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109 | Exploring International Teaching Opportunities | Scott & Rob

Scott, a math teacher in Santiago, Chile, and Rob, a blogger at Getting Canned, share their experiences teaching abroad, including the financial and lifestyle benefits, and the how-to for making it happen.

  • Scott Barrett, Brad’s brother, completed a bachelor’s in psychology, then earned his masters for free through the New York City Teaching Fellows program, then taught for three years in the city.
  • When Scott finished his education, he had about $30k of student debt.
  • It’s difficult to save money, or even just make ends meet, earning just a teacher’s salary. What strategies did Scott use to optimize his finances?
  • Rob, a former systems analyst who lost his job in 2008, found overseas teaching opportunities in the summer of 2010, after two years of unemployment.
  • General requirements for teaching English abroad:
    • From an English-speaking country
    • A bachelor’s degree, of almost any sort.
  • How did Scott learn more about teaching abroad, and what was his process for finding a job?
  • There is a very wide range of compensation for teaching in the U.S. ($30k – $200k), but teaching at the middle and high school level is often on the low end of the range.
  • Rob’s compensation for teaching in Taiwan was about $18 an hour, but he also received free room and board, with a 20-hour-a-week schedule.
  • A lower cost of living – including health care – is a huge benefit when considering compensation abroad.
  • Scott accepted a job teaching middle-school math at a top-tier international school because it offered an excellent compensation package:
    • Salary
    • Quality of life
    • Relocation assistance
    • Local housing
    • Travel assistance for visiting home
    • Resigning bonuses
  • Many top-tier international schools are taught entirely in English.
  • Finding a job at a school similar to Scott’s is very competitive. What gives someone an edge?
  • Rob recommends teaching English abroad for someone that’s almost reached financial independence.
  • Scott’s take-home pay has doubled compared to his salary in Virginia; he now saves about 80% of his income.
  • Traveling within Asia can be very inexpensive.
  • Where does Scott recommend for teaching abroad?
  • Scott and his wife are planning to take a sabbatical year next year to spend time in Europe and Asia.
  • How do Scott and Kristen plan to optimize travel expenses?
  • Rob recently moved back to Taiwan to teach and travel, after about four years working a corporate job in the U.S.

Listen to Brad and Jonathan’s thoughts about this episode here.

Links mentioned in today’s show:

Search Associates

International School Services

International TEFL Academy

Trusted Housesitters

Getting Canned

International Teacher’s Life


JL Collins NH

“Long Term Unemployment” – Getting Canned

“The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement” – Mr. Money Mustache

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