Would You Still Teach in Western Europe?

The world as we knew it just a few years ago has drastically changed. Locations once considered tourist destinations and desirable haunts for expats now top the list of places to avoid. That is, if you value your safety.

In light of the tragic attacks that recently took place in Paris and Brussels, ISR asks: Would you accept a teaching position in this area of the world if it was offered? For educators currently teaching in Western Europe: Will the threat of continued terrorism deter you from renewing your contract when it expires?

The staff at ISR concur that there are locations in the world where we once felt far safer teaching and living than if we had been in our home cities of the West. We agree we would be hard-pressed to return to some of these once tranquil areas of the world due to the current and ever-present threat of terrorism, war and/or political revolution.

As a long time, highly desirable International Teaching destination, is Western Europe making its way onto the list of places to avoid? Take our short Survey  below:


23 thoughts on “Would You Still Teach in Western Europe?

  1. This will not sound PC but In my life time ( 50) I have seen an greatly increased threat of terrorist attack. Simultaneously there has been an influx of men into Europe with hostile intent. Only a minority but a growing minority.

    i was teaching in London when the 7/7 bombs went off and some of our parent were injured.
    I was in the Abu Dhabi shopping mall when a teacher was butchered by an Emirati in a bathroom because she was American. I had my toddler daughter with me.

    In the middle east I was treated with contempt because I married outside my race. My wife Thai was referred to as maid by visa officials in Qatar. She was the victim of physical assaults and attempted an attempted kidnapping by locals and migrant workers. The maid of a friend was mown down at a traffic light because the Qatari didn’t feel like stopping at a red light.

    I live in china now and its very safe due to the authoritarian nature of the regime. I am a temporary economic migrant myself but I embrace the local culture. We went to Japan and was treated with the utmost courtesy. I turned down a job in Moscow because the authorities don’t issue visas to thais or the school didn’t want a thai over there. I have worked in rural USA and have never seen such a combination of guns pick up trucks beards and general nut jobs. I love Thailand if not the military junta. We had deaths close by in the last two bouts of rioting.

    Western Europe e.g. Switzerland provincial UK is in general much safer than the middle east africa and all of the americas. Sure there are rare nutters like Andreas Brevik Michael Ryan.but far less that the counties named before. However the most dangerous places in the middle east are the roads. I am as multi cultural as they come but if you live in a country you must abide by the laws and customs. If you are a citizen of a country your first loyalty must be to that country and assimilate. Deliberate isolationism and intolerance wishing certain groups has led to the problems we see now. Its a cruel twist that a Jew is in fear of wearing a skull cap in 2016 same as his granddad was in the 1930s albeit in fear from different groups.

    Sorry but thats how I see it.


  2. I recently returned to the US from nine years overseas and took a job at a local high school in the southeast. Last month, I spent three hours huddled on the floor in the corner in the dark with students because of a very real threat: a student was seen on campus loading a gun. Law enforcement in flak jackets with semi-automatic weapons and others with canine units streamed onto campus. We sat on the floor and watched on social media. One girl was hysterical under my desk–this was the second such event she had been through.

    All I could of was the irony: I spent five years in Central America in one of the ten most dangerous cities and four in the Middle East, and I was going to die in Florida.

    Certainly, I would go to Europe.


    1. That’s terrible, Carol. You are brave and dedicated to stay in the profession after all of that.


  3. From a purely selfish standpoint, I kind of do hope that people get scared into staying home. I’d like a return to the ‘old days’ when much fewer people felt safe/comfortable/adventurous enough to pick up and move across the ocean to work. That would increase salaries and push the balance of power a bit towards ‘us’.

    As others have basically said, you’re more likely to die on the way to 7-11 than by a terrorist attack. If you let them limit what you do within the western world, they’ve won and I refuse the let that happen.


