Teaching English abroad is just as popular with single women as it is with single men, with over 150,000 women teaching around the world at any given time. The majority of these will live and work in a modern, cosmopolitan city that has sound infrastructure and a high standard of amenities. If you are heading overseas for the first time you should find there is a local expat community who will be happy to help you find your feet in your new home, whether it is in Europe, Asia or Latin America. While you can never say that any location is 100% safe in every circumstance, by following a few simple guidelines single women can live and work overseas as English teachers without worrying about their safety.
How do I choose the right teaching location as a single woman?
When choosing a suitable destination for teaching English abroad it is vital that you do a lot of research to make sure you find the right location. Some countries might be unsuitable as they have certain restrictions on the rights of women and limits on how you can interact with male friends and colleagues. Many women have no problem with these restrictions, although for others it is not a comfortable environment to live in. By being fully aware of the cultural norms of each country on your potential destination list you will be able to make an informed decision.
Another good point to remember is most countries that have a strong demand for TEFL qualified teachers are peaceful and well developed nations that offer a stable economy and a high level of security. Once you have decided on an individual country you should carry on your research to pinpoint the best town, city or suburb to suit your own preferences.
How can I find out about the local area?
The good thing here is that you are unlikely to head to a location where there are no other teachers already working. Utilizing the local knowledge of people already living and working in your teaching destination can be a great way to find your feet in a new area. By talking to your colleagues you can find out vital information regarding where is best to live, any areas to avoid and how to use public transport safely. Outside of your school you should look to make friends with other members of the local community as this can also be a big help when settling in to new surroundings. Typically, foreign teachers are made to feel very welcome, especially if they make an effort to integrate into the culture and society of their new home.
How else can I stay safe while teaching English abroad?
As in general life, using a bit of common sense will go a long way to keeping you safe while teaching English abroad. Always avoid any areas of town that are seen as being in any way unsafe, especially after dark. When socialising never accepts drinks from people you don’t know well and avoid drunkenness in public as this can often invite unwelcome attention. It is also a good idea to leave any expensive items at home, such as jewelry, electronic gadgets, and large amounts of cash as these shows of wealth can make you stand out from the crowd. One other important thing to be aware of is how to contact the police or other emergency services in the unlikely event that you end up in any unpleasant situations.