17 May


The Ultimate Guide to Budgeting, While Travelling

When you’re off travelling and enjoying yourself, it can be easy to lose track of your spending. And the last thing you want to have to do is call your parents to get them to send you extra cash. Sticking to a budget can be even more important when you’re travelling. You’re so far away from home and family, and you’re ultimately on your own for survival. So how do you do it?

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Plan before you go

Knowing how much money you will have and how long you will be away for will definitely help you create a budget for your travels. Think about where you’re wanting to travel to and how much you might need on a daily basis in that particular place. Bear in mind that some countries and cities will be significantly more expensive than others, particularly Australia. It can be a good idea to do some research online about each of the places you plan to visit so you can work out what the average cost of living is.

However, remember that you might not need as much as the average, so don’t let that put you off. You might also find that you can work while you travel, which could boost your spending money and let you have more fun in the more expensive places.

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Travel off peak

If you want to save money on the cost of travelling then it can be a good idea to avoid travelling in the height of the season, as plane fares and accommodation costs can skyrocket during these times, such as the summer holidays. If you can, choose to fly out during off-peak times. During these times you can also often get cheaper accommodation, and the places you visit (particularly major tourist attractions) can be much quieter.

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Avoid expensive destinations

Some destinations can be very expensive, and your money might not go as far as you’d hoped - even if you’re living cheaply, such as Sydney or Paris. But we all know, there are some places that are just must-visit destinations. However, you can always plan to spend less time there, meaning you still get to see the place, but you won’t need to exhaust your funds there. So we’re not saying avoid them completely, just to limit your time there.

If you’re planning to visit a major city, you might find that you’ll save money by staying a little further out. Hostels are generally cheaper the further away they are from the main attractions. Even if you have to take a train or bus for half an hour to reach the main area, it can be worth it. Plus, you’ll get to see parts of that country or city that you might not otherwise get to see.

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Use public transport

If you can hop on a bus or a train to get from one destination to the next, than this can often work out much cheaper than taking a flight. However, with the increase in low fares airlines in Europe, you might want to check flight prices too, just in case. But for travelling across Australia, Asia or South America, local transport can often be a cost effective option.

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Live like a local

When you’re in big cities or areas with lots of tourists, the price of eating out can be quite high. But if you look around and find where the locals go, you will often find places where you can eat for much less. Even if you venture slightly out of the tourist areas, you’d be amazed at the difference in prices.

Sometimes your budget might not allow for eating out everyday, or maybe you want to save up extra cash for the next destination on your list. Either way, eating in can help you stick to your travelling budget. Most hostels will have kitchens for you to use, where you can also make new friends with fellow travellers.

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Don’t party too hard

We have probably all heard stories of people who knew people who partied too hard on their gap year and ended up having to come home early, half way through their trip. Make sure you don’t end up being the star of one of these stories.

Alcohol can be expensive in some places, so it can be good to factor in how much you plan to spend on alcohol and partying before you leave. Another thing that could affect your budget is that if you drink too much, you could risk going way over your daily budget, when silly purchases seem like a fantastic idea - we’ve all been there.

No matter where you travel or how much money you have, make sure you stick to your budget, but enjoy yourself and stay safe.

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25 Apr

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To a Westerner, preparing to live in Asia can be exciting and daunting, primarily because of its diversity. Chances are, your new home country will be drastically different from everything you are used to, and you’ll be greeted by a wealth of new experiences and more than a few challenges.

Here are some things you’ll need to get used to once you make your big move.

Standing out

Everything about you – from your eye color to your height – will stand out from the vast majority of locals in Asian countries. This is especially true in rural areas. That being said, be prepared to get a lot of stares. The Huffington Post shares that it’s common for locals to even say hello shares that it’s common for locals to even say hello, ask for a picture, or shout random things like ‘Obama’ at you.

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English is spoken in many parts of Asia, with countries like Singapore, India, and the Philippines having it as an official language. You don’t need to learn the local dialect, but it does help to know some basic words. If you’re travelling to China, be sure to keep the Teaching Nomad basic phrase guide on your phone to help you out. It’s also good to have a translator app to further ease communication.

