September 9th, 2010
12:17 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – Roxanna Blanco was fed up with her job search in the U.S.  After sending out resumes for more than a year and coming up empty-handed, the recent graduate from San Diego State University was ready to make a bold move. She decided to leave the country.

"I was having coffee with my mom and I said, 'I think I want to move to China. I think I'm going to China'."

Blanco, 25, got online and started applying for English teaching jobs in China. She got three job offers. She chose a teaching position that paid  $24,000 a year in Shenzhen, China. She had no idea where Shenzhen was but was ready for an adventure. Blanco flew to Shenzhen where the culture shock hit immediately. " I didn't leave my hotel room for two days because I was just so scared." She eventually got over her fright to find an apartment and start her job teaching English to a classroom of 30 Chinese toddlers.

Job recruiters in Asia are not surprised to hear stories like Blanco's. The international recruiting firm Hays has seen a 30 percent increase in job applicants looking for work in Hong Kong and mainland China. Most of the applicants are from the U.S., Europe and Australia. The good news is companies are hiring.

Hays Asia Regional Director Emma Charnock says, "We're seeing demand for expatriates spike again in Hong Kong.  In Shanghai and Beijing,  predominantly it's about Chinese returnees or Mandarin speakers."

According to Hays, employers are looking to hire in these sectors:

1) Banking –  Experienced deputy branch managers are needed in first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

2) Finance –  High demand for finance executives with IT knowledge. Demand for senior tax professionals with strong local government relationships and/or knowledge of Chinese tax system.

3) Engineers - Especially with high-speed rail experience to help with China's high-speed rail initiative.

4) Architects and Urban Planners - China's housing boom and urban sprawl.

5) Teachers - Especially math and science teachers at international schools on the mainland.

Roxanna Blanco is already on her second job in Asia. She now works in Hong Kong at an education center where she's an English language tutor. While she is a little homesick and would like to return to California, she plans to stay in Asia for at least another six months. With unemployment in the U.S. now at 9.6 percent, Blanco says she is just too nervous to test the American job market again.

"I feel like there's so much more opportunity here and I really need to take advantage of that. I  think almost every expat or foreigner you talk to here... that's been working... will tell you the same thing: It's kind of scary to go back home . It's too good to leave and they're not going to leave."



soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. james s roberts

    Congratulations on your decision to seek employment beyond USA. Jobs abroad in emerging markets will be plentiful for those willing to relocate, and unfortunately the reverse holds true too. Those not willing to relocate (anywhere) to secure employment will find themselves in low paying jobs, part-time or unemployed. Welcome to "new norm".

    September 9, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  2. Borabora86

    I'm an American living in Japan teaching english. The article is correct about the opportunity in Asia; it's abundant. I make way more money than I could ever need in a month because the cost of living here is very low. Also, when I send money back home to my American bank account it turns into a gold mine because of the Yen/Dollar conversion.

    September 9, 2010 at 3:47 am |
  3. Ziauddin Khaja

    Very inspiring!

    September 9, 2010 at 4:00 am |
  4. Dendro

    .. and so it begins, the west becomes expatriates again!

    September 9, 2010 at 4:07 am |
  5. catalyst

    good for her...these american companies are sitting on piles of cash, ignoring the unemployed and expecting the workers to wait for their turn to be employed when these firms point the finger...enough is enough!!e
    Leave the country and screw these companies. Let them find high school dropouts for their management jobs. The educated who are unemployed whenever possible should leave the country. We have to look out for ourselves.
    There are good/excellent oportunities in Asia, Canada and even Europe. Let these firms come begging to us workers to come and work for them instead of vice versa

    September 9, 2010 at 4:21 am |
  6. Yves

    I did the something. Sick and tired of all the B.S. going on in the States I decided to move to Taiwan Learn Chinese and teach English to Taiwanese students here. Lifestyle here is great, pay is good, you can live without always having to worry about money, cost of living is great and health insurance is AMAZING, even if you have no health insurance here in Taiwan it is still about 80% Cheaper then in the USA even if you HAVE insurance there.
    I am really happy with my decision to come here and I do not regret it at all. I don't plan to go back to USA any time soon. Oh and not to mention that the people here are really nice and crime is REALLY low! At night you don't have to worry about anything when you are walking outside by yourself.
    I highly suggest for people to make this bold move because this will be a life changing decision but trust me it will be for the better.
    -Yves

    September 9, 2010 at 4:27 am |
  7. ma.rosario pascual

    ...very inspiring..very impressive..i hope i can be like you as well but can you please tell me how to start?

    September 9, 2010 at 4:30 am |
  8. ex-SanJoser

    After spending 20 years in the Silicon Valley, I moved to Hong Kong last year. Job market had been up and down (mostly down) in the SV and I've been thru several layoffs in the past decade. Not that I couldn't find a (good) job again, but I was sick of going thru that cycle again and again. I decided to go to Hong Kong (which I was borned) and started a new chapter. The job market here is good, the infrastructures are decades ahead of the US, and the city is full of "lives". I'm glad that I made the right choice. I just regret that I didn't come earlier.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:01 am |
  9. panda

    I am Chinese who is living in Shanghai China.I saw many foreigners formed in families with their children who are especially from U.S.A and Europe in Shanghai.Not only in Shanghai,another places where are cities that along the China east sea coast,there are many foreigneers or expats who are working and living there.Their lifes are very comfortable and relatively wealth than local people.Moreever they are the vitness of the improvement and social problems of China.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:06 am |
  10. Rick

    I really do applaud this young lady for her courage and determination to succeed.

    I moved from the USA in 2003, to come and work in the Philippines. I started two companies here, I now employee many Filipinos, and they are really grateful and hardworking.

    Business in the US has gotten out of hand, everyone wants more money for their products and services.

    Most US companies and small business, many will not admit to it, but they have been outsourcing for years now to countries like China, Philippines, India.

    The USA has big issues, to many special interest groups, lobbyist, and unions that are forcing small companies into situations where they are no longer able to meet payrolls.

    Rick

    September 9, 2010 at 5:16 am |
  11. Danny

    Hell yea!
    Give your hard earned money to evil people!

    September 9, 2010 at 5:29 am |
  12. PINK

    It' s easy for you who come from english spoken countries to hunt a good job in China.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:33 am |
  13. ion

    I heard they are sick of having so many from the western countries apply for jobs in China.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:37 am |
  14. Elie A.

    Yup, jobs are hard to find nowadays. Any idea about websites for jobs in Asia?

    Cheers,,

    September 9, 2010 at 6:00 am |
  15. cam

    I'm a laidoff Environmental Chemist now High School English teacher in Korea! They pay well, great health benefits, and a lot of vacation time! Our living is subsidized and there is an adventure everytime you step out the door. In all its not that bad!
    Still looking to get back on the bandwagon. There are many stories like this here with the US economy but hopefully one day we can return with our pride intact and a little cash in the bank!

    September 9, 2010 at 6:06 am |
  16. derelict

    Whatever you do, don't buy into the English teaching gig unless you are working for a university or school. The private companies will pay you a decent wage for living on your own, but there is no real room to move up in their companies so making it a career would be financial suicide. Also, most of these companies would prefer to have people stay for 1 or 2 years, but after a while they start getting the itch to have a new fresh face come over. Contrary to what Borabora said, Japan does not have a low cost of living, it is really quite expensive compared to American life.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:19 am |
  17. Leroy

    That is the best decision that you have made. After graduating with my Masters degree in 2008, I was jobless and near penniless. Two years later I am now living in Korea making BANK on my Masters degree. My degree helped me secure a high paying English teacher job with cushy benefits. Every month I am pocketing a little over $2000 right into savings. I am goin back to the U.S. in about two years and buying a house IN CASH! If you got the guts to leave home for totally different world, you will be living like a king or queen.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:27 am |
  18. Venki

    Hi, Elie A.

