Lexi Ward

You may have thought about it before: how amazing would it be to find a job that lets you travel and live overseas, whilst still giving you the ability to make and even save money. In this article, you'll learn the basics to finding work overseas, and how to make it work for you.

Lots of countries these days offer contracts for native English speakers (in other words, those who have grown up in countries such as USA, Canada, and Australia). The most common places to work overseas are Korea, Japan, and China. Each have their differences, but are generally the same. China is one of the best-paid countries for teaching abroad. Having one-fifth of the world's population, one can imagine why there is so much demand for English teachers. English-teaching contracts with Chinese companies like EF offer a wide range of age ranges (K-12 and adult options) and even let you decide whether you'd like to work in the morning or in the afternoon at after-school institutions.


Have a look on websites such as, or if you're an Aussie. Try your local online job searches or just type in “teach English in China” or "teach overseas" into your browser's search bar. Most recruiters will post jobs in bulk and you can easily have a look to see which types of jobs, working hours, and pay will best fit your lifestyle. After that, you'll be contacted to arrange an interview.


The first thing to do once you've secured a time for your interview is prepare. The interview will likely take part on Skype or another voice-over-internet (VOIP) option. Have a look around the house for a space that looks clean and professional, and be sure to check the lighting so that your interviewer can see your face clearly. Wear clean, simple clothes and don't overdo it with hair and make-up. The interview itself is usually informal and friendly, as recruiters want to get to know the real you so that they can best place you in a school that fits. Interviewers want to see how well you can teach in a classroom, so calm, clear, relaxed and happy attitudes will get the best scores. Don't have much teaching experience? Not to worry. Talk about your time volunteering, babysitting, and even helping a younger sibling with their homework. This can all speak towards your abilities in teaching.

TIP: Chinese students are incredibly interested in people outside of China, so be sure to keep your interview persona happy, fresh-faced and excited to start work.



Once you've had an interview with someone, it's time to get your documents ready. Most schools will require you to have your degree authenticated and a background check done. The background check can be done at any time- just have a chat to someone at your local police station and they should be able to steer you in the right direction. Perhaps the best tip we can give you is to have this check done before you even start interviewing, as background checks can take a while.


Next, the degree. Most Chinese companies require a university degree from to-be teachers, so it's best to get it notarized ASAP. You may be asked to have it authenticated further, but not to worry, recruiters and big companies like EF are usually excellent at letting you know if this is the case. Some places might accept a college degree, so be sure to ask if you have one.


There are lots of different ways to become certified as an English teacher to work overseas, and it's a great idea to do some research to see if teaching is a good match for you. If you want to have a leg up when it comes to being an English teacher, then apply for one of the many English teaching certificate programs- you can even do most of it online! There are different certificates for different countries, but generally they are quite similar. Look at TEFL, TOEFL, or CELTA to get you started.


You've secured a job and made it to China - congratulations! Now is not the time sit back and enjoy the ride. Get to know your surroundings, your neighbors and colleagues. Plan your weekends and be sure to try the local cuisine! This is going to be an amazing experience, and only you can hold you back!

TIP: Read up on cultural norms and etiquette. Chinese people love expats and they're incredibly friendly, but be sure to understand what is (and isn't) respectable. After all, you are a guest in their country.

China is a land of incredible sights, tastes and sounds. Learn some of the language, travel, and eat all of the food! You won't regret it. Just think of all the stories you'll have!

Are you ready?

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Lexi Ward

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