So you’ve decided on your destination and you’ve landed a sweet job in a school. Now all that’s left to do is pack the bags and hit the road. Believe it or not, deciding precisely what to take in tow on that first TEFL adventure can be trickier than it seems.
Naturally, the content of your case will depend heavily on where it is you’re off to. The sultry climes of Southeast Asia will require flip-flops (that’s thongs for the Aussies!) for sure, while Polish winters will mean a thick coat, and Hawaiian shirts are virtually compulsory amidst the beach towns of Latin America and the Caribbean. And while we’ll leave the clothes packing to you (we’re not great with style advice), there are just a couple of things that we would remind you to take as you head off to hit the EFL classrooms of the globe for the very first time. Check them out…
A compact phrasebook
Be sure to find how to say “Stop the bus!” before your arriving at your stop / Flickr
In English language classes the general practice is to only speak 100% English to help students immerse themselves in the language – so don’t worry about not speaking Mandarin or Japanese or Tibetan!
However, outside the classroom is a whole world of culture to dive into and explore. Granted, taking a good phrasebook for the local lingo may not leave you chatting in the most mellifluous Guarani (that’s one for the Paraguayans), but it will certainly help you get to grips with the most common words and requests.
What’s more, in many cultures across the globe, from the Slavic east to the depth of the Indian sub-continent, the locals love it when visitors try their hand at language – meaning this one’s a great way to get chatting to new folk, even if it’s just a broken ‘thank you’ or an accidental ‘the eels are in the soup’!
Don’t get tied up with a bag of adapters, get one adapter to rule them all. | FlickrRather than a UK to EU adapter, or a US-Thai one, be sure to pack a universal plug adapter which will work wherever you’re TEFL journey takes you. Stop overs in Dubai, life in Vietnam, summer break in the Philippines, you never know where you’ll end up going.Think about it: no laptop for lesson planning, no plug for shaving, no hairdryer, no phone for checking the latest twists and turns in Game of Thrones! You could end up looking just like a hairy, out-of-the-loop, disorganised lunatic strolling into school each morning. Pack a universal adapter to avoid the pitfalls of the world’s various prongs, whether it’s the UK-style plugs in Hong Kong or the ‘Europlugs’ of Spain, Portugal, Italy and the like.
Are you ready to take on that TEFL adventure? What would you opt to take with you? Or, if you’re already a teacher abroad and we’ve forgotten something you think’s important, let us know in the comments!
Still need your TEFL certificate?
Getting your TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification is the first step to starting your life overseas. It only takes 120 hours to complete from the comfort of your own home (that’s about 6-8 weeks) and shows schools around the world that you’re qualified to teach.