    Yes the Article is perfectly true,
    I was working in USA almost 10 years, then i decided to move to India last year with family i got a good job and life is smooth.lot of companies hiring in India madly.(Make Hay while sunshine)

    If you decide to work in India, here is the best website to find all kinds of jobs, http://www.NAUKRI.COM

    Goodluck

    September 9, 2010 at 6:33 am |
  19. Richard Cobey

    I moved to malaysia in 06 to work with the National Sports Council although the people there are not the sharpest around the athletes appreciated my assistance. I now am teaching at a local medical university, my wife hates it here, however I love it so if she stays fine and if not thats ok too! Selemat hari raya

    September 9, 2010 at 6:35 am |
  20. Henk

    And the Brain drain as begun. During and after WW1 and WW2 tens of millions of Europeans like Enrico Fermi, Albert Einstein, Werner Von Braun and so many millions of others continued to move to the United States from European nations to seek better opportunities in the US. All because of the bad situations at home.

    Now the reverse is starting to happen and Americans are moving to Asian and European countries instead to do the same. Like with all the particle scientists moving to Europe to work at the LHC and the ITER and other large science projects and even teacher positions. So many good people, so many great minds moving away will start to hurt the US in the long run. Many will not return.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:42 am |
  21. lulz

    Good idea. This will surely boost the economy! The grass isn't always greener on the other side folks.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:51 am |
  22. gregory

    the cost of living in japan is the highest in the world. try U.A.E. all kind of jobs very high salary. just being an american means more money

    September 9, 2010 at 6:55 am |
  23. jon

    I have been working in Korea for 8 years, it has it's ups and downs... but overall good. Please don't come here, there are too many foreigners here already!!! hahahaha Everybody stay home! You can't get real food here either, very high cost of living... I discourage all of you, so that I can continue to be in demand! hahahaha

    September 9, 2010 at 7:17 am |
  24. tim

    Don't want to discourage people from leaving the country in search of a better life; how.......ever... I would have to semi agree with henk. how ever to many have already left.. with the population in china growing at an ever more rapid pace, were out numbered (not sure on the facts) but wasnt it like for 1 person with a high iq in the states almost 12 or 14 are born in india, and 6 or 8 in china. With our great minds leaving and going else where when we already don't have th sheer volume of people. we need to be inovative and NOW! Thats todays jobs.. whats next.

    On a small side note...
    what happens when you start cramming our population in with theirs..
    when people start getting to close bad things happen..
    we need to get off this planet or start making long term descisions on what areas are for food, living, ect.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:18 am |
  25. Roberto

    Wow....what a great story.

    I am from the UK and have also found work in Hong Kong as an Engineer. The money is indeed better and in the short term at least I think Hong Kong is a great place to be.

    My career advice to anyone is to seize the opportunities that present themselves. Be flexible, especially when you are young. It's easy to feel stuck if you have a house, pay rent, have an ok job already etc, but all of these can be overcome if you really have the desire to do something a bit different.

    One person asked what is the first step to do this? To them I say the first step is having the guts to move without knowing exactly what will happen to you.....you must look at it as an adventure because if it doesn't work out then you still have the security of 'home' to go back to.

    If the job market in your homeland is not great, then what better reason do you need to experience a different way of life in a new place.

    I would love to meet Roxanna, she sounds like a great person. She also looks pretty darn good too, haha !

    September 9, 2010 at 7:22 am |
  26. Mike

    For those who want to teach, Thailand is one of the best options. Cost of living is very low. Starting salaries are around $24,000 per year, but you hardly pay any taxes, housing would be provided for if you teach at International Schools, many also provide one round trip ticket per year for you to return home. Best thing is you get one-two months off per year as well!

    $24,000 is with just a bachelors degree, but if you want to teach more advance courses like math and science, you would at least need a masters. Salaries would be around $36,000 and up. You would save more than if you made $60-70,000 in the US.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:34 am |
  27. Jaim

    The great thing about teaching in Korea is that the cost of living is so low, and typically as a teacher your aren't paying rent so much of what you earn you can save, if you wish.

    Japan is lovely, but incredibly expensive. I've heard China can be fun, but there is less job stability and the wages are lower (as is the cost of living).

    I have an MA in English from a pretty good American university. I was never unemployed in America, but I certainly had jobs I didn't particularly like.

    I wish I'd come to Korea much earlier, honestly. On top of it all, I vacation in places like Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Very hard to beat.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  28. Edward Eng

    Nice! Move to Taiwan. It's awesome here. I've been here for over six years.

    -Eddie
    edward.eng@getchee.com
    http://blog.getchee.com
    http://www.getchee.com

    September 9, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  29. Shawn Bunch

    This is a good article...especially the comments.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  30. 6uldv8

    Been in Greater China for about 20 years now. The money is 5 times what I would have in the States, the people are great, and you can just feel the opportunity walking around places like Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong.

    Have had a great career over here and wouldn't have done it any other way.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:06 am |
  31. Joe

    I'm a Taiwanese ET. I'm on behalf of my people to sincerly welcome you to Taiwan. For those of you who do not speak Maderine, I'm the bridge for you to enjoy life and creat a successful and bright future here. Contact me via joliohuang@gmail.com

    September 9, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  32. Joe

    Good for her!!

    I left Virginia in 2003 and have been overseas ever since.

    It can be scary to step out into the great unknown, but you'd be surprised how many Americans are already overseas doing the same thing....and all throughout our history.
    There are Western communities in just about every country.

    TRAVEL AMERICA........There is so much to see and do!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 8:16 am |
  33. Vendo Thefastlane

    I work recruiting people to come work here in Japan. The number of applicants from the US has increased tremendously in the past few years, and the number of Americans staying longer as opposed to teaching as a short experience has increased dramatically as well.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  34. Dante

    Am a US citizen and have been an ex-pat for 12 years now-based in Munich for 4 and Singapore for 8. Best thing I could have done for both my career and life. Able to save the cash and get a true global perspective on what really happens outside the US. Plus I missed the ENTIRE Bush administration!

    September 9, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  35. Sandeep Brar

    That is the best decision that you have made. After graduating with my Masters degree in Agricultural soil science in 2009, I moved to US and did apply thousand of jobs, but unable to get a job. then in 2010 I move back to India n got a government job within one month... salary is good n life is tension free here.. there are lot of oppurtunities here in India..

    September 9, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  36. Noah

    I graduated with a Bachelors in Mathematics in 2003. It was hard to find a job in the states that first year, so I moved to Thailand. I taught there for four years and loved it. The students love the teachers and the society really respects teachers at the same level as doctors and lawyers.
    I moved to Hong Kong two years ago to teach at an International School and it has been fun as well. The pay is a little better but the costs of living is higher. The best part though is that the expat community here is quite large which makes for many various activities. I could play Aussie rules football, American Softball, or join a soccer league. It really is an outstanding city with a great night life and a plethora of extracurriculars. I highly recommend it. Plus, like Jaim said...you can travel all over and see amazing beaches for so cheap. It is much better than the states, and homesickness has been no problem.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  37. GMR

    I have lived in Taiwan for 18 years. I think you have to be careful about running off to a foreign country to teach English. For starters, the longer you are overseas, the more difficult it is to return. Your job and social skills begin to erode, and before you know it, ten years have gone by and what was in the beginning a good job, has become a drudgery and a trap. You'd better finish school first! Also, what is the future of English teaching? In China, the market is still pretty good, but in other places like Taiwan, hundreds of schools have closed. Maybe in ten years from now, the opportunities will have mostly dried up. As far as banking and other jobs go, I'm pretty sure you would have to speak Mandarin, so naturally those jobs are for Chinese returning to China. And if you are a perfectionist and can't stand noise, spitting, pollution, disregard for the law, and a being cheated in the market place (Sorry, I call a spade a spade) you'd better stay away from China. You would hate it. But if you are not a perfectionist and you finish school and go to China to learn Mandarin, maybe after 3 or 4 years you could go back to your own country and use those skills, it might be a useful experience. Japan is a beautiful country, but Japanese isn't the important language it used to be. And I don't like Korea too much. (aggressive) Taiwan is nice, but going downhill, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines don't pay as much. I went to Taiwan in 1984 and in 1982. Both times I arrived with one suitcase and a one way ticket. Found a job the same day. Now I have too much junk!! Anyway, that's my opinion. Good luck.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  38. Eric

    If you're teaching English abroad in China, you're safer if you go with one of the Foreign Language Schools versus a private tutor. The disadvantage of course is that private tutors tend to be easier jobs to land.

