Living abroad, would you recommend it?(52 Posts)
DH and and I are both teachers (he is in middle/senior management, I am not) and are considering leaving the UK.
Our reasons are: deterioration of work conditions, crappish school around where we live, cost of living, for the negative ones and the positive ones are: looking for an adventure, giving our children better opportunities and above all we love travelling (or we certainly did before the kids were born). We have 2 DC, one 6 mo the other 26 mo.
Have you made the move yourselves? Was it good for you? Did you regret it? Any teachers out there who worked in a international school and who are willing to share some advice?
Thank you for any feedback/views.
I lived o/seas for 6 years and loved it, but it is a lot harder once you have kids of a school age (reason we came back). Unless you are in an English speaking country, you have to make the decision to pay for their education or send them to a local school. I have friends still there with kids who now speak the native language far better than their parents, and have a whole other life that their parents can't understand. It does cause problems!
If you do go make sure you get recruited from o/seas (rather than moving there first) as you'll get financial help with the cost of moving and may be eligible for good tax deals (depending on the country).
If you can get good jobs in your profession in your own language, then that is more then half the battle won.
It will be a lot harder if you have a profession that is only transferable if you speak the local language.
A friend of ours went to Mexico to teach. Despite being out of teaching for a couple of years he got 3 interviews (2 in Spain) in a short space of time. He is loving the life he has carved out for himself in Mexico and looking at his Facebook pages look like he's always partying.
OK, so you'd need FT child care? Probably a live-in nanny would be cheapest.
Forgot to say - recently moved back from 8 years in Spain. Loved it and really glad we went. Our son had a real childhood - lots of freedom and little commercial pressure and fluent in another language so all good. He's now at Uni in the UK.
We have settled back in the UK ok except the bloody weather which is driving us nuts!
Living abroad is not a bed of roses but I can recommend it without hesitation and have a lot of experience of it in various European countries.
- superior medical services
- quality schooling with "academic" route possible through secondary
- the higher status of women
- excellent public services thanks to higher taxes
- full range of cheap/free after school and holiday time activities
- fully subsidised or very cheap childcare for babies and pre-school children (think c 350 pounds a month for the very top earners)
Not to mention different cultures and languages : )
Basically life seems to be more positive and more centred around the family unit, whether parents are separated or not.
In comparison, England seems to be getting poorer and poorer with more and more people struggling to get by, to get on the property ladder (like nothing is more important in life).. with shopping and obsession with brands the most popular leisure activity (???). Constant ranting against single parents.. etc etc That´s my impression. A particular bugbear is the ridiculous situation where friends have their children in different schools. What a nightmare.
Rant over, sorry, got distracted ; )
OP, as your kids are so young, I would bear in mind that it can be difficult to travel around much. You could end up frustrated that it is difficult to visit those dream destinations when your DC resist making the trips..
We are in Australia and I will never return to the uk other than for a holiday. Lots of reasons but our standard of living and quality of life is just better here so why move.
There are usually two types of contract, expat contracts (rent allowance, flights and health for self and family plus salary) and local contracts (just salary and maybe a small living allowance).
If you are recruited from abroad you get offered an expat contract. If you already live in the country or if you are moving and your spouse has already got a package you will only be offered local terms.
When a teaching couple is employed they don't both get an expat contract, one gets the expat and one gets the local contract.
Some International schools do have OFSTED inspections, an OFSTED provider is used and inspectors are flown out (at great expense to the school).
If you live in HK/ Singers, your childcare costs will only be c £500 pcm- full time, live in.
Most of the international schools here give massive discounts to children of teaching staff.
However, what Astelia says is correct. You won't both get an expat contract with the same school. However, not sure how it works if you apply to different schools from the UK- how would they know?
In the contracts I have seen the school reserve the right to remove rental allowances if your circumstances change (though they won't add them if your partner loses theirs). I don't know how they would know though- unless your colleagues grassed you up to HR!
Seriously guys, you are being so helpful, thank you!
I googled jobs fairs in international schools but I am not convinced by what I saw and also, for the 2 I found, they start on a Friday. Not helpful when you already have a job.
I think I will give up this route and keep stalking the TES.
The TES forums are helpful, thank you for suggesting.
Our school do (Fairly sure, will check) give two expat salaries to teaching couples, so do other schools nearby I believe.
