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

How do I send money home?

I have bills to pay back  home!

Many people head to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the Middle East to pay off student loans or other debts.  Sending money home is not difficult.  But, you need to set up a few things back home first.

Bank Account

You probably already have a bank account in your home country.  If not, set one up.  Before you go, ask the bank for their routing number or routing address. The routing number - and your bank account number - are the numbers an overseas bank needs to send money to your account back home.  Some people will call this "wiring money home" and it is one of several options for sending money home.  It usually costs about US$25-50, so don't send small amounts or the charges will eat up too much of your money.  Ask your bank if they charge to receive money.  You don't want to be charged on both ends - if you can avoid it.

You'll need to find a major bank in the town where you work - or sometimes you'll need to go to the capital city or a large regional center and find a bank that does foreign exchange.

International Money Orders
- or International Bank Checks (Cheques)

To save some money on the charges, some people will get an international bank check as they often cost as little as US$3-10.  But then you still have to mail the check home to someone you trust - or your bank - and hope it gets there okay.  Korea and Japan have excellent postal systems - so no worry there.  But, many other countries have unreliable postal systems and you will need to gauge the risk of losing the check and getting it replaced.  That can take a long time - perhaps as long as two or three months - or more.

Note: Banks in some countries will require that you document your income via bringing your work contract or at least your passport and work permit - be sure to find out what is needed before you go.  Sometimes this can be done by having a secretary or colleague at your school call the bank first.


Not recommended, but I have, at one time or another, just gotten cash and mailed it home to a relative to have it deposited in my account.  If you do this, conceal it well and don't register it - it needs to look as inconspicuous as possible to make sure it gets there.  Mail the money only to someone you trust, of course.  I sent the money to my mother.  If you can't trust your mom . . .



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