Article – Survey Results: Can You Afford to Teach Overseas?2018-03-22T07:59:58+00:00

Survey Results: Can You Afford to Teach Overseas?

From Recruiting Fairs to Renting an Apartment Overseas,
Teachers Share Experiences and Lessons Learned.

Our survey reveals the costs associated with recruiting fairs and starting up a life overseas can add up to thousands of out-of-pocket dollars. Some teachers have discovered creative ways to cut these expenses and they tell you all about it in our survey results. Other teachers bit-the-bullet and it took three or more months of paychecks to break even on their initial expenditures.

Everyone who responded to our survey offered invaluable advice along with their responses to our questions about recruiting and moving costs. So, we decided to share every word of wisdom with you and posted each survey response in its entirety. You will find some redundancy concerning costs, but the unique advice each teacher offers should be of interest to anyone thinking about heading down the recruiting trail. Many thanks to those who took the time to share their knowledge and advice!

Survey Results


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? I recently attended ISS Bangkok. I had a previously established a file with ISS so I only had to pay the typical registration cost for the fair.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. I spent a small fortune on the hotel – about $1,800. I thought it would be more convenient to stay in the same venue as the fair. Also, I splurged on room service; considering the stress I was going through, I thought I deserved the luxury. Taxi fare was about $40 while there. Air fare was @ $700.

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Sharing a hotel room is great if you and the other candidate are truly friends. The fairs are emotionally charged experiences and your hotel room is your sanctuary during this time. Staying with someone you don`t know well could add to the stress of the job hunt.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. All of my travel expenses and document procurement fees were reimbursed by the school. I spent about $800 mailing boxes to my new school. My school provides 2K in shipping reimbursement which doesn`t adequately cover the shipping expenses of a family.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. My house is completely unfurnished and I must purchase everything myself. In Japan, the 2K that the school gives us as a settling-in allowance will buy a washer and maybe half of a television. There are shops where used furniture and appliances may be purchased but the prices of second-hand items are still exorbitant by North American standards.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? I Got an international driver’s license before coming to Japan. You can use this for one year. The second year, you must get a Japanese license. The difficulty of procuring a Japanese license is relative to the country of origin of your driver’s license. Many teachers here do not have cars as parking is at a premium. Many ride bicycles.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Relocating to Japan could possibly impact my savings potential for the entire year. Do not expect to save money your first year (in Japan) unless you have a second income or your spouse is also a teacher.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Fairs are a very important part of finding an international teaching post. While there, question other teachers about their experiences abroad. You will get a much better impression of your future financial situation from talking to another teacher than you ever would from speaking to a director whose salary is so far above yours. All directors will tell you that you can save money at their schools.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? I attended the UNI fair. Registration was around $150 (sorry, I don’t have the documents here with me).

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
Resume/photo–$20
Air–$550
Hotel–$300
Car rental–$100
Meals–$150
TOTAL $1200 with incidentals

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. UNI has one of the less-expensive fairs as far as registration and location. They don’t charge a placement fee when you secure a job. It is held in Waterloo, IA, where hotel, car, and meal costs are much lower than NYC or San Francisco.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. I paid for the visa ($80) and medical exam with blood work ($30). I paid for shipping teaching materials ($110) for which we are reimbursed. Total non-reimbursed cost was $110. The school paid for airfare, hotel room and board, and transportation until we found housing.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. My school gave us each $1000 cash for settling-in expenses. We received free room and board at a hotel until we found housing. The cash took care of apartment rental and deposit $700, Internet hookup ($30), and household items ($200). The apartment is furnished and has a pretty complete kitchen, cleaning items, etc. The school gives us a housing allowance each month, and it will be raised next month. So, I’ll be coming out a little ahead.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? I will not purchase a car. Public transportation and taxis are easy and cheap.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Total cost was about $2000. It will take about a month and a half to recoup.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Anytime you relocate you will incur unreimbursed expenses. You should go into overseas teaching for the opportunity to live in a foreign country and expand your horizons, not for the money (isn’t that true of teaching anywhere?). My salary is adequate for the location, and I plan on spending as much as possible. It helps that I’m a veteran teacher who is vested in my state retirement plan and a TSA. If you are a young teacher, you should make sure you set aside money each month to invest in some sort of retirement plan. Be an ant, not a grasshopper! You WILL age, and you WILL retire someday. At what age that will be, depends on what you invest NOW and over the course over the next 20 years. Trust me.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST?
TRI recruiting fair $90
Suit $500

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
Resume $0
Air fare $500
Hotel $250
Transport $60
Meals $200

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Police check $70
All other expenses were reimbursed to Japan

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. Apartment rental was split 80% school $800 per month VS 20% @$200 per month my expense. No deposit.
Furniture etc pots $2000

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? Car $1700 AUS
Scooter $700 AUS
Gave car away
Sold scooter

7.TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? About three months

CLOSING COMMENTS. Check currency against your own dollar. Watch carefully how the benefits stack between private VS International schools. Private will pay better but you do become OWNED by the COMPANY.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? TRI invitation only in Australia.2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
Resume Aud$300
Photo/printing Aud$150
Airfare Aud$400
Train Aud$25
Food Aud$50

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC.
Visa Aud$700
Flights Aud$3500
All up around Aud$5500 BUT all reimbursed.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. All provided by school………..and nice.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR?. Car provided by school plus driver and maid. Electricity, gas, petrol allowance, all medical provided. Schooling for children X 2.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Aud$ 6500……BUT ALL reimbursed within 6 weeks.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Has to be a great overall package…esp in my case as family involved. I’m at a great school….non-profit in Jakarta.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? ISS Bangkok 2008-around $5002. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
Resume and photo-$30
Airfare-$2000
Hotel-$1500
Meals-$200
Total-$3730

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. My wife and I shared a room, but the cheaper rooms at the hotel were full. It’s important for us to be in the same hotel as the conference, so we spent $1500 for 4 nights. Ouch!

