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International school teachers are a self-selected group, adventurous, and willing to think outside the box. Only a small percentage of educators worldwide actually take the initiative to relocate to teach abroad.

“60% of teachers work just 20 miles from where they grew up” – Edutopia

Educators interested in teaching internationally need to really want it. They have to research vacancies, study various schools and countries, prepare resumes, letters and documentation, collect references, fill out endless forms, wait in anticipation of a response, and interview virtually, (perhaps fly to job fairs in far-away cities). They need to decide amongst offers, sign strange contracts, pack up one home and set up in a new one. Over time, they start to adjust to a new location, new employer, new job responsibilities, new curriculum, new colleagues, and a new culture of school and country- all far away from the familiarity of family, and friends. Add a pandemic into the mix and home starts to look more appealing.

In spite of all these hurdles teachers are still applying to schools all over the world. We are contacted by teachers every day who talk about their desire to go beyond the security of their home environment and experience something new and different.

Who are these people? Why would they choose to make this move?

Here are the fundamental reasons for seeking out a job outside your home country as an expatriate, from “CATALYSTS FOR A CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS by ETTIE ZILBER.

Background catalysts to teach abroad

  • are you a third culture kid yourself?
  • do you have a childhood fascination with history?
  • a passion for reading literature, history, or watching particular TV programs?
  • a political science interest?
  • a fascination with languages?
  • did you listen to exciting stories relayed by family members/friends about their migrations, travels, and/or family history in foreign lands?
  • do you live in a multicultural school and/or neighbourhood community?
  • did you have early international travel experiences, particularly exchange programs?

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Motivation: are you looking for 

  • the excitement of novel experiences and adventure
  • the joy of discovery
  • the continuous desire to experience more places
  • professional advancement
  • financial incentives
  • a happy working climate of a school
  • a strong sense of job challenge
  • a strong staff development program
  • high quality of staff, students, and parents
  • a school strongly centered on student learning.
  • an exciting and fulfilling/different way of life
  • wider horizons for own children
  • to be immersed in and learn a new language
  • to explore one’s cultural heritage or search for identity
  • professional growth
  • an improved economic remuneration
  • an elevated lifestyle
  • status



Inter-cultural readiness: how much do the following appeal to you?

  • Interest in learning about cultural differences
  • Broadening your perception of a worldview
  • The mission of internationalism

If this sounds like you and you are looking for someone to help you navigate the international school sector, Search Associates works with over 700 schools. All of whom are carefully vetted to take at least some of the uncertainty out of the equation. Start your profile to teach abroad now!

Still not sure? Find out more about your readiness to start looking overseas.

” Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” Mark Twain




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