One of the best ways to learn about the everyday experiences of teachers working abroad is to read their personal blogs. You can get a sense of what the work is like, as well as the ups and downs of living in and adapting to a new culture. From these blogs, you can also glean what the working conditions are like in a particular country or school in which you might be interested in teaching. Reading these blogs is a great way to research the possibilities and, later, once you’ve made your decisions to work abroad, they are a great resource for learning about your new country and for finding ideas for the classroom.
Ted Tucker is a retired EFL teacher and trainer, and he has taught in Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. His blog helps those who are interested in teaching English abroad get started. Posts often include advice on aspects of teaching abroad that aspiring teachers may not consider at first, such as being an overweight teacher, how socializing (and singing karaoke) can help you get a raise, and how to choose your career path (university work or private schools?). There are a lot of great tips and advice with each post. Some notable recent posts include Living Abroad is Not For Everyone?, Planning a TEFL Career Abroad: Your Education, and TEFL for Older Folks: Advice for the Job Search.
This blog is comprised of interviews from teachers living and working in countries all over the world. Some recent interviews include teachers working in Hungary, Chile, Colombia, Turkey, Costa Rica, Italy, China, Thailand, and France. Teachers share how they found their positions, what they do, and their experiences living in the country. The interviews share a lot of great insight for teachers interested in a particular location!
Parents and teachers living abroad can find resources and support here for the classroom and homeschooling. Some recent posts include recommendations for books, ideas for chemistry lessons and experiments, holiday activities, educational links, and more. There is also discussion about career development. This is a great resource for all types of educators living abroad!
A married couple teaching in South Korea runs this blog, which is meant to help other teachers prepare for working and living in the country. The FAQ covers questions such as “What’s considered improper or strange?” “How do I get a cell phone?” and “What should I know about drinking culture?” There are also lots of pictures, useful resources, and, of course, blog posts exploring topics such as culture, teaching, and more.
This blog is a great resource for foreigners living in South Korea! Posts cover practical issues for everyday living, such as Shipping Stuff Home — or, Help There’s No UPS!, 10 Survival Phrases in Korean You HAVE to Know, and Current Korean Slang Among Expats.
You’ll find the answers to many of your questions about teaching in Thailand on this informative blog — and maybe the answers to some questions you didn’t consider! Reader questions have included questions about age and teaching, discipline in schools, accent, and more. The blog includes links to job sites and some resources for learning the Thai language.
Tofugu explores “wonky Japanese language, culture.” There are episodes of “Tofugu TV,” as well, with some recent episodes discussing technology and travel clothing. The posts are informative and thorough. Some noteworthy recent posts include 10 Tips for Tipsy Japan, A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Learn Hiragana, and The 100 Most Important Japanese Words You Should Know. You can also search posts by category such as Japan, culture, language, news, reviews and resources.
So Handsome Teacher
There are a lot of great tips and guidance on this blog. Posts cover living in Korea, such as Having the Most Fun Tips (ie. How to Blow Your Entire Salary) and Money Management Tips (ie. How Not to Blow Your Entire Salary), as well as teaching, such as Effective Teaching in a Korean Elementary School, Confusion About “Severance Pay” and “Renewal Bonus”, and Tension Between Foreign English Teachers and Koreans. You’ll find frank (and funny) answers to all the questions you have about being a foreigner living and working in Korea.
Jonny Finity teaches high-school students in Pohang, South Korea, and his blog chronicles his experience teaching and living there. Posts discuss Korean culture, as well as classroom experiences and activities. Some of our favorite recent posts include The Eight-Legged Playboy, sharing Korean expressions and their meanings; Evil Spirits: They Hate Red Beans, about cultural practices and superstitions; and Alliteration is Awesome, sharing some activities used in the classroom.
Melissa has been teaching in Prague for just over four months. She shares her experiences teaching, learning about the culture of Prague, traveling, and even getting her visa. You’ll learn a little about the local history, a little about the language, and a little about the culture. Melissa even shares her experiences with TEFL training and her job search.
