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Who has made the move with a family?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by ekv, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. ekv

    ekv New commenter

    Considering moving to teach in Europe with my husband and two primary aged children. I would be teaching.
    Would love to hear from those who have taught in Europe with a family. Thinking lots about experience, accommodation, affordability and job security.

    Thank you!
  2. 24hours

    24hours New commenter

    We currently live in Southern Europe with our family. One of our children is of primary age and the other is not yet at school.

    We're in a similar situation financially as to how we were in the UK so it's not somewhere I would recommend to come if you wish to save vast amounts of money.

    From what I hear in Europe generally there is no free accommodation, flights etc. However, we managed to get a relocation package, help sourcing our house from the school and free places for the kids.

    Don't presume you're child will soak up the language. This was one of our primary reasons for moving out here. Our eldest child who attends an international school which is populated by mostly affluent local children has learnt diddly squat and I can't see that changing.

    Don't presume that just because it's a fee paying school the level of teaching and the standard of education your child will receive is going to be excellent. If classes are full of local kids who are still learning English then the chances are the pace of teaching will be geared towards them.

    If you have any specific questions please fee free to ask
  3. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Europe is a very diverse place and the answers will vary wildly on exact location. Try throwing out a few cities (or even countries) that you have the most interest in and you are more likely to get some more specific/useful feedback.

    In general, money will be tighter (net earnings/savings), accommodation smaller and job security better compared to places like Asia, the ME, etc.
  4. ekv

    ekv New commenter

    Considering Italy, Poland, Bulgaria,
    Romania and Germany.
  5. ekv

    ekv New commenter

    Are you teaching in the school your child attends?
  6. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Poland, Bulgaria and Romania will provide you with the normal international teachers package.... accommodation, flights etc. in Italy, and Germany these costs will be taken out of your salary. in countries outside of the euro zone the "normal package" is a very nice added bonus.

    in the sunny southern European countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal you will be on extremely low wages, and it would be difficult.
  7. 24hours

    24hours New commenter

    Yes, my partner is teaching in the same school my son attends.
    ekv likes this.
  8. ekv

    ekv New commenter

    How does your husband enjoy teaching in Europe?
  9. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Poland, Romania and Bulgaria will likely offer more in the way of housing allowance and probably more savings potential with a somewhat lower cost of living. Quality of life and job happiness will vary quite a bit depending on the school.

    Italy generally pays very low salaries and does not offer much in the way of benefits (other than the privilege of living in Italy). Again, quality of life will vary according to the school/package to some extent.

    German int'l schools will vary wildly. We loved our few years there and did well financially, although we were at an overseas school for military dependents not an international school. Generally int'l schools will not offer much in the way of benefits (although this may be a bit better in the top schools) and taxes will cut deeply into your salary. Tuition benefits in Germany also used to be taxed so check into that when considering schools/offers. On the hand, health care benefits, etc. can be good and there is some job security with European labor laws (can't really speak about the specific situation in other countries).
  10. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    We moved to Spain in the summer of 2017. I'd also had interviews at schools in The Netherlands and Germany. In the end - despite the lower salary and lack of relocation allowance - Spain turned out to be the better option financially once we'd taken into account taxes, the need to buy health insurance in those two coutnries (Spanish healthcare is free and excellent) and free school places for our two primary aged kids. Plus they could guarantee my wife work at the school. However, we don't save much (though we are just about to buy our second house, so we're hardly poor), and I appreciate this may be more of a concern for others than it is for us.

    We have lots more time together as a family, principally because I spend less time at school than I did in the UK (plus, as a broadcaster, my wife used to finish work at 7 in the UK or work weekends - now she finishes when the kids and I do). We also spend lots more time outdoors. You would probably get that in many other settings too, of course, though some of the German schools I looked at had very long teaching days.

    However, my children are growing up to be bilingual in the world's two most widely spoken languages - a pretty important factor in my view. Can you put a value on speaking Spanish vs speaking, say, Bulgarian? Not sure - even our Bulgarian friends here aren't too bothered about pushing their youngest (UK born) daughter to learn Bulgarian! Do consider this when looking at schools - what role the local language(s) plays in the curriculum and - if your children attend - what support will there be for them as non-native speakers of that language(s).