  4. I’ve taught overseas and LOVED it, but don’t discount teaching in the United States. I teach in a small country school in a southern state in the U.S.The administration is fabulous, the kids are sweet, and I make over $60,000 with just a Masters. It’s a no stress job. The whole town is like one family. We don’t have to worry about terrorists because everyone is armed. Just sayin’. If you haven’t been successful finding work abroad, don’t discount the little country schools in the U.S.


    1. Brenda please note that there has been no Paris or Belgium style attack in the UK despite threats and one of the main reasons that’s given for that is the lack of availability of guns. I’m glad you feel safe from terrorists in your small country school and I’m sure you are. What I do worry about (with everybody armed) is yours and your students safety from the toddler who somehow gets hold of his daddies gun when he thought it was locked away and shoots someone thinking it’s a toy, or the crazed teenager or mad person who goes on a shooting spree. It’s people with your attitude Brenda that make your lovely President cry on international tv.


    2. No, Macy’s response isn’t over the top! Guns kill and destroy. Everyone being armed is not the solution in our mad world today and definitely not in a small country school community. The whole community could be wiped out clean including dear Brenda by one mad terrorist act! 😟


    3. I love the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. Also, just making a point, but the major terrorists acts committed these days are done so by western states via the blessing of their parliaments sessions filled with white men in Armani suits. I’m more scared of a ‘white soldier boy’ hurting me than a ‘brown’ person from the middle-east. That’s the reality, unless of course you wear rose colored glasses and stick your head in the sand like an ostrich.


  5. I teach in Central Europe. Terrorism scares me as much or as little here as it did in far more dangerous locations I’ve worked in. There’s that mantra “If you get scared, the terrorists win.” I couldn’t disagree more: It’s okay to be scared, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying life.


  6. I just accepted a position in the heart of the EU. When I signed the paperwork for the position, the danger in the EU was not as significant. Now things are heating up and one has to always think and plan ahead. Safety is always a concern but the EU is under attack and teaching there is the solution to the challenges involved yet?????? Questions remain.
    Working in the US carries some concern also. There are always trade offs and things to take into consideration.


  7. Belgium is located in North West Europe. It is bound by the Netherlands to the north and France to the south. Spain and Portugal are located in Western Europe. Both countries are tranquil and paradise to live in.
    from: Teacher in Portugal


  8. Teaching in the USA is still far more dangerous, and menial, than Western Europe. 10 years ago I realized I could never teach in the USA again, and that is still true.


    1. It all depends on where you teach. I would have taught in Austria or Germany again in a heart beat, but they wouldn’t even interview me because I was over “55”. …I have a Masters in German and am certified in eight fields. Naw…I’ll stay right here in my little country school. In the South, the older you get, the more respect you get. Teachers and the principal still paddle, and the students say, “Yes ma’am and no ma’am.”


  9. no, the whole education system in the west is no good. Teachers are not respected as they are in the far east, and western teachers are paid rubbish wages. I earned much more money in a useless marketing job when I was last in Europe. In the east I am respected and treated like a professional. As a result, I teach better.


  10. TBH, the high cost of living, behaviour of students & high taxation compared to other parts of the world are far more concerning to me. You could – technically – get blown up or shot just about anywhere these days…and I live in a country sandwiched between Saudi & Yemen!


  11. How many times do you hear people say that they would not consider teaching in the United States because of their lack of gun control and the terrible consequences this has on a regular basis?


  12. I am not worried about terrorist strikes in Western Europe. The only reason that I wouldn’t teach in Western Europe is because there are not as many benefits. Specifically, the fact that there is usually not a housing allowance and it is very difficult to save any money. Sometimes I think that after I have saved for several years that I would try to work there just to travel every weekend and know that I wouldn’t save any money!

    For now, I will continue living in Venezuela (also a fairly dangerous place) where I can focus on paying off my master’s degrees.



    1. Amanda, I spend a lot of time in Ecuador and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and I always feel very safe there. We just have to use common sense wherever we go. I hear Venezuela is beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. We are all much more likely to die in a car accident or other mundane activity than we are of a terrorist strike.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.