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 “safe” is life overseas for single women or families?

How safe is Teaching English Overseas?

Call me naive, but my experience so far has been that life overseas is in many ways, much safer than back in my home country.


Serious crime, in the countries where I have lived, seems to be much less of a problem than "back home".  A good starter rule is, "If you wouldn't do it back home, don't do it in your new country."  Part of the issue is that we often don't know the signals of a bad neighborhood in the new country.  I have lived in neighborhoods in which, back home, I would have been afraid to go outside after dark, but in the country where I was living - no problems at all.  Very safe. 

BUT, I have to qualify that most of my experience as been in Asia.  South and Central America - and Africa - are different.  Europe - I don't know about.  Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand - seem to me to be much safer than my experience back in the States.


Traffic accidents, and the lack of First Aid skills by local populations, probably present a greater threat to your physical well-being than crime.


When I lived in Africa, it was clear to me that crime against people and property was a much greater threat than back home.  Investigate carefully when considering a job there.  I know that is a gross generalization - but still, I want to say, "Be careful."  

Families and Women

Be as careful as you would back home - at least until you know the areas where you live and work.  But, again, my opinion would be that in most parts of Asia - you are safer here than at home.

Most of the violent crime that does exist in Asia seems to be business/gang related.  As long as you stay out of those circles you will probably be just fine.


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