Danny and Katy Doerksen teach in Andong, South Korea, and their blog shares their adventures there. Reading their blog gives you great insight into what it will be like as a foreigner living in another country. Recent posts follow their experiences with the Lantern festival, a pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner, and Dr. Fish (a pedicure that uses tiny fish to nibble the dead skin from the bottoms of your feet!).
Learn about the joys of the jjimjilbang (public bath) and the hazards of not being able to find headache medicine at a convenience store in Korea with this fun blog by Audrey. You’ll get a window into the life of a foreigner here and pick up a few tips along the way about public behavior, language, and other Korean customs.
The author of this blog spent seven months teaching English in Vietnam, and is now teaching in Shanghai, China. You can read about Chinese culture and life in the classroom. Some interesting recent posts include 10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Teaching Job, 10 Things Chinese Students Think About Life in the U.S., and How to Be a Language Learning Role Model.
Follow along with this teacher on a one-year contract in Spain, and learn all about the culture, the ins and outs of teaching and a lot of new vocabulary! Some especially helpful posts include Links to Live By, Adventures in Tutoring, and Complication of Simple Things (about language barriers).
“He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kunst and Alterthum” So titled is this blog, which documents the year that Alisa Williams has spent teaching in Suwon, just south of Seoul. Alisa’s blog also includes some Korean words (for others also interested in learning the language), Korean resources, pictures, and information on responsibly adopting or fostering a pet during your stay.
Though this teacher’s contract in Thailand ended in October, there are still a lot of great posts in the archives to give you a window into the experience of teaching and living in “the land of smiles.” Recent posts explore Thai markets, classroom games and activities, the experience of being a foreigner in Thailand, and everyday customs.
Learn about Korean history, language and culture as you follow Kristina’s adventures teaching and traveling in South Korea. You can also follow her on a trip to China and the Great Wall! There are lots of pictures and some great tips and insight for foreigners new to living abroad.
In addition to his reflections on life in Korea, Dustin’s blog is filled with video, pictures, and useful resources about Korea. Dustin has also written articles for local publications about Korean culture, and he has started a show for his blog on Arirang TV. His blog also includes an FAQ for those thinking about moving to Korea and other useful blogs.
This blog shares lots of great ideas for teaching English. Some recent posts includes topic ideas for extra credit writing assignments, suggested videos for beginning a debate segment, and other topic ideas and stories for possible debate.
You’ll find lots of helpful resources, tips, and other advice about finding a job in a university and managing your classroom. Books, podcasts and other resources are also available in the links section for further research. The author has also created other resources for living in Korea and teaching ESL, which she has also listed in the links section.
Danielle started her blog when she was teaching in Thailand; she went on to backpack through Asia and work in eco-tourism in Thailand, and is now teaching English in Korea. Posts take a humorous look at Korean culture and the way English is often misused, such as this notebook, this subway ad, and this shampoo bottle. There is also a lot of reflection about living in a foreign culture, often with comparisons drawn between Korea and Thailand.
Chance is a teacher at an elementary school on Daegu, South Korea, and her blog combines personal reflections with stories about her life as a teacher and a foreigner living in Korea. Her post Voice of Korea offers some insight into Korean culture through an interview with a Korean woman. In the Mood for Some Puppy Chow talks about the Korean practice of eating dog. You’ll find many more interesting posts about culture and teaching here!
…with the caveat “OK it’s a little filtered.” Although recent posts cover trips to China and Japan, this blog is all about teaching in Korea — or at least it was. The author has finished up a teaching contract in Korea, but there are still plenty of posts in the archives to follow the experience and learn from it.
Read interviews with teachers and travelers all over the world for their tips and perspective on what they do. You can browse profiles and interviews for tips, info about lesson plans, or just inspiration. The site also includes useful links and a forum.
