Starting a new job in your home country can be daunting enough, but throw in to the mix a new country, culture, weather system and currency, and you can soon start to feel the nerves and doubts slipping in. However, help is at hand and we’ve compiled a few top tips to help you face the adventure with confidence.
1. Do your research. You are about to live in a new country, not just visit it, so embrace the culture and environment you’ve chosen. Travel blogs, books and online sites can help give you a flavour of what you might expect, and, although you are there to speak and teach English, a few useful phrases in the local language will stand you in good stead. Ordering a coffee, saying please and thank you, giving a taxi driver an address- these will help you quickly settle in and help you to start feeling less of a tourist and more of a local!
2. Make copies of your essential and useful documents. It is wise to have duplicate copies of essentials such as your passport, visa (if you have it before you travel), driver’s licence, birth certificate and your professional documents – TEFL, Degree and Teaching certificates, plus contact details of your referees. Make physical copies and also store to a secure cloud service, giving your emergency contact in the UK access to these copies or physical copies as well. It will help to imagine what would happen if you dropped a coffee in your hand luggage!
3. Have an MOT. Travelling and living in a new country, especially if the weather system is radically different, can be tough on your body. A visit to your GP and dentist might be a good idea to make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations and you can discuss how you can obtain any regular medication you may take whilst you are away. You might need to check the Embassy website to make sure your medication can be brought into the country.
4. Formulate your Keep In Touch Plan. Your loved ones will need to know how to contact you whilst you are away and you might want to start a blog documenting your experiences for others to read and enjoy. Check your mobile plan for your travels and research whether it’ll be cheaper to use a local SIM in your phone for calling home and browsing whilst you’re there – let everyone know your new number though!
5. Do your admin. Let your bank know that you’ll be using your cards in another country – some banks will now offer you an international bank account so you can reduce any transaction fees, this is worth considering, especially if you are being paid in another currency. Check any bank statements or regular bills are electronic and consider getting your mail re-directed for the period of time you’ll be away.
6. Savour every moment, even when things get tricky. Remember that nothing amazing ever happens in your comfort zone! If you need a bit of moral support, call your mentor – they are there to make sure that you feel happy and confident to really make a difference in your school.