The Ultimate Guide To Teaching English Abroad


 

Have you been bitten by the travel bug? Do you want to see the world and experience new cultures? Well, you can do both and make a living out of it by teaching English as a foreign language! So if you’re ready to take the plunge and embark on the adventure of a lifetime this is the ultimate guide to teaching English abroad.  

Who can teach English abroad?

University/College Graduate

Teaching English abroad is one of the most popular ways that you, as a new graduate can go explore the world. It can be a great break from the grind of university life and can also help you take some time to discover what path you want to take career wise. Not only that but it will count as valuable career experience and depending on your career aspirations, it may help to boost your CV and be the added extra that helps you get that alluring grad job.

New or experienced teacher

Are you an experienced teacher who is ready for a new challenge? More and more teachers and education graduates are getting the travel bug. Your skills are in high demand around the world and not only could you improve your career prospects you could benefit financially.

Career changer

Teaching English abroad is the ideal job if you’re looking to change careers. It doesn’t matter what stage you are in your current career, teaching English is always an option. Many English teachers around the world have held previous professions and find that they are in high demand for teaching jobs abroad.

Why should I teach English abroad?

There are five simple reasons why you teach English abroad

  1. You get paid to travel
  2. You can completely immerse yourself in a different culture
  3. You will gain international work experience
  4. Opportunity to learn a new language
  5. You can make a difference in the lives of people around the world

What is the market like for English language teachers?

English language teachers are currently in high demand. By 2020 there will be 2 billion English language students in the world and somebody has to teach them!

China is fast becoming one of the fastest growing teaching English markets. With over 300 million people learning English there right now. The number of English learners in China is also expected to grow by around 15% every year so now is the perfect time if you want to explore the country as an English teacher.

How to teach English abroad: Your foolproof 5-step plan

Step 1 – Get your ESL certificate

To teach English abroad you will need to get qualified. There are a few different qualifications you can choose from;

  • TESL
  • TESOL
  • CELTA

Step 2 – Find out which country you’d like to live in

It can be hard to choose just one country, but being flexible can work in your favour. Having an open mind will open up more opportunities and allow you a greater variety of career directions. If you have a set country in mind, read up on their job interview techniques and the preferred application route for TEFL teachers.

Step 3 – Apply for jobs

The search for most TEFL jobs starts online. Many schools will interview you remotely over Skype. When applying to choose a reputable company. A good recommendation is to work with a company that won’t charge you a fee for helping you secure a job, this is often unnecessary.

Step 4 – Get your visa

It’s pretty much guaranteed that you will need a visa to teach English abroad. Research this thoroughly. There are some recruitment agencies and employers that will help you out with this process for a fee, it’s just up to you which route you want to go down.

Step 5 – Pack your bags

It’s time to start packing! Don’t worry about the stress of having to move your life from a to b, instead of checking all that luggage into the hold you can avoid costly airline fees by transporting your luggage with a reputable courier company. My Baggage specialises in shipping luggage for students, expats and holidaymakers alike. It offers a seamless experience and will provide you with value for money. To get a quote find out more here.

Where can I teach English abroad?

We’ve decided the best way to get you inspired is to break this into sections, firstly starting with Europe and ending with the Middle East. The world really is your oyster once you are a qualified English teacher!

Europe

Jobs

Most jobs in Europe are in private language schools that offer after-school and evening classes. Teaching contracts normally run for the school year from September to June. Public schools prefer to high EU citizens who can speak the local lingo, so this is something to consider.

There are also short-term teaching jobs available through summer language camps. You can also go down the private tutor route, however, this is a very competitive market so it’s a good idea to have another job as a backup.

You can only teach at an international or IB school in Europe if you are already certified or a licensed teacher in your home country with teaching experience.

When to look

February is normally the best time to start looking so that you can start for the new academic year in September/October. Plenty of jobs will also be available as the new year approaches and you sometimes get the odd last-minute openings.

Average wage

Each country varies and the wage will depend on your experience and training. There may also be deductibles if you are living in housed accommodation on campus. On average in the Czech Republic, you will make between $700 – $1,000 USD per month. For Germany it is between $1,100 USD – $2,2000 USD a month and for Spain around $1,250 USD – $1,850 USD a month.  

Asia

Jobs

Asia is the perfect destination for ESL teachers. Students learn English from primary school so there is high demand. There are also government run teaching programs that look for TEFL qualified teachers for both public and private schools. There are many different types of ESL schools offering lessons from conversational English to Business English. There is also a huge demand for flexible online English teaching in Asia if you would like to build valuable experience prior to moving.

International schools in Asia will predominantly hire experienced, accredited teachers with an educational background or degree. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities with both international charities and local NGOs, but remember that these are often unpaid.

When to look

There is no set hiring season with opportunities available all year round. There are some exceptions however with the JET programme in Japan who start recruiting from April until June and again from October to January. And the EPIK programme in South Korea which starts is a recruitment drive in springtime.

Average wage

Wages again vary depending on the country and you will have to factor in the cost of living for Japan, however with the average wage in China you will be able to live comfortably and save money.

Japan averages $1,500 USD – $2,000 USD a month, China averages at $1,250 USD – $2,850 USD a month, South Korea $1,850 USD – $2,150 USD a month and Thailand around $800 USD a month.

