Age limits in international schools

Search Associates does not discriminate based on age, but candidates should be aware that some countries may have age limits in some international schools. This is due to host country regulations governing work visas. Age limits might begin anywhere between 55 and 65 for some countries; however, many others impose no age limits at all.

Katie and Trev came to us in their late 50’s looking for a change and an adventure before retirement.

Age limits in international schools Search Associates ANZ a teaching couple who are enjoying their times overseas in a novel location

After visiting with recruiters at the Melbourne Fair they decided to accept positions in Hong Kong.

They had 6 months to prepare. Katie and Trev took leave from their school and arranged for friends to take care of their house. They had a specific end date in mind so this made it easier to arrange.

Katie and Trev said: “While we were based in Hong Kong for 3 years we travelled to 18 destinations. The variety of fresh local food was fantastic. We set ourselves up financially and enjoyed amazing professional learning. We really valued opportunities to experience other curriculums and see similarities/differences between them. Our appreciation of other cultures was expanded along with our teaching skills. We have come back home now with a new mindset including an appreciation of how lucky we are in Australia and a goal to live more minimalistically”.

Being over 50 we were at a time in our lives where we were able to focus on ourselves. We made lots of friends our both own age and younger. They are now friends for life. Being over 50 made us make the most of every opportunity offered.

They share some advice

Age limits in international schools  Search Associates ANZ photo of a brightly lit street in Hong Kong in the evening hours


  • pick other peoples’ brains to help you in any way to settle in
  • use a mentor for guidance
  • ask the school HR department
  • stay at a hotel a bit longer to give yourself extra time to find a place that suits you and to get it set up. Picking an area where others from school live


  • It was easy to begin with as we travelled home at least twice a year. Once covid hit it was difficult but we made the best of the circumstances and face-timed back home regularly.
  • Keep busy and keep in touch with family and friends
  • Send postcards and gifts home
  • Don’t let it get you down

Nearly everyone gets homesick so expect it to happen. And when you move to a different school overseas you’ll miss your last destination! The US State Department has done studies on its staff living overseas. No matter how many times people move they all go through a new period of adjustment.

Tips to hit the ground running

Age limits in international schools  Search Associates ANZ sun setting over one of the many beautiful mountain ranges encapsulating Hong Kong

  • Make sure you have travel insurance
  • Always ask if you don’t know
  • Live close to public transport
  • Find the right place for you to live and research online before you get there, if possible
  • Get banking and phones sorted as soon as possible
  • Take medications with you, to begin with. Stomach illness can be common in the beginning. Always drink clean/filtered water
  • Go out of your way to make new friends
  • Always be patient and kind
  • Embrace cultural similarities and respect the differences
  • Take lots of photos!

Arthur’s advice

Arthur is another Search Associates alumni who has finally decided to retire, aged 70. Originally from Melbourne, he taught in the USA, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia.

He offers the following advice to those who may be looking for a change of location in the prime of their life

Age limits in international schools  Search Associates ANZ profile picture of a Search Associates candidate alumni


  • Be Flexible
  • Keep things in perspective
  • Savor what is great about the time, place, and moment
  • Enjoy!
  • Be a lifelong learner. Give plenty but also be open
  • Find a way to engage with the local community to take you beyond the school community

Facebook group Over 50s International Teachers

If you are an active Search Associates candidate you can access this information on each school profile and a recent compilation of age limits schools have given us for their successful Visa applications. Contact Nick for more information.




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