Advice: Sign up early and get the cheap rooms. I agree that being in the same hotel, with a hotel extension phone number is important.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. We did not accept a position and returned to our current school.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: n/a

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? In Korea, cars are cheap.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? We didn’t take a position, but the fair took one entire month’s paycheck for me.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Save and scrimp. Don’t take a job if it’s the only one and you’re not entirely happy with it. Wait till the next fair, or wait till the next year.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? I went to the CIS Fair in Virginia one year and in London 2 years later. There were no recruitment and registration costs for teachers.2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. For Virginia I just paid gas and parking fees as I lived half an hour away from the fair.

For the London Fair, I paid around 300 euros for the plane ticket, 40 or so euros for a train ticket (I stayed with the relative of a friend), meals probably a couple hundred euros because London is expensive.

I spent no money on photos and resume and I copied these at my current jobs.

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Don’t stay too far away from the conference hotel. I had to travel more than an hour each way from where I was staying for free.

Sharing rooms at the hotel would help reduce costs and be beneficial, but hotels where the recruitment fairs take place are always VERY expensive.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC.: The 2 schools where I accepted positions offered relocation money – 3000 euros when I moved to Berlin, Plane ticket and approximately $900 when I moved to Thailand. I initially paid out of pocket for everything to do with the moves, and then was reimbursed. It took 3-4 months to get the reimbursement in Berlin. I got the reimbursement the first business day I was in Thailand (2 days after I arrived).

In Berlin, the school told us a couple of months after arrival we needed to shell out 13 euros for a police check, but I raised havoc that they already hired me, they needed the police check and they would have to pay for it. The school relented and covered the cost for all the new teachers.

For the move to Thailand, I paid for the visa, and luckily could use the police check my Berlin School had requested as my police check for Thailand or I would have had to pay those costs, too.

The only unexpected cost I had to pay in Thailand was customs duty because the school refused to get the teachers a year long work permit – ours is 10 months, so since our work permits were not for one year, the Thai government charged duty on shipped goods. If the work permit had been for a year (the length of my contract) I would not have had to pay duty.

I did an estimated calculation before both moves of what it would cost to bring excess baggage, to ship belongings, paying for flights and customs (of course without all the information being shared with teachers, you could come up short) and saved the money I needed to pay up front. I moved with about $7000 dollars in my account so I could afford the initial move and initial start up costs.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: For housing, I had to pay 1st & last months’ rent as well as a security deposit. I also had to pay to get a phone started, internet, cable. Luckily the 2 places I lived were both partially furnished so I didn’t need to shell out money right away to get established. I did supplement the furnishings and kitchen supplies as time went on and I had some spare money to spend.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR?: In Berlin I used public transit. There is no need for a car there. In Thailand, driving is too dangerous. I do own a motor bike for going to and from school and also I use a bicycle in my village to get from point A to point B. I never found the need to get a local driver’s license, but having an international driving license could be useful. If you own a vehicle – any kind of vehicle – make sure you have insurance.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? This question confuses me a bit. I’ll answer the way I interpret it. The relocation stipends offered by both schools was not enough to cover the moves to the new country. If it were not for my savings, I would not have been able to make the move. I would say that I probably ended up spending approximately an addition $1500 – 2000 on each move that was not reimbursed by the schools.

CLOSING COMMENTS: Take into consideration any expense you have “back home” I was paying off student loans and a debt and it really prevented me from being able to save any money my first year and a half of international teaching. I have friends who own their homes and pay a mortgage and cannot afford their owned home and the rental in the country where they are teaching. When considering accepting a job, make a budget. Know exactly how much expenditures you have for expenses at home. Research the cost of living in the country you are moving to. Determine your net take home pay after taxes have been removed, and then see if overseas teaching is financially feasible for you.

A few years ago, you could have been in debt when you first went overseas, and within a couple of years you’d have money to burn. Now-a-days, salaries at international schools are not keeping up with inflation and the cost of living, so international teachers don’t save quite as much. Also, consider when you plan on “moving home.” That may be expensive and you need to make sure you will be able to afford exiting the international teaching profession.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? ISS Bangkok. About US$400 including postage2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. About US$3000 for 2 people. We were lucky and used our frequent flier miles to get to the fair and back. Without the miles the total cost would have been US$5500.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Current school has been good about absorbing many costs. Visa, police check, physical, flight all paid for up front by school. Had to pay for passport photos–US$40

Previous school in Beijing didn’t make it easy for us to get our shipping reimbursement. In the end we got it–US$2000 (too bad we can’t put a dollar figure on the amount of time we and ad hoc committees spent working this out) Total spent on shipping : $5600 Current school supposed to reimburse once shipment arrives. Driver’s license and misc, health/visa expense: $50/person

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. No costs for apartment rental. Most furniture included. Utilities to be determined: We’re to pay 25% of the bill. Cable: about US$80 (opted to do without for now) No electric appliances came with housing. So far we’ve spent about $1000 on appliances and cleaning supplies. Will do without a TV for now.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? Will have to purchase or lease a car because school is 40-minute walk in 102F heat. 9-month lease about $300 per month. Gas is inexpensive. Purchase of car US$5000 and up. Driver’s license is a must because everything is so spread out and public transportation is not recommended for women. We’re going to lease a car. May wind up being more expensive than buying in the long run (or will it?) BUT we don’t have to worry about repairs, flat tires and so on. Plus we’ll just return the leased car when we leave. No muss and fuss about selling the car.

