Can I teach English abroad if I have children?

It is certainly possible to travel overseas and work as an English language teacher if you have children. However, there are several things to consider before deciding whether it is the right option for you and your family.

What are the financial implications of teaching English abroad with children?

Wherever you are in the world raising children can be an expensive proposition, so before you head off to teach English abroad you need to be sure that it is financially viable. As pay levels vary greatly from one region to the next, where you plan to teach is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Europe and Latin America are both very popular destinations for ESL teachers, but it is not easy to earn enough to support more than one person in these regions. In contrast, across Asia there are several countries such as China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan where a mix of high salaries and a lower cost of living make it possible to comfortably support a child on a single teacher's pay.

What options will I have for my children's education?

If your child is pre-school age you will need to consider the cost of daycare or the services of a nanny while you are at work. Once again, these are likely to be much more affordable in Asia than in Europe. Those with school age children also need to thoroughly research the options available in the country they are heading for. In some it is feasible to enroll a child in a local public school, while in others it is not. If it is possible to enroll your child in a local school, you still need to consider whether it is a suitable environment. Those who speak the local language should find it relatively easy to adapt, however, for most children it will mean rapidly learning the language in order to fit into unfamiliar surroundings. This might be realistic for young children who often find it easy to pick up a foreign language, but for teenagers it could be much more difficult. In countries where local schools are not an option, a British or American based international school is generally the only alternative. While these offer a high standard of education, the cost is likely to be beyond an average teacher's salary.

What about medical insurance and access to healthcare?

Many of the most affordable destinations for teaching English abroad are in developing nations where local health care options may not be of the standard you are used to back home. However, in many cases local medical facilities are of a good standard and very affordable so it is up to you to research your chosen area. In certain countries it is standard practice to provide health insurance as part of a teacher's contract, and some employers also provide insurance for dependents. If you successfully apply for a job that has you and your family covered, it could make a big difference financially and provide great peace of mind.

What about visas for my children?

If you are able to secure a job that includes a work visa then you should find that your child is eligible for some form of dependent visa. In countries where work visas are hard to secure, teachers often work on a simple tourist visa that needs to be renewed every three months. While this is common practice for many, teachers with children need to check with the authorities to confirm whether their child is eligible to attend public school without a long-term visa.