Preparing to Teach English Abroad: What to Pack

Preparing to Teach English Abroad: What to Pack


  1. Keep a positive mental attitude – this is definitely the most important thing to pack in your suitcase. If you can stay positive, you will have a great time regardless of any temporary setbacks or disappointments you may encounter. If you do not feel mentally prepared to leave your home country, wait until you do. The results will be worth the delay.
  2. Take some money (traveller’s cheques) to cover the cost of your living expenses during the first month.
  3. If you plan to look for work once you arrive, take several copies of your credentials (diploma, certificate, degree, etc.) resumes, reference letters, and passport photos.
  4. In addition to photocopying your documents, record the numbers of your credit cards, traveller’s cheques, passport, airline tickets, etc, and leave them at home with a family member or friend.


  1. Find out what is considered to be proper attire in the classroom and pack appropriate clothes.
  2. Find out what the climate will be like while you are there – hot, wet, dry, cold, varied – and take suitable clothing.
  3. Find out if there will be shopping facilities near your residence.
  4. Take some favourite luxuries (to spoil yourself) such as cd’s, a walkman, personal items, tea, snacks, books, etc. Remember these items may not be readily available at your destination.
  5. Consider taking items such as; a camera, film, address book, writing journal, and mini photo album of your loved ones, as well as some Canadian souvenirs (for gifts).
  6. In Canada, we enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. Do not expect it to follow you!

Airline Tickets

  1. Check for any restrictions.
  2. Make sure your ticket will suit your needs after you finish the teaching contract. A flexible (open) ticket is a good idea.
  3. Ask how much luggage you will be able to take without paying a penalty.
  4. Take a photocopy of your airline tickets and itinerary (with phone numbers, if possible). Copies of your ticket provide proof that you indeed purchased the ticket, if you lose it, it will help speed up the reimbursement process.

Items to Take For The Classroom

  1. A few educational games (Scrabble, children’s word association games).
  2. An English dictionary.
  3. A concise grammar book.
  4. Writing paper, pens, etc. (just in case some of these items are not readily available).
  5. Glossy catalogues and magazines with lots of pictures. These are hard to find in most developing countries and students love them!
  6. Additional teacher resource books and English game booklets.