    My roommate in Beijing was looking for a source of extra cash, and landed a tutoring job through a private company (one recommended by the ExPat magazines). However, due to both the shadiness of the company and my roommate's greed (he wanted higher pay then they initially agreed on, and the company found a breach of contract), he ended up walking away with no compensation for some 20 hours of tutoring.

    The foreign language schools, on the other hand, are amazing if you can land a job there. I've worked with (though not taught at) the Suzhou and Hangzhou Foreign Language Schools. Facilities and environment (apart from ubiquitous mosquitos) are much better than any public high school in the United States. And the students are much better motivated (it might be because their parents pay the equivalent to a US college tuition to place their kids there) than their US counterparts (and I've taught at 4 different US high schools). I've heard some complaints that the administration can be a little harsh given that it's such a competitive post, but it makes sense to me.

    My final word is that I feel that quite a few people who go to Asia to teach aren't really qualified to be teachers. As in they've not been trained nor accredited by American standards. So I've personally walked in on a few tutors and younger "teachers" who worked completely without lesson plans or even a broad Individualized Education Plan. They just know how to speak English, and they get handed the responsibility to teach a bunch of kids. So if you do go, please make sure you try hard to do a good job, or get some training stateside first! To you it might be a way to make a quick buck or fund a vacation, but to those kids it's their future! :)

    September 9, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  39. Turner, South Korea

    Why is this only now getting attention? Recent graduates and the unemployed have been going over to Asia to escape the US job market for years. It's nothing new. What this article doesn't mention is some of the hardships teachers endure at the hands of dirty recruiting agencies and bad managers... of course, there are plenty of success stories too.

    In terms of salary v. cost of living, Taiwan and South Korea are the best. Incredibly easy to get jobs teaching over here, but most Taiwanese companies don't sponsor your work visa – you have to make jumps to HK. Sketchy, at best.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  40. Stu

    Having taught for several years in both Japan and Korea (currently in Seoul), I would recommend that anyone who is entertaining the idea of teaching in Asia choose Japan. South Korean private schools (hagwons) are incredibly dishonest and often neglect paying employees when times are hard (which, for a saturated industry, is more often than one might think).

    If you teach at a public school or university in S.Korea, you should be alright (in terms of actually seeing your hard-earned won). However, avoid the hagwon system at all costs.

    In contrast to S.Korea, Japan is a lovely country with very friendly people (as opposed to the ultra-nationalistic and xenophobic Koreans), clean cities, a vibrant social scene, boatloads of opportunities to experience the local culture, and stable jobs.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  41. Claire

    Totally agree that the cost of living in Japan is really high, but there are places in Japan where the cost of living is lower (reasonable). Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya are big financial drains, but if you live in a smaller place you can save more. Also, Borabora was right about the Yen/Dollar conversion.

    Right now I'm in Korea, and the cost of living is low, so you can save a lot, but the won is a bit down (not as bad as when I came though... the won was OMG so low to the dollar it almost made me cry to send money home) so you might not actually be "making" as much if your main thing is sending money home to pay bills and whatnot~~something to consider.

    Nevertheless, doing the teaching-in-Asia gig is so much fun. I've had 2 yrs in Korea, and I'm ready to move on (but not back to the USA just yet). I agree with Jaim that I wish this was something I'd done much, much sooner. I graduated just when the economy took it's biggest nosedives, and I had some really awful jobs before getting wind of the English teaching biz. Now I have enough money to pay cash (no more loans, thank goodness!) for my MA, and enough time during the day to do my (online) classwork.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  42. adams

    What about India. Any one moving to India ???

    September 9, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  43. Austin K

    I moved to Taiwan after being unemployed for almost 2 years. I make a great living wage here teaching kindergarten in a private English School. Taiwan is a very nice country to live in. it's safe and modern, easy to get around and the people are very friendly. Moving to Asia was the best choice I could have ever made. I love it here, and the children make even the hardest day worth while!

    September 9, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  44. Brian

    It's really a toss up. I've been working as a teacher in Asia for about 7 months now. A lot of Americans/Canadians/Europeans/etc are taking advantage of the job market out here, and a lot of the employers are taking advantage of the job seekers out here. Due to visa regulations (and other complications caused by living abroad) one can't just quit a bad situation. If your boss isn't treating you fairly, you can't just tell him to 'stuff it', because if you want to continue living here, you'll need to have your visa released. Your boss is the only one who can do that. Not to mention, once it's released, you can't transfer it to a new employer unless you've been out here for 6+ months.

    Anyone looking into moving abroad do your research. Study your rights as a foreign employee, have those who are experienced review the job offer and contract that is sent to you, and make sure you have enough money saved up for a return flight home just in case. If done properly, it can be an amazing experience. If it's done in a rush with minimal research, it's going to cost you money, time, and leave you with a really bad taste in your mouth.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  45. Renn

    The American expat drain was inevitable given the ever-worsening employee conditions and financial policies in the USA. I left years ago and have never looked back.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  46. Sonny

    Dear fellorw American..Indonesia is great place to find a job....it is growing country...and not many foreigner here.The weather is always warm.The living cost is low, and we can have maid to make house always clean. Living in Indonesia like a king and princess

    September 9, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  47. an earthling

    My home is on earth and although I moved between 4 different countries and 9 different states, I always love my current home.
    China, the place to be, land of opportunity.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:55 am |
  48. an earthling

    Cost of living in China is significantly lower than Korea or Japan. Although income is a bit less (and this is changing rapidly) most of the income can be saved. Chinese people are extremely friendly and fun to be with.

    September 9, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  49. Les

    The conditions of this story aren't that great at all. There are way too many toddlers in the class and the pay is low. If she had done a little more research, she might have found something better.

    I've been living and teaching at a university in Korea for 3 years now.
    At first, I too had to work at an English institute my first year here teaching very young children, which was stressful enough, but I only had 8 – 10 students in the class. I can't imagine what it would be like with 30.

    I now work about 20 hrs/wk (teaching hrs is much less) and I get 4 months of paid vacation each year. Never would I be able to find a job like this in the States. I do have an MA in TESOL but there are plenty of professors that only hold a BA in an English related field.

    If you are serious about coming to Asia, do the research: Find out about housing, work hours (and if you can go home after class is finished or be required to stay until a certain time), class sizes, pay, vacation, look up if there are any complaints about the institute, etc. Don't just take the first thing offered to you.

    Go to Daveseslcafe.com for job listing in Asia

    Good luck!

    September 9, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  50. John Gabriel

    I teach senior level mathematics in China. The United States is a sinking ship. Tired of the work politics and all the incompetents I had to deal with in my previous IT career, I decided to leave.

    I now know over 1000 Chinese characters and am conversational (basic) in just under 6 months. I encourage those who are positive, don't have religious baggage and can deal with advanced Asian students to take the plunge...

    China is the new West. Go west, go west.

    September 9, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  51. Paul

    The money is good, the hours aren't bad and there lots of stories both good and bad.

    But don't underestimate the significance of entering a new culture. Many people are oblivious to the differences and they can be quite trying if you are not up for it. Don't expect a life anything like you had back home, be open to the experience and you should enjoy it.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  52. Moonraker

    Don't do it! For God's sake, don't take the "Teaching abroad in Asia" jobs. Been there, done that, and I got seriously screwed. They'll promise everything, including round trip tickets, insurance, and a lovely apartment. It isn't what they promise!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  53. silencedogood

    I'm an expat in Bermuda (and have been for seven years), before that I lived in Canada, and I've worked temporarily in England enough to where its the equivalent of living there for at least a year.