Note: Several colleagues have been here for just 2-3 weeks and have had significant problems with their previously sight-unseen vehicles (steering, leaking fluid, starter) Better to follow your grandpa’s advice not to purchase a car until you’ve had a chance to kick the tires. The seller is long gone from the country and you have little recourse.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? A little over $8300 (two of everything except for expenses that are shared) Note: $3600 to be reimbursed once shipment arrives. With two salaries, we’ll break even in 1 1/2 months.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Keep it simple. Try to live out of your suitcases with just a few creature comforts. Save your money for a place of your own and put most of your belongings in that dwelling. That will cut down on the expense of shipping. Furthermore, you never know, you may have up leave your post at a moment’s notice. The world is an ever-changing place.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Didn’t go to fair, used only internet searches and TIEOnline.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
res/photo $30
air/hotel $429
transport $35
TOTAL $494

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC.
health stuff $200
police stuff $45
movers/baggage $300
misc. paperwork $30
TOTAL $575

I expected reimbursement for part of movers/baggage, and I got that after I arrived at the school.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. I rented a “furnished” place above a garage. School loans us about $585 for deposit, we pay it back from our final paycheck. I don’t have TV/cable/internet.
Monthly rent $600
Utilities $125
School pays $467
MY TOTAL $258

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? Yes, it is almost mandatory here unless you can find housing near the school, which is expensive. I also have to have local auto insurance. I will probably be able to break even on the sale of my car when I leave, or perhaps lose a little. Used Car $5,500

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? About $7,000
6 months

CLOSING COMMENTS. Look for a high housing stipend and paid electric/water/cable/phone. Don’t use recruiters–do your own research, ask other teachers, use TIEOnline. NEGOTIATE YOUR SALARY & BENEFITS!!! ASK for MORE! You are going to leave behind many things to go to far away in order to provide a valuable, professional service that is in short supply…be well compensated for that!

1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Did it online2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Did it online

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. If you can avoid a job fair, do it! It’s too expensive.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL. ETC. I ended up paying above and beyond for excess baggage and shipping. The weight limit on luggage had gone down, so it cost me more to put the same materials on the plane leaving than going to my previous position. Shipping professional materials was quite expensive from the previous position to the new position, but one of my student’s father shipped it with his company gratis. Otherwise, I would have been in a huge hole financially. I am working on scanning most of it so that I will lose the weight for the next time. My new school gave us $1,500 for travel, $1,500 for settling in; and $1,500 for shipping when we arrived on-site. My old school paid $500 (if one spent that much) for shipping and paid for the flight.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. My new school provides a furnished apartment and I only bought incidentals like an alarm clock and a CD player. I spent at most $800. We do have to pay for cable and internet (which I do not yet have), as well as utilities. I live in the tropics and spend about $160 a month on electricity, but the phone bill is only $12 a month. Water is about $11 a month. I also bought a cell phone for under $30 and do prepaid for calls.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? The school provides a car. I only pay for gas, which is cheap as it is refined in this country. The car has good mileage so I only fill up at most twice a month. We were required to get a local license. The school paid for it, but we had to take the local written test. At my old job, I relied on the mass transit system for which I purchased a year-long pass for about $300. It was good for all subways, trains, buses, and trolleys in the city – a good deal. The school did not pay for my pass, although they did provide transportation to school for people who lived a distance from the school. We used an international driver’s license whenever we rented a car to take a trip.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? I think I am ahead of the game. I started the school year with money leftover from my allowances that I did not use.

CLOSING COMMENTS. There is a huge discrepancy in benefits, depending on where you go to work. My previous school did almost nothing – and what they did was done grudgingly. My new school really makes an effort to take care of expats. What a difference!


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? UNI-$180
Search-$50

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
UNI (1) resumes, photos, etc.-$120
UNI (1) hotel-$400
UNI (1) airfare-$450
UNI (1) meals-$80
UNI (2) resumes, photos, etc.-$60
UNI (2) hotel-$650
UNI (2) airfare-$2800
UNI (2) meals-$80
Search resumes, photos, etc.-$80
Search airfare-$450
Search hotel-$1500
Search meals-$450

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Do not stay at a Search hotel! They are far from the least expensive hotels in the city and are often near less expensive hotels. I would split the cost if possible with another recruit. UNI I would register early and stay in the conference hotel. It is not outrageously expensive and public transportation is somewhat lacking in Waterloo.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Do not forget all the extra passport photos that schools tell you to bring. Many teachers have sold off everything in the U.S. at a loss, too. I suspect that the “unexpected” costs tally at least $8,000 over the past five years. Of that, I expected to be reimbursed totally. I received about $6,500. Not too bad, considering.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. My fully-furnished apartment has always been provided, including utilities. Satellite television is an expense that I am about to take on as the channels provided anywhere I have taught are less than entertaining and few in number. Internet is always a problem wherever I had taught.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? Cannot afford the expense of a car. I do carry an international driver’s license. I have used it several times. If you expect to live and drive in certain countries-such as Japan-for an extended time, you are sometimes required to obtain a local driver’s license.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Visas, local transportation, food in transit, internet in transit, books and magazines to read in transit, job fairs, etc.: I estimate that I was out perhaps two months’ salary by the time I completed my move each time. That’s the nonreimbursed portion.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Cut the “expected savings” numbers in half or worse. Expect to spend your own money. Place what you can into a savings account but treat yourself to at least one nice vacation each year. It’s stressful teaching overseas in a way that you won’t expect. In other ways, it’s less stressful. I doubt that I would ever return to the U.S. to teach. Just don’t expect to save as much as the schools say.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? UNI don’t remember exactly, but about $200 to attend

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
$30 photos
$300 airfare
$100 meals and transport $430

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Shared room with another teacher

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC.: $60 fedex was the only cost I paid for out-of-pocket (the first time this was reimbursed, but after the school sent me a visa with the wrong gender listed and name misspelled I had to fedex it back with another registration form) I was reimbursed for $12 police check and all excess baggage (up to $600 at $150 per 50 pound bag). The school fedexed me my plane ticket.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. My school provided rent-free apartment with no deposit. It was fully furnished, and included utilities, dishware, cable. Internet was $30/month for slightly faster than dial-up connection.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? No

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? $700. 1 month.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Mail is very expensive to Kuwait because important documents have to be fedexed. The regular post system is not reliable


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Applied direct

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Had to pay own travel to interview- $100 Also own accommodation for that AND pre- term start — $1000.

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Be sure if you go for an individual school interview that you know exactly WHAT costs (if any) they will meet. Get in touch with teachers there and beg accommodation.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Good package, swiftly reimbursed.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. I was charged for coming 2 weeks before term in full rent. I have 3 kids and am a single Mum – was I supposed to arrive the day before? I was shocked by the cost of cable and utility deposits. I negotiated a loan with the school in the end.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? I bought a car- no help or advice available.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? 3 months to break even. Settling in costs $10,ooo (with 3 kids).

