Xpat Report: Budapest Teaching Opportunities At International Schools

  • 7 Jun 2012 10:30 AM
Xpat Report: Budapest Teaching Opportunities At International Schools
Dulcie Copeland, a British primary school teacher started her international journey this time last year. She had taught at a primary school in Kent, England for many years and was ready for a change. "I thought it would be a nice idea to see other countries and experience other cultures while doing a job that I really enjoy," Dulcie says. So she looked at the opportunities in international schools and was amazed at the huge number of possibilities available to her. In no time at all, she was offered a job at The British School of Budapest and in August last year began an exciting new chapter in her life in Hungary.

„It’s not just young teachers who move overseas to work at international schools,” says Andrew Wigford, Director of Teachers International Consultancy, an organisation that specialises in international school recruitment, which helped Dulcie find her job in Budapest . „Dulcie is a great example of teachers with many years of experience who head abroad," he says.

"There are teachers of all ages and experiences working in international schools; some who travel alone, others who go with their partners and also teachers who move overseas with their whole family. Children benefit enormously from such an experience and fit in very quickly to the international environment of the school. It is never too late to apply for teaching opportunities overseas,” he adds.

After living and working in Budapest for almost a year, Dulcie has settled in to a more relaxing pace of life and has taken full advantage of travelling and exploring around her new location. „The transport here is amazing” she says. ”You certainly don’t need a car if you are alone here. I pay £30 a month for a travel card and I can use it on the bus, trolley-bus, tram, HEV (local train service), the Metro and the main train line.” Dulcie explains. „They have a saying here that ’there is no need to run for a tram as one will be along in a minute!’ And it’s true,” she says.

Dulcie is making many friends in Hungary and she thinks this is an essential part of living abroad. „There is always something to do if you’re prepared to look for it. We go out in the evening socially, to concerts, bars, clubs and open-air pubs, and there always appears to be some sort of beer, wine or sausage festival going on!” As well as socialising in the local bars and restaurants, Dulcie has also explored the Danube by bicycle with her new friends.

Settling in to her new school hasn’t been difficult for Dulcie either as she says all the staff and the children made it very easy for her by being supportive and creating a cheerful environment. „The children readily accepted me and are absolutely great to be with, ” she says. „They’ve tried hard to teach me Hungarian and I'm fascinated by the way they can quite naturally swap from language to language”.

Dulcie doesn’t need to speak the language during lesson times. As an international school, all the learning is conducted in English. The class sizes, as in many international schools, are quite small and so Dulcie is able to give every child plenty of time and attention. ”The children go out of their way to please you. We work hard, but laugh a lot and enjoy each other’s company, it’s very rewarding” says Dulcie.

Moving overseas can be quite daunting and it requires good planning. Dulcie offers some great advice, based on her own experience, for teachers thinking about teaching overseas. ”You will feel homesick and miss family and friends at times, but, remember there is always Skype, letters, etc. If you plan in advance when you will next be home, then family and friends won’t seem so distant, and you will always have something to look forward to," she explains.

Dulcie also recommends checking out banking procedures in advance. "How will being abroad affect your bank account? ” she says. Make sure you have all outgoings up and running on direct debit and keep important numbers handy.
The most important piece of advice Dulcie offers is to keep everything during your move and settling-in period in perspective: ”You are in a different country and they will do things differently from what you are used to. Here in Hungary they really take their time over doing things. Just be patient, it will get done eventually! ”

So, if like Dulcie, you want to explore a new culture and lifestyle, it is important to get the right school and location to suit your needs. And the advice from Andrew Wigford at Teachers International Consultancy is don’t go it alone. ”Moving overseas is very rewarding but quite challenging to ensure you find the right school and the right location. A specialist recruitment agency will be able to guide you through the application, selection and interview process and should also be able to support you once you’ve been offered a job in terms of helping you to check your contract, agree your benefits, advise on necessary visas, and plan your move.”

Reputable recruitment organisations offer this support completely free for teachers. And, one final note from Dulcie to all new international teachers: ”Enjoy yourself, but remember you are there to work too! ”

Dulcie found her job at The British School of Budapest with the help of Teachers International Consultancy. TIC is a specialist recruitment organisation which helps English-speaking teachers from all over the world find teaching jobs in international schools and it is a free service for teachers.

For more information about international teaching opportunities and details of forthcoming TIC informational webinars, visit the Teachers International Consultancy website at www.findteachingjobsoverseas.co.uk

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