    On the whole being an expat is a great experience, but don't believe the hype–do your own research. Its not what you are paid, but what you keep. Taxes and cost of living (we pay $5 for a quart of milk here and $5-6 for a loaf of bread) can evaporate your large paycheck very quickly. Most employers will LIE to you on everything from rent costs to work duties. Even large companies will give you lawyer answers (technically acurrate but misleading).

    Be prepared to learn and adapt to the local culture. Be easy going. And be prepared for a different, and often (but not always) lower, standard of living. Also be prepared for cultures that allow you to take your vacations! Friends and relatives won't visit as much as they say they will.

    More than anything, save!. Don't be a hermit, by all means get out there and have fun, but don't miss your golden opportunity to get ahead. As I prepare to come home I don't have enough money to never work again, but ditching the student loans, having a nest egg and being able to purchase a home well beyond my normal means is a freedom most Americans (with our overly consumeristic culture) will never know.

    Don't spend a decade abroad and go home with nothing to show for it. Be smart and get out there! See you on the UWS!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  54. dontbuythehype

    Hi. Guys, Ive done this for 14 years or so, and Im quite happy, but when I read some of these posts, I want to call a Foul. Japan is cheap?!? No way. Alot of foreigners are leaving Japan because the jobs arent there any more and the startup money is huge. Japan isnt all manga and porn robots and stuff. It can be really tough for alot of guys.

    Also, as far as Korea, more than 50% of people who come here leave before the year is up, because they cant deal. Its not just free money, and there is ALOT of con artists here, and if you dont speak the langauge, there is alot of potential for problems. This isnt the U.S., its really rough and tough. I dont know about China, but Im guessing its like Korea.

    Im ready some of the posts here as maybe baitors or recruiters into the local esl industry who lie to no end and try to stick people in places noone wants to go, and theres alot. Just be wise.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  55. international teacher

    shhhhhhh

    September 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  56. ping

    Living in Asia can be great. I worked as a Coordinator for International Relations in a small Japanese municipal office from 2000-2002. In addition to coordinating Korea-Japan arts camps, and all sorts of village events (Mario Kart on the huge screen at the under-used village hall), I was able to coordinate the reception of a FIFA World Cup Team, and so much more. Made (and saved) more money than ever. In Japan hotsprings were never too far away. An afterwork dip... delightful. made lots of true friends, got a master's degree... Got scouted for a job in Korea (arts sector) and worked on art exhibition of a scale and quality that people in North America can barely imagine unless they have been to some of Europe's biennales. My Korea jobs did not pay the best, but with a relatively low cost of living it proved somewhat doable. And in a squeeze you can always teach a bit of English on the side... My advice, learn the language(s) and seek paths that are of interest to you. Western passports are currently beautiful things, use them while they still have some cache.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  57. lab rat

    Not on the asia subject, but still regarding leaving the states..

    I moved to Europe about a year ago after getting laid off and being unable to find another decent paying job (technology worker with bachelors and 4 years of exerience). It was a shcok at first but gives you a whole new perspective on life, not to mention the cushy hours, vacation time and health care. To anyone considering living overseas for a while, do it, you'll never regret it.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  58. Reggie

    This is totally unpatriotic, to go to China. You should make Chinese students come to USA for learning, that way you get to stay in your own country and make money from education/tourism at the same time.

    September 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  59. cloud rat

    u are very courageous girl,i salute u..

    September 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  60. ExpatInHK

    I, with my family, relocated from the US to HK this year.

    It's been a great decision.

    Go where the jobs are.....

    September 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  61. Ash

    As an American with Indian roots, I can answer to Adams' query. Loads of Indians who migrated to US ages ago have returned and found India likable, much to their surprise. These are your typical suburban double-income StarBucks-coffee high-earners in US, you get the picture. They and a good number of expats are doing well in India.

    One caution: India is messy, dirty and corrupt. But if you live in the right areas, you get to live well, you get used to a lot of domestic and office help, secretaries etc... but India can be a huge culture shock for suburban American housewifes – and is a big turnoff. You get good areas and you get slums all next to each other and people seem unmindful of poverty around them. But heck, if you want to make a difference, India is a great place. Most urban areas in India are livable, cheap and eventful. People will fawn over you all the time.

    One other interesting thought is that even though India has a lot of middleclass people, Indians are still discovering the new age amenities, products and ways of life. Just coming and living in India could give a Westerner new ideas for countires like India, from an entrepreneur light.... think about it. you got most of your consumer product MNCs in India, but there is room for innovation in most areas of life. Try it out, you might like it.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  62. tell me about it

    I recently took a job with a university in South America. Even here the pay and benefits are looking better than what I was able to find in the USA. Good health coverage, ability to save, two months paid vacation, and a cheap cost of living. At this point, returning to the states doesn't look too appealing.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  63. Dean

    Come to Korea, living cost is lower than Japan. Money is better than any country with accomodation.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  64. jackie, London

    I spent a year in Korea as an English teacher, before moving to London for further studies (where I am currently). It (or Taiwan) is ideal for the cost of living vs. living standard balance as has already been mentioned. Korea is ideal if you like skiing, or like mountains – and if you feel a bit bored with the same slopes and mountains you can go to Japan. I wasn't able to visit Taiwan myself but my friends seemed to have enjoyed it.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  65. Kevin

    I traveled overseas to Asia as an American soldier, and left the military in 2005 after nearly a decade of service. After finishing my undergrad in the U.S., I went overseas again, but this time as a free man. A Foreign government paid for my entire Master's degree in their national school.

    What is my life like in Asia? I live in Korea. I can't comment on the rest of Asia, but I can Korea.

    I get to drink with American company executives that will talk with me just because we are both from the West–the benefits of the ex-pat community.

    I drink on sky scrapper roof tops in a city far more advanced than Atlanta or Chicago or LA. I do not need a car because I ride on public transit that does not smell like piss and does not have animals disguised as humans wielding knives and guns.

    I never have to worry about someone stealing my lap top when I go to the bathroom in busy city cafe since they do not steal in Korea. I never worry about guns or being stabbed no matter how much I anger someone, because people do not resort to that kind of violence here.

    I live in a near-crime free society without a ghetto, crack, or slums.

    I can get a American-quality root canal for $500 and no wait in line. I can get a $10,000 medical screening for $2,000 and no wait in line. I can get treated for Flu for $10 and $4 medication, and no wait in line.

    Lower Crime, Better Medical Services, Higher Quality of Life... I am happy. There are downsides, like conservative social rules and less freedom of speech, but its a trade off I am willing to accept.

    September 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  66. panda Chinese

    If u r very interested in exploer or advanturer.I think China is the best place to go.A long history mysterial country in the world(even u have some misundertanding and prejudices for China) .Ur thinking or mind will may be changed.WIthout talking about employees and jobs or offers,it's the best place to travel esp on inner land of China except east properity cities along the coach line.By the way,i think China is not a good place to work for expats or foreingneers yet because China has many self problems expected to solve on employees and job hiring and ditributing resources even laws and foundations.In addtion,as a foreingneer u can hand on ur life insurance and social insurance to move and live in a small place where is lack of English education of China.Morever u can get an offer in a english institute in the place to teach speaking English for children.At last but least,this suggestion is for loving natural and generostity people with huamanity,living longer,lover the place China where can reduce ur homesick.On the contrary,if u r perfectism or ulititerism even criticism for goverment(China),u should go to plato repubilic or paradise.In the end,I want to recommand a series videos which is called "wild China"recorded by BBC.Hope u can enjoy it.Thank you.PS:life is not for money!

