Taking the family along
Living and teaching abroad with a family, spouse or partner is more complicated than if you are single.
Dependants are usually defined as children for whom you have full legal custody and who are under the age of 18. Most countries will not recognise your parents, siblings or children older than 18 as dependants, even if you are financially responsible for them. Should those who are not recognised as legal dependants have to accompany you, they will need to secure their own visas and rights to work before you will be considered by a school. Do not assume that you will be entitled to free visas, flights, medical coverage and tuition for your dependants, as each school has a different policy.
Spouse or partner
Marriage provides a legally recognised bond between two people and most countries make provision for a visa for your spouse to enter the country and remain with you. Unmarried partners have no such legal bond and must procure their own work authorisation to enter and remain in the country. Schools will usually avoid teachers who have an uncertain personal situation.
In most countries in which Dynamic Personnel operates, same-sex marriages are not recognised. Your same-sex partner will usually have to obtain their own work authorisation. In some countries in the Middle East and Far East, homosexuality is illegal.
If your partner has their own employment package, you will not face the same financial difficulties as a teacher who is the sole breadwinner. If you are the main breadwinner, you need to consider:
- Housing provided by schools is usually a shared or one-bedroom apartment and might not be suitable for a family.
- Some schools will provide a stipend in lieu of housing, but it is often not enough to cover the rent of even a one-bedroom apartment. This is especially true in the Middle East − stipends usually cover half the cost of an apartment.
- International schools serving a mainly local population might not be culturally suitable for a child – they may be the only expatriate child in their school, which can lead to adjustment problems.
- Schools usually do not pay for benefits for family members, such as flights or medical insurance.
- Not all schools provide free tuition for teachers’ children. Some, especially in the Middle East, provide only a discount and all schools would expect you to pay for uniforms, books, lunch fees, etc. − even if tuition is free.
All things being equal, most schools prefer single teachers who cost them less to support. That being said, there are some “family friendly” schools and advisory projects abroad which are usually open to teachers who have at least three years’ teaching experience.