The ABC of ELT

The Essential before you go check list

It’s a common story. people get a new job, move abroad and have to leave something’s behind. You have to make quick decisions over what to take, what to leave, and most importantly what do they really need.

Stress doesn’t help make good decisions though and when you’re in a rush it’s easy to forget some important item that you really should take with you.
What’s more there are probably some important items that you just haven’t considered taking.
So, take a look at our tried and tested check list and use it to make sure you don’t end up wishing you had brought something else with you.
Before you look at this list though I have a few helpful questions that might make your answer vary from a more typical person.
  • How much can you take with you?
  • How big is your luggage?
  • How much luggage can you take on your flight?
  • What restrictions does the country your going to have?
  • What will be at the place your going to?
  • How much money do you have to buy things out there?
Okay, now that you’re thinking about that, here is the checklist to help you.


  • What’s the climate like?
  • What is the dress code of the company?
Remember this applies to shoes as well. This is very much a question that depends on where you are going but it is worth taking at least 2 weeks worth of clothes with you.




  • Certificates (validated) I had great trouble when I discovered that I needed my CELTA certificate validated and then spent great care to find out how to validate it.
  • Photocopies of degree certificates,
  • Passport (photocopies)
  • Passport photos (you never know what documents you may need to fill in our there)
  • ID card/driving licence.
  • International Drivers licence (some countries require this to prove your driving licence is valid)


This obviously depends on what the school you are going to has but some of these items are useful anyway. Bare in mind that books take up a lot of space (and weight) so a lighter alternative is scanning in your books to PDF format to avoid the weight (though you may have issues with file storage). [why not check the recommended CELTA reading list as well]
  • Instant lessons
  • Grammar book
  • Dictionary
  • Go to language games
  • Pens/notebook
  • Authentic English material

Creature comforts

It can be lonely while your abroad and reminders of home especially authentic English material and entertainment.
reminders of home
  • Contact back home (skype or cheap international calls)
  • DVDs/Netflix’s account
  • Podcasts
  • English books.
  • Language learning resources (for the country you’re going to)
  • Food items you can get out in other countries (things like peanut butter, Marmite, and Chocolates from home are usually absent or very expensive.)


  • At LEAST 1 months salary preferably 2.
  • Accommodation
  • Local currency.
Got all that? Great you’re ready to go! Remember that if you can’t fit everything into a suitcase you can always post it to your new address (but postal services aren’t always reliable so they may never turn up! Your main priorities have to be to bring the things you need immediately and the things you can get in the country you’re going to.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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