Getting Your Parents On-Board With Your Decision to Teach Abroad

by Published

So you have decided to teach abroad and you are totally jazzed. The excitement about doing meaningful work in an exciting new destination while making incredible new friends and learning about a new culture is surrounding you like an angelic aura. 

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Make a plan then stick it out!

But maybe you’ve been keeping your latest travel plans to teach abroad a secret because you don’t want your parents to deflate your good vibes just yet. However, you know there is one critical step required before you can start packing your bags: Mom and Dad's blessing, approval, money, or other vital endorsement that will get them on board with your decision to teach abroad.

Easier said than done, right? Telling parents you're going to teach abroad is a sticky situation, but with a little preparation, they will be happily driving you to the airport in no time.

Before the chat & an absolute must: Pick a legit program

When approaching the subject of how to let your parents know you’re teaching English abroad, first things first. You absolutely positively MUST have all your ducks in a row before telling parents you're going to teach abroad and presenting your plans. Don’t present them with a half-assed plan or leave any gaps in your research for them to fill with questions you aren’t prepared to answer. By picking a legit teach abroad program, you are showing them that you are prepared and that you mean business. 

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First, pick a program and prepare! 📚

When you’re first starting out researching top teach abroad programs, it can sometimes feel like a vortex of information and it can be seriously overwhelming with all of the options available. But don’t fret! We are here to help! 

Our whole deal is to make your experience finding programs and getting abroad easier. We’ve got tons of tools and resources to make sure you find the right program and have the best time teaching abroad. To keep it all straight, you can save and compare your favorite programs with MyGoAbroad and keep all the best teach abroad programs reviews in one place. And stay tuned! More on tips for getting your parents' support for teaching English abroad coming up shortly. 

But the first thing you need to do is ask yourself a few questions about where you want to teach abroad, what you want to teach abroad, and if you have any specific skills, knowledge, or certifications that would shine or be beneficial in a certain program. Once you’ve answered these questions and decided that you definitely want to do this, know where you want to go, and what kinds of students you want to work with, now it’s time to get matched up with a teach abroad program that fits the bill and will give you the type of experience you want.

[Helpful hint: Check out GoAbroad’s 2018 Top Teaching Destinations Report to narrow down locations.]

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Second. Give yourself 10 minutes to freak out, but then compose yourself and get ready to OWN the conversation!

Now to get the ball rolling on choosing a specific program, check out some of the top teach abroad programs you should definitely have a look at:

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1. International TEFL Academy

What makes the International TEFL Academy so great is that you can kill two birds with one stone by becoming certified and finding a teaching job all through this one provider. These guys are a global leader in providing TEFL certifications and provide their students with lifetime job search guidance, resume and application reviews, and unlimited access to their job board.

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2. i-to-i TEFL

This is another one of the world’s leading TEFL course providers having trained hundreds of thousands of graduates and helping to send them overseas to fulfill their dreams. Their English-government regulated courses are endorsed by language schools across the world meaning you’ve an excellent chance of securing the best jobs. Their trainings are specifically designed to give you the skills and confidence to start teaching abroad at any one of their placements across the world.

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3. Teach Away

Already certified and looking to hit the ground running? Score an education job through Teach Away. This teacher placement organization has extensive programs including education jobs with Ministries of Education, private schools, colleges, universities, and ESL schools. Their job options go far beyond just teaching English, and are open to licensed teachers, ESL teachers, principals, administrators, college instructors, vocational teachers, and online teachers. 

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4. Teaching Nomad 

Teaching Nomad is focused on connecting both rookie and veteran teachers with great schools in Asia and the Middle East. Teaching Nomad offers a huge range of jobs with everything from kindergarten up through high school, language schools, and international schools. This provider has a reputation for hooking teachers up with paying jobs and helping non-certified teachers get TEFL certified for free, so if you’re looking for an economical choice, Teaching Nomad is it!

Are you starting to see one program emerging as the frontrunner? Good. Now you’re ready to get your parents on board with your decision to teach abroad. 

