So, you got the job. That’s great! Before signing the contract, there are a few details that you should confirm with your potential employer.
Moving to another country requires a lot more time and money than moving to another region of the same country, so you should make sure that your relocation package covers most of your expenses.
One relocation expense that people tend to forget is the expense of getting a visa. The visa itself has a cost, but there may be additional costs, such as traveling for a health checkup, that could easily make the process more expensive.
Confirm with your employer what the normal visa process is before and after arriving in the host country and who will cover these expenses. Budget for the likelihood that you will have to cover the expenses of relocation then be reimbursed later.
Another area to budget for is housing. Even if you are being offered a furnished apartment, you will likely need to buy your own towels, sheets, pots, and so on. Furthermore, you may arrive to find that you need to pay three or more months of rent upfront. So, having money set aside is essential.
You will also want to find out what the housing options are. Are you being offered a specific place or a stipend toward any apartment? If you find a place that costs less than your housing stipend, will the unused funds be given to you?
You should also investigate the average cost of living. How much does a person normally spend on utilities, eating out, transportation, etc.?
I won’t say much about salary because most people consider it carefully. However, you want to have a clear idea of when you will receive your first paycheck. With so many upfront costs to relocation, this information is important. You should also ask about taxes, insurance, retirement, or other costs that may automatically be subtracted from your pay.
To attract top candidates, schools may emphasize their proximity to famous places. For example, a school may emphasize its proximity to Shanghai in China or Seoul in South Korea. You may come to learn, however, that “close” means a two- to three-hour bus ride, which would make day trips into the city impractical. Try to get a clearer idea about where the site is located.
You will also want to confirm whether you will be teaching at one or multiple sites because some employers might ask you to teach at different schools. Some sites would be closer to home than others, and you might have to commute to different parts of the city.
For more information on planning, teaching, and living as an EFL teacher abroad, check out the latest edition of TESOL Press’s More than a Native Speaker!