CLOSING COMMENTS. Try to hook up with existing teachers who might be selling cars/rental apts/furniture.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Search Associates – Cambridge Registration was perhaps $200. The recruitment fee was paid by the school who hired me.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Perhaps $2000 in all…..Airline ticket was the most (from South America) followed by hotel and meals.

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Although the cost can be more in terms of dollars, staying in the host hotel is worth the absence of stress of the comings and goings. If job offers start to come in, you really want to be available quickly.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Not many actually. The largest fee was obtaining a visa from a fraudulent “honorary vice consul” who charged me $500 for a visa that is normally issued free of charge. All other expenses from flight tickets, etc. were reimbursed by the school.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. Housing is furnished at my school. There were even groceries etc. waiting in the apartment for me. No deposits, no need to buy anything. The apartments were fully furnished including pots and pans.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? No need for a car in any of the six overseas school settings….even in Israel, where I lived more than 6 miles from the school, I always could arrange transportation. Driving in any of these large capital cities is often a nightmare not worthy of buying and selling a car, or adjusting to driving on the opposite sides of the streets etc. Taxi transport has been reasonable in all cities and living close to school has also been a good thing. In Budapest, I had a car, but used it only for weekend travel. Public transport there was so excellent and reliable and stress free each morning and afternoon.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Most of the costs involved were reimbursed by the schools. This was one of the major selling points for accepting a position at a school that did vs. a school that did not. I think the quality of the schools sometimes can be approximated by whether or not teachers needs are planned for and budgeted for.

CLOSING COMMENTS. International teaching has more than met any expectations I might have had before entering in to this area of teaching. I would strongly suggest doing without fail, homework, regarding where in the world you wish to teach and that school particularly. The second consideration much more important than where it is located. I have been able to save substantially for retirement by this tried and true path. I do not regret any of the places I have been, although the levels of quality of these schools has been very different, each experience was immensely enriching and worthwhile. I’ve not had a nightmare experience, the kinds I’ve read about and know are out there. Buyer beware! Do your homework carefully. Don’t be blinded by a large salary offer until expenses, local taxes, and cost of living are taken into consideration. And ONLY go by the final figure after all expenses are factored. Take your time BEFORE signing that dotted line! I am a single female and that also must be considered before accepting teaching offers in places that just aren’t worth the daily living experiences of some local cultures.


4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Excess baggage £80 – reimbursed on arrival at new school Visa £100 – reimbursed on arrival at new school Total cost £100

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. My school takes on responsibility for paying rent (including deposits) and providing basic furniture and kitchen utensils, even when moving out of school provided accommodation into a place privately found. My rent allowance does not cover the full amount of my rent so £50 approx is taken out of my wages each month and all rent is paid directly to the landlady. I did have to pay Cable connection – £25 approx., TV – £200 approx., plus any extra furniture and utensils/appliances I wanted as extra to the basics.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? No, I haven’t bought a car. I think it depends on what country/city you are living in. I have no reason for a car in Mexico City and didn’t either in Shanghai. Both cities have very cheap and efficient public transport and taxis. Using a car to travel around China would not have been a good idea as the roads are pretty poor outside of the main cities. I know some people who, in Mexico City, rent a car to travel around Mexico.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? I didn’t register with a recruiter and had a phone interview with my current school. So, it cost me nothing to obtain the job but it did cost me £280 to move. £180 of which though was reimbursed, which I knew beforehand.

CLOSING COMMENTS. If you are moving away from the UK/home country for the first time I would recommend you travel light and buy what you need when you reach your destination country. Most schools will offer a shipping allowance on completion of the contract (some might at beginning and end. My school in Shanghai did. But, as I didn’t use the allowance at the beginning of my contract I was able to combine both allowances at the end which then covered all shipping costs).

Although I can see the benefits of going to a job fair I have yet to use one. Both my overseas positions have been secured through phone interviews (both at highly regarded schools in their respective cities). For both schools I was made fully aware of any costs that could be reimbursed and those which I would be responsible for. However, I am single and so do not have the issue of moving a family, which obviously can be expensive.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? didn’t attend one = 0

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. In Canadian Dollars: 150 passport (Renewal 75.00 & Photos)
1000 extra hotel costs (food/transportation)

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. See summary of expenses below. Sorry, it’s difficult to separate the costs. I’ve been reviewing my situation upon return for the 3rd year of my three year contract. It’s so timely that you have begun this survey because I have realized that while I’ve enjoyed the experience, the experience has cost me dearly.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. as above.

It cost more to buy things than the housing or relocation money allotted. My visa was not ready when I came, so I had to stay at the hotel longer and, while my company paid the hotel because it was their mistake, I had to pay hotel costs for food, etc. and was not familiar with the area to find cheap deals. Took some things to the hotel from grocery store, but found with looking for accommodation, etc. that the hotel food was simply more convenient and I had in my mind that I was going to be making and saving money, perhaps not in the first year, but by the second year. Not so, by the second year, the loss had increased. And, I’m not a spend thrift.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. I went cheap on the apartment, pocketing 30% of my allowance. Al Ain is far cheaper than Dubai or Abu Dhabi, where one must either be married, live with groups of people, really want to sacrifice for the ‘thrill’ of living there, or have a very hefty living allowance to be able to afford living there and doing all the fun things.

Rent is paid yearly in advance by the company and taken off pay cheques. 1,000 dirham deposit for electricity, 1,000 finders fee to realtor when company rep couldn’t find apartment. Internet/tv utilities vague amounts, but in the end similar to costs at home.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR?: Yes, 76,000 dirhams new (20,000 Cdn)
Monthly payments 1,600 (440. Cdn)
Insurance / registration 5,000 est (1,400)

Recommend buying used car
Driver’s licence, insurance same as Canadian
Will lose more money when I go home because it won’t be paid off.

Recommend getting own car and driver’s license for freedom from predatory taxi drivers or to avoid frustration.

