Preparing for your first overseas job

  • Check the immigration rules - Research the immigration rules when applying to work in a different country as they vary. In Qatar, for example, dependents and spouses cannot accompany the person who has been hired until they obtain a resident’s permit, which can take up to six months. Also some countries do not allow you to leave the country without an exit permit.
  • Calculate the cost of living - Check the salary on offer will give you the lifestyle you want. There are a number of cost of living calculators, such as Xpatulator, which are handy tools for getting an approximation. However you do your research, drill down to the specific region and even town, if possible, as costs can vary dramatically between the big cities and more rural areas of a country.
  • Factor in other costs - On top of the cost of day-to-day living there are other expenses to factor in, the most significant of which is likely to be travel. If you’re a long-haul flight away from home, this is a big expense and you need to know you can afford at least one trip home a year; it’s a good idea to have a return fare banked - just in case homesickness strikes. Remember, if a partner and children are involved then these costs will rise incrementally.
  • Check medical provision - Good health is vital to your happiness so research and understand what medical provision is available in the country you’re looking to relocate to. Some countries are better than others, but be prepared to take out private health if provision isn’t good, and if it is, ensure you’re making adequate contributions to the systems in order to be eligible. Most good international schools offer their staff private health insurance as part of the package.
  • Use social networks - The TES Teaching Overseas forum is a great place to meet other teachers already in your destination city and other networks will connect you with locals ahead of your arrival. Colleagues or other business professionals in the area will be able to give you objective advice about good areas to live, local safety.
  • Use a local SIM card - You’ll want to stay in touch with home and may need to use your mobile to do this. Buy a local SIM card which will work out much cheaper. But remember to unlock your phone in advance.
  • Have a health MOT - Visit the doctor and the dentist, and do your research about which jabs may be needed, well in advance. Stock up on ‘western’ medications and take sufficient supplies of painkillers as prescriptions may be different or weaker in other countries.