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The 5 essentials you need when TEFL abroad


So you’ve finally taken the leap and accepted a job teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) overseas. It’s very exciting, and you may feel slightly overwhelmed, but we’re here to help. Our knowledgeable team are always on hand with helpful advice, so if you’re unsure of anything, just send us a message.

You’ve got your flight details and your suitcase is lying open on your bed. But what are the absolutely essential things that you should not leave home without? We’ve compiled a list of the five crucial things to ensure you have before you set off on your big adventure. Make sure you’ve got all of these, and you won’t go far wrong.

5 Firstly, pack light for your TEFL journey!

You may be planning on travelling around on your TEFL journey. If this is the case, packing light will be essential. And even if you aren’t planning on moving around much, it’s always nice to have the option once you’re there.

From a practical perspective, you can’t do this if you’re carrying several large suitcases! Keeping your packing light will allow you to hop from one fabulous place to another with ease. You’ll also have plenty of space in your luggage for those all-important souvenirs.

4 Comfort food

Don’t forget, the things you take for granted in your local shop may not exist in the country you’re travelling to. And when you’re feeling a little homesick, you’ll want nothing more than to reach for a pack of choccy hobnobs and a Tetley’s – that’s the tea, obviously, not the beer!

3 A good phrasebook and guidebook

If you’re excited to see all the landmarks that your new country is famous for, it’s a good idea to purchase a guidebook before you leave. This should include useful information such as accommodation, transportation, restaurants, maps and cultural and historical details.

A phrase book will also be handy to help you get around the country. You don’t want to be desperate for the loo and have no idea how to ask where the restrooms are! It will also come in handy for asking for directions, and hopefully ordering a glass of wine or two!

If you can get phrase and guidebooks as e-books on your phone or tablet, this will be one less thing to carry around on your travels.

2 Photocopies and photographs of all your key documents

Firstly, should the worst happen, and you lose the originals, you’ll be really glad you did this!

Secondly, should you need to apply for anything whilst you’re in your new country, it’s likely they’ll need to see your documents. Having photocopies ready means that you won’t need to carry the originals around, and risk them getting lost.

Whilst we’re on the subject of losing things, it’s also a good idea to make a list of important telephone numbers. Do this on paper, as well as on your phone. If your phone is lost or stolen, the list on it will be no good to you.

Your list of numbers should include your personal emergency contacts, numbers for lost or stolen credit cards, travel insurance and your TEFL contact in your new country.

1 TEFL Certification

Whilst it’s not always compulsory, you’ll certainly find that TEFL certification will help you on your teaching journey abroad – employers tend to look much more favourably upon applicants that have it than those that don’t.

Also, your teaching experience is likely to go a lot more smoothly if you have an idea of what you’ll be expected to do.

TEFL UK provide a range of online TEFL certification courses. These vary in length and are suitable for different purposes. Take a look at our courses page to find the course that’s best suited to you. If you’re unsure which one you need, we recommend the 120 hour Professional TEFL course for the majority of applicants.

If you’d like to talk to us about which course would be right for you, or you need any other advice about your TEFL journey, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 368 9848 or email us at [email protected]