Congrats on finishing your teaching placement! You’re probably exhausted, but also feeling accomplished. When done well, teaching can take a lot of your energy and even more so when you’re navigating a new culture abroad.
So, pat yourself on the back and take some time to relax and unwind. Not for too long though, because any second now you’ll start getting that nagging “What next?” question—either from yourself or others. Not sure what to do after teaching English abroad? Read on for a wealth of options!
Possible careers after teaching English abroad
Ready to launch right into your career and land a plum long-term job? Maybe some of these options could work.
1. Teach English as a second language in your home country
This is a natural next step—take those ESL skills you learned and apply them to your home country. This works best, of course, if English is widely spoken in your home country with immigrants eager to learn, or if it’s a popular second language. Your experience teaching English abroad will be definitely applicable here. As far as jobs after teaching English goes, this shouldn’t be a difficult transition!
- Pros: You have the relevant experience and skills, but now you can use them in a different context.
- Cons: It might be a little too similar to your past job. You don’t want to feel stagnant.
- More info: How to Become an English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher
2. Work as a social worker or case manager for immigrants or refugees
Both local governments and nonprofits often have case managers to help recent immigrants or refugees settle into their new homes. So if you’re looking for what to do after teaching English abroad, working with local immigrant communities should be on your “fields to consider” list. Your work teaching English abroad gives you experience working cross-culturally and it could be useful if you’re helping families with children navigate the education system. It lets you get to know people from all over the world and connect with them on a one-to-one basis.
- Pros: it’s fulfilling to help others start a new life!
- Cons: Jobs like these are known for not being paid well, if your finances are needing a bit more love.
- More info: If you’re in the USA, this article on immigration law changes could be helpful
3. Work in international development
International development is a field that often appreciates international experience on a resume (naturally), so as you consider possible careers after teaching english abroad look into the development industry. It’s a wide, ever-changing field that seeks to support the positive development of struggling areas. You could be a program manager for an education project abroad, or support scholars from other countries coming to your home country for study. Or if you want to use your teaching skills in a different capacity, you could become an expert trainer in areas as diverse as gender integration, monitoring and evaluation, or economic growth.
- Pros: International development is a fulfilling field with a wider variety of issues and roles that need talented people.
- Cons: the industry is focusing more on hiring locals to run projects (a good thing!) than sending expats, so it’s harder to get a job if you’re not from the relevant area.
- More info: If you want to start out in the development field by working abroad, read about some of the best countries to move to.
4. Be a study abroad advisor
Now that you’ve come back from your own abroad experience, help others start on their adventure! You can work as a study abroad advisor at a university or for a private organization, using your stories—both successes and lessons learned—to inspire students. Being a study abroad advisor means getting to know both the study abroad options and the students you work with, their dreams, goals, and even fears. It’s got that one-on-one approach but usually with a fairly specific demographic of late teens and early twenty-something students.
- Pros: You get to talk about being abroad! Which is often what to you want to do after teaching abroad anyway.
- Cons: It’s not all fun stories and helping students dream, there’s also knowing legal details, financial planning, and risk management, in case that’s not your jam.
- More info: Learn about the annoyances and frustrations a study abroad advisor might face in working with students.
5. Be a tutor in a private facility
Maybe you found that teaching in a classroom was not for you, but that you do love working with students and supporting their education. There are private tutoring companies—both for profit and non-profit—where you can use your skills to help students at the individual level who are facing challenges in school. You can tutor online or in person. This could also be a good transition jobs after teaching English abroad, since at some places you could possibly pick up just a few shifts as you looked for other work. Or you could fall in love with tutoring and make this your new career! It’s like teaching without the classroom management.
- Pros: Fulfilling work with students, helping them succeed.
- Cons: The hours can be a little weird—sometimes they are as late as 9pm for after school tutoring.
- More info: How to become a tutor
Random jobs after teaching English
If you aren’t ready to dive into a career and want to keep exploring while making some cash, think about one of these jobs, which answer the question of what to do after teaching abroad wisely. With these gigs, you can explore either geographically or metaphorically—ya know, by traveling among your own talents—and into all the many amazing job options out there!