Central and South America

Jobs

Positions here tend to be in private language schools aimed at teaching adults. There are many TEFL providers that you can gain certification with that will guarantee a job placement so this is something to consider. There are also many volunteering opportunities if you want to gain experience. If you are already certified and have the experience you can also apply to international schools.

When to look

In South America, March is the start of the school year and is the best time to be hired. However, in Central America schools start looking for teachers in either June or July. Unlike Asia or the Middle East where hiring in advance is common practice, in Central and South America face-to-face interviewing is the norm, so something to bear in mind when applying.  

Average wages

The cost of living is substantially lower and the wages will reflect this. An average monthly wage in Mexico is $500 USD – $800 USD, in Argentina it is from $600 USD – $1,100 USD and Chile $750 – $1,000 USD.

Middle East


Jobs

There is a high demand for certified English teachers in the Middle East. You will be able to pick from a variety of positions in government programs, international schools, private language schools, vocational schools or colleges and universities. If you have a lot of experience under your belt you can expect a lucrative salary and generous benefits package.

When to look

Positions are open all year round, however, the prime time for public school positions is during spring and summer.

Average wages

The average wages are high in the Middle East and you can expect to live comfortably. In Bahrain, you can earn from $1,500 – $3,000 USD a month. In the UAE $1,800 – $5,000 USD a month and Qatar $1,600 – $4,000 USD a month.

We hope this guide has covered everything you will need to know about teaching English as a foreign language. Are you teaching English abroad currently and have a story to tell? Get in touch with us here.  

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How to Earn Money Whilst Travelling the World


Do you want to travel the world but find it hard to save up the thousands you’ll need for flights, accommodation and daily costs? There is an alternative! You can earn money abroad whilst travelling to help top up your funds so you can keep on sightseeing. In this article, we will outline a variety of ways you can earn money whilst travelling the world.

Teach a language

This is the easiest job to find whilst travelling if you are a native English speaker. There is a high demand for TEFL teachers in South East Asia, Central & South America and the Middle East. These jobs pay well, vary in contract times, with some being part-time or flexible and offer great holiday options. Some schools will even pay your flights and will provide you with free accommodation. You will require a TEFL qualification and a university degree for most posts, however, South and Central America will not always require these qualifications.

If you don’t want to be tied down in one location, you could also try teaching English online. You will need to have a good laptop, reliable Wifi connection and a headset, but this is a more flexible option for someone who wants to always be on the road. You will require a TEFL qualification and a degree from a university to qualify for most posts.

If English isn’t your native language there are also opportunities to teach your mother tongue.

Work seasonally

Why not travel with the seasons and work in ski resorts or with the tourist seasons? There are a lot of options, with plenty of demand for temporary work. Make sure you arrive at your destination before the seasons starts to get a job as if you show up during the tourist season all the good jobs will already be taken. Destinations such as Austria or Banf offer great seasonal opportunities during the skiing months. Ask around at local hostels and they will be able to point you in the right direction and give you advice on who might be hiring.

Go freelance

If you have previously worked in the technology and design industry you can always go freelance and work remotely. There are plenty of websites or online forums that can help you find work and connect with other creatives looking to work whilst they travel.

Work on a Cruise ship

Working on a cruise ship is an ideal way of earning good money whilst being able to travel the world. There are plenty of job opportunities from hospitality to beautician or entertainer. There are job opportunities for everyone as most cruise ships offer a variety of facilities for their passengers.

Apply for a working holiday visa

Are you under the age of 30? Many countries offer working holiday schemes. These programs are popular with gap year travellers or backpackers. The countries that offer these visas are Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The application for the visa is simple, with the visas normally only be issues for 1-2 years. However, they often come with certain stipulations, such as you have to have travel insurance or a certain amount of cash in your bank account or you can’t work in one place for more than six months.

Become an au pair

Do you love working with children? This is a popular job if you want to experience a new country whilst having a guaranteed income. You’ll receive room, board and a paycheck, which may not be as lucrative as other jobs but should be enough to cover essentials and exploring. You will have to be around during the week to look after the kids, but you’ll most likely get the weekends off and holidays that you can take to enjoy exploring your new country.

Work in a hostel

Working in a hostel can be a great chance to make some extra money and even get a free bed for the night. Even if you don’t get a paid job in a hostel, the free room and board is a great way to save money whilst travelling and is an especially good idea in more expensive locations.

Be a tour guide

Why not share your love of travel with others and become a tour guide. This is more of a settled job, but it can be a fun, creative way you can meet other people who share your interests.

Volunteer

Whilst you won’t make any money volunteering, you will save money on room and board, which will help you explore a new destination for longer. You don’t have to spend a huge sum to volunteer. Check out organisations such as WorldpackersWorkaway.info and WWOOFing to find out available opportunities.

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The Ultimate Guide to Events in Melbourne


Melbourne has got loads of great events all year-round from festivals to fashion shows. To help you keep in the loop we’ve put together the Ultimate Guide to Events in Melbourne.

January

  • The Australian Open – The Australian Open is a famous tennis event that takes place in the last fortnight of January. Watch some of the most famous tennis players in the world battle it out and don’t even worry about splurging for tickets! Screens are set up in the city so anyone can enjoy the atmosphere of this popular event.
  • Midsumma – Victoria’s premier queer arts and cultural Festival, for and by LGBTQIA+ communities. The festival runs over three weeks, starting in the middle of January. During this time you can enjoy over 130 visual arts, performances, film, parties, talks and social events run by the LGBTQIA+ community.