Jimbo blogs about his experiences teaching in Japan, with a focus on teacher education. Posts often discuss classroom activities and pedagogy. Some interesting recent posts include The Problem with PPP, Adapting a Task to a Junior High School, and What Do Kids Get Out of Listening to English Picture Books?.
Andis Kaulins is a Canadian teaching in Wuxi, China at Hylite Language School. His blog also acts as an unofficial home page for the Hylite Language School. Those interested in teaching at the school or in teaching in China in general can find plenty of information here. There are videos of language lessons, sample discussion questions, and, of course, job postings for Hylite.
Toya explains that she was a member of SISUTHS Inc. in college — which stands for Strength, Initiative, Spirituality, Tenacity, Unity, Health, Substance. She says “This women’s oraganization has taught me to embrace challenges in order to progress in life. I am forever a SISTUH. Now I’m a SISTUH in Seoul.” She shares her adventures as a teacher and foreigner living and working in Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
Teach English Abroad in Korea
This practical blog focuses on what you need to know about living and teaching in Korea, including profiles of cities and regions, information about public high schools, positions with EPIK, shopping markets, and more. There are also sections according to where you are in your journey, such as “Getting to Korea” (information on airfare, getting a visa, and more), “Living in Korea” (information on food, language, news, cost of living and much more), “Teaching in Korea” (information on public and private schools, administration, your co-teachers and more), and “Finding a Job.”
This blog includes frequent podcasts, videos, and video podcasts “sharing ideas and experiences about English teaching in Japan.” There are interviews with exchange students and former teachers, discussions about teaching, stories about travel and much more. This is a lively resource for any teacher interested in living in Japan!
Learn about things like Pocky Day (in honor of a treat of stick-shaped crackers dipped in chocolate), toilets in Japan (they are holes in the floor), Japan’s summer clothing habits and more in this fun blog that offers a Westerner’s view of living in Japan. There are some posts about teaching and classroom activities, but most of the focus is on the day-to-day experiences of living in Japan.
Rob combines his name with the common expression used to answer the phone in Korea — “yoboseyo” — for the name of this blog about living and teaching in Korea. Posts are in-depth and reveal a lot about Korean culture and everyday life there. Check out OK, Lee Hyori Gets it Right This Time for an interesting discussion about Korean pop music, as well as Korean attitudes about native Koreans, and Roboseyo’s Favorite Things About Winter in Korea, and Two Rabbit Trails for a funny look at winter in Korea.
Jenna shares lots of pictures and details about her adventures in Korea and in the classroom. She teaches in Busan, which is on the southeastern coast of Korea. Some popular recent posts include The Korean Talent Show, Love Land: The Discussion of Sex in Korean Culture, and Jenna Vs. The Bus.
“Born in New Jersey, raised in Yorkshire, living in Japan. Don’t worry, I’m confused too…” Matt is a freelance writer and English Language teacher working in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. He talks about Japanese culture, including karaoke, Manga, fireworks and festivals. Other recent posts also share his experiences with the Japanese winter, traveling on a budget, and classroom interactions. This detailed blog will give you great insight into what it’s like teaching in Japan!
The Lovely Miss Edita is a recent college graduate who is currently teaching at a public elementary school in Suwon, South Korea. She shares lots of great photos from travels and sightseeing around Korea, as well as the stories behind those travels. There is also a lot of discussion about teaching and experiences in the classroom, as well.
Follow along with Christine’s experiences living in Korea, and read about Korean pop music (Life and All), tensions with North Korea (What’s Going On?), and daily life as a teacher (A Day in Life), among other topics.
This blog promises to show you “Japan like you’ve never seen it before from the skewed perspective of a foreign (at least to some people) twenty-something living with her Japanese beau in Tokyo.” She doesn’t work as a teacher, but there is enough here about the ups and downs of living as a “foreigner” in Japan to be of use to many English teachers.
