Encompassing the continent of Australia along with many smaller island nations in the tropical Pacific Ocean, Oceania is a region that can provide an immensely rewarding experience for international educators from all over the world. Home to a wide diversity of cultures, array of stunning landscapes, and generally laid back outlook on life, you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason not to want to teach abroad in Oceania. There are many different educational programs out there in several different countries, so start researching and planning your Oceanic adventure today!
No set boundaries outline the territory of Oceania, although it is commonly considered to be inclusive of the continent of Australia, along with the nearby sub-regions of Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia. In total this region covers more than 3 million square miles of territory in the South Pacific, encompassing several established nations along with hundreds of smaller uninhabited islands.
Australia, the region’s largest country by a considerable margin, is usually the most popular destinations where to teach abroad in Oceania. Australia is home to a handful of the world’s most ‘livable’ cities, such as Melbourne and Adelaide, where can be great destinations to set up shop as an expat teacher. Nearby New Zealand, which is the second largest island country in Oceania, is another highly touted destination where international educators can look for work.
Amongst the smaller countries where it is possible to teach abroad in Oceania are nations such as Samoa, Micronesia, Fiji, and the Marshall Islands. All of these countries have under 1 million citizens and are only lightly industrialized, so rural placements tend to be more popular amongst them. There is a tremendous amount of cultural diversity within these smaller island nations, which can make for a very enriching experience as a teacher abroad.
Teaching Jobs in Oceania
Available positions tend to vary based on the specific country where you choose to teach abroad in Oceania. For example in New Zealand and Australia, both fully developed countries where English is the native language, it can be somewhat competitive for international educators to find work. In order to be considered for hiring in these countries you will often be expected to have a college degree, adequate teaching credentials, and prior classroom experience.
At large, teaching English as a second language is generally the easiest way to find work abroad as an international educator; thus it is in the smaller island nations, where English is often not the first language among locals, where these positions will be most prevalent. Because many of these countries are underdeveloped, TEFL positions here tend to be offered more frequently on a volunteer basis than in New Zealand or Australia.
These are just general parameters to go by, and you will see by researching available programs that there are many different avenues you can take to teach abroad in Oceania. Teaching placements in Oceania typically last at least as long as one semester, and more commonly run for a full school year (or two).
Salaries & Costs
Australia and New Zealand are more fully developed than the neighboring smaller countries of Oceania, so expect both salaries and costs of living to be more substantial in these areas (Australia especially is one of the most expensive countries in the world for expats).
On the flipside, the smaller island nations are much less costly, and generally can afford international educators the opportunity to live a basic lifestyle and save money. It all comes down to what you want out of the experience!
Accommodation & Visas
Again because New Zealand and Australia are more heavily industrialized than their neighboring countries, you can expect accommodation in these areas to take on a significantly different form than in the smaller island nations of Oceania. Regardless of destination, most educators who teach abroad in Oceania choose to seek out their own apartments or flats to live in (homestays are another popular option in some cases as well).
You will generally need to apply for a visa in order to teach abroad in Oceania, the details of which will depend on factors such as your host country, the length of your stay, and your own home country. You can learn more details regarding your individual situation from our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Classroom Experience. Regardless of whether your ultimate ambitions lay in education, getting some teaching experience under your belt in Oceania will prove to be a huge growth experience, both for you and your pupils.
Nature Calls. No matter where you are in Oceania, the entire region is generally sparsely populated, meaning that local ecosystems are kept largely intact to explore and observe. There is a huge diversity of nature and wildlife!
Regional History. Oceania is a region that is understated in the global context, but you will discover that the connections between these islands are fascinating and complex. Get ready to do some learning as well while you teach abroad in Oceania.