vaccinations or health checks before allowing you to enter the country or obtain a work permit. Therefore, ensure your meet all these requirements to avoid any issues with your health and safety while teaching abroad.

3. Preparing for the Move

teacher checking documents for move to teach abroad

3.1 Financial Preparation

Relocating to a foreign country can be costly, but financial planning can prevent stress and obstacles.

  • Develop a budget for travel expenses, explore the pay structure, and consider any potential shifts in income.
  • Estimate the cost of accommodation, utilities, food, transportation, and other essentials and factor in your salary and perks.
  • Build an emergency fund since emergencies can occur anytime.

3.2 Packing and Shipping Belongings

Proper preparation can reduce stress, hassle and ensure your belongings arrive safely.

  • First, consider what items you will bring and what you will leave behind. For example, shipping large items such as furniture may not be practical, so plan accordingly.
  • Research your destination country's customs regulations and shipping options. For example, some countries have strict rules on what can be shipped and may require specific documentation.
  • Make sure you’re correctly labelling the items. Ensure that fragile items are properly wrapped and protected.

3.3 Finding and Arranging Accommodation and Transportation

  • Secure a temporary lodging in advance at a reduced cost for a period of less than six months. This allows you to stay comfortably until you find a permanent residence. Additionally, you have the option to pre-book transportation for a stress-free journey to your predetermined destination.
  • Research transportation options, distances to school and other local destinations for a smooth travelling experience.
  • Pre-book transportation and learn local traffic laws and customs to prevent mishaps.

4. Arriving and Settling In

international school teacher trying to navigate school location

4.1 Getting to Know the Local Area

It helps you avoid mishaps and stay safe. Take the opportunity to explore the local scene and discover all the fantastic things nearby your home. Some of the ways to do this are:

  • Find a location that suits your lifestyle and interests.
  • Make an informed decision about where to live and how to spend your free time for mental stability.

4.2 Meeting New People and Making Friends

Once you are familiar with the local area, it can open up some amazing personal and professional growth opportunities. 

  • Establish positive relationships with your new community for a happy life ahead.
  • By immersing yourself, you'll feel more comfortable in your new surroundings and be better equipped to establish meaningful relationships with the locals. 
  • This can lead to a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience, enhance your teaching abilities, and help you connect with your students more profoundly. 

4.3 Learning the Local Language and Customs

Learning the local language and customs can enhance your experience and make it more fulfilling.

  • A solid grasp of the language allows you to interact and communicate efficiently, reducing feelings of isolation or confusion.
  • Learning the language and customs of a place will enhance your happiness and prevent unintentional misunderstandings. It will also boost your confidence and comfort level in social situations, enabling you to connect better with colleagues and students.

5. Starting Your Teaching Job Abroad

teacher leading classroom discussion at international school

5.1 Understanding the School and Classroom Culture

  • Each country has its own school and classroom rules, customs, and beliefs, and failing to understand them can lead to ineffective rapport with students, parents, and colleagues. By learning about the classroom culture, you can tailor your lessons to make them more engaging and relevant to your students.
  • Different schools have their own preferred management style. Some cultures may prioritise strict adherence to rules and regulations, while others may prefer a more flexible and informal approach.
  • Teachers who adapt to the country's cultural norms can create an inclusive learning environment in the classroom that motivates students and bring a sense of acceptance.

5.2 Developing Lesson Plans and Teaching Materials

  • Developing lesson plans and teaching aids ensures the students’ learning needs are met, and the lessons are engaging and relevant.
  • Developing culturally appropriate lesson plans and teaching materials can improve your cross-cultural competence by helping you understand the students' cultural perspectives, beliefs, and values.

5.3 Navigating Cultural Differences in the Classroom

  • Awareness of cultural differences in the classroom helps build meaningful connections with students and create a positive learning environment. You can establish a welcoming classroom atmosphere by respecting your students' cultural backgrounds and ways of life.
  • Understanding these differences can help you adjust your teaching style. Acknowledging and respecting cultural differences can create a more inclusive learning environment for students.
  • Including cultural differences in your lessons can make your students more interested and the lesson more relatable. In addition, when students feel valued and respected, they are more likely to participate actively in class.

5.4 Developing Relationships with Students and Colleagues

  • Developing relationships enhances understanding by allowing you to learn from your colleagues' or students' experiences and perspectives, 
  • It builds a support network for you, which can be valuable in a new country.
  • It improves teaching effectiveness by allowing you to learn about the personal interest of your students and tailor your teaching to meet the needs of your learners.
  • It promotes professional growth by enabling you to learn from each other and collaborate on new ideas and approaches to your teaching.


In conclusion, teaching abroad can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation. Considering all the factors, you can set yourself up for the move. Remember to take advantage of all the resources available, including mentorship and additional blog resources, to make an informed decision. So what are you waiting for? Start your journey today! Don't let the challenges of moving to a foreign country hold you back from pursuing your dreams. Instead, talk to a mentor today and take the first step towards a life-changing experience.


Q1. Can I teach abroad without a degree?

Yes, a few options are available, like volunteer teaching, private tutoring, teacher assistantships, and freelancing. You can also research the schools that follow different ideologies and approaches to education and are ready to hire a teacher based on skills and not degrees. However, most opportunities and schools require you to have some teaching qualifications.

Q2. How do I get qualified to teach abroad?

To qualify to teach abroad, you typically need a bachelor's degree in your subject and a teaching qualification. Ensure that you research the specific requirements for the country and school you're applying to and meet all the necessary qualifications before applying. In fact, consider PgCTL for a qualification! The program covers all the essential skills you need to teach abroad and helps you meet regional requirements. Feel free to book an appointment to learn more about PgCTL.

Q3. How do I get licensed to teach abroad?

Each country has different approaches to licensing. Some don't have the need for a license altogether. Some would require you to have a teaching degree or certification simply. Some would require you to meet more requirements before you are legally allowed to teach. It's best to research the requirements for the specific country you want to teach in.

Q4. How long does it take to get a teaching certification to teach abroad?

The time it takes to obtain a teaching certification to teach abroad can vary depending on the specific requirements of the country or school. The process can generally take several months, a year, or more. Example: The PgCTL program can be completed in just 10 months. After that, you become eligible to teach abroad.

Q5. Can I teach abroad permanently?

Yes! you may need a teaching certification or a work visa, and it's better if you network with ex-pats or education professionals in the country. This can also be helpful in the process of teaching abroad permanently.

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Written By
Deepali Shah

Deepali Shah

Deepali uses writing & teaching to inspire & impact. With creativity & empathy, she aims to engage & enlighten. Look for her next piece & get ready to be inspired.

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