    September 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  67. Roxanna Blanco

    Great action shot of my student, Fusuke (above), learning his verbs!
    The simple and honest truth is that the benefits of living and working abroad far outweigh those from the U.S. (and other recession-stricken countries) right now. I think most would agree that because of this recession, not only has unemployment drastically gone up, but overall quality of life has taken a serious downturn and things just aren't the same anymore. Having the courage to pack up your life and move thousands of miles away from home is the opportunity to regain that quality of life, plus some! It really just takes an open mind and a little bit of an adventurous spirit to make it happen.
    I spent four and a half years and a lot of borrowed money towards a degree in International Business in hopes of creating a stable and happy life for myself as a young professional. Instead, I was met with a lot of rejection and absolutely no call backs from possible employers. Who would want to hire an inexperienced fresh graduate when a dozen other higher qualified and newly unemployed professionals are able and willing?!
    I made the decision to move to Hong Kong after about a year of this monotonous job hunting routine and have been here for a little over a year now. Everything is going great. I have a stable job as a teacher, working with delightful, well-behaved kids and lots of opportunities to travel to exotic places, which is what brings me the most happiness. All in all, I got the things I wanted most for my life right now and I'm happy.
    Great blog Pauline!

    September 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  68. roger marin

    Roxanna Marry Me!!!

    September 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  69. noor

    This article provided me with much needed inspiration...I am thinking of following similar steps, except I want to move back to my native pakistan.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  70. Roberto Santiago

    I just went through a similar experience; I was laid off from my engineering job back in the U.S. and after months of not getting any offers I took a job offer in Germany and so far I don't regret. Yes, the language barrier can be discouraging at times, but you must make it work. It is a good opportunity for you to get global exposure; so don't give up and keep pushing forward.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  71. cvachon77

    It is unfortunate that we need to leave the US for a better life, but I've done the same. After 7 years teaching in NYC, I've left for an international school in Cairo and the difference are profound. I live in an apartment 5 times the size of my NYC place and it costs a tenth of my rent in Brooklyn! People are friendly, there is so much to do, opportunities to travel...the world opens up to you once you cross that ocean.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  72. Randy S.

    Too bad us Americans have to pay income tax to our home country wherever we are in the world, unlike any other country (that I know of)!

    September 9, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
  73. Brian Allan

    Welcome to the 3rd world; the United States of American!

    I see a lot more people deciding to leave the USA for foreign employment until the USA gets its act in order... maybe in a decade or so. Until then, if you want employment, a challenge and food on the table, give foreign employment a try.

    You may never come back to the rapidly declining USA...

    September 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  74. konnichiwa

    woo, handsome boy with beautiful teacher ! i would like to see his mother !

    September 10, 2010 at 2:16 am |
  75. Duncan

    My family (2 boys and the wife) and I left the US in 2005 and wound up in Barcelona Spain, where I unintentionally wound up working for the SAME company that I was working for when I left the States. Now they have transferred me to Sydney, Australia and I'll NEVER go back!
    It's ironic that when I was in the States looking to transfer, no one would even give me the time of day.... But working for the same company overseas,, the doors just swing right open.
    I recommend that everyone challenge themselves and their thinking and give these attempts a try.... The worse that can happen is that you wind up right where you left off.... As I tell my mates back in the States, "You're only a plane ticket away". Just do it...!

    September 10, 2010 at 4:13 am |
  76. warsteiner

    Load the boats with Mexican immigrants.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  77. sonny

    India is definitely a very desirable destination for anyone who is looking for a high paying job in IT, or HR, and the best part is most companies are looking for Westerners for top level jobs. A 19 hour flight will get you to India, where you can live your dream life. For airline tickets to India please use http://www.Air-Savings.com

    September 10, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  78. "-"

    Their taking our brightest to educate and make their kids more competitive!

    In Charles Heston voice... damyoo all to...

    September 10, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  79. Aaron

    Why is everyone so motivated by this story? Maybe if we concentrated on keeping illegal aliens out of the country, getting the illegal aliens that are in this country out, and stopped foreigners from coming into this country on school and work visa's, Americans could find jobs in their own country. We take care of everyone else but our own people.

    September 10, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  80. LJM

    I spent two years working as an Administrator for an international school in Egypt. After one disappointing year back in the US,, I will return there in December.

    The employment opportunities overseas are crazy good and support a lovely lifestyle.

    I much prefer the gorgeous apartment, maid, and driver my salary afforded there over slugging away at a part-time, minimum wage job here.

    September 10, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  81. iShane

    Ah I see, CNN's position on immigration comes to light. No wonder, flee instead of fix. How about FU.

    September 10, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  82. David

    She's got a whole lot of guts and damn good looks. Love it!

    September 10, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  83. Ed

    What a sad testimonial that our talented young people have to leave our country for employment opportunties. The politicians have absolutely ruined this country for their own personal gain.

    September 10, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  84. Jose K

    The story is most probably TRUE. I worked in the Middle East for 16 years, teaching English. There were many American and Canadian teachers as coworkers. When I migrated to the US, it was very difficult to get a job in teaching. But in Asia, American/Western teachers are very welcome and they are offered wonderful perks . A canadian teaher told me that he had never lived in such a big house like the one that was offered to him by the institution as free accomodation.
    Best of luck to the new job seekers outside US.

    September 10, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  85. Roy R. Rowlands

    Thank you Geroge Bush Senior for NAFTA as the USA looses it's jobs and people to China and India and as we watch our country slide from the top to the bottom. Bush made NAFTA a law December 17 around one month before leaving office. One last screwing of America and its people before he left. Yep elect another Republican or even worse another Bush. America needs to re-visit NAFTA and get American jobs back.

    September 10, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  86. Jason

    It's ironic that we are so worried about people from Mexico running here to find jobs when most of our own citizens are running out of our country to do the same.

    September 10, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  87. Harish

    I also recommend international exposure. Working just in the US gives you a Uni-Polar view of how things work (or how they should work). Europe and Asia are culturally so diverse so having an enriching experience is almost guaranteed.

    If you plan to work in the developing world like India – try to come in as an expatriate (rather than by yourself). You will surely be pampered.

    Also such experiences are easier without a spouse and kids.

    September 10, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  88. Sehkon

    I left US in 2005 to start a new life in Saigon (HCMC) Vietnam – I live like a King now !

    After divorcing my ugly, nagging, betch American wife – the best thing I did was to come to Asia and esp Vietnam.

    I live on the beach, have 2 concubines and a wife and amazing kids and family life that in USA only we can dream of.
    I have a maid, chauffeur and live-in nanny – and part time gardener.

    American Men with some money – get RID of your wives and American lives and come settle down in Asia.

    Vietnan/SKorea/China/Phillipnes/Thailand and Taiwan – best places.

    My beach front villa in Vietnam is featured on Travel and Leisure front page cover – it cost me $300k to make – the same in CA would have $3 million plus the taxes.

    USA is a sinking ship and Asia is the rising star!

    Just read the daily news in US – someone always shooting at workplace, some mexican gang killing, violence, black thugs, race crimes, politics, religious right wingers, decaying infrastructure, decaying morals, and HORRIBLE WOMEN !

    September 10, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  89. Justacomment

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I got my bachelor and master degrees from two American universities and I struggled for a very long time to get and to stay in the U.S. on a work visa . I was exploited and even underestimated for being Hispanic. I now live in Taiwan and I sort of regret all the time that I wasted in the U.S. trying to pursue my "American dream." Here in Taiwan I fell welcome and not discriminated against, I feel valued as a person and as a professional. I plan on going back to teaching as soon as I get my residence card (which I never got in the U.S. and I'll be getting here in only 2 MONTHS). By the way, they don't mind my accent...

    September 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  90. - -!

