28 June 2013
This is a question we sometimes get asked here at TEFL Org, and from the experience of our graduates, we’d say that you certainly can!
It is possible to move abroad with a child and teach English, but there are some things to take into consideration first.
The financial cost of raising a child is not going to disappear when you move abroad. You will need to make sure that you can afford the trip over and the starter costs of setting yourself up in a new country.
Your TEFL salary will vary depending on where you are teaching, in some nations it will be enough to cover one or two dependents whereas in others it will only just cover the individual. Generally speaking, in Europe and South America the pay for teaching English abroad and the cost of living will only satisfy the financial needs of an individual, however in Asia wages for TEFL teachers are high and the cost of living low enough to raise a child. If you are travelling as a couple and both working as TEFL teachers this will obviously provide a greater income.
If your child is of school age, it will be incumbent upon you to learn about the educational opportunities for your child in the country you choose to move to.
Will your child be able to speak the local language and enrol in local schools? Age may be a factor in this as generally it is easier to pick up a new language when you are younger. International schools are another option. Lessons will be conducted in English and there tends to be a range of children of different nationalities and backgrounds who usually have parents in professions of business or who are diplomats. The drawback is that these schools can be very expensive.
Our advice is to contact local schools and councils about enrolling your child and if you know people out in the country already they should be able to help you.
With Europe there are no visa regulations to worry about whereas in Asia and South America, where a visa is required, it can be a bit trickier.
If you secure a work visa, typically a child may reside in the country on a dependent visa. If you are working on a tourist visa you may need to check with authorities if you need to get residency so that your child can attend public schools. Overstaying a visa is illegal and not something people would consider a good decision with a child. The visa situation may be a bit tricky and the major bureaucratic barrier to pass, however it is not impossible to achieve.
Uprooting your child from their home, friends, family and school can be traumatic to say the least. If they are very young this may not be as much as an issue or have such a great impact. Also consider who you will be leaving behind, including grandparents, family and partners who are used to regular contact with your child. Adapting to a new culture will be the next challenge and it can’t be predicted by us how this will affect your child or what their reaction will be! It may take a bit of getting used to or they may take to the beaches, weather and new children like a fish to sea.
Essentially the decision to teach English abroad with your children is up to you. If you can overcome the issues drawn out above there is not much stopping you starting the journey of a life time with your child! Good luck!