A Practical Guide to Teaching English Abroad

Frank and Friendly Advice written by a Retired Teacher-Trainer, Experienced EFL Teacher
& Former Peace Corps Volunteer Living & Working Abroad since 1989

What is "Western-Style" Housing?

Housing is a frequent bone of contention in the TEFL world

Housing can be a real problem in the TEFL world.  Not so much of a problem if your school does not provide it, as you can then find and get the quality of housing you want.  But, when the school provides it, sometimes you will be stuck with a less than satisfactory situation.  And a big disappointment.

Cutting Costs

Schools that provide housing want, of course, to spend the minimum amount needed for your housing.  Ask the other teachers there if it is decent or not.  Employers will sometimes find a tiny closet for you to live in - not concerned that you need to share that small space with all the cockroaches that already live there.

Shared Housing

Be careful with shared housing.  While it may be fun to have a roommate - you can also end up with the roommate from hell.  Most people recommend that you not accept shared housing.  I shared housing twice, once was great and I made a good friend.  The other time was terrible and I couldn't wait to get out.

"Western Style Housing"

Some employers will advertise that they provide Western style housing.  Don't trust it - sometimes that only means it has a bathroom with a "throne" or seat toilet versus a "squatter".

Paying the Bills

If at all possible, try to make sure that YOU pay the bills.  Some employers like to pay the bills, but then don't give you a real accounting of the costs.  Some will greatly overcharge you.  Ask the other teachers about this.

Demand Decent Housing

When having a problem with it you can always ask your employer, "Would you accept living here - like this?"   But, sadly, sometimes they would!

Don't demand a mansion - have reasonable expectations, but do require something decent.

BTW, I have, only one time, moved into a CLEAN apartment.  Much of the world cleans when they move in, not out.  Expect to move into a filthy apartment.  No big deal, you can leave it dirty when you go!


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