How Much Money Do I Need to Teach Abroad?
Relocating to another country may initially sound ruinously expensive... but you may be pleasantly surprised. However, there are a few initial costs to take into account:
- Accommodation Unless you have accommodation provided for you by the school, you usually have to put a deposit down. This can be as much as one month’s rent on top of your first month’s rent – which in effect means you have to pay double the rent for the first month (however you usually get this back providing you meet the terms of the contract). If you use an estate agent to find the flat, then you will have a finders' fee to pay also. So if you’re aiming to live in a country where an average monthly rent is £200 you would be looking at paying £400 with a deposit (with possible estate agent fees as an additional). Sometimes (for example in Japan) you may have to pay two months in advance and give a further month’s money as a deposit!
- What do you think you will need to buy in your first few weeks? Cutlery, pots, pans, bedding? There’s always something to buy, even if your accommodation is fully furnished.
- Spending money You’ll need enough money to get by before pay day.
- Travelling costs How much will it cost you to get to work everyday?
Money, money, money...
- Some schools will give you an advance.
- If you have accommodation with the school then you won’t need to worry too much about a deposit – but a contingency is always good for if you don’t like the accommodation they provide!
Generally, I have always taken around £500-£1,000 with me at the start of contracts, just to be on the safe side, but I have known other teachers to take as little as a few hundred and survive. It really depends on what country you decide to go to and the cost of living there.
For more information about general living costs for the country you're heading to, have a look on this website http://www.tefl.com/home/col_survey.html (you will need to create an account). You could also ask the school you are going to for their advice.
What does everyone else think - how much money do you start each contract with?
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