    To be an English teacher in China is really easy for native English speakers. They don't even need any certifications. Just playing 'Games' will be okay...I don't know what to say about this.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  91. Luke

    I hate to be negative, but I used to live in Taiwan for a couple of years. Most of the english teachers who work over there are really just bums with no skills. They go over there and party and take advantage of chiinese women (for the most part anyway, since most are male) because white people are almost worshipped in Taiwan. It's laudable to find employment abroad, but from my experience most of the english teachers over there are just lazy people who want to drink and have sex

    September 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  92. John

    How bad is it when people are emigrating out of the United States looking for a better future?

    September 10, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  93. Lee

    Great article and it applies equally to professionals and non-teaching jobs also. I graduated with 40,000 others from M.B.A. school about 10 years ago in the U.S. After spending a few years in the States doing marketing jobs, I moved to Hong Kong and then to other great cities in Asia (Tokyo, Taipei, Shanghai, Singapore) and haven't ever looked back. Today I run the subsidiary of an American multinational with over 3,000 employers in Greater China and there's no way I'd be earning this type of compensation if I'd stayed at home. Our company and many others in our industry are constantly looking for people with good experience from developed countries who have the drive to succeed in a dynamic environment and the personal commitment to walk a different path. If you follow the masses in a country with chornic unemployment problems, how can you ever expect great rewards? "Fortune favors the brave" is not just a slogan in an increasingly global world and workforce... it's a recipe for success!!

    September 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  94. Think About IT!

    Americans Relocating to China for $24,000
    Welcome to the New World Order
    How much of this BS are we going to take?

    September 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  95. OC

    Roxanna couldn't find a job in the US that payed 24,000 with a college degree? I have nothing more than a HS Diploma and make over 3x that amount. Interesting.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  96. No name

    Brave move. Why stay in a country that doesn't respect you as a human being? Life is too short.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  97. Yo

    I used to work in Asia. Was at a very senior management level (only in my twenties back then) and earned enough to start a family. After almost 2 years there, I have moved back to Europe with enough savings to last my family awhile. I suggest http://www.jobsdb.com I promise you will get potential employers calling you back within a month.
    Good Luck.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  98. Tom

    Not as easy as it all sounds. Many of these companies practice age discrimination. They will not hire folks over the age of 60. They claim it's too difficult to get working visas for them.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  99. Davidcard

    Lol, stop your silly posting people. Only white people get hired in Asia. If you are black, you can only get hired on a Basketball team.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  100. Spaceroy

    So you all leave when it goes bad and plan to return when it gets better? Thats pretty close to cowardly treason isn't it? A better description of fairweather friend has never been printed.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  101. Sarah

    I find this article odd considering many people in the US get angry when foreigners come into the States and take up "American" jobs, but this article is encouraging Americans to go abroad and take Asian jobs away from Asians.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  102. Bud

    If it's not bad enough to send work overseas, now you're pushing the idea of sending the workers overseas. My question is, is CNN part of the solution or part of the problem?

    September 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  103. erky

    One mistake with the article. I think the unemployment rate is MUCH higher than 9.6%. The official figure doesn't take into consideration people that used to be engineers and are now flipping burgers.

    September 10, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  104. Jojeffer

    I went back to Taiwan (parents are Taiwanese) after college and before med school. A great opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and travel all over the place! I agree, the teaching schools are a good start but don't pay well. See if you can privately tutor a child who goes to the International School or American Schools. THAT's where the money is!! Parents are usually wealthy and willing to pay (I was getting $30-50 an hour!), kids can speak English, and the neighborhoods are nice!! In Taipei, the Princeton Review initially found a job for my friend. Then, the parents talk, and soon, all my expat friends had 2-3 tutoring jobs to supplement our income!! Do it! Live abroad, especially when you're single and have no family obligations!

    September 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  105. Russell V

    All our jobs moved overseas. Now our citizens are moving overseas to fill jobs. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!!!!

    September 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  106. dp

    Unemployed American Citizen Desperately Attempts Mexico Border Crossing for a Better Life

    After applying to hundreds of job opportunities without success and as a caring, honest law abiding American citizen, professional woman conscientiously seeks doing her part in helping increase the U.S. employment rate by seeking employment in Mexico. Before seeking Mexican employment, she expanded her job search by applying for lower paying jobs. Seeking employment as a janitor for a small business in Phoenix, she became distraught and sympathetic after being told a poor Mexican woman with 2 small children had the job. The poor pregnant Mexican woman sacrificed her life to cross the border by dodging the horrible bullets, long hot dessert walk without water and personal questions by the nosey U.S. Border Patrol to help Americans have a better life. This unselfish Mexican woman was gladly working a strenuous job so an American citizen would not have to suffer doing manual labor. She proved her sincerity by providing Americans job security entering the U.S. in time to deliver her unborn child. This added job security to an American Doctor, Nurse's and financial aid department staff.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  107. That is right

    I could not find a job in USA and did not wait too long to look outside. In november I will start working for Royal Swiss Institute of Technology doing research in a chemistry related topic.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  108. Happy Gilmore

    Ni hao, sawasdee krap, salaam u alaykom, apa kabar, goede morgen, buenos dias, bon dia kon ta bai, konnichi wa, greetings y'all. Well, I've been working 43 years and about 26 of them have been in various locations around the world outside of my home country, the USA. It's definitely not for everyone so, if this article has you packing your bags you better ask yourself how well you adapt to other cultures, languages, food, and income levels. I for one love foreign languages and cultures. Also, I am not convinced that the western way is the only way although I do like many aspects of my home country. The truth is that the great majority of expats I have met in my years of living and working abroad are not particularly happy and especially in the case of native English speakers,they do not assimilate very well in the host countries. These folks rarely learn the host nation language very well which is often a great obstacle to the deeper enjoyment of the people and culture there. A series of books called 'Culture Shock' (followed by the name of the country, e.g. Culture Shock Taiwan) has been published which might be a good place to start for many people to get an idea if they would even be able to get along in the host country. Living and working abroad was the right thing for me personally but most people I know back home in the USA would not have been happy living my lifestyle (oh, by the way, I've got no children and no plans to have any, that has probably made it easier for me over the years). So, if you're adventurous, open minded and love learning new languages and cultures by all means give it a try, otherwise, try to make the best of your opportunities in your beloved homeland. Adios amigos, tot ziens, ayo, ma'salaama

    September 10, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  109. Bob

    For all those comments that praise her decision to move to another country and get a job, and for all the other posters who say they have done the same, think of this: foreigners in the US (working there legally) are ofter accused of "stealing our jobs". There are feelings or resentment when a foreigner is hired, when there are unemployed US candidates. Well, how do you think those Chinese or Japanese graduates of education schools in those countries feel when, after getting their degrees in English Teaching, they cannot find a job because someone from the US was hired instead? Now that the positions are reversed (it's Americans who go to other countries to get jobs there), suddenly it's OK to be an outsider and get a job locally, thus "jumping the line" of those who have contributed to that society for generations. Shame on you, America.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  110. vman

    does Roxanna have a boyfriend in China? she looks like a very presentable women! :-)

    September 10, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  111. Manny HM

    It's not a job. It's more of an adventure to see the world without joining the military !

    September 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  112. mike

    Danny is an idiot. he probably never left his home county.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  113. Daniel

    It all sounds great but what about those without college or the ability to speak the language of the host country?

    September 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  114. tom

    It is not as easy as it appears. Many of the companies that hire people to teach English will not hire people over the age of 60. They claim that it is too difficult to get working visas for older individuals. Sounds like age discrimination to me.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  115. Sean

    It's so true. Graduated from the University of Chicago in '09. Studied Japanese language, and had planned to teach English here for awhile even before the economy tanked. But it's way nicer than I ever could have dreamed. Been here a year, just took my first vacation back to the States. Was so happy to touch back on Japanese soil. It's almost too sad to face the realization that this isn't really a "career" and I'll probably have to go back at some point. Life here is easy (and it IS cheaper here than in the U.S., though I don't live in a big city now and I always did in America...) and the job is incredibly enjoyable. I don't miss the rude, self-righteous citizens of America, not one bit. I do miss my friends and family, but going back was more depressing than anything else.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  116. Paul

    @Randy....not true. Americans can earn up to about $100,000 offshore and pay NO TAXES and NO Social Security. Earnings above that are taxed. Other countries most definitely tax their citizens....just ask any Canadian working overseas about that.

