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You’ve made the bold choice to teach abroad, now what should you put in your suitcase? Read on for tips on how to pack and prepare to teach overseas.

Points to consider before departing to teach overseas

There are some obvious factors to consider when making this decision such as climate conditions and your length of stay.

Consider whether you’ll need a visa to work or immunisation shots prior to entering the country. Doing some research on your soon-to-be home will enlighten you on their expectations and provide a sense of what to anticipate from the culture. This will also help you avoid overlooking any details in terms of preparing and packing.

Before saying goodbye to your current life, make sure to tie up all loose ends such as recurring bills or other financial obligations.

It may seem daunting at first, but preparing to live in a foreign country doesn’t have to be a stressful process. In order to make your packing practical and realistic, assess what your essentials are first.

Once you’ve secured the necessities for your trip, remaining space can be dedicated to extra items you may want during your stay. Remembering that many things can be purchased upon your arrival will make room in your suitcase for comfort items from home. Here’s what you’ll want to make your journey memorable for all the right reasons:


Deciding what clothing to pack depends highly on the climate you’re entering and what kind of work you’ll need to be dressed for. Develop an understanding of the local dress codes, so you know what ratio of professional to casual attire you’ll need. It’s important to think clearly about what clothes your bringing because they hold the potential to take up a lot of luggage space.

Try to avoid packing multiples of the same style garment and leave room for items you may need such as a raincoat. Wherever you find yourself, comfortable shoes are a must-have and may be difficult to purchase in your new country.


Using an unlocked mobile phone, or another wifi-enabled device may provide the comforting connection to home that you crave while away. Having a laptop or iPad will also be a life-saver for planning lessons and other teaching duties. With these electronics in mind, it’s a good idea to check out what outlets you’ll need to adapt to so you can buy a converter if necessary.

Documents to teach overseas

Staying connected to friends and family will likely be important when you’re in new territory, so make sure to have their emails and phone numbers handy. For additional peace of mind, you may want to have your new country’s emergency hotline numbers accessible.

Some more essential paperwork includes immunisation cards, academic certificates, international drivers license, and your passport. It would also be wise to make photocopies or have digital copies of these important documents.

Toiletries and Medications

In some countries, it may be easiest to buy toiletries upon arrival, but do some research to understand the availability of your preferred brands. Account for things like contact lenses and prescription medications, making any necessary refill arrangements prior to leaving.

Teaching Necessities to teach overseas

Breaking the ice could prove to be challenging in a foreign country, so try bringing an educational game or toy to help you connect with students. Pens and paper may be available to you at your new school, but you may also want to bring extra.

There are communities of overseas teachers that can help, there are usually events on that you can attend and talk to other people that are on this wild adventure.

An English dictionary will not only help you connect with students, but can also increase their understanding of your culture. If you’re unfamiliar with the native language of the country, pack a grammar guide to help you navigate without being highly dependent on others.

Comfort Items

Nothing makes you feel closer to home than your favourite food, so try packing some tasty non-perishable snacks. Photos and small souvenirs are easily stowed away and can also provide comfort when travelling far from home.

A good book or hobby may be a fun idea to consider when you have downtime. However, you may learn some new talents and games on your travels! If getting a good night’s sleep is hard for you, it might be even more challenging in a foreign country. Earplugs could become your best chance for a restful night abroad.

Author Bio

This article was written by Rachel Brown. Her passions for human potential and cultural variety supported her through college and various study, and teaching abroad ventures. Are you interested in expanding your teaching to new cultures while broadening your skill sets?



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