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How To Cope If Your Spouse Is Teaching Abroad

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A lot of articles about teaching abroad focus on what it's like for the person doing the teaching. But not everyone who decides to teach abroad goes to another country alone.

Many of them bring their spouses along with them and in a lot of cases those spouses aren't teaching abroad themselves. This means that they will face their own specific types of challenges that can lead to a lot of stress down the line.

With that in mind we wanted to discuss some things that can make life easier for the spouse of someone teaching abroad and the issues they should consider.

·      Decide if you really want to go with them. Living abroad isn't for everyone. If they are only going to be away for six months or a year, visiting them a few times might be better for your mental health and relationship than living there with them.

·      Find out what  your birth control options will be in the other country and how you can get them fulfilled. Becoming pregnant or having a baby outside the US can be very stressful if you don't know how to manage the culture and legalities involved.

·      Read websites with information about teaching abroad so you'll be able to understand the experiences your husband or wife will be going through. This can provide you with some much needed perspective.

·      Start studying the language as soon as possible. Your spouse, having a work environment, is going to have a much easier time making friends than you will. Knowing the language will make it easier for you to socialize as well.

·      Try to join a local club. One of the most common – and most social – are book reading clubs. Nearly any bookstore that sells English language books will have a regular book reading club so sign up as soon as you can.

·      Language exchange events are also a great way to get out of the house and meet new and interesting people while gaining a greater level of understanding of the local language.

·      Be careful about your drinking. Substance abuse issues are very common in the expat community in general and even more so for non-working spouses in the expat community. If you are in a compound or far away from civilization your spouse may be bored and turn to substances to pass the time.  Plan for them and keep them busy.

·      Find a mobile plan that will make it affordable to keep up with your friends and family back home so you don't feel too disconnected from people.  There are many options including Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts and MagicJack.  Each country may have different services that work better.  Most of them are free if you are both using the same service.  And, if your school gives you a business Microsoft Office account, that may include some free Skype minutes so check it out.

cc InternationalEducators.com 2016


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