February

  • Chinese New Year – During the end of January/start of February Chinese New Year celebrations kick off in Melbourne. During this time you can enjoy Chinese Lion Dance, Firecrackers, Traditional Folk Music, Dancers, Martial Artists and much more.

March

  • Fashion Festival – Discover world-class runway shows from Australia’s established and up and coming designers. Running for almost 3 weeks at the start of March you’ll be able to enjoy workshops, retail events, industry seminars and much more!
  • Moomba – Melbourne isn’t Melbourne without Moomba. It is celebrated during the Labour Day long weekend. There’s a parade with floats, petting zoos and more. The perfect day out for all the family.
  • Queer Film Festival – Australia’s largest and longest-running queer film festival, MQFF presents more than 100 films from across the world, showcasing the best in LGBTI features, shorts and documentaries.
  • Formula 1 – F1 makes an appearance in Melbourne during March, for all you racing car fans.

April

  • Melbourne International Comedy Festival – Be prepared to laugh out loud, when humour takes over the city for the international comedy festival.

June

  • Melbourne International Jazz Festival – Enjoy some of the best jazz in the world in Melbourne, with famous artists from all around the work taking part.

July

  • Run Melbourne – Take part in Run Melbourne, by completing either a 5k, 10k or 21k run. The route will take you past all the famous Melbourne landmarks.
  • Melbourne Open House – Discover more about Melbourne’s unique historic buildings during Melbourne Open House.

August

  • Melbourne International Film Festival – Pick up some popcorn and get your tickets to the oldest and largest film festival in Australia.
  • Melbourne Writers Festival –Explore a program full of storytelling, conversation and discussion, intellectual debate, educational programs, live performance, music and art events.

September

  • Royal Melbourne Show – Enjoy everything from entertainment, arts and craft, rides, animals and shows come together at the Royal Melbourne Show.
  • AFL Grand Final – The grand final of the Australian Football League, if you’re into sport, be sure to catch this one, totally unique to Australia!

October

  • Melbourne Festival – One of Australia’s leading international arts festivals presenting unique international and Australian events in the fields of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, multimedia, free and outdoor events.
  • Melbourne Marathon – Take to the streets to run Melbourne!

November

  • Melbourne Cup – The nation stops for the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s largest horse racing event.
  • Melbourne Music Week – For 9 Days in over 40 locations, Melbourne comes to life with music.

December

    • Christmas Festival – This event celebrates the spirit of Christmas in true Melbourne style.
    • Cricket: Boxing Day Test – Australia’s biggest stadium is home to this annual event where Australia takes on another nation that happens to be touring Australia at the time.

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A Guide to Eating Out in Melbourne


In Melbourne, foodie culture is pretty huge. To help you navigate this, we’ve put together our ultimate guide to eating out in Melbourne.

Cafés

When in Melbourne be prepared to enjoy lots of freshly brewed coffee and avocado on toast. This city has so much to offer in the way of cafes you’ll be an aficionado in no time.

Some of our favourite cafes include;

Smith and Deli – Smith and Deli is a New York style vegan Deli. Not something you’d normally think of together! They are best known for their sandwiches but also offer homemade cakes, take away dinners and salads.

Matcha Mylkbar – Fancy a mushroom latte, anyone? A vegan egg, maybe? This St Kilda cafe offers an unusual menu that has been making waves in the Melbourne cafe scene since it opened.

Seratonin Eatery – If you’ve ever wanted to eat your breakfast or lunch while rocking on a swing, Serotonin has you covered. They offer a healthy and colourful menu which focuses on boosting your serotonin levels. You’re guaranteed to leave this place with a smile on your face.

Seven Seeds Specialty Coffee – Seven Seeds is known for having one of the best coffees in Melbourne, which is a bold statement given how many great options there are.

Restaurants

If you are looking for an Italian restaurant head to Lygon St, for Bohemian Food go to St. Kilda & Collingwood, Abbotsford for Vietnamese, South Yarra & South Bank for Modern and Chinatown for the best Chinese outside of China!

Smith and Daughters – The sister restaurant to Smith and Deli, this restaurant serves delicious vegan food. Mixing a rock ‘n’ roll vibe with good quality Spanish food, it is a must-see for any self-declared foodies.

Veggie Bar – One of the most popular spots on Brunswick street, and for good reason. Eat your dinner here and afterwards pop over next door for dessert at their dessert bar Boys and Girls.

China town – This is a whole area in Melbourne’s CBD that serves Chinese cuisine and Shanghai-style dumplings, which is the most popular item on the menus. For the best dumplings in town go to Shandong Mama.

400 Gradi – It has been awarded the prize for ‘Best Margarita Pizza in the World’, so they must be doing something right. 400 Gradi is located in the Italian Precinct of Melbourne on Lygon Street, where you can take your pick of the best Italian food in Melbourne.

Bars

Upstairs, downstairs, behind a secret door and in alleyways…. there are endless options to choose from when it comes to bars in Melbourne.

