Can I take my children with me while teaching English abroad?

Teaching English abroad with your own children is not particularly unusual, however, there are a few important things you need to think about in order to decide if it is going to be a good fit for you and your family.

Is teaching English abroad with children financially viable?

If you have children you will already be aware that it can be an expensive undertaking, and this remains true wherever you choose to live across the world. Before deciding to head overseas to teach you need to do some research to see if it is financially viable for your individual situation. How much you can earn as a TEFL qualified teacher will vary depending on your location, so where you choose to work will have a big impact on your finances. Many teachers head to Europe or Latin America as they both have plenty of job opportunities and offer an attractive cultural experience. However, these areas don't generally offer a salary that is suitable for supporting a family. In contrast, major Asian teaching destinations such as China, South Korea and Taiwan all offer good salaries and a relatively low cost of living which allows many teachers to support a wider family on their income.

What education options will my children have?

Pre-school care in the form of a nursery or private nanny is easy to come by in most areas, although it will be considerably cheaper across Asia than in Europe. If you need schooling for older children it will be essential that you research your options in the country that you plan to teach in. Some countries will allow you to send your children to a standard state school which can be a very affordable option. However, they will probably need to have a good grasp of the local language already or the means to pick it up quickly if they want to feel comfortable and able to move forward in their education. For younger children this can be quite straightforward as they typically learn new languages at a fast rate. For teenagers this can often be much more problematic and disruptive at a crucial time in their education and general development.

If you are not able to send your children to a state school or you think it would be an unsuitable environment for them, the only other alternative is usually an international school. These schools usually follow a British or American curriculum and can often ensure a very high-level education. On the down side, the fees for many of these establishments are high and may well be more than a typical EFL teacher can afford.

Will I get medical insurance and access to good quality healthcare facilities?

Many of the more affordable locations for teaching English abroad are in developing countries where the local healthcare system is often less widespread and of a lower standard than you might be used to back home. However, it is often the case that their facilities are perfectly adequate for most situations and are generally much more affordable. When signing a teaching contract, many teachers will find that local health insurance is included in their package and some might even cover their children as well. To be sure, you need to research in advance as the inclusion of healthcare cover could make all the difference to your future plans and your general peace of mind.

Will my children need a visa?

If you sign a proper teaching contract that includes the relevant work permit or work visa, you should find it also includes visas for any children you have with you. As it can be difficult for teachers to get a work visa in some countries, those with children need to check in advance what this means for their dependants. Local embassies should be able to inform you on your rights and those of your children before you make any firm travel plans.