    Good luck! I'm sure you'll find the right location and school to suit you all.
    ekv likes this.
  11. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    When i left Spain for Eastern Europe my salary doubled, tripled if you count what i got as part of my "package", and my work load halved.

    I definitely made the right option. There are many many many many many countries where the "lifestyle" that Spain and the other sunny southern european countries sell themselves on can be found. They always use this out and out lie of the "lifestyle" to justify the terrible salaries.
    ekv likes this.
  12. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As regular readers of the pachyderm's online ramblings will know well, yours truly is a fan of Bulgaria. On the whole, I would say that the salaries for teachers in international schools are probably lower than in SE Asia or the ME, but then again countries like Bulgaria are cheaper places in which to live.

    My present school pays for a big two-bedroomed apartment next to a very nice park in Sofia. Plus the Bulgarian food is a lot better than what was supposed to be a school lunch at my old school in China.
    ekv likes this.
  13. ekv

    ekv New commenter

    Would love to hear more about you life in Bulgaria. Tell me about school life, family time, culture, health care and anything else you can think of. Thank you!
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    ekv, you can read all about BG on my blog, but I am not allowed to give you the link here or else those sweet, kind and gentle people known as the TES Moderators will delete this thread, ban me from this forum forever and make me stand on the Naughty Step during playtime.

    In the meantime, here is a picture of my house (the one on the left). Not bad for twenty thousand pounds.

    ekv likes this.
  15. 24hours

    24hours New commenter

    My wife is undecided but this is more down to the school more than the country. Our family time has certainly increased and it's now summer (to us) so the weekends up until June will be spent by the pool or at the beach.

    As has been said previously, don't expect to save vast amounts of money in southern Europe but you can certainly be in a position where you are no worse off than you were in the UK. MY wife's salary dropped by around 10K but things like council tax disappeared and childcare fees dropped significantly

    I get the impression we are doing it the other way round to most. People I speak to generally head to China or the middle east first for the money and then head to Europe for a bit of culture.

    As things stand we'll stick it out for another year or two then probably head to Asia with the intention of paying off the mortgage as quickly as possible.

    Finally, don't be afraid to negotiate things like salary, school fees for kids etc. A lot of people will tell you school fees are non-negotiable or their is a set payscale the school will stick to. This maybe true in some schools but we found it to be the complete opposite.

    Work out what it is you want/need and then stick to it - don't be afraid to walk away from jobs or try to justify taking them because you've always wanted to live in xyz

    Best of luck
    tb9605 likes this.
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Some wise comments from 24hours. Unfortunately a lot of young (and maybe some not-so-young) just look at the salary figures and say, "Well, this school is offering a better salary, so this is where I will go." In reality, you might be better off with a smaller salary, if your overall costs are going to be lower.

    Yes, school fees are one potential bank-breaker (or deal-breaker), but transport is another very important factor. Will you have to buy a car or not? If you don't, what are you options? Renting a car is okay for a few weeks or maybe even a month or two, but as a long-term solution to your transport problems renting a vehicle will most probably be a financial disaster.

    Holidays are (or could be) another major expense. If you can have some holidays within the country where you are teaching, then you could save a fair bit of cash.
    ekv likes this.
  17. Ne11y

    Ne11y Occasional commenter

    Have PMd you.
    ekv likes this.
  18. mollymillions

    mollymillions New commenter

    I've worked in two European countries with a child and a non-teaching spouse. In one he found a job easily despite the language, in one it proved almost impossible mostly due to the language. In one the school fees were a taxable benefit which, due to the high value of tax and the high cost of fees, was a sizeable amount; in the other the fees were totally covered by the school. One school gave contracts which could be terminated at 3 months notice, one gave permanent tenure after 2 years.

    As an example, Asia might be 4x bigger than Europe as a land mass, but there are more countries in Europe and they all have different local rules which will effect how financially comfortable you are.

    What I'm really saying is that Europe is totally manageable but it depends totally on which specific school in which specific country. And what you will enjoy depends totally on your specific family. My advice is to apply for everything that sounds interesting to you and then if/when you get offered something you can do a bit more research about whether it's going to work for you.
  19. ekv

    ekv New commenter

    Great advice, thank you.

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