Rooftop Bar –Party in the heart of the city on the 7th floor of Curtain House in the CBD. They also boast a rooftop cinema during Melbourne’s summer months.

Naked in the Sky – This rooftop bar offers see excellent views of the city skyline and out to the hills in the east. So sit back and drink in  that view, whilst you sip on your favourite cocktail.

The Imperial Hotel  The Imperial has been around since 1852 and they recently opened a rooftop bar to take in some spectacular views. Situated right opposite the Victorian Parliament, this place is pretty impressive to visit with the parliament building lit up at night.

Gin Palace –A must for all gin lovers. Enjoy your favourite tipple in this funky basement bar. With minimal signage outside you’ll feel like you’ve found one of Melbournes best-kept secrets.

Moving Your Stuff To Australia

Once you’ve finished packing up all of your stuff, you then face the challenge of moving all of your personal belongings to your new home in Australia. It’s a daunting task, but it needn’t be, we’ve got you covered!

Thankfully, that’s where My Baggage comes in. We specialise in transporting students, expats and holidaymakers belongings all over the world. We’re trusted by over 30,000 customers across the globe. You can read more about our services here. You can also check out My Baggage reviews too. Get a quote below!

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The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in China


China is the number one destination to English abroad, with a variety of job offers to suit everyone. But just what are the requirements, how can you find a job and what will your daily life be like? We’ve decided to put together the ultimate guide to teaching English in China to help you navigate the Chinese Tefl opportunities so you can relocate to your new country successfully.

Teaching English in China

China is the easiest place in the world to find a teaching job. It has a population of an estimated 1.4 billion people (2018) and the second largest economy in the world after the USA. If you have a degree and a passport from an English speaking country, you’ll be able to find a teaching job in China. But there are a few things you’ll need to consider before you pack your bags.

Where in China do you want to Teach English?

China is one of the biggest countries in the world. It’s hard to grasp how large this country truly is, even when you live there. Therefore it is advisable to familiarise yourself with China and the locations of some of the main cities, so you know where you are looking for a job. There are many locations to choose from but it all depends on where you want to live and what school you want to teach in.

The city vs. the country

You need to ask yourself whether you could be happy living in a rural community, with few foreigners and fewer Western comforts. You will definitely enjoy a real Chinses experience, so it’s whether you want to have a complete cultural immersion or want to introduce yourself slowly to a new culture. If you decide to teach in the countryside be aware that you might not find other International expats to hang out with and may even struggle to find other English speakers. If you can survive in an environment where you most likely won’t be able to speak to others or find familiar foods or home comforts then this can be a rewarding experience, however, if you feel this might be too much of a culture shock then maybe the city would suit you better.

Expats tend to favour heading for the big cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen or Guangzhou so they can mix with other foreigners and enjoy the nightlife and benefits the city has to offer. There are also middle-sized cities like Hangzhou or Nanjing which have plenty of city facilities without smaller populations of around 6-10 million people.

The Climate

The climate in China will all depend on the regions you plan to teach it as it is such a huge country and will climates will differ depending on the region. If you hate the cold there are many regions which you will have to rule out. The Chinese define south as south of the Yangtze River so you will find that many cities in the South of China will not have central heating even though they will get below zero temperatures. So it’s best to check the climates of the region you are interested in beforehand.  

The types of teaching positions available

Private Language Centres

There are a lot of positions available in private language centres, sometimes known as English training schools. These are often part of a chain or are family owned. Whether large or small you will be expected to promote the school, since you are the Western face of the brand. You might be asked to greet parents or do a demo class to potential students.

You will teach a variety of ages and abilities from adults, high schools to preschool, but the majority of your students will be children. Your schedule will consist of one-on-one and group classes. Expect to work around 25+ teaching hours and a variety of office hours, this won’t be the standard 9-5 job and may include night classes.

Public Schools in China

Teaching in a public school in China is often highly sought after as these positions offer more security, paid vacations and overall better pay and benefits. However, with this comes responsibility, you will be expected to create your own curriculum and have a real passion for teaching.

There are three categories of teaching in public schools in China;

  1. Primary Schools

If you love children then is the perfect place for you. Vary your lessons with songs, games and English speaking cartoons to keep the kids entertained. It won’t take long for them to warm to you.

  1. Middle & High School

Often you will be the only foreign teacher in the school, if the school is large there may be two or three.

  1. Colleges & Universities

These jobs are often seen as the best type of public teaching jobs. They don’t require as many teaching hours and offer great holidays, giving you the opportunity to travel and explore all whilst getting a good wage. These positions are generally more hard to get as the turn over rate is so low. In some universities, you may even need a master’s degree to teach, however, it’s not always the case.

What are the expectations of TEFL teachers in Chinese Schools?

What is expected of you all depends on the type of school you are teaching in. What most schools want is a native speaker who can help students to speak English and gives them a chance to hear a real English speaker. It is normal for another Chinese English teacher to teach them grammar, reading etc., your job is to give them the confidence to get them talking.

Most classrooms will come with computers and overhead projects but do remember that in China the internet is regulated by the government and you will not be able to get access to Google, Facebook, YouTube or Slideshare. Some private language schools will provide you with their own teaching materials and will train you to teach in accordance with their curriculum. Chain schools such as Aston, Meten, Shane and English First won’t expect you to have teaching experience and will offer on-job training. This is a good option if you are just starting out as a TEFL teacher.

