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advice please - where do I find out about the logistics of working abroad

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by caz100, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. caz100

    caz100 New commenter

    Hi, I am having a good think about potentially working in Europe. I am a primary teacher with 20 years experience - the next step would be a deputy role but I am thinking more about changing my perspective and look at experiencing life in a foreign country, teaching in an international school hopefully.
    I would like to know more about things like hours/term lengths, curriculum, where to live etc. Are you still classed as living in the UK for things like tax or does it go the country of residence. I can't seem to find a link for where to discover the nitty gritty of working abroad. Tips to sign post gratefully received
  2. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Search this forum, everything you have asked about has been covered
  3. colacao17

    colacao17 Occasional commenter

    There are exceptions to all the general rules but....

    If you spend more than 183 days of the tax year in a country, you're considered tax resident and liable for taxes in that country. There are certain schemes/scams (depending who you ask) where a school will ask you to claim tax residency in the UK in order to reduce tax liability and make the salary look higher than it is. There are(at least) two downsides to this (1) It's only valid for a limited time and if you go over that time you become liable not only to pay tax from that moment but also to repay tax owed from the past. A few teachers working in Italy have had their fingers burned by this one and their tales of woe might still exist on this forum somewhere if you search back far enough (2) If you're not paying tax you can lose out on certain other local services. That may or may not be important to you.

    Hours, term dates, curriculum, all of that varies by school rather than by country. Browse some school websites and look for info and school calendars.
  4. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    Agree with the above, you'll find a wealth of experiences on the forum.
    Quickly, to answer the specific points you've raised:

    Hours and term lengths can vary from country to country so I can only answer for my (private) school which will be par for the course for most (private) schools in Spain. No half-terms is the biggest difference to the UK, but then the summer term will end at the end of June so it's a bit of swings and roundabouts overall. Hours in primary can be longer than the UK, we end at 4:30, but get between 1 and 2 free periods a day. More swings, more roundabouts.
    Curriculum will again be specific to the school, we teach the National Curriculum to Spanish children using 'immersion' methods.
    Where to live? Now that's the 'how long is a piece of string' question. If you consider Spain, let me know and we'll chat...
    If you spend more than half the year working in your new country you should register to be fiscally resident there and pay your taxes there. God only knows what Brexit will do to these arrangements...

    Like you I left the UK after 20+ years there. I didn't hate it, didn't move to 'escape', it was very much what you seem to be considering - a change in perspective, a new way of working (immersion), better weather, etc and blah, blah, blah.
    It hasn't been easy at times, I know Spain doesn't have the best reputation for levels of pay and the professionalism and management of some schools but I've seen lots of things change in my 14 years and counting.

    Overall, it was the best move I ever made. I had worked abroad before (Kuwait and Japan) but Spain just got under my skin and a two year contract has just kept stretching. It just suited me (and my wife). You should chat with loads of people to find out what might suit you. (I know dumbbells66 had an awful time here.)

    It is a big decision but - like any school anywhere, you can always leave/go somewhere else/go home.

    But will you always wonder 'what if' if you don't give it a go?

    ¡Mucha suerte!

  5. caz100

    caz100 New commenter

    thank you, that is really helpful and gives me a starting point, I have looked through these forums but does seem to be a bit of a needle in a haystack. As I said, only considering at the moment and before I make the step I want to have a good background knowledge as it will be a big change.
    Cheers again
    Jeremyinspain likes this.
  6. caz100

    caz100 New commenter

    thank you, that is interesting and I certainly don't want to fall foul of any local tax laws!
  7. spanboy

    spanboy Occasional commenter

    If Spain is on your list of possible places, then be aware that:

    1. Some schools will want to pay you part-cash each month - how they still get away with this I don't know, but is still happening as far as I know. Check this out at interview.

    2. (this goes for most places also) There is a capping on the 'experience scale' - in other words once you get past 10 years' experience, that's it. So, a person with 10 years' or 30 years' experience gets the same salary.

    3. Chances of getting year-on-year pay increases to match inflation etc are slim. In 10 years I got ONE pay increase of 50 euros a month, and that wasn't until about the 6th year there, then nothing further thereafter.

    Don't rule out Eastern Europe - better salaries, and you could very well get a 'package' with accommodation and flights thrown in on top of salary. Packages in W.Europe are almost unheard of. Depending on location, high rents could eat into your money considerably.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  8. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    If you own property in the UK or have a mortgage, this can be a factor too when it comes to residency/tax status.
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some foolish people seem to think that the standard procedure is to send a TES Conversation thing to a smelly old hippopotamus.
  10. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Do it.
    You might have to go in at classroom level as it'll be the first position abroad. Then again, some places might take you higher - all depends on you and where you are.
    International schools tend to have slightly shorter years than in the UK. You will potentially finish June/beginning of July and start back August/September. Some schools have been known to start October but not sure when they finish.
    Lots of different curriculums - you can choose a school which teachers one that you like. Some do British, some do American, some do IB, some do a mixture of all or several.
    You'll want to be registered in country of residence I think. The school should pay you accordingly or the country might have a low tax rate. It also depends what sort of things you have in the UK. If you have a house, any income generated will still need a tax return filling out as it's income in the UK. Depending how much you get, you might not have to pay tax on it but they'll still keep tabs on you.
    The further from home you go, often, the better the package. Not in every case but if you go somewhere 'harder' the more compensation the school will need to pay people to entice and encourage to come and stay.
    Jeremyinspain likes this.

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