Can You Teach English Abroad with a Family?

If you're looking into teaching English abroad with a family, know that it is possible! However, you must consider a few factors before moving your children and/or significant other with you overseas.

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Teaching Abroad with a Family: What to Expect?

Teaching English abroad with a family is something that can be done but there are a lot of matters to consider when deciding if it is realistic for you and your family. Such matters include for instance money, education, medical care, visas, cultural adaptation or the language barrier. Not to mention legal and additional planning if you are teaching English abroad as a single parent or have an extended family.

Let's take a look at these factors in more detail.

VIDEO: Watch ITA graduate Chrystal Smith talk about her life as a single parent teaching English in Mexico with her daughter.

Can I teach English abroad if I have children?

Yes, it is possible to teach English abroad and online with children. Obviously, you will need to consider matters like finances (including income & cost of living), visas, and school options for your children. These issues can present challenges, but it is not out of the realm of possibility.

1. Teaching Overseas with a Family: Money

We all know that it takes money to raise a child. So the first question you need to ask is can you afford the costs of moving and living with a child abroad? Money solves a lot of problems so you will either need to make enough on your teaching salary or you will need independent sources of income to pay for your child’s expenses.

Can I Afford to Teach English Abroad as a Single Parent?

Bear in mind that salaries for English teachers around the world vary greatly. In some Asian countries, teachers make enough to support one or more dependents. In many European and Latin American nations, however, a typical teacher’s salary is just enough to support one individual.

What Are the Best Places to Teach Abroad with a Family?

East Asia is one of the best places to teach English abroad with a family. Specifically, countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China offer wages high enough (and low enough living costs) to raise a child on an English teacher’s salary.

Teaching English Abroad as a Couple

It can be realistic in many countries if both parents are working as English teachers to support a child. This will also depend on the local cost of living and the expenses you will need to incur for education and/or childcare.

VIDEO: Watch ITA graduates Mills and Jorge talk about their life as a couple teaching English in Hungary:

2. Education

Is your child going to daycare or school? Who will watch the child while you are teaching English? What are the costs of daycare or school in the country where you will be teaching? Will you have other family members there to assist with looking after your children and/or such expenses?  These are critical questions that need to be considered. 

Public schools

Will your child be able to speak the local language and enroll in local schools? Some countries accommodate foreign-speaking students to learn the local language while others do not. May a five-year-old be able to assimilate into Argentinian schools and learn to speak Spanish? What about a 10-year-old or a 15-year-old? If your child is of school age, it will be incumbent upon you to learn about the educational options for your child in the country that you plan to move to.

International Schools

In some countries, it is not feasible to enroll foreign children in the local school system, which means that the only other option is to place children in an international or American/British school where the curriculum is taught in English. Typically these schools can be extremely expensive and usually cater to highly paid business people and diplomats. A month of tuition may cost $1,000 or more a month. 

Child Care

Couples or even individuals may earn enough to cover daycare or a nanny, particularly in developing nations in Latin America or in Asia. In other cases, it may be feasible for one parent to work while the other cares for the child. Bear in mind that many English teaching jobs abroad are in the private sector so classes are often held in the evenings and on weekends.

Jess Forsythe Fay teaches English online from Poland with her children

3. Medical Care and Health Insurance 

If you are in a country where medical care is included with your contract it may be possible to purchase additional insurance and some schools even provide dependents with health insurance. In some countries, the national insurance is fantastic. In other countries, the local medical care is not very good. Again, it will be incumbent upon you to research the options in the countries where you may be interested in teaching English abroad.

4. Visas 

If you are on a work visa, typically a child may reside in the country on a dependent visa. If you are working in a country without a work visa and doing border runs to renew your tourist visa every 3 months (which is perfectly legal), you need to check with local authorities to get residency for the child to attend public schools.  If you are going to overstay your visa as some people do in Western Europe, being illegal with a child is not something most people would consider a good decision.


5. Cultural Adaptation

Is it one, two or three children you are bringing? If they have siblings they will have some social stability. If there is one child and that child is under five years old, they are more apt to be adaptable to play with other children regardless of language barriers.  Older children may experience more difficulty adapting to a new country, particularly if there aren’t other kids in the same age group who speak their native language.

Teach English Abroad with Children

6. Language Barrier

The younger a child, the more adaptable they are to picking up a second language. Will your child be frustrated not being able to communicate? In some cases, living in a foreign culture may present a perfect opportunity for a younger child to pick up a new language.


7. Extended Family

What do your parents and family think about you moving their grandchild away to another country? Is this going to cause a big issue? Will you have family in the country where you plan to move?


8. Legal Considerations for Single Parents

If you're considering teaching English abroad as a single parent and taking your child to another country, it is advised you speak with the other parent and an attorney before leaving the country with the child. It is probably best to have a written agreement with the other parent as well. It is imperative that you make sure that taking your child abroad does not break any divorce or settlement agreements.

In summary, there are many people who teach abroad with family but there are many practicalities to consider and work out to make this a good experience for your family.

It is critical that you speak to an admission advisor about your circumstance so we can provide professional advice prior to registering for a TEFL course or making a decision on moving to a country. 

Read more: Can Couples or Friends Teach English Abroad Together?

Contact International TEFL Academy directly at 773-634-9900 or request a callback. If you have a spouse please speak to him/her prior to contacting us.


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