What are the average salaries?

Salaries will depend on your location, the type of school you teach in, the number of hours you teach, your degree and whether you have any experience. On average you can expect to earn between $1,000 to $2,500 a month. If you live in a big city like Beijing or Shanghai you will make a lot more than places in Henan or Sichuan. But then your cost of living will be higher. If you teach at a university you will only work around 16 hours a week but will receive a wage of around $1,000. Private schools will pay more with an average monthly salary of $1,600 but you have little free time and will have to find your own accommodation.

What are the requirements to teach English as a foreign language in China?

There are some requirements in order to be able to teach English in China. You will need to be a native English speaker between the ages of 21 and 60 and will need to have a clean bill of health and no prior criminal convictions. You will also need a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification. Some of the popular schools or locations may require teaching experience, but not all will. Providing you meet this criteria you will find no trouble in getting a place.

Getting your Z Work Visa

To teach English legally in China you will need to have a Z visa. The Chinese. If you meet the following criteria, you should be able to get a Z visa. Once you have your visa, it will be easy to land a teaching job somewhere.

To qualify for a Z visa you will need

  • A passport from a native-English-speaking country (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa)
  • An accredited degree,
  • To be between the ages of 18 to 60,
  • Either a minimum 120-hour TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate, or at least two years of proven teaching experience

The application process

Your school will process your paperwork, if they say they can’t do this, then take note of this as a red flag. Don’t worry when they demand a photocopy of your passport, this is standard practice in order to secure a work visa. You will then receive a ‘Letter of Invitation.’ from the school and with that, you will go to your local Chinese Embassy to get your visa allowing you to enter in China. This, however, is not your work visa, you will be required to pass a health check around two weeks after your arrival, providing you pass the health check you will then be granted your Z work visa, allowing you to teach English in China legally.

The whole process can take around six months, from first applying for a job, getting your documents in order and getting your Z visa.

Can you teach English in China without a degree?

You will need a degree to teach in China legally and to acquire your Z visa.

How to avoid being scammed?

Although rare, there are incidents of prospective teachers being scammed. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, check any school or agent out thoroughly before signing any contracts. Ask your prospective school to give you names and emails of previous teachers, if this is something they can’t provide it would be a red flag.

What are the costs of living in China?

The cost of living in China all depends on your location. There are areas of Shanghai and Beijing that have the same average costs as living in a big city in Japan, whereas rural areas are similar to the average costs of that of Vietnam or Thailand.

Sample budget

We’ve put together a sample budget for an English teacher living in a larger city in China.

Monthly Budget

  • Gross Income (Salary) : $1,700
  • Rent : $290-$600
  • Utilities (electricity, gas, water) : $30
  • Phone & Internet : $50
  • Food: $200
  • Insurance: $50
  • Remaining Disposable Income: $750-$1,000

Food Prices

  • Milk (1L): $1
  • Eggs (12): $1
  • Carrots (1kg): 80 cents
  • Chicken breast (1kg) : $2.20
  • Rice (1kg): $1.20
  • Bottle of water (1.5L): 50 cents
  • Bottle of Chinese beer (.5L): 75 cents

Transportation Fees

  • Metro Ride: 50 cents
  • Taxi rate per km : 35 cents (start fare ~ $1.30)
  • 20-min taxi ride across town: $4
  • City bus: 35 cents
  • 3-hour bicycle rental: $1.25
  • Ferry crossing: 25 cents

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Top 7 Ways To De-stress in Time For Exam Season


Exam season is one of the most stressful times of the year. But remember your mental health is more important than high grades. Sometimes, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to take a step back and relax before you hit the books so we’ve put together our top 7 ways to de-stress in time for exam season.

  1. Take a break


    The best way to stop stressing about studying it to simply take a break. Not forever, of course, but it won’t hurt to give yourself a short break every once in a while. Put down the books, cuddle up in front of your favourite Netflix show, grab a coffee with friends, maybe even get something to eat. Distracting yourself from all your worries will help ease your stress, even if it’s just for a little while.

  2. Be healthy

    Maybe skip the giant cup of coffee or those cheap energy drinks that will guarantee you’ll not sleep a wink. Try something healthy and your body might just thank you. Keep hydrated, drink lots of water, a minimum of 2 litres a day and snack on fruit instead of stress-eating on sweets. Maybe instead of powering through a tub of Ben & Jerries, stick it in a blender, add a banana and hey presto you have yourself a smoothie. Not only will you feel better, but it’ll be a welcome distraction from work.

  3. Yoga


    Yoga is a great way to de-stress and calm down when studying is getting too much. Go somewhere quiet, pull out a mat and give it a go. You don’t need to attend a class, it is as simple as finding a great instructor on YouTube. Just remember to take it easy.

  4. Exercise


    Exercise is a great way to get rid of exam stress. Hit the gym, go to a yoga class, try a jog around the neighbourhood? It’s the closest thing you can get to running away from your uni problems.

  5. Self-care


    If the stress is getting too much, then take some time out and do something for yourself. This can be as simple as running a long bubble bath or putting on a face mask. Doing your nails or blowing off some steam playing a video game. The opportunities are endless and remember that it’s okay to dedicate some self-care space in your revision schedule. You don’t want to risk burning yourself out.

