What's the best way to start a new life in Asia?

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Unless you are independently wealthy, getting a job is the key to your new life abroad. A full time job means you’ll be legally employed, receiving all the benefits of local workers in the foreign country, and ready to start establishing yourself. As an expat, your stability in a foreign country is top priority while living and working abroad.

There are opportunities for Teaching English all over the word. Teaching is one of the easiest ways to secure a stable job abroad. According to this report there are 1.5 BILLION English learners worldwide. The demand is a massive and the trend will continue for the foreseeable future. In fact, China alone with its 1.6 billion people is big enough to swallow all the English teachers working abroad whole. So make this your avenue for having an unforgettable experience in another country.

There are dozens of teaching related websites that post teaching English job openings all over the world. Even more jobs are being posted on Facebook groups in the teaching English job boards. Most jobs only require that you be a native English speaker with a college degree.

But being a teacher requires patience, dedication and most of all, high energy. There are plenty of uninspired westerners teaching English in Asia and the students are the ones who suffer.

To get started on your job search, join a Facebook group for teachers at the country of your choice. Just type your country of interest and “teaching jobs” next to it in the search box, ie: “Vietnam Teaching Jobs“. You’ll see a list of teacher groups. Add yourself to the group and once you’re inside the you can browse through the dozens of jobs available and check salary and location details. Find the job opening that piques your interest and simply submit your resume with a short cover letter to the school email.

Landing the interview

You might be competing with dozens of applicants, so to stay one step ahead of the competition, film a one minute self introduction using your phone. Speak with an expressive voice and show your enthusiasm for teaching kids and embracing new cultures. If you are camera shy, then skip the video and include a few of your recent photos in a both a professional and casual setting, along with your resume and cover letter. Now sit tight and wait to be invited to interview. Normally the hiring manager will contact you for a Skype or a phone interview.

Trap doors on Facebook

Finding a Teaching English job on Facebook has its ups and downs. The positives are that new jobs are constantly being posted. You can take your time and wait for the right offer to show up in the right city. You can also directly chat with recruiters through their Facebook accounts and ask a few questions to determine if the job is suitable for you. The downside is you’ll have more competition as some teaching groups have thousands of members all applying for the same job. Another is job hunting on Facebook is awkward. Employers are going to check out your Facebook page for pictures of you and your friends doing partying and doing body shots in Cancun. They are looking to weed out any possible “unprofessional” candidates as there are plenty of westerners misbehaving abroad.

If your Facebook page is anything like mine you’ll want to avoid letting recruiters find your Facebook page. It’s best to apply for the job by email without sending direct messages to avoid having hiring managers snooping around your profile.

Or play it safe and go through other job sites such as eslcafe.com, where you can apply for teaching jobs. But the benefit of going through Facebook is you can also check out the agent or employer’s profile and make sure they are legitimate. If, for example, the hiring manager’s profile page was created two weeks ago for the sake of posting a job, you might want to pass on that job.

The Hero’s Journey: Just buy a ticket and go!

I Because of the competition on Facebook and the chance of signing on with a shady or untrustworthy school, plus the lack of privacy when using Facebook, buying a plane ticket and going might just be the best way to find a teaching job abroad.

It sounds scary but if you’re a bit of a risk taker and have some savings, it’s by far the best way to get a job you’ll be happy with. Once you land in your destination city, you can take your time hopping around from school to school, dropping off your resume at schools and getting a chance to chat with employers face to face. And through this method you’ll get a better contract and a feeling of whether you can see yourself at this school and in the city or town for the long-term. While you’re at it, make sure to visit the local expat bars and mix with local foreign teachers to get some inside info before you sign a contract.

The downside to what I call the Hero’s Journey method is you can run out of money and be desperate if you’re not careful. It’s happened to friends of mine and it’s an extremely stressful situation to be in while in a foreign country.

Bonus: Get job info through meeting the right people

Just like finding any job, getting a good teaching contract can often depend on who you know. Teachers often recommend friends when openings come up. Making some friends first lets you learn a bit about the school before signing on and having an easier transition into the new job with your friend already on board. Just check out the local expat bar where foreign teachers hang out and go there with your smile and a positive attitude. Foreigners abroad are incredibly open and easy to talk to when you’re a newbie.

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