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A Year of Travel in Europe, In Between Teaching in the UK

One main reason Aussie, Canadians and Kiwi’s want to teach in England is its close proximity to Europe! With 13 weeks holiday as a teacher, there is plenty of time to explore without the need to take time off from school.

My partner and I spent 2 years teaching in the UK and we made the most of the school holidays. We travelled to somewhere new and exciting every chance we got. Below are some of our favourite places we visited plus some suggestions on where to travel.

The UK School Year runs from September until July. International teachers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada can start a contract at the start of one of the three school terms in September, January or April. If you are keen on supply work, you can arrive at other times of the year too.

The first chance you will get to fit in some travel if you start in September is the October Half term Break. This holiday break is usually towards the end of October. As the UK heads into winter this might be your last chance to soak in some sun. So my suggestion is to travel somewhere warm.

October Half Term Break

We travelled to the North African Country of Morocco, with average high temperatures of 29 degrees, it was perfect. The city of Marrakesh is a must see. Visit the old town souks (markets) for some shopping. You can buy anything from hand-made jewellery, rugs, leather goods, clothing plus more. Another must do is an overnight stay in the Sahara Desert. We rode Camels into to a Luxury campsite where we stayed for the night. It was amazing sleeping under the stars. There are multiple tour companies that run similar tours so do some research before booking.

Christmas Holidays

Hopefully after your October half term break you are feeling rested. You will have another 6 to 7 weeks until the end of term. Your next break will be extra special because you get a two week holiday over Christmas and New Year’s. London is amazing during the festive season so you might choose to spend Christmas with your new friends in the UK. There will be plenty of other Aussies spending their first Christmas away from home so why not celebrate together? Make sure to buy an ugly Christmas Sweater! Also be sure to check out Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. If you do want to get away I suggest heading to Germany for some of the world’s best Christmas markets.

For New Years Eve celebrations you are spoilt for choice as nearly everywhere will be having a party. We really enjoyed Hogmanay Festival in Edinburgh. Each year thousands of people travel to Edinburgh for a massive street party. They close down the streets, have bands playing live music and have an amazing fireworks display to bring in the New Year. Or why not get out of Europe and travel to New York to see the world famous time square ball drop? New York is only an 8 hour journey which is nothing when comparing the journey from Aus!

February Half Term Break

After the excitement of Christmas you won’t have to wait long until you can explore a new location. The February Half Term break comes around quickly. This break usually falls towards the end of February and is the perfect time to try and see the Northern Lights. On a clear winter night you can experience the Northern Lights dancing across the sky. It is truly magical. You will need to travel pretty far north to be able to see them so I suggest visiting one of the Scandinavian countries or head to Iceland like we did. During the day a visit to the Blue Lagoon is a must. The Blue Lagoon is a natural hot Spring and a perfect location for a relaxing afternoon. Once night arrives there are plenty of tour companies which will take you to the best locations to see the Northern Lights. It is such an amazing experiencing seeing the bright lights dancing and move across the night sky.

Easter Break

Your next chance to get away is over the Easter Break. You get 2 weeks off so you might like to tie in a couple of locations or maybe stay somewhere for an extended period. We ventured off to Italy for one of our Easter Breaks. We visited Rome, Venice and Cinque Terre. It was the perfect time to visit Rome as it wasn’t too hot. In summer Rome can be unbearable in the heat. Also if you are hiking between the five towns along the Cinque Terra it is probably best not to do this in the middle of summer.

May Half Term Break

Your final break before the big summer holiday is in May. You get a one week holiday to recharge for the final 6/7 weeks of the school year. Why not skip flying this trip and take the train. From London you can catch the Eurostar to Amsterdam, or why not take the train to Paris for some much needed wine and cheese. The train only takes 2 and a half hours to arrive in Paris, how crazy is that!?

Summer Holidays

Congrats you have made it too the end of the school year! Now you have 6 weeks to enjoy European Summer! Depending on what you want to do with your summer there is something for everyone. Below are some more of my favourites that we visited

If you are wanting to soak in the sun and lay by the beach I suggest:

  • San Sebastian – Spain
  • Malta
  • Amalfi Coast in Italy

If you are wanting to Party you can’t go past:

  • Croatia
  • Berlin
  • Greek islands
  • Lagos – Portugal

If you want to explore somewhere different rather than the typical European Hotspots I suggest:

  • Budapest
  • Anywhere in Eastern Europe
  • Turkey

If you would like to talk about your UK plans and need help with securing teaching work, we’d love to hear from you.

Reyne Auld – Teacher and Teach In Consultant