Our best advice for telling parents you're going to teach abroad

Now that you’ve set your sights on a specific teach abroad program, here’s a list of our best advice on how to let your parents know you're teaching English abroad. Dropping the bomb requires a little finesse, but here are a few tips for getting your parents' support for teaching English abroad:

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare… 

Preparation is the key to success here. Don’t cram the night before, take your time getting your act together so you can make a persuasive presentation that meets the needs of your target audience. By anticipating your parent’s questions and qualms before you bring this little meeting to order, you can be ready to deflect any of their concerns with catlike reflexes and a well thought out rebuttal.

2. … And prepare some more

You also need to prepare by being able to demonstrate and cite your basic competence on domestic soil. For example, getting good grades, keeping a budget, navigating from Point A to Point B successfully, and staying out of trouble are all good places to start. If you can’t prove that you’re a capable human in your natural habitat, then odds are they won’t ever be thoroughly convinced that you can hold your own whilst gallivanting internationally. If you want them to treat you like an adult when you come to them all excited about teaching abroad, then act like one.

3. Explain your reasoning. (Visual aids can’t hurt)

Write out some index cards, an outline, make a powerpoint presentation if you have to, but understand that firmly knowing and believing your reasoning is the basis of your persuasive argument. Set yourself up for success with a solid foundation from the start! Although “European accents are hot” may or may not be on your list of reasons, it is definitely not on the top list of reasons why parents like to see their kids go abroad. Instead, highlight the more “family friendly” reasons. Like the fact that it will be an incredible and positive life-changing experience. Parents love that stuff.

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Third. Present your bada$$ research (powerpoints really do help!)📝📝

4. Let them know why you picked THIS specific program.

You need to explain to them why your program is different and why you are different. Speak of the program’s credibility and why you are a perfect match for that specific program. Sure there will be plenty more chances to travel abroad but teaching abroad is unique and this experience at this point in your life will not come again.

[Use MyGoAbroad to find & compare teaching jobs abroad]

5. Emphasize that it will set you up for a “real” job.

Your parents offer their support in the hopes that you will someday become employed, self sufficient, move your crap out of their basement, and generally become a useful member of society. Teach abroad looks incredible on your resume. Employers love international experiences, well-rounded individuals, self-starters, and the globally-minded. Reinforce the fact that today's job market is competitive and a teach abroad experience will make your resume stand out amongst the rest.

6. Help them to see why this is so important to you.

This is your life, right? Prove to them that you’ve got it under control. Make sure you listen and understand their point of view, but also help them to see this from your point of view. Painting them a picture of why teaching abroad is so important to you will ease their fears and help them zoom out and see the big picture. Oh, and a little extra tip, DO NOT get annoyed by their questions. They may actually be shedding light on something you should be wondering too. Just be sure to share the answer with them when you find out. And no matter what, DO NOT back down! You’ve got this.

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Fourth. Finish strongly and answer all questions accordingly. 😎

7. Assure them it’s safe.

Your parents number one concern is that the big scary world is going to eat you for breakfast. Assure them this is not the case by researching your destination, especially before they do (aka don’t let them loose on Google). Copy the program's emergency plan, make sure you know what vaccinations are needed, and have your travel insurance policy down. After all, teaching abroad is safe. Just make sure you know WHY your program is safe.

8. Choose a means of communication while you’re away.

Another way to get your parents on board is to ensure there will be an open line of communication while you are teaching abroad. Work out a block of time to Skype with them maybe once a week before you head out. Let them know you’re not going to fall off the grid. Also, make sure they have all the numbers and information of your program director to give them.

9. Tell them how much you love them.

You should do this anyways, because if you have to talk to your parents about teaching abroad you probably have parents who will support you no matter what, respect your decisions, are involved in your life, and love you back! So put yourself in their shoes for a second and imagine what it would feel like to send someone you love more than anything far, far away.

10. Offer them a drink.

Some lowered inhibitions certainly can’t hurt your case. Plus, you will need something to celebrate with anyways after they say yes!

Your parents are on-board!

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Lastly, celebrate! Pop out the bottles, throw some confetti… you’re going to teach abroad!🍾

So there you have it. Throw some puppy dog eyes in the mix along with those little tips for getting your parents' support for teaching English abroad and all the agonizing about how to let your parents know you're teaching English abroad will be a thing of the past. See that wasn’t so hard? Now armed with the parental blessing, some teaching supplies, lesson plans, and a dash of confidence, you are ready to change the world!

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” —Nelson Mandela

Next up: How to prepare to teach English abroad