  6. Nap


    There is no better feeling than hitting the snooze button. Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed it’s a good idea to get cosy under the covers and take a power nap. If you’ve been having a cramming marathon, then you’re bound to be exhausted. Listen to your body, as you’re not going to learn anything more anyway if you’re burnt out. When you awake, make yourself a nice snack and start back in at the books, feeling more awake and refreshed than ever.

  7. Go have some fun


    If you’re getting down in the dumps with all the stress of exam season then do something that cheers you up. This can be practising self-care or going out for a dance with friends. It can be something as simple as hanging out and watching a movie with the girls or grabbing pizza with a friend.

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Love Island


Love Island fan? Based in Ireland? Then you’ll want to register to attend our Love Island event this coming June 3.

We’ll be treating attendees to island-inspired cocktail, nibbles, goodie bags and villa-worthy banter before screening Episode One of this summer’s coming season.

  • Where: The Loft at 4 Dame Lane, Dublin 2
  • When: 7:30pm – 10:30pm – June 3rd

To be in with a chance to attend, fill in your details below. All successful guests can bring a plus one. Attendees will be chosen at random on May 27th and notified by email.

 

Terms and Conditions:

  • One entry per person
  • Event registration is only open to residents of the Republic of Ireland
  • Successful guests will be chosen at random on May 27th and notified by email
  • The promoter reserves the right to change the event date or cancel the event

Repaying your student loan from abroad


Do you know what to do with your student loan if you move abroad? Going to teach English in China? Volunteering with elephants in Thailand? Don’t forget about your loans back in the UK. Get the low down in our complete guide for repaying your student loan from abroad below.

Do I need to repay my loan if I move abroad?

Yes, you do need to repay your student loan, even if you have moved abroad.

However, unlike in the UK, your repayments will not be taken out automatically. You will be responsible for the upkeep of these payments so that further down the line you don’t get hit with unexpected charges or worse. It is a bit of information overload, so we’ve cut out the jargon and laid it out simply below.

What happens to your student loan when you move abroad?

If you are moving abroad for longer than three months then you will have to contact the Student Loans Company (SLC) to organise your student loan payments.

When you live in the UK, you don’t have to think about repaying your loan as HMRC takes the money automatically from your paycheck if you breach the threshold. However, once you move abroad the HMRC can no longer do this and it’s up to you to get in contact with SLC.

The Overseas Income Assessment Form

You can let the SLC know about your living and income situation by completing an Overseas Income Assesment Form (OVFA) which can be downloaded from the SLC website. You will have to return the form with evidence displaying how much you currently earn and if you are eligible to repay the loan. You only start repaying when you earn over a certain salary, so you needn’t worry if you are studying, travelling, volunteering or unemployed. But you will still need to supply evidence of this.

What types of evidence will I need to submit?

The evidence you’ll have to provide differs depending on what exactly it is you’re doing abroad. Below is an example of some of the evidence required, always check with the SLC for exact details:

  1. Employed – You’ll need to provide three months payslips and a contract of employment.
  2. Self-employed – Provide a bank statement confirming your gross annual income.
  3. Unemployed – You’ll need to provide evidence of the benefits you receive.
  4. Studying – You need something which confirms you’re studying. This cannot be a letter with an offer of a place but can be a letter confirming you’ve accepted your place such as a loan agreement, a grant letter or a student card, etc.
  5. Living off savings – You’ll need bank statements which show this.
  6. Travelling – Send your travel itinerary and bank statements which show what money you’re living off.
  7. Volunteering – You’ll need a letter from the organisation you’re volunteering with confirming the amount of support they’re providing you with.
  8. Supported by someone else – You must fill in the Third Party Declaration part of the form and you must provide your bank statement.

How much student loan do you repay when overseas?

What you repay will be similar to the repayments you currently undertake in the UK.

Below we’ve laid out some information on repayments for both Plan 1 and Plan 2 loans.

Plan 2 loans

You’ll have a Plan 2 loan if you started uni since 2012 in England and Wales.

Living in the UK, you would pay back 9% of anything you earn over £25,725 a year.

It’s the same process when you’re living abroad. The SLC works out what the equivalent repayment threshold is in your new country of residence and calculates your repayments.

Below we have given you a few examples of equivalent repayment thresholds:

Overseas repayment thresholds – Plan 2 loans

Country Repayment threshold
Australia £30,870
Brazil £15,435
China £15,435
France £25,725
South Africa £10,290
USA £25,725

The SLC has a full list of countries and the equivalent repayment thresholds on their website – the lower income threshold marks the point when you start repaying your loan.

Interest rates are applied in the same way as they are when you live in the UK.

You can use the SLC table to view the upper and lower income threshold for each country, which will determine the level of interest you’ll repay on top of your current student loan.

There is also a column titled Fixed Monthly Repayment – this is how much you’ll be asked to repay if you fail to notify the SLC how much you’re earning. This is something to be wary of as if you don’t keep the SLC up to date while you’re away, they’ll require you to repay with those payments once you relocate back to the UK.

Plan 1 loans

You’ll be on the Plan 1 loan if you started uni between 1998 and 2012 in England and Wales, or since 1998 in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

For a Plan 1 loan in the UK, you currently pay back 9% of what you earn over £18,935 a year. So when you’re abroad you’ll pay 9% of whatever you earn over the equivalent repayment threshold for that country.

