Your new international teaching role

Settling into your new role in an international school

Embarking on your first teaching adventure abroad is both thrilling and nerve-wracking.

Here are some valuable tips to help you navigate the transition smoothly and make the most of your exciting experience!

Preparation is key

Even before you board the plane, take time to research and get to know your international school’s country. It’s invaluable to study its culture, customs, and local norms. This will not only make you feel more confident upon arrival but also help you avoid unintentional cultural missteps.

While fluency in the local language might not be necessary, knowing a few key phrases can go a long way in building connections and showing respect to your new community.

Do gather all necessary documents such as your professional qualifications, passport, visa, work permits, and any other required paperwork well in advance a some may need to be certified in advance and this will take time. Finally, do also keep both physical and digital copies in a secure location.

When securing an international teaching position with an agency your accommodation will be a significant part of the package and knowing where you are setting up your new life will ease your initial transition. It is important before arriving in country that you know there is safe and comfortable place to stay to help you adjust to your new surroundings.

Try to engage in community events, join social groups, and attend networking gatherings to meet new people. A trusted international teacher recruitment agency will signpost a support system, whether with fellow expatriates or knowledge of the school’s onboarding system to give you a confident start for work life balance.

Teaching abroad offers opportunities to embrace cultural differences. It’s important to approach these experiences  with an open mind and be willing to learn from the new environment and adapt to local customs. Remember, your openness will help you connect with your students and colleagues.

Now let’s turn to the key reason why you are there – to thrive in the classroom! It’s important to familiarize yourself with the curriculum, teaching methods, and classroom expectations of your new school. This understanding will help you deliver effective lessons and connect with your students. Furthermore it will support the development of positive relationships with your students, colleagues, and administrators and create a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment that will set the tone for a successful teaching experience.

Being away from family and the challenges of teaching abroad can be demanding and self-care must be a priority. It is advisable to engage in activities you enjoy, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and seek support if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Stay healthy by taking care of your physical well-being, eating nutritious meals, staying active, and getting enough sleep. Familiarize yourself with local healthcare options as well.

This is an important time to keep a journal or blog to chronicle your experiences as the time will go so quickly and the challenges and triumphs will not only serve as a personal keepsake, but it could also inspire others who are considering teaching abroad.

Finally, teaching abroad for the first time is a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. By preparing thoroughly, embracing cultural differences, connecting with your community, and focusing on your well-being, you can make the most of this transformative experience.

FAQ’s from International Teachers
  1.  Do I need to be fluent in the local language to teach abroad? While fluency is beneficial, many international schools offer programs in English. Learning some basic phrases will be helpful, but you can still succeed without complete fluency.
  2. How can I overcome homesickness while teaching abroad? Stay connected with loved ones through video calls and social media. Engage in local activities, make new friends, and give yourself time to adapt to your new environment.
  3. What’s the best way to immerse myself in the local culture? Participate in cultural events, try local foods, and engage in community activities. Building relationships with locals will provide you with insights into their way of life.
  4. How can I handle the challenges of a different education system? Attend professional development sessions offered by your school, seek guidance from experienced colleagues, and maintain an open dialogue with your students and administrators.
  5. What resources are available for handling unexpected situations abroad? Familiarize yourself with the nearest embassy or consulate, have emergency contacts saved, and learn about local emergency services. Your school’s administrative staff can also provide guidance in case of unexpected situations.

Teaching abroad is a remarkable journey of cultural exchange and personal development. By approaching it with curiosity, flexibility, and a willingness to learn, you’ll not only excel in the classroom but also create lasting memories that will shape your teaching career.



Living and teaching in Milan

Milan is a vibrant city located in the northern part of Italy and is the capital of the Lombardy region. With relatively inexpensive and direct flights readily available from the UK through multiple airlines, Milan’s easy-to-reach location is one of the many features of this city that appeals to international teachers. 

Milan is a major economic hub and a centre for industries such as fashion, design, finance, technology, and media. The city provides a wealth of job opportunities, particularly for those in creative fields, making it an appealing destination for expatriates. As a result, there are a number of international schools catering to the educational needs of expatriate families.

