Anyone who plans to leave their home country for any reason is likely to have some amount of concern about leaving their network of family and friends behind. However, in the vast majority of cases these initial anxieties will soon fade once you get your new, exciting adventure underway. Most people will find there are other foriegn teachers working in their school or living in the same area, and the local people will typically welcome you into the community and help you settle in.
What will my work colleagues be like when teaching English abroad?
The chances of meeting like minded people in your new job are high as most schools and language centers employ multiple foriegn teachers. Other new starters like yourself will provide a good soundboard for comparing experiences and for help and encouragement. Equally, any teachers who have spent some time in the role will be a valuable resource for local knowledge and for finding your feet in the specific environment of the new workplace.
What will the local people be like when teaching English abroad?
Many first-time teachers will find they gravitate towards other expats in an unfamiliar environment. However, you should not pass up the chance to make friends with local people, either within the school campus or in the wider community. You will find there are always many people who would love the chance to introduce you to the local culture and language. This type of friendship can often lead to a meaningful and rewarding connection to your new home country.
Are there ways to meet like minded people while overseas?
Most areas where TEFL qualified teachers end up working will have at least one online expat group or forum that can provide valuable help and information. Blogs and local news sites are also worth checking out for advice on activities that you might want to get involved in. Whatever you are into, whether it is sports, outdoor activities, book clubs, or wine tasting, you are likely to find something in the local area that will allow you to meet local people and other expats with similar interests.
Will I be able to meet people through sports groups?
Playing sport or simply watching it together on the TV is always a great way to get to know people and to find your feet in a new environment. In almost every conceivable location worldwide you should find local sports teams and fan groups who are happy to welcome new members. If you are in Europe or South America, football (soccer) is widely popular and almost a religion in some areas, while baseball is widely played in Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. If major sports are not your thing you can also check out local sports that might only be found in that one country. Taking part or simply watching these activities can often provide a deeper insight into the local people that you teach and work with every day.
What about local expat hangouts?
Expats can be found living and working in countries all over the world and in most cases you will find specific places where they like to hang out. Bars, clubs and restaurants frequented by other foreign workers provide a focal point for important gatherings such as national holidays and major sporting events. Coffee shops and book shops can also be good places to hang out and meet new people. Ask your colleagues about the local expat scene and any popular places to try or others that you might want to avoid.
Will learning the local language help me make friends?
Learning a bit of the local language during your stay overseas can certainly make your daily life easier and more fulfilling. It can also lead to many new friendships within the local community. Taking language classes can be a good way to meet other foriegn people in the same position as yourself, while many teachers also offer English language help on a casual basis to local people they meet. All these scenarios can lead to lasting friendships with people from all over the world. Just remember, never be afraid to speak to your work colleagues, neighbors, or any other local people as they might help to provide a richer and more memorable experience while teaching English abroad.