Despite personal and professional struggles, teachers report great benefits to their practice from working abroad. 

Rewards

Regardless of teachers’ motivations to migrate, the great majority report valuable professional and personal benefits from their overseas experiences.

  • 99% of teachers report that working abroad had a positive effect on their instructional practice (n=1231).
  • Teaching abroad broadens respondents’ world view and cultural competency 
  • More than 65% of teachers reported that teaching abroad helped them to learn new instructional methods and approaches; acquire new instructional tools and materials; enhance their ability to work with students with diverse needs; improve language competency and bolster their content expertise.
  • In open ended responses, teachers also noted exposure to new technology and emphasized the value of working in a team with colleagues as other benefits of working abroad.   
  • An overwhelming majority (90%) of survey respondents reported that their experience abroad met or exceeded their expectations. 

Teaching abroad helps hone instructional skills:

In what ways has your experience teaching abroad enhanced your instructional skills?    
     
Broadened world view/cultural competency 1062 86.27%
Learned new instructional methods and approaches 1023 83.10%
Enhanced content expertise 798 64.83%
Acquired new instructional tools and materials 915 74.33%
Enhanced ability to work with students with diverse needs 901 73.19%
Improved language competency 821 66.69%
No appreciable benefits 18 1.46%
Note: Totals sum to more than 100% because respondents identified multiple benefits.

 

Challenges Teachers Face 

Though most teachers surveyed had a positive experience abroad, teachers also faced a number of challenges.  

  • Separation from family as well as classroom management are most frequently cited as major challenges for teachers abroad.
  • Over half of teachers report that adjusting to new curriculum, the mix of students of different abilities in the classroom, cultural differences, and interaction with local parents were moderate to major challenges.
  • 34% of teachers indicate that discrimination was a moderate to major challenge.
Average rating of challenges facing teachers abroad
Separation from family 3
Classroom management 2.9
Cultural differences 2.9
Other 2.9
Mix of students of different abilities 2.8
Adjusting to new curriculum 2.7
Interaction with local parents 2.7
Working with local teachers 2.2
Discrimination 2.2

 

Teachers also encountered unexpected costs of living, family stress, immigration problems, feelings of isolation, inadequate teaching resources and the lack of technology.