Who are you?
We are Kate and Kris, a couple of English teachers from the UK. We currently teach English in Kiev, Ukraine.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
Back in 2006 we went traveling.While in South East Asia, we decided we’d like to stay longer. We saw an advert for a teaching project where you got a TEFL certificate and then taught in a school for a semester. We realized that we really enjoyed teaching English and living abroad, and so haven’t looked back. We’ve since taught in Vietnam, China, Spain and Ukraine.
What challenges did you face during the move?
As we didn’t intend to live abroad that first time in Thailand, the main problem we faced was getting clothes. As a teacher in Thailand you are expected to look smart, but as ex-backpackers we didn’t have shirts, trousers and smart shoes with us. It can be tricky to find clothes in the right size in some countries, particularly those that are decently priced.
Now we are better prepared when we move to a new place. Whenever we visit the UK we do monster shopping trips, stocking up on clothes, shoes, make up and cosmetics that we miss.
Are there many other expats in your area?
We’ve only been in Kiev for a couple of months now, so we haven’t met many people. However, there are a lot of Facebook groups for expats in Kiev and we have attended an Internations party which was good (Internations is a social and support group for expats worldwide).
What do you like about life where you are?
Kiev is a beautiful and interesting city. It has a fascinating history and some lovely buildings. It’s developing so quickly and new bars and restaurants are opening all the time.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
We miss people at home a a lot. When you live abroad, you have to accept that you will miss birthdays, Christmases, weddings, the birth and growing up of children…..Skype is a great tool to help you feel closer, but there will always be some days when you just want to go home.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
If you decide to teach English abroad, do your research. Think about whether you are thinking of doing this longer term, or whether it’s a gap year thing. This can influence what type of TEFL certificate you should do, and what kind of job you might want to start out with. There is a huge demand for English teachers worldwide, which is awesome, but also means that many people and organisations are cashing in on this and exploiting both people who want to teach abroad and students who want to learn.
Part of our blog is aimed at people thinking of teaching English abroad. Independent of any TEFL course company or recruiter, we, and other teachers we know, have written advice, country guides and told our stories.
What are your plans for the future?
We have a contract for a couple of years here in Kiev and then we will see. No doubt it will involve another teaching job somewhere else, although we have no idea where. Part of the great thing about our lifestyle is that we don’t know where we will 5 years, 10 years and further into the future.
You can keep up to date with Kate and Kris' adventures on their blog, What Kate And Kris Did.
Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!