Rentals are expensive, but perhaps when calculating repairs, registration, and paying out if contract ends suddenly, it’s the best deal. Gas/Petrol is very inexpensive here.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Canadian Dollars: 50,000 loss estimate!

Experience: not exactly priceless

I won’t break even. Chalked up to experience. While I have avoided tax in Canada, I have not paid into a retirement fund and am not certain that my experience will count on pay-grade scales at home.

CLOSING COMMENTS. By the time I had shipped my car to Toronto from Edmonton to my daughter (10,000 give away), gave (5,000 min) of stuff away, hired movers (2,000), sent stuff to the UAE (2,000), paid for storage of household items (250.00/month – over 3 years = 9,000), Topped up my relocation allowance to buy furniture etc, (5,000), Travel (10,000) (because one should look around the region), Phone calls home, sending money home for repairs to house, buying suitable, conservative clothes (long dresses, etc) before work started or pay came in (5,000) Additional money unaccounted for but spent (7,000) Tax accountants, lawyers…

Probably an adventure best reserved for young grads with no assets at home (car, house…) The experience will be interesting, but not as lucrative as expected. It may be very lonely. Many people find it mentally difficult adjusting to the new culture and then readjusting back home. It will cost in career establishment and lost professional development. It may be humbling and help people appreciate home more when they return.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? ISS attend the fair in 2002. I believe the cost to register at that time was $50 and the cost to attend the fair $150. I believe the cost has gone up since than.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.: 2002
Airfare: $730
Transportation: $100
Hotel: fortunately the fair was in the DC area and I have family living there and stayed with them.
Meals: $300

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO: Although I stayed with family it was not very convenient as you really need to be at the conference site almost the entire time it is open for the purpose of networking, being available for “on the spot” interviews, etc.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC.: The school acquired and paid for passport, visa, police check, $150 toward physical, flight tickets, and @ about $1500 towards relocation fees.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. I purchased a “package” from a departing teacher cost $1500 which included everything in the apartment. It was a turn-key operation. Everything I needed including sheets, towels, pot & pans, computer, fully furnished, Great deal. The school paid the rent on the apartment but the cost for utilities and Guard fee was paid by the teacher

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? Yes, did not lose anything on the sale of the car…purchased a car for $500 from a departing teacher, sold it for $500 3 years later to an incoming teacher. Worked in Taiwan, almost impossible to get driver’s license due to language barrier, yes purchased local insurance which was required by law.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? 2 month

CLOSING COMMENTS. Honestly, you have to find out if the information the school is providing is a true representation. The school I went to provided us with contact information for current staff as well as had teachers recruiting (leaving the school) available to talk to teachers interested in the school. Everything shared by administration and existing and exiting teachers was a true representation.


1 no response

2. no response

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. The jury is out on staying at the hotel where the recruiting fair is taking place. Staying at the hotel is SUPER CONVENIENT. Having said that, my husband and I have attended two fairs and neither time did we stay at the hotel where the conference was. Too expensive! The first job fair we stayed with friends, it was a long commute though and made the days exhausting. The second time we found a bed and breakfast very close to the hotel and it worked out just as well as staying in the actual hotel. We could still pop back to our place to rest. We jam packed our interviews, though, so we didn’t have time in between. If you stayed at the hotel, you could space yourself out with time in between (if that is what you wanted – we like to just be on a roll and go for it).

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Our schools have always secured the visas for us, only cost was minimal. We had to pay for an HIV test twice, though, and that was expensive (hundred dollars each). We were not reimbursed. Excessive baggage and shipping is “the cost of doing business” for us. We like to have our stuff and we like to have certain things we can’t get overseas. We don’t mind having to pay for those things.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. Just general getting set up expenses, and that varies from person to person. Our first year abroad we thought we would be frugal and just have the basics in our apartment. We were content with that and when faculty left at the end of the school year, we upgraded to get stuff we didn’t have. Internet and stuff like that depends from place to place. In our first overseas place, phone and internet were super cheap. Second place, the school paid for these. Where we are now, it is really expensive to have cable tv but we do not own a tv so that is not an issue for us. We invested in a vonage phone and that was great for calling back to Canada or the USA.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? What is the point of living somewhere new and not being able to explore that place? We have always lived places that did not have great public transportation or transportation out of the city so we have bitten the bullet every time. We paid about $7000 for a car in each place. We were able to sell our cars when we left (3 years later), but of course we did not get the same that we paid for them. Advice about cars…1. Take your time in finding one. The first overseas gig we had, we panicked and felt trapped. We bought a car and it was not a wise choice. We had luck this time because we took our time a little. 2. Use reliable local people to help you. Get someone from the school to help. Don’t just go off on your own, as you don’t know the laws and who is honest and who isn’t. 3. Buy a car with a decent resale value, even if it means paying more up front. Most places you have to have a local license in order to drive and the school almost always should help you get it.

7. no response

CLOSING COMMENTS. I think the idea of trying to determine when you “get back the investment” of recruitment costs is a rather strange thing to do, to be honest. To me, securing an overseas post IS the pay off. If you want to get a job, you usually have to go recruiting and that costs a bit of money – depending where you go it can be a lot of money. But it is ALWAYS worth it. The monetary “pay back” is nothing compared to the enriched life we lead living in foreign countries. Even if the job or country sucks (and we have had that experience!) it is always a learning experience to live somewhere new!! Personally, I am not in this for the money. I could make a lot more money working in Canada as a teacher but who wants that sort of lifestyle? Not me.

