Careers advice from Theodora Griff

21st September 2012 at 01:00
Feeling homesick already

I have made a horrible mistake. I thought it would be a good idea to work abroad in a school, but it's all so foreign and I am so homesick that I just want to get back to the UK as soon as possible.

Oh dear, how horrid for you! A new job and a new school is always stressful at first, but add to that a new country where you don't feel at home.

I think you need a two-pronged approach.

First, you need to work on settling in at the school and the place where you are. Talk to your line manager and to someone who was new in the school last year; they will have gone through the same feelings as you at some time, I bet, and are sure to have suggestions to help you. Make sure, too, that you have Skype set up for free chats with people back home.

At the same time, you need to start discreetly investigating the possibility of leaving. Schools abroad aren't subject to the same resignation dates as in the UK, of course. In mainland Europe it may be quite similar to home, but schools further afield may have tied you in to a one-year or even two-year stint, with penalties for leaving earlier. This is understandable in some ways if they have invested money in airfares and accommodation for you.

They may withhold your salary to cover this, and won't pay your fare back home.

As for getting a job back here, I'm afraid that you are at a disadvantage as you are not available for interview, there are large numbers of unemployed teachers job-hunting, and -leaving a school so fast will not be in your favour.

Working in a British school abroad can be -immensely rewarding - I have known a number of people who have enjoyed it so much that they have made a whole career out of it. My own view is that you should see if you can stick it out for a year. This will increase your chance of -getting another job and you will feel better about yourself. You may even come to enjoy it - I do hope so.

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum, or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2


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