- Work in a national park. Get out among nature. There are tons of jobs in parks, many seasonal, such as working in a lodge or store, being a tour guide, or working a ski lift if snow is your jam. You could become a park ranger or even a park investigator with the United States Park Police, if you’re really hardcore. But even if you’re not, with a job in a park you can get fit, soak in beautiful landscapes, and meet cool people!
- Work in a hostel. This is a great way to stay abroad for free, as many hostels will pay in food or accomodation. You’ll get to know so many interesting people passing through and be the go-to for local tourist advice. Make sure if they are paying you in actual money that it’s all above board—no sketchy jobs for you. Work in a hostel and see the “other side” of budget traveling.
- Be a baker. Are you an early riser and also a skilled bread riser? (Ok that was a terrible, failed baking pun….). Stepping away from the travel jobs, go get your hands dirty with some dough and bake delicious goods! Maybe you’ll find a new passion or maybe your hobby can become a job. Also, your mad baking skills could serve you well no matter where you go next. No one hates fresh baked cookies.
- Be a florist. If you’re more into gardens than kitchens, learn to love on some plants. Learn to keep plants alive and to design floral arrangements for joyous celebrations and comforting moments. This isn’t a great job for people with allergies, but think how uplifting being around flowers all day would be!
- Learn to bartend. The seemingly go-to cool young person job, bartending takes some serious skill. You need to learn not only how to mix and pour drinks just right, but also how to handle people and crowds. If you can pick up bartending you always have a monetizing skill set to fall back on!
- Become a personal trainer. If you want to get fit, why not do so while making some cash? Getting certified as a personal trainer takes time and money, but then you don’t even have to have a nearby gym since there are tons of virtual trainers out there nowadays. Get your #fitspiration ready.
Other fun things to do
Not hurting for money and want some serious exploration time? Then budget accordingly and head back out on an adventure, such as….
Use our GoAbroad Online Advisor to figure out where you want to head next. Did teaching take up all your time? Create some breathing space to go hit up your bucket list items. Go to the places you always wanted to see. Travel thoughtfully—learn to cook local dishes in Thailand, to dance flamenco in Madrid, or pick cherries in Oz. Connect with people as you go and volunteer when (and where) your skills are useful. Exploring more is the perfect solution to what to do after teaching abroad.
Take time to recalibrate your goals
Maybe teaching abroad has made you rethink your ambitions. Great! People often switch careers and interests. Take some time to think through what you want, and don’t want, in a future career path. You could visit with a career counselor or go on a silent retreat for some quality time journaling and contemplating. You could expand your network and do some informational interviewing to learn about other career paths.
Go back to school
Is graduate school on the horizon? Some more time in the classroom—studying this time, not teaching—could be what you need to launch you into a new career. Many higher level management jobs today require a masters, if you want to move up in your field. Student loan debt is no joke so weigh your options carefully and if you still have the travel bug, consider getting your graduate degree abroad.
Serve in AmeriCorps or Peace Corps
If you’re an American citizen you can work a year or two with AmeriCorps in a community in the US, or two years with the Peace Corps abroad. Each placement and community is different—you could be teaching chemistry and sustainable agriculture in Nicaragua with Peace Corps or supporting affordable housing in New Orleans with AmeriCorps. Both programs provide a solid network of other socially conscious peers. Either one is a great option to explore possible careers after teaching English abroad, and a way to continue traveling.
Explore that side project
Have you always wanted to try writing a novel or a cookbook, make a short film or build a website? Whatever that side passion project is that’s been burning at the back of your mind, now’s the time! If you don’t have other obligations and do have a little financial leeway, try your hand at that one idea that won’t let you go, whether it’s starting a podcast, building a tiny house, or recording an album. Otherwise you’ll always wonder what could have been.
What to do after teaching English abroad…? What isn’t there to do?!
There’s tons of job options out there, but we are so often restricted by what we don’t know, aware only of what we see in our social or professional circles. Don’t let that be you! Choose responsibly, but choose a little wild too—take a chance on something you don’t know much about or aren’t sure you’re good at. And now that you know what to do after teaching English abroad (because you figured it out in one article, right?), get out there and get this new chapter started!