How you can get an overseas job with no experience

No experience? No problem!

You’ve recently graduated, or maybe you’re in your last semester of college. On the flipside you’ve been working for years, and it’s time for change. Either way, the thought of studying or living abroad has crossed your mind, possibly more than once. You know someone who has a job overseas and you’re wondering – how did they do this?! A classmate or a friend from your hometown… you’ve seen every Instagram post and watched all their stories as they jumped into waterfalls and explored each new hideaway. Soooo, why can’t you? There’s often a thought that all overseas jobs require a certain degree or the ability to speak another language, and to that, I can personally tell you, you’re wrong! I had a business degree on my wall, and I didn’t speak a word of Mandarin (promise, not even “hello”). With a short career in restaurant management I decided – I want to teach English in China!


My Experience

Having no experience for jobs at home is often an issue, but it’s quite the opposite when looking to teach abroad. Whether you’re coming straight from completing a degree, or you have quite a few years of work experience in a different field, it’s possible to find a job overseas! I did just that. I wasn’t far from a fresh grad, working only 2 years post-graduation. One of those years I was in internships, and the other I worked as a Restaurant Manager. When someone first mentioned there was an opening to teach English abroad and suggested I check it out, I laughed. I didn’t laugh because it was something I didn’t want to do – I had thought quite a bit about this type of opportunity throughout college and thereafter. I laughed because I had worked hard to get in the role I was in, and I thought, “how would being a Restaurant Manager translate to teaching English abroad?” I had never taught before, and to be honest, I don’t think I truly knew what to expect. I’m here to tell you – that’s okay! There was a piece of me that wanted the adventure – wanted the challenges and the rewards that come from stepping outside your comfort zone and placing yourself in a world unknown. I wanted to travel, explore, discover, meet new people and learn about a different culture. If this is something you can relate to, don’t hesitate. My personal advice, it doesn’t hurt to apply and see what happens. That’s what I was told, and reflecting upon my 3 years overseas in China, I can’t imagine what my life would be if I didn’t do just that.


So Now What?

After knowing you don’t need experience to obtain a teaching job overseas, something you do want to look for is a reputable company to help you make the move. A company that you can trust for legal visa purposes and one that will set you up for success. Having no experience means proper training is essential. EF English First provides support from start to finish. If you receive an offer to teach abroad, once you accept, they will enroll you in a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) course to help you prepare even before your arrival. Once you arrive in China, you will have weeks of onboarding, training, observing, and co-teaching to ensure you feel prepared and ready for the classroom!


It’s more about the soft skills and motivation to get that dream job abroad, not about the prior experience. When applying for a teaching role with EF English First, the focus is on overall competencies rather than the direct experience you’ve had in the past. There are moments as a teacher and while living abroad that will be unexpected and difficult. Do you have what it takes to work through those challenges? Does it excite you when thinking about the unknown outside of your comfort zone? If you’re motivated and excited to be there, the no experience that we’re so often taught to be worried about – won’t stop you!

Post by: Lindy Gemmell



Teach English, travel and work abroad with EF English First