Teaching Abroad in Europe: Traveling Teacher Series

What is it like teaching abroad in Europe? I interviewed Megan who has been teaching abroad in Europe, Australia, and Asia! She shares her insight on how she got started and continues to teach in Europe to this day.

The traveling teachers series is all about people who travel and you guessed it – teach! Each interview features a different teacher, traveling to a different place, and teaching a unique group of students. So often we hear of people teaching abroad, but what is it really like? How do you find opportunities?

There are many questions surrounding traveling and teaching. Through this series, I hope you are inspired by the good work going on around the world, learn, and start to think about ways you can travel and teach abroad yourself. I’m excited to share a story about teaching abroad in Europe with you.

This week I am excited to bring you a story about Megan’s experience teaching abroad in Europe and Asia! She’s been traveling and teaching for years and has so much experience to share. Megan is a member of the Traveling Teachers group and so excited to have her give us insight today into teaching abroad!

What inspired you to start teaching?

My mom has been a first grade teacher for almost 30 years, so being in the classroom was something I was raised in. My summer highlights included decorating her room and organizing her books for the upcoming school year. When I went to college, becoming a teacher was an obvious choice.

How long have you taught and where?

I’ve taught a little bit of everything over the years. I have my kindergarten- Year 6 teaching license, but have taught English in South Korea and currently teach Maths in Sweden. I’ve taught in the USA, South Korea, Australia, and now Sweden.

How did you find the opportunity to start teaching abroad?

Finding my teaching jobs vary. My first international teaching job in Australia was given to me by accident. I really was hoping to teach in the UK, and after applying to nearly a hundred schools and hearing back from none, a principal reached out and said it was due to my passport and visa restrictions…

BUT she recommended I teach in Australia. She gave me a contact there and the rest is history. A teacher I met in Australia gave me the contacts in South Korea, and a teacher I met in South Korea gave me the contacts I have now in Sweden. It’s always about who you know and meet along the way.

Were any of your expenses covered with the teaching experience?

When I moved to Australia I was a substitute teacher, so minimal things were paid for me. I was in charge of paying for my flight and housing, as well as sorting out the visa and bank account. Of course they were there to support along the way, but it was my responsibility to get everything sorted and to financially support myself.

Moving to South Korea was different in the way that they did all of that for me. Since it was in Korean, I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot anyways. They paid for my apartment, set up my bank account and visa, as well as paid for my flight to Seoul. Sweden was a hybrid between Australia and South Korea. They paid for my flight, but I was in charge of finding housing and filling out visa and banking paperwork.

The school I work at sponsors my visa, and of course helps where they can answer questions, but setting up appointments and paying the fees associated with it is my responsibility.

Flights, insurance, even housing, and gym passes with some jobs. Different schools and companies provide different packages.

Were you able to spend time traveling and exploring the country while teaching?

Yes! Covid is making that difficult now, but prior I would visit different countries every break and some weekends. In 2 years I went from having never left the US to getting a passport and living and visiting 13 different countries. Teaching is a great occupation to have if traveling is an interest of yours.

What were interactions with students like?

I go with the Big Sister approach. Especially with middle and high school students, I’m not much older than then. With being 5 ft 6, I’m also usually shorter than them, too. I create relationships with them where we can be sarcastic and honest, but they also know to respect and listen.

What is your favorite part of your teaching experiences?

The best part of teaching abroad is all the people I’ve met over the years. I can happily say I’m close friends with someone living in every continent. Teaching abroad has made me a much more open minded person. You truly don’t know how many different people are out there, until you go out to meet them.

Teaching abroad has also grew my own independence and confidence immensely. I once was a very shy and timid girl, while now I’m very outgoing and confident.

What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to teach abroad?

Home isn’t going anywhere. You don’t have to commit to teaching abroad for life, although it’s quite addicting once you start.

Discover what it's really like to teach abroad in Europe. Learn from Megan's experiences and find out how you can embark on this exciting adventure.
Discover what it’s really like to teach abroad in Europe. Learn from Megan’s experiences and find out how you can embark on this exciting adventure.

You can find more specific advice and information on teaching abroad in Europe by reaching out to Megan on Instagram and checking out her blog, Megan Moves Abroad! Find more about other traveling teachers on my resource page.

Want to hear more stories of teaching in Europe? Here are some to consider:

  1. Teaching Abroad in the UK
  2. Teaching English in Prague
  3. Teaching English in Ukraine
  4. Teaching English in Spain
  5. Teaching in English in Paris
  6. Teaching in France
  7. Becoming an AuPair in Europe
  8. Teaching at an International School in Russia
  9. Become a Language Assistant in Spain
  10. Teaching English in Malta

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