Follow the story of a couple who hastily got married so they could move to Korea to teach. (They were told that in order to live together in sponsored housing, they would have to be married.) Some interesting recent posts include Imports (about the differences in American and Korean customs), Applause (about the peculiarities of Korean bathrooms), and Should Have Known (about weight issues).
Amy Kate shares her adventures teaching in Korea, ranging from misadventures with public transportation (Exploring in the Eastern Hemisphere) to classroom experiences (These Children Exhaust Me) to getting a physical (Healthcare – Korean Style). You’ll find lots of insights and humor along the way!
“A naive Irish freelancer and sub-editor negotiates Korea’s capital.” Though you won’t learn much about teaching abroad, you will learn a lot about living in Korea and its culture. There is thoughtful commentary and discussion about all aspects of living in Korea, from food and culture to current events to the language. Check out Jitters in Pyongyang’s Shadow, Drinking With the Islanders, and Rating the Beer. Many of the posts have a nice narrative style that brings to life the stories they tell.
Beth shares her experiences living in Tokyo with a wry look at many of oddities and other quirks that stand out about day-to-day life as a Westerner. Some interesting recent posts include Golden Gai, Children’s Toys for One Coin!, and Sick_Japan.
Posts here range from the practical ( What to Bring, What to Buy There and TTJ Bus: A Cool Thing for Taichungers) to managing life in Taiwan (Frizzle Frazzle and Keepin’ Legal). You’ll learn a lot from the more than two years this American has spent living and teaching in Taiwan.
Alex teaches English in Békéscsaba, Hungary, and this blog shares his experiences and thoughts about his time there. Alex often uses a narrative style to bring the stories to life. Some interesting recent posts include How Lucky They Are, Why Worry, and Conjugate the Verbs or Learn the Words? Each post includes a Hungarian word of the day, also!
Jared has a background in linguistics, and was a database programmer for many years. He has been teaching in South Korea since 2007 in different locations. He warns: “This is not an ‘about Korea’ blog, per se. It’s a ‘whatever I happen to be thinking about’ blog, that currently takes place in Korea.” But you’ll still learn a lot about Korea and about what it’s like to teach there.
Spenser chronicles his life in Korea as a teacher and the adventures he shares with other ex-pats. This blog gives a nice snapshot into a day in the life of a foreigner living in and exploring Korea — from everyday activities to travel in and around Seoul.
Tokyo Moe has been living in Nakano, Tokyo with his Japanese husband since 2008. The blog is not about teaching, but rather about Japanese culture and life there. Moe explains the blog this way: “It includes my interests in male fashion and hair, male vanity and crime, male romance as created by women manga artists, ikemen and pop culture.”
This is Christie
Christie shares her experiences living and teaching in Hungary, with a lot of useful information for those interested in doing the same. Some posts that gives a good snapshot into daily life in Hungary include Sometimes Hungary is So Lame, Vidor Festival, and — specifically about life as a foreigner in Hungary — New Flat! (That’s Right, I Said ‘Flat’).
Sarah teaches middle school at a private Haegwon in Seoul. Her blog shares many reflections about teaching and living in Korea, as well as some advice and tips. Her last three posts were especially good: Christmas in Korea, explaining the Korean word “jung;” Letter to Prospective Teachers, offering advice to those considering making the move; and Easy Rice Cooker Gingerbread, with instructions on making gingerbread with the limited resources you’re likely to have.
Lauren spent two years in Budapest, but now she’s in Spain studying for her Master’s in bilingual and multicultural education while teaching. Posts go back far enough to cover both her experiences in Hungary and in Spain.
Read about teaching and living in Tapei, Taiwan, as well as other travels including numerous locations in South America, Europe, and Asia. The blog includes numerous links to other resources, including helpful web sites, blogs and more.
The bloggers formerly known as the Kimchi-Lovin’ Canucks return to Korea after a hiatus after a two-year stint. The blog shares the experiences of this couple and their two children as they explore Korea and teaching once again.