10 Fears About Living Abroad Part 1

Many people have fears about living abroad, perhaps you have had some worries holding you back? Have you told your friends about your plans to live abroad only to hear the response, “Oh, I could never do that!”

There are a lot of differences in lifestyle while living abroad but these fears shouldn’t hold you back from trying! Here are the first 5 of our 10 common fears about moving abroad demystified!

1. Safety

The internet is riddled with posts about tourists being pickpocketed, scammed, or hurt. Safety is a very valid fear about moving abroad and it pays to do your research on the common criminal activity for the area you will be moving to.

What doesn’t pay is worrying so much it holds you back from traveling there. Just like anywhere, vigilance is key. Keep aware of your surroundings, try to avoid dangerous situations, and have a backup plan ready.

That being said—when living in Taiwan, there was never a time I felt threatened. You could leave your wallet and iPod on a table in the coffee shop without fear of it being stolen, you could leave things outside, and I could wander around outside in the middle of the night without feeling nervous. It surprised me how safe I felt!

2. Medicine

Maybe you’re nervous about whether or not the country you will be living in has your medication or not. Rest assured, there are many ways to continue getting your medication while abroad. There are plenty of pharmacies that sell all kinds of medicines in Asia.

There are plenty of pharmacies that sell all kinds of medicines in Asia. If you know what the medicine does or is called either look up the medicine online, look up or ask a friend how to say it in the native language, or ask the pharmacist for help in finding the Asian brand.

If you simply can’t find it in the pharmacy, you can always visit the hospital or a doctor to see if they have something they can prescribe that’s similar. If that doesn’t work, you can always contact your doctor at home to order the prescription from an online pharmacy and have it shipped to your house abroad. There are many options to ensure your well-being while abroad!

3. Scams

As much as the internet is riddled with safety concerns from living abroad, it’s riddled with horror stories about school scams. People will write novels about how a school treated them—schools don’t pay, they give horrible housing, they yelled at them, they didn’t exist and took their money; the list goes on.

True, there may be schools out there that take advantage of people, but using an agency such as Reach to Teach bypasses this threat entirely. Agencies like Reach to Teach pre-check the school and staff to ensure their hires will be well taken care of, mitigate any issues during their contractual year, and periodically check up on teachers to make sure everything is going well.

Everyone will have their own experiences abroad, and much like any other job, they will have rough days. You might see good reviews online but the bad far outweigh them, and people are more likely to go online to leave a bad review than a good one.

Working can be a bit different abroad but you can be assured that going through an agency like Reach to Teach will ensure that your year abroad is an excellent experience.

4. School Reputations/Management

Along the school scam horror stories are horrible manager stories. People getting yelled at, terrible school staff, or a name brand school reputation in the country being a little notorious.

Again, it might be true that there are managers who are hard to get along with, having an agency behind you makes all the difference. They can help you through a situation if you are having trouble.

While I was teaching, it didn’t seem like any school was of greater caliber or that parents would avoid sending their children to a particular brand-name school, however. Most cram schools seemed to be operated in about the same manner. Management, co-teachers, and classes can make a difference in your experience, but for the most part, there won’t be any glaring issues with an agency backing you.

5. Housing

While some schools offer housing, others will not. It can be pretty difficult finding housing on your own. I would definitely suggest having help looking for housing if you are looking alone—book that hostel for a couple extra nights! They will pay you back if you don’t use them!

While researching life abroad and after reading the various horror stories of school scams and terrible managers, it seemed like housing was the last straw in horrifying internet research. Everything from no air conditioning to bugs, if it was in your nightmare it was where you would end up living for a year.

Again, having an agency is an amazing help in this situation. They can help you find housing, vet the school issues with housing, or suggest other living solutions. I was lucky enough to find a great single apartment and never thought twice about leaving, (even though it was a little expensive), though I’ve had friends who have had issues with their houses. Rest assured, if you don’t like where you are living, there are ways to get out.

Hopefully this half of the list helps you sleep soundly while you are looking for that dream job abroad. Stay tuned for the other half of fears about living abroad next week!

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2 Comments
  1. Wow. The information was super helpful. I have a degree in Psychology from a University and am taking a 120hr TEFL. The complication is that I have 2 brothers with me that do not have a degree but will be taking the 120hr TEFL. Will they be able to teach in Taiwan without a degree? It kind of sucks because my brothers are incredibly smart which will be evident in an interview. I fear they will arrive and this will not matter without a degree.

    Also, are there any schools that you and your fellow teachers have had good experiences with in Taipei? or maybe ones I should stay away from?

    Thanks!!!!

    • Hi Kimberly,

      Unfortunately, to obtain a teaching position in Taiwan candidates will need a bachelors degree in any field. This is a minimum requiremnt that is set by the government. This means that you would qualify for a position but we wouldn’t be able to work with your brothers.

      I hope that you find this information helpful.

      Best

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