Being a Governess Abroad

Another Way for Americans to Experience Other Cultures

Yesterday we discussed how Americans can become au pairs abroad. But, only young adults may join the au pair cultural exchange program. Governesses, home school teachers, and teachers (whether young or old) can also teach in-homes overseas. Many American families work and live overseas. The parents may want their children to have an American education. But such an education might not be provided for the children in other countries. Qualified American teachers can provide that education to the American children, while experiencing a new culture overseas.

Being a governess or home school primary teacher overseas is much like home schooling is in the U.S.. Instead of being taught in a traditional school setting, the children are taught from home.

According to Rebecca Kochenderfer, co-founder and senior editor of, the need for some American governesses or home school teachers overseas is, “because some international schools lack what an expatriate family (American family living overseas) is searching for.”

Ms. Kochenderfer explains that some international schools may not provide the services found in most U.S. public schools; like quality programs for children with learning disabilities, a good environment for a physical disability, or perhaps the school is not challenging enough.

Ms. Kochenderfer says, “In some of the more remote places of the world there is no international school for American children to attend.” She continues, “Whatever the reason may be for finding an alternative to the local school, home schooling can be a very good solution for families living overseas and it can be accomplished with just a little bit of creativity and the right kind of information.”

Ms. Kochenderfer explains that when living overseas with corporate benefits that cover tuition costs, many American families are able to hire a teacher, governess, or tutor to do the teaching for them. Many employers are open to using the tuition that would normally be applied towards a very expensive international school (where tuition can run into many thousands of dollars a year per child), and putting it towards home schooling instead.Ms. Kochenderfer suggests,

“Parents should explain their situation to their employer and ask for what may be considered a special consideration. It’s important to remember that most companies have placed a large investment in their international service employees who themselves have committed to three to five-year assignments. Employers choose to be more flexible under those circumstances.”

Sample Teacher’s Responsibilities:

1) To teach the curriculum while providing close guidance, to document the daily schedule and work completed.

2) To write progress reports for the distance learning school teacher to view, as well as verbal progress reports for the parents.

3) To communicate with the international school twice a semester to compare progress with others in the children’s grade levels.

4) To gather samples of work to be sent in two to three times a semester for his Distance Learning teacher to view.

5) To gather all completed work to be sent in for final evaluation and grading by the distance learning school.

Sample Parent’s Responsibilities:

1) To support the teacher by providing all necessary supplies and an environment conducive to learning.

2) To be a liaison between schools and teacher for questions and concerns.

3) To make sure that the classroom is completely organized and supplies are replenished.

4) To read the communication notebook and assist with homework and reading.

5) To pay teacher on time.

6) To have all extracurricular activities organized and documented for the distance learning school.

8) To provide food and lodging for the teacher.

9) Pay taxes and collect all school related receipts for reimbursement (including the teacher’s paychecks).


  1. We forgot to mention that working for an American family abroad as their governess or home school teacher pays better than an au pair in the au pair cultural exchange program.

  2. I am too old to be an au pair overseas and I felt I had missed the boat. But this makes a lot of sense and it might be a way for me to actually experience a different culture with a family that really understands our culture. Makes more sense for experienced caregivers then being an au pair. Not that being an au pair wouldn't be a great experience, just not the same salary. Catie in Houston

  3. Hi, thanks for sharing

Leave a Reply to used handphone Cancel reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.

%d bloggers like this: