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How do you find a short term job teaching English abroad? If you didn't know most jobs require you to sign a contract for a year. That's one of the requirements to get a work visa.

But what if you just want to teach abroad for a few months? What if you just want to teach English abroad during the summer? Or during the winter break? Or for 6 months.

It's possible.


Visas are why most schools want you to sign a contract for 1 year

It's possible to find short term work teaching abroad for anywhere from a few days to 6 months or so. Schools do prefer teachers that stick around long term as it can be stressful for the students if they always have a new teacher. The reason why most schools want you to sign a contract is for the visa. If you sign a contract then they can apply for a visa that allows you to work and legally stay in the country.

So if you don't sign a contract you'll have to manage your own visa. 

So how do you do that?

Well, if you only want to teach abroad for a month or so many countries offer a free tourist visa for a few months or so. And that can be good enough for starters.

It is technically illegal to teach on a tourist visa. It's not too big of a deal if it's just for the short term. I have done it and I have known many teachers who have too. The risks are you could caught and have to pay a fine or they could kick you out of the country.

There are different kinds of visas like: student visas, working holiday visas, heritage visas, spouse visas, etc. which may allow you to teach legally depending on the situation or country.

Working holiday visas are a great program that can allow you to legally work abroad within a period of 1-12 months, but if you are a citizen of the USA you are out of luck. The English speaking countries participating in the program are: The UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

This may allow you to legally teach English in such countries as South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, France, Chile, Argentina, etc. But remember most schools will prefer teachers who stick around so even though you may be able to legally work in that country with a working holiday visa it doesn't mean the school will prefer to hire you. It can depend on the school but most schools prefer teachers who stick around.

Now if you are still thinking of teaching on a tourist visa...

How long does a tourist visa last?

If you are concerned you can read more about the risks of teaching without a proper visa here.

It depends on the country. US citizens get:

  • 3 months in Japan
  • 3 months in Korea
  • 3 months in Taiwan
  • 3 months in Hong Kong
  • No free months in China. You have to pay $120+ (if you are an American) for a double entry L visa.
  • 3 months in many European countries

So how do you do it?

Good times to look are during summer and winter school vacation. That's not necessarily your vacation time, but their's.

The reason why it's a good time to look is because there are often summer camps at this time. These "camps" are not like the camps you probably went to as a kid. 

The kids basically go a private institute for more schooling at this time. These schools get more busy at that time and need short term teachers.

So where do you find these jobs?

You have to go there for the most part. There are no benefits other than hourly pay usually. There's no housing or anything like that. They are not going to pay for your flight.

There are already teachers out there. Schools don't really have to advertise much or communicate online with teachers.

Occasionally, a school does. I have seen schools in Korea do this. Usually those schools are in farther away places too where other teachers don't want to go.

Recruiters won't typically advertise these kinds of jobs either as there is no money in them. Schools are the ones that usually pay recruiters, but if a school just needs a teacher short term it's not really worth it for them to hire a recruiter.

How to teach English in Korea for 6 months

If you want to teach English in Korea the TALK program apparently offers a contract for 6 months, but says they are "delayed in consideration and processing".

The TALK program is a bit different than other jobs in Korea as they accept teachers who have only completed 2 years of their degree.

Typically in Korea schools will pay for roundtrip airfare, however the TALK program states in the case of a 6 month contract they offer a 1,300,000 Won flight allowance.

6 months teaching English in China

If you want to teach English in China the Buckland international education group (a recruiter) apparently offers 6 month contracts in public schools in China. 

Short term positions for teaching English in Japan

If you want to teach in Japan Westgate company has a university student teaching program that has contracts for 3-5 months.

Sites where you can find jobs teaching in East Asia

You can look on the local sites:


More on teaching in Taiwan.


More on teaching in Japan.


More on teaching in China.


More on teaching in South Korea.

You can also search for: "forums in ____ (the city)" where you want to go. These sites are more local and tend to have local job openings. Like if you are going to Shanghai you can search for expat sites there. 

No one is going to pay for your airfare if it's just for a couple months. Getting a teacher for a school is work, an expense and they typically prefer teachers who are going to stick around.