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

On the Job: At work
Teaching English Abroad

Some miscellaneous questions and answers
- and the directory for this section (below)


What should I wear to my new job?

Always assume a shirt and tie and slacks for men - and something equivalent for women.  Ask your employer to be sure, but even in very hot weather more conservative cultures tend to dress up a bit. 

Dressing "down" is not usually appropriate - you will be judged by how you dress.  Grooming and appearance are very important in many cultures.

Should I buy a car or motorcycle?

I usually do, once I know my job is secure, as it greatly enhances my ability to get out and see my new country.  If you don't already know how to drive a motorcycle - overseas may not be the best place to learn. 

Rules of the road in many countries can at best be termed "flexible."  However, many countries have great public transportation systems and you often won't need your own wheels. 

Public transport is fine, it's just that it is hard to tell the bus driver to go back and turn left down that street where you thought you saw a really cool Buddhist temple.

How do I know if it is safe where I live?

Ask your employer and coworkers.  If it is not, ask to be moved.  Living overseas is great fun and a real challenge, but getting mugged or killed shouldn't be part of the package. 

It IS important to ask, don't assume you know.  Cultural and visual/behavioral cues about crime can differ from our own understanding.  It's good to be sure! 

How do I reduce my initial expenses?

Don't try to buy everything at once and don't try to solve every problem by throwing money at it (a Western trait?). 

I can't tell you how many times I have bought paper for the printer, markers for the classroom, even bottled water for my apartment, only to have it provided free of charge only a day or two later. 

Be patient.  Your needs may be very different in your new situation, from what they were in your home country. 

Take your time with spending until you really know what is going on.

Part Eight: 

On the Job – the Scene in Your New Country

What is “culture shock” and how will it affect me?

Surviving Uncertainty

Cultural differences: Yes = No



What should I wear to my new job?

Should I buy a car or motorcycle?

Can I make extra money on the side?

Should I socialize with the people where I work?

The Culture Game:  Can I really get a raise just by going to a Karaoke with my boss?

How do I know if it is safe where I live?

Will my job offer medical insurance?

How do I reduce my initial expenses?


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