What should a TEFL teacher pack when heading overseas?

Arranging to head overseas to teach English will involve plenty of organizing. There might be a few leaving parties to attend, accommodation to pack up and leave, and paperwork to sort out. For some it might only require packing a bag to take with you, although you still need to think about what to take and what to leave behind.

Is a camera a worthwhile investment for teaching English abroad?

Although most people now have a mobile phone with a good quality camera built in, you might still want to consider investing in a separate camera for your trip. One big issue with phone cameras is battery life as this can be annoyingly short when used extensively. You will also find that charging facilities are often lacking and missing out on capturing a once in a lifetime experience due to a low battery would be hugely disappointing. Just remember that teaching English abroad could be one of the most exciting and adventurous times of your life and capturing it all on film will provide a great store of memories for years to come.

What kind of clothes will I need when teaching English abroad?

The best advice here is to leave it behind unless you are certain you will wear it regularly. By checking out the local climate in your chosen destination you should have a good idea on what you will need at different times of the year. If your destination is tropical you can leave behind your nan’s knitted jumpers and use the space for more practical items. And don’t forget that many of the most popular teaching locations will have plenty of shopping options that cater to the local climate at prices that are likely to be significantly lower than back home.

Should I pack a raincoat when teaching English abroad?

If you are jetting off to the Middle East to teach you can probably forget about taking any wet weather gear with you. However, if Europe, Latin America or Asia is your destination you might find that heavy rain is a regular feature of your stay. Often in our regular lives a wet Sunday can be a great excuse to lounge on the sofa with a good film or book. But if you are living in an exciting and unfamiliar place such as Berlin, Bogota, or Beijing, you won’t want a bit of rain to interrupt your adventures. With this in mind, a light, high-quality raincoat could be a small yet valuable investment for your overseas trip.

How many pairs of shoes should I pack for teaching English abroad?

Shoes are one item that can take up a lot of space and add unnecessary weight to your luggage. Typically two pairs of good quality footwear should be enough to cover most situations. Things to consider here are long hours of being on your feet in the classroom, travelling and exploring during your time off, and social occasions shared with friends and work colleagues. Ideally two pairs of shoes that can be used to cover all these scenarios is the ideal solution.

Are there any other things to consider when packing?

One thing that often fills up a teacher’s bags unnecessarily is toiletries. By packing your luggage with extra items you will reduce the space needed for other things and add extra weight to carry. Just remember that most toiletries will be widely available wherever you are heading and they will often be cheaper as well.

As most teachers will take many small trips during their stay abroad, a small backpack is generally a very useful thing to take with you. Whether you plan to do some hiking and cycling, or want to explore the region via public transport, a good quality backpack will be invaluable. One other small but useful consideration is to pack a set of earplugs and an eye mask. Starting a new life in an unfamiliar environment can bring a lot of new noises with it, such as roosters, cattle, busy traffic, the call to prayer, or even a snoring roommate. Long journeys on busses and trains can also be made more comfortable by slipping on an eye mask and getting a few hours of valuable rest.