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Temperature and humidity

The sun can get very harsh in this continent, so you’ll need lots of sunscreen and/or an umbrella when you go out. In the evenings, you’ll most likely need to stay in a place with air conditioning for comfort. Leesa recommends keeping your bedroom between 66 and 70 degrees for the best chance of sleeping well. This small adjustment, along with breathable clothing and lots of water, can make your evenings more restorative and help you get ready for the humid Asian days.

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To a foreigner, Asian cuisine can vary from mildly surprising to downright bizarre. Be open-minded and try different things to see what you like. There's a good chance you’ll find several dishes in your new home country to your liking. You’ll also find that there’s a level of artistry in Asian cuisine that is fascinating to watch.

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Other expenses

You’ll be pleasantly surprised that a lot of your day-to-day expenses are cheap. Food, hotels, and the like are affordable. Although in countries like China, haggling is an important life skill to get commodity prices further down. CNN also recommends being extra careful when it comes to hailing taxis also recommends being extra careful when it comes to hailing taxis by insisting on using the meter or by hailing cabs through new booking apps that help drivers be more accountable.

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Cultural nuances

Finally, be wary of actions that may be alright in Western countries, but may be considered taboo in Asia and vise versa. For instance, slurping when eating noodles can be considered rude in the West, but is actually a sign of appreciation in countries like Japan. The thumbs up sign can be considered rude in Thailand, while placing chopsticks vertically in a bowl of rice is a sign of bad luck in China. The Conde Nast Traveler shares that a blanket rule is to take your shoes off before entering temples or homes and not to take pictures without permission.

Moving to Asia to teach can be a very rewarding experience, and can itself teach you so many valuable life lessons along the way. Do your research well about the way of life in your new home, and be sure to keep your mind and heart open.

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13 Apr

Tips for Making Extra Cash to Fund your TEFL Course

So you’re saving up to study a TEFL course but you feel like your savings just aren’t going to cut it. You need to make some extra cash so you can fund your course and be on your way to reaping all the benefits that a TEFL qualification can bring you.

So what are the best ways to make money? Unfortunately, very few things in life come with little effort. But there are some things you can do to boost your cash flow and fund your studies.

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Sell your Stuff

Let’s face it, we’ve all got wardrobes and cupboards full of stuff we no longer want or use. So instead of it lying there gathering dust, consider selling it. You’d be amazed what people will buy. Go through your wardrobes for old clothes and shoes. The better the condition, the more money you’re likely to get for them. And if you have any designer or brand named items, you might find that there’s more demand for these.

Before you sell any of your gear, do a quick search online to see how much other people are selling similar items for. This will give you a better idea of how much you could get for yours. Try listing your items on sites like Ebay or even pack up your gear and head to your local car boot sale. Car Boot Junction offers a list of car boot sales across the UK, where you can search by county for sales near you.

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Rent Out a Spare Room

This will probably work best if you own your own flat or if your landlord is someone you know. However, even if you don’t you can still explore this option, providing you have permission from your landlord. But if you have a spare bedroom, or even a box room, you can make some pretty serious cash!

Sites like airbnb allow you to list your available accommodation and you choose how much you rent it for. If you’re in a large city or an area where there’s a major event happening, you can rent it for even more. Annual events like the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh can cause hotel and hostel prices to soar dramatically, so do your research and price accordingly. Even if you’ve got a one-off event, such as, you know, a royal wedding, the price people will pay for a room is likely to astound you.

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Be a Tutor

Tutoring is a fantastic way of making money. And if you’re looking to study a TEFL course, tutoring can give you added teaching experience that will be looked on favourably by your future employers when you’re finally qualified to teach English to foreign language speakers.

Advertise your services in your local newspaper or library. You can set your own hourly rate based on your qualifications and experience but it can be a good idea to research the going rate for your subject and expertise to make sure you’re charging a fair price.

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House or Pet Sitting

Lots of people prefer to leave their house or pet in the hands of someone they trust when they go on holiday, rather than putting their pet in kennels and leaving their house empty. Sites such as Trusted Housesitters pairs up people looking for a house sitter with people looking to house sit. You can make some pretty good money doing this and it can be a fun experience.

On the other hand, and if you love dogs, dog walking can be a fun way to make some extra cash. People who work all day or are unable to get out often need someone to walk their dogs. Check with people you know and advertise your services in your local vets. Some vets will also be interested in getting contact details for house pet sitters as well, as their clients will often ask for recommendations.


