A career plan for teaching abroad?

A lot of people have expressed a degree of skepticism to me about whether TEFL is really viable as a long-term option. Truth be told, I am not entirely sure myself, and it is certain that things will change a lot over the next 10 years. The major thing that concerns me is pension planning, but I do think that’s an obstacle which can be overcome.

This is what I’m hoping to do over the next ten years.

Year 1: British Council assistantship in Germany (confirmed), followed by CELTA/CertTESOL

Year 2: Language school in Russia/CIS

Year 3: China, DELTA

Year 4/5: Arabian gulf (and try to save as much as possible)

Year 6: Primary PGCE in UK

Year 7: Work for an NGO

Year 8, on: International schools

I think this is feasible based on my own research.

As for saving for retirement, I think there are a few options:

  1. Paying directly into an international pension plan (not always affordable on teachers’ salaries).
  2. Take advantage of the LISA scheme announced in the last budget if/when it is taken up by other banks
  3. Buy up assets (an option I would honestly prefer to avoid for political reasons)
  4. Cash savings (but very poor returns especially on current rates)
  5. Settle into a job long term with an employer pension scheme for its expatriate staff

I’d be really interested to hear from people who’ve been through this about how they managed it and what options they worked out. Living abroad is a big step into the unknown, but as always, all you can do is do your research.




4 thoughts on “A career plan for teaching abroad?

  1. 艾凯特

    If you have a relevant degree, there is loads of funding for PGCEs in the UK at the moment – particularly for languages and STEM subjects, might be worth doing it sooner rather than later while the scholarships are still there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gmbakerblog

      I will have to pay for the PGCE/MA out of pocket in any case as I won’t have been living in the UK – that’s really why I will need a job in the Gulf for a few years beforehand.

      I don’t think there is really any danger of the bursaries which are there being slashed given the (worsening year on year) shortage of teachers in England. The trend has really been for the “golden handshake” to increase and increase.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. livvypb

    I work as an ADOS in a private language school in southern Italy. I’ve been here for almost 9 years and it’s definitely a fulfilling career which challenges me, allows me long summer holidays to travels and pays well. I couldn’t handle the admin side of working in an English state school and I must confess I love living abroad x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosie

    I don’t intend to make a career out of TEFL (though I admire those that do), but can say that if you put your mind to it then it is possible to save a fair amount, even on a meagre salary. The British Council’s scheme doesn’t pay much (I did it myself during my degree), but there are opportunities aplenty to pick up some private tutoring for extra cash. On both occasions that I’ve lived in France (once in a smaller town, this time in Lyon), I’ve had the impression that the cost of living is cheaper over here – especially when it comes to rent. From what I’ve read though, the more qualifications you have the better when applying for EFL jobs in the Gulf so it might be worth having the PGCE before that.

    Liked by 1 person

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