'Too much hassle to come for just 12 months'

18th February 2005 at 00:00
Meghan Eliott relishes the opportunity of working in England. The 23-year-old from South Africa has just qualified as a teacher and is taking two years out to experience life in UK schools.

But, like thousands of teachers arriving from the Commonwealth every year, she wants to see more than the four walls of an inner-city classroom.

"I wanted to travel and teaching in the UK gives me the chance to do that.

"I am able to get over to Europe in the school holidays and I have family over here who I am trying to see," she said. "Part of the experience is living in London itself."

Ms Eliott, who is from Johannesburg, came to Britain in December. In the past six weeks she has found supply work with Tradewind Recruitment in primary schools across London.

Having qualified for a Commonwealth working holiday visa, she will be able to spend up to two years here. But under new rules teachers following her from the southern hemisphere will be limited to just 12 months.

Ms Eliott thinks some may be forced to consider other options. "If you are going to come all this way, you really have to do it for the full two years," she said. "It takes quite a while to find your feet - when you have found them you will want a decent amount of time to experience life and travel. A year can go very quickly and there are places closer to home in Africa where you go for less hassle in that time."

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