Same as DHs school currently and historically.
We've known a lot of teaching couples on expat contracts. Never known one described by Astelia though.
Not saying it is all schools that have this system- but it is in the case of the one I know personally. It is something to be aware of and check.
In practice it doesn't affect the teaching couples much as they get rent allowance, flights, health. The only difference is if the spouse with the expat contract wants to stop work the other (on the local contract) can't then take over the expat contract. Suddenly they have no rent allowance. Exactly this has happened to someone I know.
None of this was made clear to them when they signed up and it is now causing major problems.
I will be moving permanantly to Argentina when DD is (3) is 5. My DH is from there and i really love the country and the people.
Its a different way of life but i have learned to appreciate the difference. That a nice car/house/kitchen is just not as important as i first thought!
I know that i can't give my DD the same standard of living here that i can there. Our money will go so much further,and we can easily but property and land.
It will be nice to leave DD something in my will other than debts.
Dh and I are both teachers ( well I am taking a year off as we have a baby) in an international school outside of Cairo. We were both given an expat package, I have never heard of schools only offering the expat package to one half of a teaching couple. I would certainly not work at that school.
But if you move somewhere and then one of you looks for work, you will be offered a local package. If one of you has all the benefits, ( medical insurance, housing, schooling for dc's, flights) it may be doable. It would depend on where you are.
Our life here is much better than it was at home (ok it was better with two expat salaries, this year is a bit more like being at home) but I know it will better again next year.
As the developing world is so inexpensive, we save money as well as enjoy life. We have way more disposal income, holidays, meals out, a cleaner, we are members in a private club that has playgrounds, 4 pools, restaurants and loads of space dd to ride her bike / scooter.... general much more fun and time to enjoy life. Yesterday we went on an hour long fellucca ride on the Nile, for less than £5 total ( there were six of us, the boat easily would hold 20)
In Egypt, we would be looking at about $5-600 US a month for a nanny for dd2, so also much cheaper than home. We could never save on two teachers salaries at home.
One thing I recently came across was getting dc's to school. Dd1 goes on the teachers bus with DH ( we are driven to and from school) but I have many friends who teach at another school which does not allow children on the teachers bus. One mom takes her dd in a taxi every day, I am not sure what others with school aged children do, as teachers leave in the morning before the kids. I guess they need to get a car.
Overall it has been a fantastic experience, we will probably be moving to Asia next year for a few reasons, but I highly recommend teaching overseas. One problem we have is feeling obligated to go home (Canada and the UK- so extra flights) for all our long holidays. I have already told everyone that next Xmas is for us, and to only expect us for home half the summer! it's hard when kids, there is the guilt about depriving the grandparents!
Feel free to pm me if you want - dh is a total researcher!
Also class sizes are small here - my KG (reception class) had 15, dh teaches 19 grade 7's. The kids are wild though, I don't think i could have handled 30 of them
Mirai - We did our teachers training in Vancouver, Canada, so are certified there and a few months ago we got our QTS. It was really easy, we just filled in the app, didn't even have to pay!
Where are you now? And where are you thinking about going to?
Being teachers would mean that you could just do a 2 year stint abroad if you wanted and that may well satisfy your desire to live abroad. I'm not a teacher but work in an international school as a school nurse in Asia so therefore know a lot of teachers! At my school, they tend to take teachers on on 2 yr contracts and while i don't know the ins and outs of the contracts, they get housing allowance, medical insurance and places at the school for their children (I've no idea if these are free places or heavily discounted though i'm afraid). The school i work in takes children from 1 through to 18 so this also helps staff with very small children although where i am, you can also get domestic help and childcare help very cheaply here too. You would need to honour the contract in terms of it's length though as my dd's teacher left in the summer after just 1 year and she had to fund her family's relocation back to the UK herself. For my personal experience living abroad, i came here with my dh's job (not teaching) 2 years ago with my ds and dd who were 2 and 3.5 at the time. It was the ideal adventure as my children were young enough and we could do 2 years and then come home.....It's had it's ups and downs but we've now decided to stay a further year and will possibly extend for another year after this but the we WILL come home!!!!
Right now? Bloody no way! Don't have a package - costing us a bloody fortune, agents/landlords crap and rentals overpriced
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