    I left the USA in 1992 for Japan then moved on to Korea. Total time working in Asia was 13 years and it was the best decision of my life. The worst decision was to return to America in 2006.

    Asia is where the action is and job opportunities are everywhere.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  117. Terko

    This is the situation that many immigrants face when they arrive to the US from Mexico or other countries. If you are confronted with situation that you can better your life by leaving the country and pursuing work elsewhere wouldn't you do it???????

    Immigration reform is needed!

    September 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm |
  118. Paul

    While this all sounds wonderful, it seems to be a little out of reach for the everyday person. It has to be quite expensive to pick up and move to a new country.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  119. Antietam

    People that emigrate to search out a better life usually represent the best and brightest of that society. This seems evident with the new Americans working overseas.

    September 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  120. teachvg

    Can someone point me in the right direction of finding a reputable hiring agency to help find an overseas teaching job. At this point, I am TOTALLY frustrated with the American economy and America itself. I have spent the summer trying to find a teaching job here in Texas. I am certified in Texas to teach English. I applied to about 15 school districts near me that had English positions but NO ONE called me in for an interview. Is it because I am 48 and have 25 years of teaching experience and you don't want to pay the higher salary for experience. Is it the age thing? One school district near Austin had 5 English positions. I applied for all 5 but was never called in for an interview. I would love to go to Korea to teach English, preferably on a college campus but at this point looking for an English position. At this point, I have no money to buy airline tickets but I'm sure someone will come through. If you are a legitimate recruiting firm, please email me at teachvg574@netzero.net.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  121. James

    to whomever Borabora86 is. I don't know where in Japan you are living but there is no such thing as an inexpensive cost of living in Japan, even with the Yen being higher than the dollar, so please do not give people the impression you can live cheaply in Japan. My $1300 social security barely pays for a small efficiency near Tokyo!

    September 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  122. rcy

    My daughter did the exact same thing this last month. She had also been job hunting during the last year, but only found part-time work. Previously, she was in Peace Corp for 4 years doing the "same thing" she is now paid to do in China ( English tutor), so the transition was a bit easier. She also had a master's in Asian studies, so she is "near fluent" in Mandarin as well which helps of lot when you are trying to "settle in".

    September 10, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  123. Guri Singh

    I have 2 points.

    1. I like the sticker on a car I saw
    "The best you can do for your country: LEAVE
    that is what I did. http://www.getapassport.com "
    It was a Lonely Planet Sticker encouraging travel.

    2. I have to say it is not how much you make that matters, it is how much you can save and the quality of life in doing so that matters.

    I wish that this global economy would allow the everyone to apply for jobs anywhere.

    I think every American (at the least) should work at least a year or few abroad.

    Good luck to all.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  124. rcy

    Randy S:

    There is an exemption on taxes if you qualify. If you pass the "test" of having lived in the foreign country for 330/365 days, you can exempt up to $91,400 USD of foreign income "earned abroad" from US taxes. Check the IRS publication #54 for details on it.

    If you don't meet the requirement for 2010 (there is not enough time left), you can file an amended return in 2011 for the 2010 year when you "do" qualify.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  125. EconomyInCrisis

    Interesting that all of our jobs would be outsourced, many to China and other Asian countries, and yet they still have enough jobs to offer Americans who look overseas.

    Seems a bit backwards to me. First they take our jobs and now they're taking out people.

    September 10, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  126. Hugh

    Good for her — I'm beginning to think the same. The U.S. has become a nation that only rewards members of the workforce who are: money re-arrangers, salespeople, overpaid CEOs who bankrupt companies and issue layoffs, healthcare professionals, insurance administrators, banking executives and members of other industries and professions that cause hardship for working-class Americans. If you are not a member of one of these corrupt industries, then you're in line to become an impoverished second-class citizen unless you expatriate.

    September 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  127. the girl

    My son is an expat teaching English in Vietnam. He works at the university and also has private students. He loves it.

    September 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  128. iShane

    What spam...ok CNN.

    September 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  129. Prescott Bush

    I would recommend that those working oversees pay no federal taxes since they are bring wealth to the USA. Many are sending money back home.

    September 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  130. TwistedSister

    I think this is a great opportunity! A few years ago I was working as an engineer, and after being fed up with the corporate culture I was working in, decided to move to South Korea and teach English. It is a very scary prospect to pack up and move your entire life to another country, but was probably one of the best experiences of my life. Not only was the cost of living so low (free rent provided by the school and free airfare), I was able to pay off student loan debt back home. I had the opportunity to teach classes, and realized that was my calling. After that time I pursued my dream of furthering my education to a point where I would be able to teach. I recommend this opportunity for all new college grads, but be prepared to respect the culture you will be moving into. It isn't for everyone, but if you do your research you can have an amazing year in Asia (or more!).

    September 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  131. Elmer Allen of Seattle

    In my humble opinion, Americans especially down south have no clue about globalization. Over the years, they took the media and their politicians words about how the world works. Well, welcome to the 21st century and sadly we all been duped with this so called “American Dream”. To those people who kept blaming the corporations moving jobs overseas then you could have opposed “Capitalism” back then. If you look at the heart of Capitalism, it isn’t for the middle and lower class people of this country. Only 4% of this country owns the wealth and the rest like me struggling paycheck to paycheck employee. The previous, present President and next, cannot do anything about this or even the trillion dollar interests a year on our national or external debt. We haven’t even seen double dip recession or hyperinflation. We do not know how long foreign creditors will allow us to borrow money. But at some point it will stop and the younger American generations will be paying for it. Not to mention they will be cursing and blaming, the past generations who lived on this “borrowed wealth”. On top of that, there weren’t any jobs left since most of them are ship overseas. People in the medical industry are also getting a threat from “medical tourism”. You can also count the many Americans who became expatriates living currently in EU. This is not news to me. Relocation is the key, accepting other culture and adapting it. The salary won’t be like US but at least it meets the cost of living on that part of world.

    September 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  132. cory

    asian!

    September 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  133. jayme

    He said ASIAN

    September 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  134. Rick McDaniel

    Sorry......my Chinese isn't all that good.

    September 10, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  135. Jaci

    @ Randy S: NOT true. When my family lived in Belgium, we didn't pay US taxes for that period of time: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/article/0,,id=182017,00.html

    Next time, you may want to check your facts before saying that all Americans pay US taxes, because they don't.

    September 10, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  136. Kandace

    Came across this interesting article. We may have to look abroad as well.

    September 11, 2010 at 1:00 am |
  137. lette74

    @cloud rat – unpatriotic??? What about all the US companies who off-shored all our jobs to Asia? That wasn't unpatriotic? The US has absolutely gone downhill. My family and I moved from the Philippines in 1985 for a better opportunity. And I can say it has gone considerably bad. I feel like I'm living in the 3rd world country of the "civilized" western world.

    September 11, 2010 at 2:18 am |
  138. emily

    Sounds great but how did you all just pack up and go? Don't I need a visa to go to china and will I need a job lined up before I leave?

    September 12, 2010 at 4:31 am |
  139. WOW

    I say jobs are tough. The American economy will never rebound. Jumping ship and going to China I'll pass. That goes for Europe, Japan, and just about everywhere else. Been around the world vacationing. NO PLACE LIKE HOME. So when your teeth rot out from lack of regulations or your the country spawns another Adolf Hitler in some civil war, or your paying thousands of dollars to have coffin style living like Japan. You'll realize why Mexico, America, and Canada are the most stable places in the world. Why everyone even in a global recession even Chinese with all the jobs still flock to the US.

    September 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  140. Megan

    I'm a middle-aged, divorced female and have been teaching English in China for three years. The job is great and my living conditions are quite comfortable. I recommend doing this!

