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How to Protect Your Footprint at Home While Teaching English Abroad

Ryan Harrison

Ryan is a travel enthusiast and teacher who has explored everywhere from Turkey to Timbuktu.

Teaching Abroad — finally. It’s time to take your teaching experience on the road. You’ve spent months studying foreign culture and climate. You’ve spent hours reading books such as “How to Learn Mandarin in Five Minutes a Day.” You are psyched about your year long contract to teach English in China.

Now comes the hard part: Deciding what to do about all your stuff you won’t take with you.

The Big One: What to Do With Your Home


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Have you thought about leasing your home? Market prices aren’t back to normal yet, and after decades of gathering furnishings, art and personal memorabilia, it is hard to downsize your life enough to fit into a handful of crates and suitcases. After your stint teaching overseas, you may be ready to return to the community and friends you love. If you decide to rent, hire a professional leasing agency.

To find a reputable agent in your area, visit a site such as Enter your zip code to find registered agencies. While you are there, check out their resources and tools that have valuable information about hiring movers and storage companies for the property you plan to leave behind. Establishing a solid relationship with a professional real estate agent will make selling easier if you change your mind down the road.

A few other benefits of renting include:

  • You can collect payments online, or set up deposits to your home bank.
  • Renters have a local contact for repair and maintenance issues.
  • Background and credit checks are normal application requirements.

Keep a Virtual Eye on Your Property

You can monitor your home online with a security system and an app from anywhere in the world. Tsavo Media Canada Inc. publishes a list of security companies and equipment to help you monitor your property while you are away. If you notice the property is getting run down, ask your agent to do a drive-by and check it out. is a great resource to review security products and recommendations.

Speaking of Security

You are going to be dealing with a lot of new people — both in the U.S. and while you are teaching abroad — before and after the move. You will be monitoring your finances online and adding tons of new friends to your social networking sites. Having a reliable security system for your computing devices isn’t optional.

Identify theft protection is critical. is a database for tech companies and investors. Go to the site and look for a company that has been around more than a year or two. If you review the LifeLock profile, you will see they opened in 2005, and CrunchBase details say the company charges $10 monthly.

Before you sign with a realtor or contract with a storage company, call your local Better Business Bureau. If you aren’t sure how to reach your local BBB, you’ll find information at The BBB mission and vision are to create a community of trust by setting high standards for members and providing information about companies to consumers. Review complaints. Read settlement and arbitration news. Find out about company reputations before you make decisions to ensure your move abroad is a smooth one.

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