Below we have provided a few example repayment thresholds for Plan 1 loans:

Overseas repayment thresholds – Plan 1 loans

Country Repayment threshold
Australia £22,725
Brazil £11,365
China £11,365
France £18,935
South Africa £7,575
USA £18,935

What happens if your circumstances change?

When the SLC decide how much you need to repay, they’ll set up your payments to occur monthly for 12 months.

However, if your circumstances change, such as you become unemployed or your annual pay drops to below the repayment threshold, you then need to apply for a reassessment.

Remember that your student debt will be wiped after 30 years, so don’t pay money when you don’t have to, and if you overpay, make sure you apply for a refund.

Moving Your Stuff  Abroad

Once you’ve finished packing up all of your stuff, you then face the challenge of moving all of your personal belongings to your new home at college. It’s a daunting task, especially if you’re moving to another state, or perhaps moving to college from somewhere overseas!

How-does-it-work

Thankfully, that’s where My Baggage comes in. We specialise in transporting belongings all over the world. We’re trusted by 30,000 customers across the globe. You can read more about our services here. You can also check out My Baggage reviews too. Get a quote below!

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A Local’s Guide to Melbourne


Melbourne has been voted the most livable city in the world six years in a row and it’s no surprise! Nothing can compare to the unique vibe of Melbourne when it comes to culture, diversity and history. It’s the ideal destination to visit or to start your journey living in Aus. To give you an insiders edge, we’ve put together a local’s guide to Melbourne!

Getting to and Around Melbourne

The cheapest way to explore Melbourne is by using public transport. You can purchase a Myki, which costs $6, then you add extra money to top it up so you can tap on/off when you get on. They can be bought at train stations or in newsagents such as 7 eleven.

Another handy tip is the Free Tram Zone in Melbourne’s CBD and Docklands area. You don’t need to pay for your journeys in this zone, so don’t tap your Myki!

Melbourne has the largest operating tram network in the world. To find out the tram, bus or rail timetable, you can download the PTV (Public Transport Victoria) or Tram Tracker App straight to your phone.

Accommodation in Melbourne

House sitting is quite popular in Melbourne,  so, if you’re flexible with your dates you can find some free accommodation via one of the multiple house sitting websites. This is handy if you are relocating to the city and want to check out an area before committing. Just remember that you will be responsible for the host’s house and there may be some pet sitting duties included also.

Best locations for accommodation:

  • Fitzroy:  Think terrace houses and street art. It has a great vibe and is perfect for hitting the town.
  • Southbank: Good start off area for first-time visitors.
  • South Melbourne: Neighbouring Southbank, it is home to one of the best markets in town, South Melbourne Market.
  • CBD: Central Business District, right in the city centre.
  • Collingwood: Right next to Fitzroy and it’s quite close to central.
  • St Kilda: A little bit further away from central but very good public transport. The main benefit of this area is that it’s on the beach and has a great restaurant/bar scene.
  • Brunswick: Cheapest option, with plenty of good food and cafés.

The Must See’s and Do’s of Melbourne

There is so much to see and do in Melbourne, it’s hard to narrow it down, but here are the places you need to visit.

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) – The oldest gallery in Australia and a must see for all art lovers in Melbourne.  There are two parts to the NGV; NGV International which is in the Art’s Precinct on St Kilda Road and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.

Immigration Museum  Melbourne is an exciting melting pot of cultures. The Immigration Museum is a great way to learn more about Australia’s history and how it became such a multi0cultural country.

Old Melbourne Gaol – Gain an insight into the Australian justice system between 1845-1929 at the Old Melbourne Gaol.

City Sights Kayak Tour – For those who want a different experience of Melbourne, why not get a tour of the city from the water? There are moonlight kayak tours, regular kayak tours or even yoga kayak tours, with the yoga on the beach beforehand.

Phillip’s Island – Phillip’s Island has it all, from an Aboriginal tour to a Koala conservation centre and the famous penguin parade. The island is home to the world’s smallest penguins, so you can enjoy your day watching them waddle by on the beach.

If you don’t have time to go to Phillip’s Island to see the penguins, another option is to go to the end of St Kilda’s Pier. There is a small colony of protected Fairy penguins that have nested between rocks at the end of the pier and made this place their home.

Areas Worth Exploring and Getting Lost In

Melbourne is a big city with lots of places you can get lost in. Try a free walking tour to discover the city and work out your orientation.

Fitzroy and Collingwood – These streets run parallel with each other and are only a short walk away. Packed with street art, cafes, restaurants and clothing boutiques, there’ll be lots of things to keep you interested. It really is foodie heaven.

St Kilda – St Kilda’s has is situated right by the beach so is perfect for anyone who wants to spend their time enjoying the sun and relaxing in the sunshine. There are lots of cafes, restaurants and you might even spot some Fairy Penguins who have made this spot their home.

Brunswick – If edgy and hipster is your thing then head to Brunswick. This area is home to some amazing cafés, breakfast in Brunswick will go down a treat.

Chapel Street – Another area worth checking out. During the day you’ll find lots of shopping and places to eat. At night and you will certainly find a place to party until the early morning.

