Won’t I get homesick? What about my family?
Yes you might – at the beginning, but don’t worry because it’s totally normal when you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. Moving abroad is a very big step and the emotional toll it takes shouldn’t be underestimated. The question about whether you should move is entirely up to the individual, but there are things to take into consideration regarding family and friends.
Many people think you can only move abroad as a single person – mostly not true. Many schools (the best schools really) offer a package that will allow you to relocate your spouse and often your dependent children. Places in the school you are working in are often offered at a discounted rate or free for the children of its teachers (sometimes up to 2 children). This is something to find out at interview or before if it’s important to you. International schools are often very expensive for parents, so you may find that you’re priced out of the school you work in, unless they have a discount scheme for your child. Some schools are more catered for local children and not expatriates, so your child might be ‘out of place’ if they went there. For example, some schools in the Middle East cater for Arab children, so if you’re not Arab and don’t speak Arabic, it might not be the best environment for your child. Find out the nationalities of the children who attend. Many international schools are ‘British’ or ‘American’, these will have expats and a few locals as well. Schools welcome applications from teaching couples, so if you’re both teachers, ensure the school knows, so they can offer you both jobs. There are certainly schools which will only provide accommodation and visas for single people travelling alone so be sure to make your situation clear.
Another point to think about before making the leap, is elderly, sick or disabled relatives who might be your responsibility. Their situation might worsen while you’re away. It’s important to discuss this with your family to ensure everyone’s needs are met, and what you want out of life is also considered.
You may have very close friends and you’re worried that you won’t be able to maintain these friendships for that length of time. It’s certainly true that good friends will stick around! Don’t forget that all countries – even developing countries have phones and video calls. In some countries, some kinds of internet calling are blocked, but there is always a way to call home.
Don’t be worried about making friends in your new workplace. In my experience, this is quite easy because everyone there is also looking to make friends – particularly if you all start together at the beginning of the school year. They may well have come alone too. They also won’t have a family down the road, so they may want to spend their spare time with colleagues.
To summarise, Look at your situation objectively, your relationships and your personal circumstances. Look at what your priorities are, if it’s earning more money, going abroad might be a good option. Contracts are usually for 2 years, so you can commit for 2 years and then leave. If you have responsibilities and it’s better you stay at home, do that. Keep an open mind and your options open.