In Ukraine I heard about a married American couple that had arrived together to teach English. After 3 months, they separated and moved into apartments on opposite sides of the country. I don’t know what drove them apart or what happened to them afterwards, but having lived abroad with my wife and experiencing the challenges of TEFLing as a couple, I am not surprised. At first glance, most people assume that going abroad with a significant other is easier than going alone. I would strongly disagree; living in a foreign country will always bring challenges, and these hurdles can be complicated if there are two of you. Nonetheless, there are some clear advantages, and below are my top three benefits of teaching English abroad as a couple:
It’s been said that if you want to truly get to know someone, go on a cross-country road trip by car together. I’m sure that’s effective, but teaching abroad with your spouse will take it to a whole new level—until you have literally showered each other (due to lack of hot running water), hand washed each other’s laundry, cuddled for hours to keep warm, and/or embarrassingly navigated through a meeting with the administration of your city in a foreign language that you just started learning two months prior, you haven’t truly bonded.
Just like in the U.S. or wherever you live, splitting the costs of food and rent is very beneficial financially. If each of you is teaching English, you will also have two incomes, so you should have more money to spend on traveling or extracurricular activities.
Fall in Love Again and Again.
Okay this one’s a little mushy, but it’s true. If you are able to resist the urges to compete against each other—Who’s learning the language more quickly? Who is the better teacher? Who is more socially connected?—and instead learn to celebrate each other’s successes and accomplishments, you will experience a new level of respect and love for your partner. TEFLing abroad can be a huge aphrodisiac—watching your wife order dinner in Russian, make a significant impact on a student’s life, or inspire a Ukrainian school to start a journalism club? Now that’s hot.
Get TEFL Certified online and teach English in Ukraine yourself!