We have gotten jobs without recruiting, but the whole job fair situation is such a great opportunity to network and learn about schools so it is worth it for that reason, too. As a result of our two recruiting fairs, I really feel like we have a good handle on which schools are good ones and which ones to avoid.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? ECIS free

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. about £1000

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Never use recruitment fairs that charge you money – international teachers are in very short supply and schools need you – not the other way round. Fees for recruitment are a shameful scam

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. My school in Switzerland paid a very generous relocation allowance that covered everything

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. Rental £1000 a month, deposit £2000. furniture aprox £2000. It seemed a lot, but the relocation package covered it all . If you want to live more cheaply then you can pocket the rest, but you have to stay 3 years or pay back a percentage. This is my 6th overseas job and a lump sum of money that you do what you want with is the most grown up and flexible way to deal with staff

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? yes £3000. Depends where you are. You have to have insurance and rules for local licenses vary from country to country

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? £8,000. Settling in £7000. one month’s saving covered the rest. 2 months

CLOSING COMMENTS. Never pay anyone to find you a job. Find your own with newspapers and free fairs. NEVER enter a contract with a recruiter that allows them to take your money, if they place you in a bad school and you leave – this is modern slavery!! Do not sell yourself short – if the money is crap and there is no relocation – DO NOT GO – the school obviously doesn’t value you and will always treat you badly. Wait for a good offer – there are more jobs than teachers out there!!


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? ISS – $250

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
Resume – $20
Air – $1200
Hotel – $1000
Meals, etc. – $250

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. The conference hotel is always overpriced. Of course, they always advertise a special “conference rate”. But it is better to look online for a cheaper hotel that is close by. You may spend some time sitting around the lobby instead of in your room, but the lobby is free.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. The only expense that was not reimbursed was medical. I paid $150 (CDN) for a full health check but the Chinese doctor would not accept the reports. I received another full battery of tests for free, but did not get reimbursed for what I had already paid, even though I had been told by the school that tests done in Canada would be accepted.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. I was almost fully set up. I had to buy a few odds and ends. but for the most part everything was provided.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? I bought a motorcycle – which was stolen within 4 months. It was cheap.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Perhaps about $3000. This could be paid off within a month. But this time I was lucky – I was hired by quite a good school.

CLOSING COMMENTS. It costs a lot to get a job, and there are a lot of bottom tier schools out there. There is a bit of a “paying your dues” situation in the international school biz. If you are young (or already pensioned), then go for it. If you are mid-career, think long and hard. Watch out for school administrators who: A) talk up their school a lot, making it seem a unique and superior institution of learning. B) won’t tell you straight away how much money you will earn, what the tax rate is, and how much you can expect to save — if it is a good school, it pays well!


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? UNI fair. Cost of $300 for each of us (my husband and I). Total $600.00

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.
Photos $10.00
Air fare $400.00 each ($800.00)
Hotel $300.00

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Stay in the hotel where the interviews take place, it makes it much more relaxing as you have a place to go in between interviews.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL ETC. visa $45.00 each ($90.00)
health exams $150.00
excess baggage $500.00

about $700.00 – all reimbursed.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. $550.00 month rent
furniture $4000.00 (dresser, nightstand, TV, washer, dryer)
TV hook up/cable: $600.00 for the year.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? Car: $5000.00
We lost $2000.00 in the 2 years that we were there when we sold the car.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? $12,600.00 more or less. With the two of us – probably about 3 months to pay off.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST?: ISS

So much money I have now switched to Search Associates

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.: Hotel $600

Resume $25.00

Transportation $100.00

Meals $200

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Try Priceline.com early to book at the conference hotel or near the conference hotel.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. Internet and cable depends on where in the world you land. It is important to take some household goods with you: a few pots and pans, a can opener, any baking pans or utensils, and a few utensils which save on setting up costs.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? I bought a Renault Clio and loved it — it cost $10,500 and I didn’t lose money when I sold it…buy new…resale is better. Yes get a car, driver’s license, and insurance…you will see more of the country.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? On my last job, I went with Carney Sandoe (great group) and had an expense of flying to NYC for an interview. It took me about one paycheck to break even.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Don’t expect it to be like home. Don’t expect all descriptions and promises to be kept. Do have a positive, can-do attitude. If you hate it, keep on marching and smiling and keep it to yourself. The international school world is incestuous and everyone talks. So, stay away from complaining and look for a better job.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? I was informally told in the middle of my second year that the director had someone in mind for my position in Kuala Lumpur and that I would not be renewed for a third year option. I had to scramble to go to a job fair in Orlando in early 1997. Plane fare: around 1200.00, hotel around 400.00 etc. and I did NOT obtain a post. Sheesh…

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.: Resume: Printed myself on my laser, photo reproduction – under 20.00 at Kinko’s, hotel – even with a ‘cut rate’ it will cost minimum 250.00/night. Try to find a roommate!

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. I would stay AT the conference hotel, you may have to be on your best behavior at all times but you might just end up dining with a director or two.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Visa stuff, packing, paid for excess baggage, no – I was not reimbursed.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. They put us in a hotel for 1 week and we had to scramble to find roommates. I ended up with 2 other girls and we ended up hating each other. Yes, the school did take us on a trip to a store that was a ‘friend’ of the school’s. I don’t know if it was any cheaper just easier because we went with a translator/assistant.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? I did NOT purchase a car although one or two other teachers did… 20+ year old cars that were falling apart.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? It took me about 3 months to break even. To get ahead, truthfully, I would tutor for cash on the side. That is where the real $$ comes in. If I had to save on just my salary, I would NOT have come home with 10K in my pocket.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Even though you may be exhausted, take on outside tutoring. At 20-25 dollars an hour, you can make a nice chunk of change.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Search Cambridge. The fair cost $200

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. We came from Europe and our airfare + hotel + photos + meals came to $4000. It was a big hit!

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Excess baggage cost us about $4500 of which we were reimbursed $2100. The visas we were reimbursed for and the tickets were booked by the school.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. Internet hookup, buying a bunch of stuff was another $5-6000.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? No car . . . cabs in Peru are cheap. We lost about $2000 on the sale of our car in Ukraine.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Probably about 3-4 months to catch up.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? N/A

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. N/A

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. N/A

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. HIRED AFTER INTERVIEWING ON SITE PREVIOUS AUTUMN. EMAIL OFFER SENDING CONTRACT WITH FOLLOW-UP PHONE CONTACT.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: OTHER THAN PICK-UP AT AIRPORT, NO FINANCIAL SUPPORT OFFERED FOR TEMPORARY HOUSING. NO HOUSING OFFERED OR DIRECTED. 8 MONTHS OF A HOTEL ROOM UNTIL I LOCATED REASONABLE HOUSING SITUATION.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? PURCHASED A MOTORBIKE FOR TRANSPORT. WHILE LICENSE IS RECOMMENDED, NOT NECESSARY AND LANGUAGE BARRIER PREVENTED MY PURSUING ONE.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? BREAK EVEN POINT WAS 2 MONTHS – ABOUT. FLIGHT WAS REIMBURSED, BUT TOOK SEVERAL CONVERSATIONS TO RECEIVE SAID CHECK.

