Posted on April 22, 2019 | By Alexa Randell
27th Nov 2018
The moment has come, you have taken a leap of faith and accepted a job teaching English overseas. You’re excited to start your new life but you have no idea what to take or what you’ll need. Well, do not fear – we’re going to provide you with the top 8 packing essentials to start your TEFL journey.
#1 Keep it light
If you’re planning on travelling around with your TEFL career, packing light will be essential. Keeping it light will allow you to travel around with ease, get back home easily and will also give you space for all those souvenirs you’ll pick up along the way.
#2 Invest in a Kindle or eBook
This is probably one of the best buys for a TEFL teacher – or anyone who travels with work for that matter. It saves you filling your bag with heavy books and allows you to download new books from wherever you are in the world. Don’t forget, in some areas of the world, it could be difficult to get certain books or even books in English!
#3 Photocopies and photos of all documents
These really come in handy when arriving in a new country. Having photocopies of your passport and any other paperwork you may need for jobs abroad or a working visa will prove useful. It’s likely you’ll need copies of these documents when you apply for residence, social security or employment contracts. It’s also a good idea to scan these documents and keep copies online so that you can access them from anywhere. This saves you from carrying around the originals and potentially losing them.
On this note, it’s a good idea to have a list of important phone numbers that you may need in case of an emergency abroad. For example; numbers for travel insurance and lost or stolen credit cards.
It’s already pretty likely that you’ll be taking your own electronics abroad, be it a laptop, a phone, a shaver or hair straighteners. The list could be endless, but it may be that you need a plug adaptor for these to work in another country. Invest in these before you leave as they can be hard to come by when abroad and may be expensive. Also consider buying a few memory cards before you leave so you can store all the photos of your travels and teaching experience!
#5 Purchase a good guidebook and phrase book
You’re off to a new country and you’ll want to explore the key places that it is famous for. Purchasing a good guidebook can be a good way to plan where your next trip to see the sights is going to be, as well as providing useful information on transportation, restaurants, accommodation and activities. A good guidebook will also include maps and cultural and historical details. As well as a guidebook, it’s a good idea to get a little phrasebook to help you with key phrases that will help you get around the country, as well as ordering a beer or two. Though, as we mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to get eBooks rather than hardbacks if you can!
#6 Food that you’ll miss
You may be surprised how much you miss some of your favourite food, drinks or snacks. Don’t forget, necessities and basics that you can find at every corner shop at home will not necessarily exist at all in your new home country. So, taking a stash of your favourite chocolate bars, crisps or biscuits can be a good way to avoid cravings. (For a Brit like me, Yorkshire Tea bags were a must for my time in Spain!)
#7 Some keepsakes
It’s inevitable that there will be points throughout your time teaching abroad when you’ll feel a little homesick or miss friends and family. We recommend printing off some photos of your loved ones and packing a few special keepsakes. Decorate your new room with them to help you feel at home. That way, whenever you feel a little out of place, you can see some happy faces from home smiling back at you!
#8 Some teaching aids
This may not be your number 1 priority if you’re packing light, but taking a few teaching aids with you to your new home country will save you time and money in the future. English DVDs, magazines and newspapers could all come in handy in the classroom and may be substantially easier to find in an English-speaking country than the country you go to teach in.
If you liked this list, you may also enjoy our blog: Classroom essentials: what’s in your teaching toolkit?