Teaching abroad in Milan can be a rewarding and enriching experience provided you find a school that is right for you. International schools in Milan cater to a diverse community of expatriates, offering a variety of curricula such as British, American, and International Baccalaureate (IB). Remember, each international school is unique, so it’s important to thoroughly research and connect with the specific school you are considering to gain insights from current or former teachers.

International schools in Milan typically offer a range of benefits and support to their teachers. While the specific offerings can vary between schools, competitive salaries that are commensurate with the teacher’s qualifications and experience should be expected. Occasionally, the salary packages may also include additional benefits such as transportation allowance, and health insurance.

As an international teacher, it is also fair to expect support in settling into your new environment. That may be through a cultural integration programme, mentorship or buddy programme, and/or a well-integrated school community. If this is your first international teaching post, it should be reassuring to learn that a good international school understand the challenges that teachers may face when adjusting to a new cultural environment, and make every effort to welcome you appropriately.

Through a professional lens, the international schools that we work with, provide teachers with access to well-equipped classrooms, teaching resources, and professional development opportunities. All with the central ambition of delivering high-quality instruction and engaging students effectively. 

In fact, Milan is a hub for many educational conferences, workshops, and professional development opportunities. As a teacher, you may have access to these events to further enhance your teaching skills and stay up to date with educational trends.

Outside of school

Expats can take advantage of the city’s excellent transportation links to explore neighbouring countries, visit surrounding beauty spots, or take short trips to popular cities like Venice, Florence, and the Swiss Alps. Milan’s central location in northern Italy allows for easy access to other European destinations. 

But there is plenty to see and do around the city too. Milan is in close proximity to several beautiful lakes, such as Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Garda. These lakes offer stunning natural scenery, water sports, and leisure activities. They are popular destinations for locals, expats, and tourists. To the north of Milan, the landscape transitions into the Italian Alps. While not directly part of the city’s geography, the proximity of the Alps provides easy access to breathtaking mountain scenery, hiking, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits. If you like open green spaces but don’t want to travel too far, the city itself has plenty of parks providing residents with recreational spaces and opportunities for relaxation amidst the urban environment.

The city is also home to iconic landmarks such as the magnificent Duomo di Milano, La Scala Opera House, and numerous museums and art galleries. It offers a lively cultural scene with fashion events, design exhibitions, and artistic festivals, attracting those with an appreciation for art and culture. Expats with an interest in fashion and luxury find the city particularly appealing, with a plethora of high-end boutiques, designer stores, and fashion districts to explore.

Italy is, of course, famous for its cuisine, and Milan is no exception. The city offers a wide array of culinary delights, from traditional Italian trattorias to Michelin-starred restaurants. Expats are spoiled for choice when it comes to authentic Italian flavours.


While living and teaching in Milan as an expatriate can be exciting and rewarding, there are some challenges that you may encounter. It’s important to be aware of these and prepare for them:

Language barrier

Italian is the primary language spoken in Milan, and while many people, especially in international schools, speak English, there may still be instances where language barriers arise in day-to-day interactions. Learning some Italian can help you navigate daily life and communicate with locals.

Housing and cost of living

Milan is known for its higher cost of living compared to other Italian cities. Finding suitable accommodation within your budget can be a challenge, particularly in desirable neighbourhoods. It’s important to research housing options in advance and budget accordingly.

Bureaucratic processes

Navigating administrative processes, such as obtaining work permits, visas, and dealing with local authorities, can sometimes be complex and time-consuming. It’s essential to familiarise yourself with the necessary paperwork and seek guidance from your agency, school or employer to ensure a smooth transition.

Final thoughts

Milan offers a high standard of living with a well-developed infrastructure, efficient public transportation, quality healthcare, and a range of amenities and services. The city’s parks, recreational facilities, and diverse entertainment options provide a well-rounded lifestyle for residents.

It’s important to note that the cost of living in Milan can be relatively high compared to other Italian cities, particularly in terms of housing and dining out. However, for many international teachers, the advantages and opportunities the city offers outweigh the associated expenses.

Ultimately, the appeal of Milan as a destination for teaching abroad lies in its cultural richness, lifestyle amenities, and the opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant Italian way of life.

It’s important to research and consider the specific international school in Milan you are interested in, as each school may have its own unique environment, curriculum, and community. As always, we are here to help, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to know more about opportunities to live and teach in Milan.

We would love to hear from you.

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