CLOSING COMMENTS. TRANSITION TO A NEW COUNTRY, WITH NEW LANGUAGE AND CULTURE IS DIFFICULT. INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS WOULD DO WELL TO ESTABLISH MECHANISMS (PEOPLE) TO ASSIST WITH THESE ISSUES. IN ADDITION, FINANCIAL REMUNERATION SHOULD INCLUDE MORE THAN REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE FLIGHT. THIS WOULD RESULT IN A MORE ADAPTED, LESS EMOTIONALLY (AND, FINANCIALLY) STRESSED TEACHER FOR THEIR PROGRAMS. THIS BENEFITS ALL PARTIES: ADMIN, STUDENTS AND STAFF.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? no fair.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. resume – 150 cdn

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Apply to international schools online. Safety in numbers…I applied to 175 in 26 european countries and got 4 job offers – all of this was done over the phone

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. police check, passport, everything else was paid for by the school

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: rented apartment @ school. Only paid for 1 month rent. Had to spend about 300 euros on furniture/tv/etc.

Try to rent through the school, or see if they can help you find a place

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR?: I want to buy a cheap scooter/moped but haven’t done so as of yet

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Didn’t use recruiter. Used european council of international schools web site and applied to tons through that.

500 euros

CLOSING COMMENTS. You don’t need a recruiter or job fair. If you have a good looking resume and cover letter and take the time, you can find a great international school position on your own.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? I went to Search in Bangkok. I think it is about 60GBP. I do remember thinking the fee was not bad.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Air fair 400 pounds, hotel 400 pounds, meals were cheap snacks and take away, I used the train to get around, so 900 pounds total.

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. I hate staying at the conference hotel as I feel my every move is being watched, but it is probably nice to go to your room between appointments. I have shared a room before and would not do it again. It is stressful enough without dealing with someone else’s recruitment trauma and waiting for the bathroom to be free.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. If you can’t afford these things you should not be in this situation. I have never been reimbursed for medical tests. The max I have paid was perhaps 200 pounds for tests and injections. I have had my shipping paid. Schools have always been up front about what they cover.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. I have never paid rent or deposit. But the hook up for TV and internet have always been up to me. This can vary from 100 pounds to the sky’s the limit for installation and subscription. Did I mention the months of waiting for phone and internet connections after you pay for them? And buying all your household stuff too. This is why many people stay put in less than ideal circumstances. The thought of going through all that again is a nightmare. Total cost about 500 pounds.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? No car

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Don’t even consider it unless you have 3000 pounds. It really depends where you fly to for recruiting. That amount includes your escape fund. It took 2 months to break even.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Think about what will happen if you have to flee and you end up back home jobless and homeless? Costs vary greatly from country to country. Find out what is expensive or cheap where you are headed and ship stuff accordingly. I think it has to be a somewhat emotional journey. If you think about it too much you will never leave the sofa.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? ECIS London, registration is free.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. $1000

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO: Go to England rather than the US, staying in the US costs as much as London, and if you don’t get a job, you had a trip to London.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Flight – $750
Visa stuff – $400
Moving – $3500
I was given 3200 euros for moving over

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. Real estate agent was one month’s rent, deposit two months rent, then first months rent. About 4000 euros to move in. About 150 euros for things that I didn’t ship

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? No car, too expensive for Rome. Scooters are affordable, and a bus pass is even cheaper. You can’t get a driver’s licence until about a one year stay.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? Well I shouldn’t have shipped furniture, if I hadn’t just one month. Since I shipped furniture five months.

CLOSING COMMENTS. Find out how much it is to rent an apartment for one person. Also, decent housing in Rome is about 1100 euros a month, plus electricity, etc. You can’t save here, and it is hard to get outside debts paid unless you work even more, like tutoring, or coaching.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Search Associates London GBP 90

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Air fare GBP 90, transport GBP 45, Meals GBP 35, Resume and photos 0, total GBP 170

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. stayed with family to avoid hotel costs which were excessively high, felt it would have been an advantage to HAVE a room in the hotel.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. visa, medical assessment, shipping / moving, flights all covered by new school on a full reimbursement basis, no personal costs

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. Shipped own possessions, purchased some basic kitchen equipment for GBP 50, apartment rental provide by new school and included local phone, electricity, gas, heating etc.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? Purchased new compact Honda car, GBP 6000 definitely worth buying the car, school helped in the process of getting a local license, but had to study and sit the test myself of course.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? This new school paid for the majority of my costs. Broke even very quickly and now happily saving lots of cash.

CLOSING COMMENTS. There are good school out there! If we teachers don’t accept contracts that treat us as second class citizens, then schools will HAVE to treat us fairly. Have the confidence to hold out for the right job and don’t jump for something that gives you the bare minimum. Doctors don’t buy their medicines and expats being sent to a new country don’t just take one suitcase…


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? 6 years ago we attended the Queen’s University Fair. We paid registration, but I don’t recall what the fee was then.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Other expenses included Greyhound bus fare Wawa-Kingston and affordable accommodation at Queen’s. We also had to bring passport photos, which were cheap (and the cost was reimbursed by our first school). Many Canadians possess a passport now, anyway, so that shouldn’t be a cost added to the job-search.