Sell Your Old Phone

Most households have a potential gold mine, most likely gathering dust in a cupboard or drawer. Rake through your house for old mobile phones and you could be quids in. Check with the rest of your family to see if they’ve got any phones they don’t use anymore and ask if you can sell them. If you’re lucky, they might even let you keep the money you make! Sites like Music Magpie and Mobile Cash Mate will buy your old phones from you.

With Music Magpie you could get rid of all your old CDs and DVDs in return for cash too. So, you’ll be clearing out clutter as well as making money!


15 Mar

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How to Improve ESL Students' Reading Skills

Are you looking for a new way to develop your students’ reading abilities in English?

One effective strategy to improve ESL students’ reading skills is to use authentic news articles in class.

By using this method, you can teach them new vocabulary, how to skim for general ideas, how to scan for specific details, and combine multiple reading tasks with active discussion. Moreover, integrating language skills in thiHos manner will help consolidate language learning and acquisition.

The first step is to find a news article that your students will be interested in. It should also match their level of proficiency in English. If the lexis is too challenging, then you may want to edit the article somewhat and replace complex vocabulary with easier words. However, modifications are not always necessary if you are teaching intermediate or advanced classes.

Next, after finding the article online that you want to use, print out copies for the class. Of course, if you have made any edits to the original article, then make sure to use the modified version.


Stage 1: Lesson introduction

At the start of the lesson, it helps to activate the students’ background knowledge about the article topic. You can introduce the subject and have them discuss it in groups or pairs for a few minutes. Try to encourage discussion as much as possible. For instance, get students to voice their personal opinions about the topic.

After leading feedback from the discussions, pre-teach any difficult vocabulary that exists in the article. You could write the words on the board and/or give the students a vocabulary list. Elicit and explain the meanings with examples.

Then, hand out the article for them to preview.

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Stage 2: Model the reading task

Before the students read anything, explain to them that they will be reading the article in short sequences. Clarify that they will read one or two paragraphs silently to themselves, then attempt to recall what they read in a brief discussion with a partner.

To begin, model the task by reading the first paragraph silently. It should only take 30 seconds or so.

After reading, cover the article up so everyone sees that you aren’t looking at it.

Then, briefly summarize what you just read (in your own words) for the class. Highlight any key points or factual information that you can remember. By observing you do this, students will have a clearer idea of what they should do with their partner once it is their turn.

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Stage 3: Students complete the reading task

For the next stage, tell the students to read the next paragraph (or several paragraphs) silently to themselves. Set a specific time limit ranging from one to two minutes depending on their ability.

After the time is up, have the class cover the article or turn it over so they cannot see the text. Then, they can try to summarize what they just read with their partner. Encourage them to recall a few specific details or interesting things that they read in the paragraph.

After their discussion, ask a few students to explain what the section was about for the entire class to hear. You can ask a few other people about key details that they can remember.

Continue the sequence of reading, discussion, and feedback until the entire article has been completed.

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Stage 4: Review and conclude the lesson

To conclude the lesson, you can spend the remainder of the class reviewing difficulties from the news article. Summarize main ideas and have the students engage in critical discussion about the article topic. Encourage the students to use new vocabulary that they learned in the article in their conversations.

There are other post-reading exercises that you could do as well, such as asking them questions to find specific information in the article. This will help them practice scanning skills. Making a game of it and rewarding points for correct answers can increase engagement too.

Alternatively, you could integrate writing skills by having them write a short paragraph expressing their opinion about the topic. If time is limited, the writing task could be done for homework or during the next class.


More ideas about how to improve ESL students’ reading skills

To find more information and additional tips for teaching reading, check out the ESL reading activites on ESLexpat.com.

The site also features a collection of other ESL activities and games that you can try in class to help develop your students’ language skills.

15 Mar

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Why do you travel?

“Almost a quarter of the teachers who have qualified since 2011 have already left the profession.” The Guardian 

There is no doubt that teaching is one of the most stressful professions.

Although teachers get a great deal of holidays, these are desperately needed for rejuvenation. Days before a break, it is not uncommon to see educators holding on to ‘the end of the rope’. The coming time off is usually slated for catching one’s breath through some form of rest and relaxation, and sadly at times, to get one’s marking completed!

