The schools we work with provide the most lucrative compensation packages in the industry. Live great and save extra money!

Learn More

Most options

Great schools nationwide with options for Professional, Experienced and beginner teachers in almost every subject!

Learn More

Outstanding Support

A personal placement consultant as your sole point of contact through the whole process.

Learn More

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and to teach abroad but don’t know where to begin. In the four years I’ve spent in Asia, I’ve had a variety of jobs in and out of teaching. I’ve had some great teaching jobs, as well as some not-so-great ones. I write this to help every newbie who is thinking of getting a teaching job overseas, to make the best of their experience and get a position that will make them happy and enjoy their time in a foreign country. I wish someone gave me this advice when I was looking for a teaching position; it would have saved me a lot of time, effort, and headaches along the way.

I believe the causes of unhappiness overseas can stem from several reasons: a bad job fit, being underprepared, and having the wrong expectations when you go to the host country. Teaching jobs are numerous, the to-do-list can be confusing, and as much as you prepare, you never know what to expect, so here are some quick tips to help make your job search as fruitful as possible.

To thine own self be true

The first question you should ask yourself is: “Do I want to live overseas?”, and ask yourself why. Many of us get the idea in the middle of the night, the “eureka, aha!” moment, sometimes out of frustration with our current jobs, or out of boredom, and while it sounds like an awesome idea at the time, it may not be the answer to your problems. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself if this is really a good idea for you. Will you be happy living in another country? Make a list of reasons and make a rational argument to yourself as to why you want to make this decision. I have met many people who go through the process of getting a job in another country, only to find themselves sneaking out of the country like a thief in the night. Don’t be this person, be honest with yourself. Are you leaving a significant other behind? Do you have kids or a family? Do you have a mortgage, a sick mother, or other obligations?

Next ask yourself if jobs teaching english is the right job for you. Why do you want to teach?  Is it to make money, or to travel, to develop professionally, to learn a new language/culture, or all of the above? Would you be comfortable interacting with children, and singing songs? Would you be comfortable teaching working professionals with high demands?

If you accept a position that doesn’t match your objectives, you may be in for an unhappy year. You could find yourself with either a lot of work for low pay, or a job that doesn’t give you enough vacation time for travel, a job that will not matter on your resume, or in an environment that is only around people like you where you don’t get exposed to the local culture. With so many different positions out there, you should make sure the one you choose is the right one for you, but before anything else, you should ask yourself if you really want to be a teacher.

Finally ask yourself how open you are to experiencing a different culture. There is always a degree of culture shock wherever you arrive, no matter how well-traveled you are. Living as a foreigner is different from visiting as a tourist. For many of us it is a part of the adventure, but it’s not for everyone. So make sure you ask yourself these questions the morning after your ‘aha’ moment, then you’re ready for the next steps.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Do your homework, there are many countries and many types of schools, research every type so you are able to make an informed decision.

Make a list of countries you want to experience, this is the fun part. Research the countries, their cultures, languages, and find out whether there is a need for English teachers in these countries. What is the cost of living? What is the exchange rate? Will you be able to save money, or pay your bills back home?

The internet is a treasure trove of information (and misinformation), but with so much out there it’s easy to get lost and make a hasty decision. Take your time, research different types of schools, agencies, and jobs in the target countries. Read the job boards, read about others’ teaching experiences on the discussion forums. This is a serious decision; do your homework, and don’t act in haste. You should apply to different schools and agencies, schedule interviews and ask lots of questions. There are plenty of teaching jobs overseas. The right one is waiting for you!

Dot your T’s and cross your eyes [sic].                                                                       

Now that you’ve decided that you are really interested in jobs teaching english, and you know where you want to go, ask yourself if you have the qualifications to apply for that perfect job. Do you have a current passport, Bachelors’ degree, and TEFL/TESOL certificate in hand? Are there enough pages on your passport? Do you have the money for airfare (if the job reimburses the ticket)?

Most importantly: Do you have enough money to get set up, or at least a month’s living expenses? This is important because some schools only pay after one month, or will offer a loan that is deducted from your paycheck over the year contract. Make sure you are ready financially for your new adventure; otherwise you may be in for a tough year.   Have you made payment arrangements for your financial obligations at home? And finally, do you know what to expect within the first few weeks in your new home?


I hope I haven’t scared you but these things are important to know before you take the great leap forward (no pun intended). Make sure the job you take is the right fit for you, BE PREPARED! And have a good idea of what to expect in your future home. Follow this advice and you will enjoy your time abroad!

Nomad stories

How to Do an Online Teaching Demo

How to Do an Online Teaching Demo

Oh, the dreaded online teaching demonstration. You’re probably thinking to...

17 Aug 2017

Bringing a Pet to China

Bringing a Pet to China

  Anyone who has a pet knows that it is very...

14 Aug 2017

Why I decided to have a baby in Shanghai, China

Why I decided to have a baby…

  I think a lot of people were surprised that I...

09 Aug 2017

And the winner is...

And the winner is...

    Our most unique travel photo contest is over! Thank you...

07 Aug 2017

Basic Phrase Guide to China

Basic Phrase Guide to China

   A survival guide of words, phrases and numbers for when...

02 Aug 2017

Things to do in Doha, Quatar

Things to do in Doha, Quatar

  Doha, Qatar is one of the most wanted destinations to...

31 Jul 2017

7 Chinese Superstitions

7 Chinese Superstitions

  Just like this Chinese woman who threw coins into an...

27 Jul 2017

My First Year of Teaching

My First Year of Teaching

  My first-year teaching was an unforgettable experience. I left my...

24 Jul 2017

Happy Teaching Nomads

  • Kimmi, USA  Placed in Shanghai

    Kimmi, USA Placed in Shanghai

    I truly appreciate all the work that Teaching Nomad did upon arriving to Shanghai. Teaching Nomad helped with everything else once I landed, from paperwork to directions. Everyone at the agency is wonderful and extremely helpful and welcoming.
  • Rafael, USA  Placed in Shanghai

    Rafael, USA Placed in Shanghai

    Teaching Nomad was by far the easiest process I have gone through. I was able to get all the information I needed to continue with the job application. It was quick, efficient, friendly, and effective (I got the job).
  • Andrew, USA  Placed in Shanghai

    Andrew, USA Placed in Shanghai

    I didn't know what professionalism was until I started working with Teaching Nomad. They have always responded to my questions and comment promptly and in a friendly manner. With Teaching Nomad I have truly found my dream contract.
  • Elsie,SA  Placed in Shanghai

    Elsie,SA Placed in Shanghai

    Teaching Nomad helped me at a time in my life when I needed to make a positive career move. They helped me find a position in which I feel challenged, motivated and where I have the opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge as a teacher.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Teaching Nomad is your connection to teaching in Asia & The Middle East! We are a western owned and operated teacher placement agency with offices in Denver & Shanghai. We take a lot of pride in connecting teachers with great teaching opportunities.


Jobs on WeChat

wechat QR code


Contact Us

   Kangding Road No.1018, Third Floor, Suite 306 Shanghai, Prc

   1660 S.Albion St. Suite 911, Denver,CO USA

 (+86) 21 8025 3905

 (+1) 720 531 6136