One of the most challenging experiences you’ll ever have is teaching English in a foreign nation. It includes moving to a new country, finding a new house, and starting a new job, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you’re doing it all at once. You’ll also be forced to communicate in a foreign language that you may not comprehend.
There will be times when you feel like you’re living out your fantasy, and your Instagram feed will seem even better than before! You may, however, feel befuddled, lonely, and stressed out at times, especially in the beginning.
It may happen to anybody at any time. It might be tough to deal with bad days when you don’t have your regular support network.
After teaching overseas, many people feel a great sense of achievement and pleasure in themselves, so these roadblocks aren’t necessarily bad. It is, nevertheless, good to be aware of what lies ahead and to have some coping strategies on hand.
Here are some of the tips to handle the stress you can experience when teaching overseas and some coping methods.
Table of Contents
- 1. Take charge of your finances.
- 2. Keep yourself safe.
- 3. Make self-care a priority.
- 4. Get your classroom in order.
- 5. Look for a group to join.
- 6. Give yourself a break
- 7. Gratitude is a skill that can be learned.
- 8. Find Something to Do That Is Meaningful
- 9. Assess Your Workload
- 10 Don’t bring the work home with you.
1. Take charge of your finances.
Few things are more distressing than trying to withdraw money from your bank account only to find it empty. Even if their school covers their housing and other expenses, anyone coming to teach abroad should have some reserve funds on hand.
You never know when you’ll need to use your money, and relocation prices are always higher than you expect, as are possible costs in another country.
It’s also challenging to know how far your teaching wage will extend until you arrive in person, so having enough money in your savings to buy a flight home if necessary is reassuring.
If you don’t wind up spending too much of your funds on day-to-day expenses, you can use them to have fun in your new house! Visit a new city for the weekend or explore the local museums and cafes.
2. Keep yourself safe.
Getting to know a new area, especially the space and people, can take some time. While you’re still getting your bearings, you’re more vulnerable than usual, and if you don’t take basic precautions, your safety could be jeopardized.
When you initially arrive at your teach abroad location, do some research on the region you’ll be living and working in to learn how to stay safe.
Perhaps there are specific streets you should avoid, or maybe pedestrian crosswalks must be approached with caution. Researching online, asking any locals you work with, and contacting your nearby tourist center for guidance are all excellent places to start.
On a practical level, make sure your phone is fully charged, you have your ID and passport with you, and you have a strategy for getting home before visiting any new place. Observe how those around you behave and take their lead.
It’s natural to draw attention to yourself if you don’t look like the rest of the country’s population, but there’s no reason to attract even more attention by acting out.
Be clever and aware of your surroundings to avoid putting yourself in dangerous circumstances.
3. Make self-care a priority.
Make sure you incorporate some self-care into your new routine while adjusting to living in a new country. You may feel compelled to spend every waking moment on exciting adventures, yet the most excellent thing about living abroad is that you have leisure. You don’t need to take a vacation because you’re already on one!
As a result, get some rest. Consume some fruits and veggies. Spend an evening watching trashy reality television or doing whatever it takes to turn off your brain and relax. Tomorrow will provide more of the same cultural experiences.
Don’t be shocked if you require more time off than usual. You’re processing a lot of new information, which can drain a person’s energy.
Finding a new fitness program might be challenging when you make a significant lifestyle shift. If a particular sort of exercise is popular in the area where you’ve relocated, this could be a perfect time to try something new.
If you’re stuck, take a stroll; it’s free, easy, and a terrific way to get to know your new home.
4. Get your classroom in order.
Don’t forget that, in addition to all we’ve just talked about, your new job will throw you for a loop as well!
Teaching may be difficult, especially if you’re a new teacher who isn’t used to the daily classroom.
In reality, even if you’re a seasoned veteran, it’s not always straightforward.
Here are two quick methods to spruce up your classrooms:
- Organize yourself. Plan your classes ahead of time, do your photocopying, and arrive on time. You will appear and feel more self-assured. Your students and coworkers will notice that you are dedicated to your work. Win-win.
- Inquire of other teachers for help and be explicit about what you’re having trouble with. They’re bound to have a variety of tried-and-true methods for making their classes go smoothly. You might even request to observe another teacher’s class to see how they deal with difficult situations.
- Bonus tip: Consider acquiring a TESOL Certification before entering the classroom, which is meant to prepare you to teach English in other countries.
5. Look for a group to join.
Going it alone is one of the scariest and most stressful aspects of moving overseas for many people. Even the most outgoing of us might find it challenging to meet like-minded people and form meaningful friendships, and beginning from scratch can be daunting.
Fortunately, there are numerous options for meeting people while traveling abroad. Many expat instructors make friends at work, but you may broaden your circle by joining meetup groups, participating in language exchanges, volunteering, and visiting local events.
These are all excellent ways to meet others who share similar interests. If you live in an expat community, there will undoubtedly be others in your situation, so don’t be shy about reaching out.
Of course, not everyone you meet will become one of your closest friends, but be patient and keep trying. If you have buddies to share your time abroad with, it will be a lot less stressful.
6. Give yourself a break
It isn’t easy to adjust to living in a new nation. Every day will bring new hurdles, significant and tiny, ranging from culture shocks that test your entire worldview to being trapped on a nagging administrative work because you lack the language abilities to do it fast.
Some aspects of your new house may appeal to you right away, while others will take time to adjust to. It could take you a year or a decade to become fluent in a new language.
You might discover that you’re a natural in the classroom or that the classroom takes a toll on you more than it does on your kids.
Everyone’s experience of teaching in a foreign country will be unique.
Pat yourself on the back for everything you accomplish, no matter how minor. Give yourself a break for whatever you haven’t finished yet.
Teaching in a foreign country is demanding. It’s also tricky. You should also be proud of yourself for attempting it.
7. Gratitude is a skill that can be learned.
Appreciation is something that most individuals desire from others. However, most individuals overlook the importance of showing gratitude to others. That should be changed. Get up every morning and make a diary entry listing three tasks you plan to achieve that day.
Then, make a gratitude entry in which you choose one person you like and what you admire about them.
Make it a point to thank them and express your gratitude.
It may be a parent, a sibling, a boss or coworker, a student, a life partner, a friend, or even someone from your past. There will always be someone who will appreciate and profit from your expression.
We make ourselves joyful when we show thanks. Remember to appreciate yourself as well.
8. Find Something to Do That Is Meaningful
Many individuals lose sight of humility and empathy when they travel. They grow jaded, realizing that the world they live in isn’t what they expected when they first arrived. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
When you’re not teaching, there are plenty of things to do.
Pick a pastime that will motivate you to get out more, meet new people, try new things, and gain new skills. Participate in local events and activities.
Get active in the community in some manner, such as as a judge in public speaking competitions, by using your teaching and relationship-building abilities.
9. Assess Your Workload
If your stress is related to your job, the first step is assessing your workload and determining which tasks you can decrease or eliminate. While this may appear counterintuitive, it is more straightforward than it seems, healthier for your mental and physical health.
In reality, declining more work helps you reset your priorities and concentrate on being a better teacher. As a result, if you want to be a better teacher, you’ll be able to earn a larger salary.
10 Don’t bring the work home with you.
When they are not working, many instructors have a terrible tendency of talking about work, or more accurately, moaning about work. They express dissatisfaction with coworkers, pupils, the institution, and the system.
In other words, they’re still working by talking and moaning about it instead of doing anything else to relieve the stress they’re experiencing at work.
Hang up your boots and find something essential to do when your workday is done.