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 the social life overseas like?

Will I be lonely living overseas?

Social life varies greatly.  When investigating countries where you might like to work - ask about it!  Part of it depends on you: Are you social and friendly?   Or do you depend on others to approach you?   Is your spouse or a partner going with you?

It's up to you!

Drunken poker parties in Saudi Arabia?  Yes!

Lonely nights in Bangkok?  Yes! 

I've experienced both - though they are polar opposites!

Both extremes are possible.  The old axiom is, "To make a friend, be a friend."  If you don't know anyone, volunteer at a local program, join ToastMasters, the Rotary or Lions Clubs, or other local organizations.  If appropriate for you, join a local religious organization.  You will find that if you make the first move most countries and people are very welcoming.

I've lived in small towns with vibrant foreigner social circles and in large cities where I knew very few foreigners, and at times, had exactly the opposite social life of what you might expect.

The Local Folks

The native people of your new country can be very welcoming - you will be happily surprised.  But know also, that many cultures are much more "nosey" and will ask many more personal questions about your life, and may offer much more "advice" than you are used to.  Take it all with a grain of salt.  It is just how it is.

The Foreigner's World

Know that, as a strange minority, the foreigner's world is a small one.  Your neighbors will pay more attention to you and talk about you - even as you walk by . . .  Keep your bad habits out of sight.


I have been fortunate to make many great friends in the TEFL world.  People I have met in many different countries - and we still keep in touch.  Be open to these opportunities and to people who are different from you and you will be surprised what comes up!


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