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. We stayed in very affordable accommodation that was suggested by Queen’s University job Fair. Ask them about such places.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Upon getting a job and getting ready to leave Canada we had to pay for a medical, although it was reimbursed once we arrived in our host country. The new school also covered all other expenses (flight tickets and documents once in the host country) … so save receipts. This has been the same experiences in the other schools that we have gone to.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS. The new school provided accommodation, basic furnishings, (furniture/appliances/all kitchen needs/bedding/towels), small welcome package of food and a small sum of local cash to get us started. We were responsible for buying a t.v./stereo/microwave, etc. and all telephone, cable t.v. and internet hook-ups. This is very typical, although some school offer more … some less. Check it out if it is important to you.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR?: While living in the UAE a car was included in the contract (as administrator), but we purchased a second car easily for about $10,000 Cdn. We sold the car for about half that. We were able to get a host-country driving license just by presenting our Ontario one to the licensing department. Insurance was affordable and was also easy to buy. Owning a car gives you freedom to explore. In Morocco, an international driving license is a good idea, otherwise you may have to take a test to acquire a local license.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? We found the initial output of money for overseas teaching very minimal. The expenses were few and very affordable. Using the internet is even cheaper, in terms of no travel to an interview and the related expenses.

CLOSING COMMENTS: We are in our third overseas country/school and haven’t ever been terribly out-of-pocket. The luxuries that people purchase in their new home are very personal. Some never buy a car or a television, while others set up a house very similar to the one they left behind.

I was drawn to this survey because it sounded very negative … and I wanted our very positive experiences to be known. We are not making our fortune overseas, but we have chosen jobs that accommodate our professional needs and their needs of our family who accompanies us. We are truly rich in experiences!


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? ISS Bangkok. Couple hundred dollars to register. I don’t remember the exact amount.

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Air Fare/Hotel/Meals we probably spent close to $5000

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Network and get phone interviews.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. I was reimbursed by the school. The cost wasn’t much.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: School gave us money to buy furniture and stuff but not nearly enough for everything. We probably could have spent close to another $2000+ if we wanted our old apartment to look “lived in”.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? We bought a second hand Jeep for around $4800. Otherwise we’re looking for taxis in 45 degree heat.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? $10,000…8 months maybe? I didn’t keep track.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Did not attend a recruiting fair

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.: Airfare $1350,
$250 Application fee for recruiting fair (didn’t end up attending however).

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. N/A

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC.: $250 excess baggage, $50 reimbursed

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: $3500 to outfit our small house
$75/month for internet
$50/month for rent includes electric(school housing)
$10/month local phone
$25/month cable

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR?: $15,500 for car, About half of the international teachers buy a car…mostly those with families. We have enjoyed the freedom of having a car and the chance to travel, but it is a significant expense.
$80/month for car insurance
$70/year for registration
$150/month for gas at $4.60 a gallon.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? It took my wife and I over 5 months to break even given our low salaries here.

CLOSING COMMENTS: Make sure you fully understand any local tax implications before you sign the contract. Is it truly “tax free” or is that only in the US? Do you pay into a local retirement system? Check it out, or you could be in for a strong wake-up call.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Search Associates. $200

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Air fair: $800
Hotel: $500
Transport: $100
Meals: $200

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Although the hotel where the fair is held would be convenient, there may be cheaper yet quality hotels available. For example, the Bangkok job fair through Search Associates was held in Westin (about $300 per night), I found a place literally 2 minutes walk from Westin for $120 per night. Some hotels offer free breakfast or dinner. Check for some package deals.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. Some schools cover the cost that incurs in preparing to arrive in the country of employment. One school reimbursed even the linen bought for the house. Another school only dealt with reimbursing for visa application.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: One school provided everyone with same housing. We did not have to look for a place to stay when we arrived. Our second school put us up at a hotel and we were given time to look for a place to live. Although this gave us freedom to choose, it also created some unnecessary stress as we were not familiar with the geography of the place let alone the language.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? Car is a convenience but if public transport is well organized and operating, I would strongly recommend for teachers to use that.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? First posting – we sold off our house, cars, and my dog. Lost quite a lot in value. Still recovering after 2 years.

CLOSING COMMENTS: Read and research THOROUGHLY before accepting the employment contract. Ask tonnes of questions to clarify what you are getting yourself into.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Search Associates London

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC.: approximately $3500USD

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO: Although the conference hotel is the most handy place to be, they generally are expensive. Partly due to recruiters not wanting to go to cheaper venues.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC. These costs I had to pay up front, but were reimbursed mainly in full but in local currency so there was about a 5% to 7% loss on this. The school never covered the full cost of baggage relocation. All the reimbursement was taken up with the fees of getting it into the country. The costs of shipping then fell onto me to pay.

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: getting the shipment cleared through a corrupt customs, setting up with apartments and the necessities that need to go with it. Fully furnished means different things to different cultures. Approximately $700 to set up basically and then the costs go on as you settle in.

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR? No. Would not attempt it here. The costs would be prohibitive and the angst of getting all documents would not be worth it to me.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? approximately 4 months

CLOSING COMMENTS: There are always ongoing costs as each time one moves there are things that you end up buying. I bought another Tv for example as the one in the apartment could not take a DVD player. But this was not known when the lease agreement was signed, along with the costs of setting up the internet etc which was a one off cost but about $120USD.


1. WHAT RECRUITER DID YOU REGISTER WITH AND HOW MUCH DID IT ALL COST? Search Bethesda
Registering with Search 200.00US Total 200.00US

2. COST OF AIR FARE, HOTEL, FOOD, ETC. Gas 120.00US
Hotel 250.00US There was nothing cheaper available
Meals 60.00
Photo and shipping 20.00US
Total 440.00US

3. ADVICE ABOUT POINTS ONE AND TWO. Book hotel in advance. Do not wait till you get there to find a room because it can cost more than you can expect.

4. COST OF VISA, POLICE CHECK, PHYSICAL, ETC.: Mailing documents 80.00US
Excess baggage 600.00US
Flight ticket 1000.00US
Flight to get visa 400.00US
Pictures and printing 10.00US
Shipping 150.00US
Total 2220.00US

5. UPON ARRIVAL COSTS: Non school had allowance

6. DID YOU BUY A CAR?: I lost 1000.00US when I sold it.

7. TOTAL COST AND HOW MANY MONTHS WILL IT TAKE TO BREAK EVEN? 5 Months