Rules for working abroad: How to find work overseas

How to find work overseas.

Matthew K explains in his book “Nomadic Matt’s Guide to Teaching English Overseas”, how teaching English abroad helped him gain confidence in his professional skills: “Teaching showed me that if I could get up and move to a new culture and survive, I could do anything I put my mind to. It gave me confidence and international friends.”

You can experience this too if you follow these next rules!

Learn from other people’s experiences

When I got a job offer to work as a TEFL teacher in an academy in Italy, I made a mental list of everyone I knew who had family or worked there.

Luckily for me, I knew a few people who fitted these criteria. I also had a cousin who had experience looking for a job and living abroad in another country (China), so I asked her for advice about how to effectively pack a suitcase for a job in another country and what she wished she knew before working abroad.

I talked with all of them and they were incredibly kind and helpful. I learned a lot about not only what it is like looking for a job and living in Italy but about working abroad in general. Even though I didn’t end up accepting the job offer (for reasons I will explain later), I’m so glad I went through this because it helped me reconnect with old friends and learn a lot from other people’s experiences for my future endeavours!

Trust your instincts

Last year a company CEO contacted me through my LinkedIn profile page, he said that his company specialised in Erasmus internships and I fitted the criteria for a job opening they had in an English academy in Italy. I was over the moon! 

I researched the company and him before answering his message and they seemed professional. The CEO even went to the same university I was doing my Pedagogy degree in!

There didn’t seem to be any red flags at all so I answered his message and gave him my contact information so I could have a phone interview with the HR department that went great!

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly, so I spoke with my university internship coordinators and teachers to be ready to make any needed arrangements to continue my degree while working abroad.

All that there was left for me to do was to choose a day for a skype interview with the English academy through the company’s page, because the CEO told me in our first conversation that his company arranged housing and all the needed paperwork, and all I had to do was to pass the job interview. The job was supposed to start the following week, so I had to be prepared to travel there as soon as possible. 

I set up the job interview date through their website and got the confirmation message. 

Then the day came and nothing but crickets. I called several times and sent numerous messages to the HR department and CEO and I only got one response from him the next day in the evening: “We’ll talk tomorrow”.

We talked the next day, and I received nothing but excuses. First, they deleted the confirmation message in their webpage a few hours before talking to me and told me that there had never been an interview set up in the first place. 

Therefore, I sent him the screen shot of the confirmation message. His answer? “Well, then it must have been a technical error, so when are you free this week?” No apologies for wasting my time at all. 

I was stunned by their behaviour but I still wanted to trust them because I was really excited for the opportunity to work abroad, so against my better judgement, I agreed to set up another interview. That interview got cancelled and rescheduled for another day but at least that time I was informed of it a few hours before. 

At that moment, I was supposed to start working in another country in five days and I still didn’t know where I was going to live in or if I was going to even work there at all.

Hence, I said to the HR employee “We can reschedule, but what about the paperwork and housing arrangements? Will there be enough time for you to organise everything if we do?”. Her answer? “We can help you if you have any doubts about paperwork and looking for a place to live, but only as extra help.” 

I beg your pardon? I told her that her boss had assured me that they were the ones that took care of everything when I told him I didn’t speak a word of Italian. She said “Well, we can’t expend our resources on someone until they sign the contract, it wouldn’t make sense, would it?” I asked her so why did it make sense then for me to use my resources for a company that had basically lied to me every step of the way and was expecting me to move to another country on a Friday to start working on a Monday without even having a place to live. 

For some reason she answered me with a new date for the interview.

I told her that they had stood me up already where I lived so how could I trust them to help me in another country? She told me that I was overreacting and asked me if I was available for the interview the next day because they had already confirmed it with the English academy. 

I said no way. They gave me a speech about how they had a lot of candidates and I was wasting an incredible opportunity. I told them that I was okay with it, and that I wished their candidates good luck because they were going to need it working under those conditions.


Matthew K. Nomadic Matt’s Guide to Teaching English Overseas (2018 Edition): Get a job, earn money, and live overseas! Nomadic Matt, Inc.

Rules for working abroad_ How to find work overseas TEFL Trainer blog

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