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Moving abroad - Advice, hints, tips needed

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by tobyr2385, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. Dear all,

    I have a new job in the Canaries teaching EFL, Maths and Science at primary level, making a massive transition from secondary MFL here in the UK. Since leaving my old school in December, I've done supply mainly in secondary, with a few days volunteer work in my local primary school - the atmosphere was completely different and felt a lot more positive so I know I've made the right decision or at least it feels right at the moment at least.

    The new school is a private, bilingual school where the lessons are taught in English by native speakers. They've assured me that all their planning is done, though if I want to take an idea and do it my own way then I'm welcome to do so. I find this weird as I've spent nothing but the last 2-3 years since my PGCE planning lessons and marking books, with a seemingly endless amount of work to do.

    I have little information about what to expect apart from saying it's a two form entry over two year groups, with an average of 20-25 pupils per class.

    It's a fixed term contract with the possibility to become permanent from the end of the next academic year - by mutual agreement I believe rather than through observations, data analysis or book scrutinies - they've not mentioned this at all.

    Whilst the teaching side of the move doesn't phase me at all, the logistics of moving abroad are a little more complex - perhaps?!

    I'm 30, single and live with my parents at present. I've lived in Spain before, so I've not got a massive culture shock to expect when I get there and I consider myself a fluent Spanish speaker as well. The last time I lived in Spain was about 9 years ago.

    Flights have been booked and I have been messaging/emailing various landlords about properties to look at or rent, and I've got a hostel booked for the first few days as a back up - the school are not offering help in terms of finding somewhere to live.

    I need to open a bank account and get a mobile phone once I'm there, as well as find the school for the first day.

    Here in the UK, what do I need to think about before I go? I've listed some "dilemmas" of sorts below:

    Dilemma 1 - Do I flatshare or get my own flat? The only difference is cheaper rent, but also the company and social network of sorts in a new environment. My other Spanish friends are on the mainland.

    Dilemma 2 - Do I sell or keep my car? It's worth approximately £7k, and to be frank I won't need it on the island.

    Any other advice, hints or tips irrespective of country, greatly appreciated!

    As they say in Spain - ¡buenas noches!


  2. SecondPlace

    SecondPlace Occasional commenter

    Don't close your UK bank accounts. No idea how long you are planning to be away, but don't close your accounts.

    I did and as I don't live in the UK - and haven't for 15 years - and I can't open an account. This is going to be a headache if we look to buy in the UK.

    Scan and store everything important - passports, certificates etc. - digitally.

    Good luck for the move.
  3. 576

    576 Established commenter

    How do you think the school will decide if you are worth keeping if not through observation, data analysis and book scrutinies?

    These are not British phenomena. They are very much alive and kicking in international schools.
  4. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    If you're not against sharing, I would go for that initially, for the social side of things. When you're in a new place it's nice to have some company and not be limited to socialising with colleagues to start off with. Once you get to know the place you can decide if you want to keep sharing or get your own place.

    What will you do with it if you keep it - take it with you? Or leave it at your parents' place? I'd say you'd be better off selling and buying another when you return. Otherwise it will just sit around and depreciate in value.
  5. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    Consider if you want to maintain your NI contributions to be eligible for the state pension. It's not a black-and-white decision so look into what you're entitled to if you do.

    Second the comment about keeping your bank account - very useful even for when you pop back, and if you can put the 7k from the sale of your car in there, you'll find it helps a lot given the weakness of the Euro against the pound (making visits the UK mega expensive).

    Best of luck!
  6. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    Congratulations, I've sent you a PM. ¡Mucha suerte!
  7. Thank you all for the helpful replies.

    Yes, I've decided that I will sell the car. It is beautiful (a 13 plate) and when my parents suggested buying it (as part of an inheritance gift, as such), I did feel guilty as I didn't have a dying need for a new car - however my old Renault Mégane was sold for £900, so repairs may have cost more than it's worth. The majority of my friends are suggesting to sell it, a car could be purchased if or when I decide to return to the UK on a full time basis, and it will be quite liberating not to have one to be honest. I'm going to live in the city where my school is, and I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before I make friends who do have cars.

    I will also keep my UK bank accounts active - a large portion of the car sale money doesn't need to be converted into Euros just yet, I just need to take enough to ensure I can live off an amount until I get paid, I assume at the end of September.

    I know there's a learning curve involved, but I'm ready to take it on and see what happens!

  8. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    Here's my blog on expat life and teaching Spanish children in English... zenkyumaestro.blogspot.com.es

    It should give you some idea of what's to come. I've been here 9 years so it shouldn't put you off.

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