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Where to teach abroad?

Popular Destinations: Where to Teach Abroad and What to Expect

Are you pondering where to teach abroad? Experiencing a new culture, coupled with professional development, has led many teachers and senior leaders to seek international opportunities. But with so many options, choosing a destination can be daunting. Here, we explore top countries where to teach abroad, show why they are so popular in the unique experiences they offer, and highlight potential challenges for Western teachers.

Where in the world?
  1. United Arab Emirates (UAE)

    • Popularity Factors: High salaries, tax-free earnings, and comprehensive benefit packages make the UAE, especially cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, irresistible for educators seeking where to teach abroad.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: Many expatriates are lured by the booming oil, construction, and tourism industries.
    • Potential Challenges: Islamic laws govern the country, restricting alcohol consumption to licensed venues. Furthermore, LGBT+ rights are limited, and public displays of affection can be frowned upon.
      • Alternatives: If you fancy the UAE, you may also consider teaching in other Middle East locations such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait all of which offer excellent international schools.
      • Read more: Guide to Teaching in Dubai, Teaching in Abu Dhabi
  2. China

    • Popularity Factors: The rapid growth of international schools, attractive salaries, and saving potential attract many. Cities like Shanghai and Beijing are ideal for those considering where to teach abroad.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: Many foreigners work in the technology, trade, and education sectors.
    • Potential Challenges: Internet censorship and the language barrier might pose difficulties.
      • Alternatives to China may include Myanmar or Vietnam
      • Further reading: Try our teachers’ city guides to the teaching in Hangzhou
  3. Singapore

    • Popularity Factors: A high standard of living and excellent international schools are draws. And, for those mulling over where to teach abroad, its strategic Southeast Asian location is a bonus.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: The finance, tech, and shipping sectors are robust, attracting international professionals.
    • Potential Challenges: The cost of living can be high, but the quality of life often compensates for it.
      • Alternatives to Singapore might be teaching in Hong Kong.
      • For more information try looking at our city guide to teaching in Singapore
  4. Thailand

    • Popularity Factors: An affordable lifestyle, rich cultural experiences, and a laid-back ambiance make Thailand appealing. Bangkok is a focal point for educators considering where to teach abroad.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: Many expats work in tourism, digital nomad roles, and education.
    • Potential Challenges: Understanding the local etiquette and customs is essential to avoid misunderstandings.
      • Alternatives to Thailand may be finding Teaching Jobs in Vietnam
      • For further reading try clicking on our teaching in Bangkok which provides guide to teaching in the city.
  5. Malaysia

    • Popularity Factors: The growing presence of reputable schools, affordable living costs, and a rich culture beckons teachers. Kuala Lumpur is particularly attractive for those deciding where to teach abroad.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: The oil, gas, and education sectors are prominent employers of expatriates.
    • Potential Challenges: The country has a mix of cultures, and respecting each one’s nuances is crucial.
      • Yet again, Vietnam is a strong alternative to Malaysia
      • More information on teaching in Kuala Lumpur is available in this city guide.
  6. Japan

    • Popularity Factors: Its rich history, high educational standards, and opportunities across urban and rural settings make Japan stand out for those wondering where to teach abroad.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: Many foreigners work in tech, trade, and education.
    • Potential Challenges: Japan’s unique work culture and language can be challenging to adapt to initially.
      • Alternative could be find teaching jobs in South Korea (see below)
      • Read out teaching in Tokyo guide
  7. Switzerland

    • Popularity Factors: Superior education standards, breathtaking landscapes, and its central European location make it a top choice for educators.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: Banking, pharmaceuticals, and tourism are major sectors employing foreigners.
    • Potential Challenges: High living costs can be a deterrent for some.
      • An alternative could be looking for international school roles in France, Belgium, Germany, or Austria
      • Find teaching job in Switzerland
  8. South Korea

    • Popularity Factors: Attractive salary packages, advanced infrastructure, and a blend of traditions make Korea an appealing destination.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: Many expats work in tech, automotive, and education.
    • Potential Challenges: Adapting to the Korean work ethic and understanding cultural nuances is essential.
      • An alternative could be working in a Japanese International School.
      • Find Teaching Jobs in South Korea
  9. Qatar

    • Popularity Factors: Tax-free salaries and attractive benefits are primary draws for educators considering where to teach abroad.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: The oil and gas industry is a significant employer, but sectors like sports and education are emerging.
    • Potential Challenges: Just like the UAE, Qatar’s Islamic laws dictate certain aspects of daily life, from alcohol consumption to dating.
      • The alternative would be Oman or UAE
      • Take a look at our guide to teaching in Doha
  10. Kazakhstan

    • Popularity Factors: The emerging reputation of its schools and competitive packages lure teaching and school leaders.
    • Overseas Workers and Careers: Oil, mining, and education are primary sectors with foreign professionals.
    • Potential Challenges: The climate can be extreme, and understanding local customs is essential.

In conclusion, deciding where to teach abroad requires a careful assessment of not only the professional opportunities but also the cultural, legal, and societal aspects of each destination. Being prepared ensures a rewarding international teaching experience.