Ways to Keep Safe While Teaching English Abroad

By Helen Hargreave
Guest blogger from onlinetefl.com

Ways to Keep Safe While Teaching English Abroad

By Kevin Poh from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (Bangkok’s Khaosan Road) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re about to head out to your new TEFL job you’re probably 1) very excited and 2) packing like a maniac. However, in all the excitement about new opportunities, amazing experiences, life-changing adventures etc etc. It’s easy to forget the most important thing – your safety.

I know it sounds a bit dull, but it really is very important whilst you’re in-country to remember your well-being is paramount! Here are a few gentle reminders about how to keep safe whilst you’re teaching English abroad!

Common ground

Private tutoring is a popular choice to earn some extra cash on the side. Many TEFLers find this can help with meeting new people but also having even more independence outside the TEFL world. However, don’t jump at the first chance to meet up with a prospective student without giving it some thought first. Always meet up with your student in a public space rather than agree to go to theirs. This leads me to my second point…

…Keep in contact

Teaching English abroad, as clichéd as it sounds is a great voyage of self-discovery. If you’ve chosen to embark on your TEFL adventure as a way of leaving the constraints of your old life behind and moving into the unknown, remember that your common sense can’t go out the window too! It’s simple stuff but things that can easily be forgotten in the heat of the moment. So, if you’re out exploring alone: a) don’t do it at night b) let someone know when/how you’re coming back. If you’re still in the early days of your new life, then write down where you’re staying in case you get lost!

Value your valuables

Pickpockets, no matter how much Oliver Twist might have tricked you in thinking that it’s all a song and dance, are a menace! Like any big city at home, keep your belongings safe. Even if you are proud of that nice necklace your Grandma gave to you, if you’re not careful it will be gone! Make sure to have anything of value thoroughly stowed away, or better yet, not on you at all.

Be respectful

A warning to the skimpy dresser – regardless of the climate, a scantily clad foreign woman in some countries is highly offensive to locals. So at all times remember to be respectful and do your research before you arrive.

Get around safely

The transport system in your new destination is one of the first things to get your head round. Unmarked taxis can get you in a lot of trouble if you’re not careful, so just remember to look after yourself and only get in a taxi if you’re completely aware of its markings!

A few obvious things health-wise:
– Remember to apply sun cream generously
– Keep hydrated
– Trying new food is great but GO WITH YOUR GUT.
– Don’t leave for abroad without your Travel Insurance

If you’re about to head abroad to your new TEFL job remember to look after yourself! Existing TEFLers – feel free to share any tips/stories for our newbies!


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