People often ask how I went about finding a teaching job here in Stockholm. It was not an easy process; in fact, JoEllen and I hadn’t ever really considered Sweden an option. I know it is cheesy but I like to say that Stockholm choose us.

Since we knew we wanted to live in Europe I began researching how to make this happen and was soon met with discouragement. I do not speak any languages other than English, so I felt my only options were teaching in an international English speaking school or teach English as a second language. The jobs teaching English as a second language are low-paying and are usually filled by teachers fresh out of college. Since I had been teaching for five years and recently earned a doctoral degree, JoEllen rightfully urged me to aim higher.  Eventually I found a great resource to help me do this:

My advice to any aspiring international teacher is to sign up for JoyJobs. I would not be in this amazing city if it wasn’t for this resource. This company compiles openings from international schools from all over the world into one list. I would scan this list every few days, keeping an eye out for teaching jobs in Europe (most listings are for Asia, Africa, and the Middle East). When I saw one that piqued my interest, I would research the school via the school’s website (provided by JoyJobs). Next, I would write a cover letter explaining my philosophy of teaching, qualifications, and reference some of the things I learned about the school through reading their webpage. Each of these cover letters were individualized and took up to an hour to write. All in all, my cover letters, CV (resume), teaching license, and letter of reference were sent to around 50 schools all over Europe (including the school I studied abroad at in Vienna, Austria).

I was very discouraged when I received no responses from any of these applications. I put a good deal of work into each cover letter and often got my hopes set on a particular location only to never hear a word from the school. I eventually found out that each job I was applying for had well over 200 applicants. Getting a leg up on the competition with only an email and no face-to-face interaction was not easy. In addition, being American greatly hurt my chances; since there were employment issues in Europe, governments made it very difficult for schools and companies to hire people without EU citizenship. I supposed they wanted to keep the jobs for their own citizens who may need work. To get a work visa in most European countries, I needed a school to first hire me and then help me get approved for residency in their country. Most schools would obviously rather hire someone from within Europe and avoid the trouble.

After four months of sending countless emails and receiving few real prospects, I was getting discouraged and hiring season was coming to an end. JoEllen and I really wanted to move to Europe during the summer of 2015 and I seriously began to question if this would be possible. In March, I decided that I would spend my entire spring break job hunting. On that Monday, March 23, as I was about to quit sending emails for the day, I saw a new job opening pop up on; the opening was the first I had seen in a country that I hadn’t even considered an option: Stockholm, Sweden.

This email eventual led me to ask myself the question, “Pants or no Pants”

12 Comments on “

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog..and always love meeting people with a desire to live internationally! You should really encourage your friends to join Search Associates if they are interested in teaching abroad. It is the largest recruitment agency for teachers in the world and by far the most reputable. TES Connect is a free website based in the UK that is also brilliant for job hunting across the globe. Hope you guys are loving Sweden, and if you ever get the urge to visit us in Thailand, let us know! x

  2. Is age a factor? I’m a very young 62 and was looking at trying this but have met some resistance with my age.
    Love your blog!

    • It depends.. are you interested in teaching in less popular locations like Asia and Africa? These positions are not as easily filled so your chances (and pay) will be much higher. European positions are very competitive. You would be competing with younger teachers with less experience who could be paid less. Are you willing to be paid at that same level? Use your age as an advantage and explain how your experiences have led you to develop a specific teaching philosophy that you feel would fit with the school you are applying for. Good luck!

  3. I have been a Principal of school internationally and been an education consultant for 6 years training school leaders and teachers. I turned 60 and cannot get past the age restrictions set by many countries. I also have found that agencies have a check list and my resume goes no further because of age. I have two masters degree in different fields of education. I have been in leadership positions in 5 different countries. I’m getting quite fed up with the process of applications.

    • I read your story on There is a international looking for teachers and their know age limit. Please check this website who are hiring teachers to go international all around. There paid teaching positions. The organization that looking for teachers : Is

  4. I am an education student and I am in my last year of school. Graduating in April 2017. I am a single mother who would love the opportunity to teach internationally. I am currently a special education assistant teacher in Texas. Does anyone have any advice for me- to get started? Perhaps great locations internationally that will be a great place for me and my son to start this adventure. Any help will be great. Thanks

    • It is difficult for non-EU citizens to find teaching jobs in Europe. They are highly sought after and preference is given to other European citizens. Jobs in Asia, North Africa, and The Middle East are always looking for new teachers.

      • Thank you for that info- that is a shame because New Zealand and Iceland are really my top two choices. Anywhere in Europe would probably be ok. I guess maybe I’ll just have to stick with Thailand for now.

      • Thank you for that info- that is a shame because New Zealand and Iceland are really my top two choices. Anywhere in Europe would probably be ok. I guess maybe I’ll just have to stick with Thailand for now. I am wishing for a world without borders.

    • Check out This organization looking for teachers to go international . There are alot of teaching positions opening now.

  5. Hello I’m a teacher from Tanzania .teaching Swahili language for three years.I’m looking for the chance to learn new culture and knowledge as well as teaching Swahili language.

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