What is the cost
What do things cost?
Will I be able to save any money?
This is a question that is critical to your survival as
an EFL teacher overseas. A salary means nothing until
you know the context into which it is set. You have to
know what your daily expenses will be - in relation to
your pay check.
Ask Existing Teachers
While I would like to say, "Ask this on the discussion
boards" - it doesn't always work that way. You can't
really ask about the cost of living in Panama - you need
to ask about a specific city in general and about
your specific circumstances. At one time, I worked in
Chung-ju, Korea, but the cost of living there was vastly
different than if I had worked in Seoul, Korea - one of
the most expensive cities in the world.
You need to ask
the existing teachers at the school you are going to
work for. Sometimes that is not possible - then
ask on the discussion boards. Be as specific as
Housing in particular is a big issue. In some
countries, it is provided free as it is prohibitively
expensive or requires deposits equal to a year's wages.
In some countries, you will need to pay for it yourself
and it can be quite expensive depending on where you
choose to live.
I paid over US$850 per month for an
apartment in Taipei - more than half my base wages per
month. But I wanted to live in the financial district
so I could easily teach business classes at major
companies in the evening. Also, I had lived far away
from the action in my previous job in another country -
I wanted to be in the middle of a major city. It was
worth it to me.
you must provide your own housing find out what the
range of costs are. And find out if the low end quoted
is a "rat trap" or not.
Everyone's lifestyle is different. If you are a party
kind of person and enjoy night-clubbing every weekend, most EFL pay checks won't go far. Guaranteed! If clubbing
is on your agenda, find out what it costs.
Price everything that is important to you. You might
was well know before you go - what things are going to
cost. Not knowing these things will affect your quality
of life and you might as well know now.
People on discussion boards will happily tell you what a
nice dinner out at an Indian restaurant will cost (if it
exists in that town), or other unique things that are
part of your enjoyment of life.
Know before you go.