How do I find a great International Teaching Location?

Newly qualified teachers and even experienced teachers seeking better prospects, often ask ‘How do I find an international teaching job?’ or ‘How do I find an ideal new teaching location?’ To answer those questions, you have to ask yourself a lot of other questions…

International education offers an overwhelming range of opportunities. There are almost 11,000 international schools around the world employing over 500,000 educators. (ISCResearch).  If you love to travel, want a more competitive teaching salary or hope to gain more practical in-class experience, choosing to teach abroad may be the right choice for you. With so many options available where do you start?   At Byron Recruitment we suggest you start by determining an ideal teaching location and type of school.

Choosing a teaching location:

When you accept a job at an international school, you’re making a commitment for at least a year. It’s important to choose your teaching location carefully. A place that’s wonderful to visit for a week on holiday might not seem so nice after living there for three months. On the other hand, a place that initially sounds less exciting might have great amenities and a friendly, homey atmosphere.

Do you want to live in a particular country and city that you know a lot about or are you up for an adventure anywhere? The more flexible you are with regards to location, the more options you’ll have with regards to salary and benefits.  On the other hand, if you’re really set on one place, it may be worth it to prioritize your search for schools located there.

What kind of culture do you want to live in?

Research how conservative/religious the country you’re considering moving to is. What are the socio-economic conditions there? Also, it’s important to think about how those factors and others would affect your life and happiness if you moved there. What’s considered a deal breaker for some can be the main attraction for others. Consider that although they may not expect foreigners to conform as strictly to their values and social rules, you will still be expected to follow the laws of the country you live in.

Don’t forget safety considerations such as crime rate or political volatility in the area. These may especially be concerns for single women or families with children. Most international school campuses are safe, but you might find yourself living in a bubble. Would you and your family feel comfortable and safe living there?

What is the cost of living compared to the salary?

Your salary will be relative to the cost of living in any teaching location.  While salaries and benefits for expat teachers will always provide for a good standard of living, strictly comparing salaries from different countries can be misleading. You must consider the cost of living in each country in order to calculate your expected disposable income. Only then can you compare the value of offers from around the world.

Normally countries that pay the highest salaries are required to do this because there are conditions present that make teaching there less desirable: higher cost of living, challenging working conditions, social unrest…  While countries that are considered extremely desirable destinations can attract teachers without having to compete on salary alone.

Other Considerations:

  • Weather
  • Holidays and vacation options
  • City vs. remote assignment
  • Language
  • Educational opportunities for your children
  • Distance from home
  • Food and entertainment options

Make a list of your ‘must haves’, ‘nice to have’ and ‘deal breakers’ with regards to a teaching location.  This will help you narrow your search to a specific area and then focus on the schools located there.

Picking the right school:

Once you and your family have determined a part of the world you’d like to work and live in, next you need to target a school(s) where your experience and training will be seen as an asset.


Consider the curriculum they offer: 32% of International Schools are Bilingual, 15.5% are IB, 19% are US Curriculum and 30.7% are UK Curriculum.  While the remaining schools are Australian, Canadian, Islamic… (ISCResearch) Remember, schools using a certain country’s curriculum generally prefer teachers with qualifications from that country. For instance IGCSE schools like UK teachers, Ontario Curriculum Schools prefer to hire OCT educators…  You may want to choose a school with a curriculum and school culture you are familiar with.

Type of School:

Ask yourself a series of questions. Do you want to teach in a local school system or would you prefer to teach in an international school? Secondly, are you interested in progressive education? Is an an inclusive classroom important to you?

What level do you want to teach? Primary, Middle School, Secondary or Post-Secondary?  What type of resources and facilities are important to you? Finally, ask yourself where you will be happy, satisfied and able to offer the greatest impact in the classroom.

If you want to experience more of the local culture or you specialize in teaching English as a second language, then you might want to choose a Bilingual School or one that caters to second language learners.

Begin your search for a new teaching job:

Once you’ve decided on the teaching location and type of school you’re interested in, the next step is to get your application materials together. Update your CV, create a Cover Letter template and prepare your documents. Start with a google search, then visit popular teacher job boards and finally approach schools directly on their website.

Do your research. Then narrow your choices to schools where your qualifications and experience will be most valued. With those steps taken it won’t take long to find a new international teaching job.

If you’re ready to start applying for exciting international teaching opportunities, look HERE

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