    September 13, 2010 at 12:18 am |
  141. Pow3hatan

    Yes, there are many positive things to be said about working abroad, particularly in these difficult times in the U.S. I have been teaching English off and on for over 12 years in Taiwan and Thailand and it has largely been a very positive experience. However, you should be very aware there are some downsides and potential dangers to living in another country with very different laws and systems of justice from your own. Along with the excitement and expectations of what you will do and experience wherever you go, you should also be aware of the pitfalls that might dampen your life abroad.
    After nine years of enjoying work, life and travel here in Asia, in 2007 I was blindsided by a false accusation of sexual harassment by the school I had worked for four years – orchestrated by a few overzealous and overambitious administrators and students who didn’t want any more native-speaker English teachers there.
    This has been a life-changing nightmare event that I’m still fighting in civil and administrative courts here in Taiwan. Just a few bad people have damaged my life and work and have forever stained an otherwise positive experience living abroad.
    I’ve been writing about this event and my experiences fighting for justice and restoration at:

    http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=58433

    http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=53684&start=0

    September 13, 2010 at 1:06 am |
  142. Carl Springer

    GO EAST YOUNG and OLD!! Great article and a long time coming!! I am an American expat here in Asia and have been for 45 years. I operate organizations here focusing on educational, cultural and work exchanges between the EAST and the WEST. Up til a few years ago the exchange was mainly East to West but now we are seeing a huge shift in the opposite direction with westerners coming to our many programs for both short and long term stays as well as permanent moves as expats themselves in all fields of endeavor–education, business, healthcare, arts, handicrafts, travel and tourism, agriculture, technology, etc. We place participants of all ages and interests from students to retirees/pensioners and medical-tourists in both paying and volunteer opportunities. For further information email me at aacetase@gmail,com Skype: asiamerica2005 or website: http://www.asiamerica.com

    September 13, 2010 at 2:33 am |
  143. coco

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  144. Andres Perez

    Hello, what a nice thing CNN does. I'm a young architect living in South America (Colombia) interested in working over there. I'm really good in design and urban planning. here is my website

    http://www.andresperez.biz

    I hope to get a chance to help over there.

    thanks a lot

    September 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  145. sage

    My brother sent me this link and I thought I'd add my two-cents. People who are not actually trained teachers, but who want to "teach" English may have to face sketchy employers and low job security when going overseas, but for trained teachers with degrees in education, the time could not be better to leave the US.

    I have a California teaching credential and an MA in Education. I teach at one of the top international schools in China as a regular classroom teacher to fewer than 20 students from over 40 different countries and not only do I LOVE my job, my employer and everything about my city: I earn about three times what I made in the US as a so-called NCLB highly qualified credentialed teacher (counting perks such as flights and housing).

    The Chinese people are amazing and life is mostly easy. I have a housekeeper who works five days a week and a bus that takes me to and from school. We travel often. My job is demanding, but it's worth the effort and I am well-rewarded for my hard work, as I never was as a teacher in the US. Contrary to what one of the people above said, it is completely standard for people who can qualify for these jobs to have housing, utilities, flights home and a lot of other perks 100% paid for. I also have great health insurance (though I do pay out of pocket for most dental).

    Yes, you need to be a credentialed teacher, advanced degrees and advanced training plus experience are needed for the top schools, but my education, experience and training never got me much in the US. I had 13 year-old children bringing knives to school and showing gang signs. I had 34 or 35 children in a class. I had violent parents, runaways, and every year I had to spend my own money for resources. In the last year I worked in California I was given $250 for the year to resource a classroom in which I taught 183 students a day. I was low paid for the cost of living in my town and I worked twice as hard as I do now.

    I've been in China for going on four years now. I don't think I will ever go back. China is fabulous. Right now, qualified teachers are making the most money for the least cost of living in Thailand, Vietnam and mainland China. The US demonstrates daily how little they care for their children and the future of the nation by how they treat their educators and run their schools. I'd recommend going overseas to any teacher who is fed up.

    September 14, 2010 at 4:51 am |
  146. Greg

    I've know this girl all my life, she's the best! Congrats Rox on getting your mug on TV, miss ya come back to the States!

    September 14, 2010 at 6:40 am |
  147. michael

    Hi,
    I dont recommend coming to Japan. Ive been here 13 years and the best cities are already overflowing with foreigners, especially in the last three to four years. The life is nice, but the work is just not here. Even the people who are established for more than ten years are hurting because work is being cut across the board. Major English and foreign language schools like Geos and Berlitz have closed and left most of the country over the past two years.
    Six years ago, I was running a modeling agency and photo studio and now those areas of work are so bad that Im reduced to teaching private English to children and adults at about half of what I used to make per hour doing that, just to make ends meet. Had a car for ten years, but the unreasonably high inspection system ended that three years ago. Now Im living with my girlfriend and we are pinching yen all the time. Not so fun.
    China is probably a lot easier to find work, but of course its still a developing country so if you can handle that life, go for it.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  148. Britt of the Nations

    Wow, this topic is popular. I'm an expat and graduated in December 2009 with a bachelors in marketing. I went directly to Milan, Italy in January and will be moving soon to the Netherlands.

    Living and working abroad is an excellent idea, especially if the alternative is unemployment. While I think we do owe a certain amount of loyalty to our home-country (I'm sure that comment will spark outrage), loaning your skills and desire to be productive to another country is a benefit to the US and to you. You get work and adventure and the US is saved from supporting you and your family while you are unemployed.

    Plus, if you are one of those whining Americans who think every other country is better than ours, trust me, you'll come to admire certain aspects of American life, culture and values that you overlooked before. Trust me. I was a young critic and after life in Italy I can't wait to go back to reason and efficiency.

    I only ask that if you do go, be a good ambassador. Learn from the culture you choose to immerse yourself in and take on an attitude of humility. Teach them also the compassionate, reasonable, human side of the US that cannot be communicated by our politicians, Hollywood or radical Quran-burning pastors.

    Go, work, adventure.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  149. Jeanne

    I am very interested in teaching overseas, can anyone tell me about how to go about finding a teaching job in Korea. If you teach in Korea I would like to hear from you.

    September 16, 2010 at 3:15 am |
  150. David

    I've been living in Taiwan for a little over 2 years now. I graduated with a liberal arts degree from a public university in May 2008, right when the economy collapsed. I took my graduation money, bought a plane ticket, and moved to Taiwan.

    I'm not gonna lie, life here is GOOD. I earn about 2000 USD a month working 25 hour weeks on average. My living costs are about 600-700 USD per month. My taxes are very low and I have National Health Insurance. I'm 24 years old and I can easily see myself staying here forever. I can put away over 1000 a month working part time! If I took more hours I could easily save 2000 a month.

    HOWEVER, this life is not for everyone. I HATE teaching. It's not for everyone. You may have heard that children here are respectful of teachers, and most are, but you still have those bad apples who make you wonder why your putting up with their attitude. Also because its hard to become a citizen of these Asian countries unless you have bloodlines there is no kind of retirement here. If you stayed long term you'd have to rely on your own savings to get you through your golden years.

    I'd say if your young, in your 20s come over and try it out for a few years. It's a great way to save some money to pay off student loans or go back to school. Even though life here is good, I'm going back home in 4 months. Despite the economy, I really do miss life in America. There is no place like home.

    September 16, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  151. Travis

    I'm a Taiwanese. Trust me, I know how hard for u Americans to get a job in ur country. If u wanna a good job and a tottally different way to live plus a good life quality. I suggest u to come to Taiwan, we taiwanese keep our minds wild open to foreigners and would love to make friend with them. Not to mention u have the advantage of language, Eng i mean. So think about it. Our economic is growing with mainland China,our food is best in the world,everything is way cheaper than US, and we have a reputation of hospitality :)

    September 22, 2010 at 5:47 am |
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