Many educators take advantage of school breaks to travel. This is particularly so for educators working internationally.

Although there is practically an infinite number of ways to plan a trip, many teachers opt for the default kind of ‘crashing somewhere on a beach to recover’. Understandably so! This routine travel planning often has at its root the desire to disconnect in hopes of recovering from the demands of work. 

There are other ways to regain vigor and freshness during breaks.

Although scary at times, the unknown can sometime stimulate parts of our being that are waiting for the right moment to take center stage.

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“Without new experiences something inside us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert

Experiences that touch us deeply have the power to reshape our lives, to ‘awaken’ aspects of ourselves yet unknown. Routine holiday planning is a sure way to minimize this potential. On the other hand, transformational travel opens up a world of possibilities for having powerful experiences that can change the way we perceive ourselves and the place we occupy in the world.

Transformational travel is the type that challenges us in different ways.  It’s the kind of adventure that takes us out of our comfort zone.  By breaking away from the known, we become more alive, we learn more and we dance more with life’s unexpected little surprises.

The following transformational travel examples may inspire you to ‘travel outside the box’ and bring about transformational experiences that will serve to accentuate your already rich life! Have you experienced any of these yet?

Book a trip to a random place you’ve never been to: Christina Noble had a dream that saw her going to Vietnam. Other than the media coverage of the war, she knew nothing of Vietnam. Without knowing why, she booked a trip from her native Ireland. At the end of her two-week trip, a single experience changed her life: she saw two very young girls eating ants off the sidewalk to feed themselves. Her book and film “Mama Tina” go into details explaining why witnessing this had such a transformative effect on her life. This trip was the catalyst to completely change Noble’s life who then went on to create the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation.

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Take a remote area trip: British photographer Jimmy Nelson is a prime example of this type of travel. He is the man behind ‘Before They Pass Away’, a project that aims to photograph dozens of tribes around the world, tribes that have managed to survive outside of the modern world. His photographs are simply surreal.  In a Ted Talk, he recounts some of his experiences living with the various tribes. Very few get to experience this kind of travel. It changed him profoundly.

“Traveling allows you to become so many different versions of yourself.” – Unknown

Travel solo: A famous example of this type of travel that many can relate to is reflected in the book and movie ‘Eat Pray Love’. The main character leaves her conflicted life behind to travel the world solo. The film offers a very powerful example of transformation. In many ways, the film is a feast of transformation. The thing about Eat Pray Love is that it offers an enticing road map to dive into solo travel. Just like the real-life main character (Elizabeth Gilbert), one’s personal solo itinerary has the potential to deliver a great deal of transformational opportunities. Your own story might be Cook Dance Volunteer!

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Take a gap year and travel the world: The rat race has many convinced that taking a year off is not a possibility. It is simply a choice. You may have to give up some things but what can be gained may be more than you could ever imagine. That is what my wife Christine and I did a few years ago. We placed a map of the world on the table and identified all the locations we wanted to visit, many of which were ancient sites such as the Giza plateau, Machu Picchu and Easter Island.  Armed with a one-year round-the-world ticket that covered six continents, we discovered the world in ways that had a transformative impact on our lives.

Traveling can have a profound influence and be life changing by broadening our perspectives. There is no better way to challenge many of our assumptions about people and the world than to travel and see for ourselves that, unlike what we see being reported daily in the media, the planet and its people are actually pretty awesome. There is a great deal more goodness and beauty than ever gets reported. In the end, it really is all about becoming a better person, creating a better world and honoring life. The world is waiting for you – what are you waiting for?

21 Life Changing Travel Experiences’ is a FREE 50-page eBook that you can download from here.

Michel Leroux is a teacher who spent more than two decades teaching mathematics in eleven different countries. He is a co-founder of Educators Home Share (www.educatorshomeshare.com). He is currently redirecting his career into entrepreneurship, public speaking, and now sees himself as a change facilitator. He and his wife Christine are both travel addicts! They currently reside in Indonesia with their three cats.

Teaching Nomad is your connection to teaching in Asia & The Middle East! We are a western owned and operated teacher placement agency with offices in Denver & Shanghai. We take a lot of pride in connecting teachers with great teaching opportunities.


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