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The Top 10 Eco-Friendly Destinations To Visit


Do you love to travel but also want to keep your carbon footprint in mind? Why not travel to some eco-friendly destinations? In celebration of Earth Day, we’ve put together our list of the top 10 eco-friendly destinations to visit in 2019.

What is eco-friendly tourism?

Eco-friendly tourism is tourism that is travel that takes into consideration natural conservation areas.  It sustains well-being in the local environment and involves education to conserve the local ecosystem.

  1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica leads the way as one of the most successful ecotourism destinations in the world. It is home to the largest percentage of protected areas in the world. This country in Central America single-handedly supports 5% of the world’s biodiversity. It boasts 20 natural parks, 8 biological reserves, 800 miles of idyllic coastline and an outstanding 98.1% of its electricity coming from renewable sources. Take in the variety of wildlife from sloths to Jaguars or rare species of lizards and birds, relax on pristine beaches, explore protected rainforests and hike dormant volcanoes. This destination has plenty of eco-conscious accommodation and activities from staying in treehouses to zip lining the forest treetops, you’ll have found your eco-paradise in one of the happiest countries in the world.

  1. Slovenia

Slovenia borders the Italian Alps. It is often overlooked as a tourist destination, but this country is incredibly eco-friendly. It has a sustainability policy which ensures that 75% of electricity in Slovenia is from hydro-electric dams, what’s more, its capital Ljubljana was voted as the European Green Capital for 2016. Ljubljana is not like most capital cities, the buses run on natural gas and there is an urban electric train. You can enjoy mountain hiking, and visiting eco-friendly farms, offering a unique insight into local life. This will also, in turn, help support the local economy. It really is a truly guilt-free destination.

  1. The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a living, breathing eco-museum. Located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, these islands have their own unique biodiversity with many native plants and species only being found there. The Galapagos Islands were declared the first ever world heritage site in 1978 and today 90% of the land is designated as a national park. A popular destination for nature lovers from around the world, here you can see rare species and experience diving and snorkelling. However, to ensure that no damage is caused to the islands visitor numbers are restricted and visitors are expected to respect these unique islands and be wary of anything they may leave behind.

  1. Borneo

Borneo is famous for its biodiversity, lush vibrant rainforests, coral reefs and rare animals. This is a location that needs to be preserved for future generations. Enjoy snorkelling, scuba diving, trekking in the jungle and seeing orangutans in their natural habitat. The island puts sustainability at the top of its agenda and there are plenty of tourism companies to choose from that promote eco-tours that adopt the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as their guiding principles.

  1. Bhutan

Have you heard of Bhutan? If you haven’t don’t worry, there’s a reason! This Buddhist Kingdom is one of the least visited countries in the world and it’s deliberate. The country is slowly developing its tourism industry to preserve natural resources and protect its ancient and unique culture. As a tourist, you will have to pay a pricey $250 tourist tax per day but this money goes straight back into the local communities and ensures you have an official guide, food, transportation and accommodation. Nature is an important factor in Bhutanese culture and the country has a law that ensures that 60% of the country must remain forest to preserve it for future generations. Not that Bhutan has to worry, as the country currently absorbs more carbon than it emits!

  1. Peru

Peru is a popular destination to tick off any bucket list, but it is much more than Machu Picchu. The country boasts over 25,000 species of plants and is dense in flora and fauna, 30% of which you can only find in Peru. Deforestation is still an issue within the country, however, the Pacaya-Samira National Reserve, the Manu Biosphere Reserve and the Tambopata National Reserve are the three largest protected rainforests in the world.

  1. Patagonia

Patagonia is a region within the southern end of South America. It encompasses both Argentina and Chile and offers lots for nature lovers from glaciers, lakes to snow-capped mountains and national parks. Visit the Torres del Paine National Park to see an unspoilt landscape boasting azure lakes and one giant blue glacier. There are only two recommended ways to visit the national park, by either trekking or horseback so as to ensure you don’t damage the natural ecosystem.

  1. Botswana

Botswana is the ideal location for anyone looking to experience a wildlife safari in Africa that is eco-friendly. This country is home to 40% of Africa’s entire elephant population and offers a variety of eco-friendly lodges which focus on eco-conscious safaris. With over 38% of the country devoted to national parks in this country is a wildlife paradise. In their aim to offer guests a totally emission-free experience the country uses solar-powered boats and electrical vehicles for game viewing and many eco-lodges use solar lighting and recycled water.

  1. New Zealand

New Zealand offers never-ending landscapes, glaciers, fjords, volcanic plateaus and subtropical forests. And if that’s not enough you can also enjoy dolphin and whale watching. A third of the country’s land is dedicated to national parks, reserves and heritage sites, so there’s plenty to see and enjoy. To gain a unique insight into the country’s legendary landscapes, visit The White Island, Mount Cook National Park, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve and Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Reserve.

10. Iceland

Iceland is one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the world. The country makes utilising its natural geothermal power for heat and electricity a top priority. It fights against ocean pollution and follows sustainable fishing practices. This breathtaking island offers you fjords, natural hot springs, glacier hiking, active volcanoes, whale watching and the chance to experience the Northern Lights. What’s not to love?

We hope this article has helped inspire you to embark on your first eco-friendly adventure. Are you travelling currently and do you have a story to tell? Get in touch with us here.