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There has been something on my mind for a while, and I realized this would be a good place to share it. It is a personal question, but probably is of interest to people other than just myself.

I am an English as a Second Language teacher. This means that most of my employment opportunities come from outside the United States, and indeed, outside of the anglosphere. There are jobs teaching English to immigrants in the United States, but it is a different and smaller market than international English. So setting aside the idea of domestic employment for a minute, lets look at teaching English internationally.

What type of countries need English speakers? Countries where people don't speak English already. And what type of countries don't speak English? Countries that are going to be culturally different, and logistically complicated. I know this is quite a newsflash: countries that don't speak English don't speak English. Someone might be thinking: "But aren't there plenty of countries where people don't speak English, but which are pretty culturally comfortable?". Again, a valid point, because there are English teachers needed everywhere. But, on the whole, Norway doesn't have a heavy demand for English teachers. Most of Northern and Western Europe speak English somewhere between better than perfect and France. Also, even with Brexit, there are a lot of qualified native English teachers who are European Union Citizens. If you are looking for English teachers in Prague, someone in Dublin (or perhaps Amsterdam) can be over in a day with no need for immigration paperwork.

There are also some parts of the world that might want English teachers, but don't have the infrastructure or money to hire teachers. Almost all of Africa. Much of Latin America. A big part of Asia. Oceania. Some parts of Eastern Europe. Jobs in these areas do come up, but they are often volunteer positions, or with a small stipend, or at the very least require a large part of the expenses to be paid by the teacher. And of course, they are minuscule in number compared to the big players in the ESL world.

The place with the biggest demand for ESL teachers are in the recently developed world. East Asia is gigantic. If I put up any type of resumé on an ESL site, I will get two dozen job offers from Chinese schools, in about six hours. Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and now Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia) are also well-represented. The Middle East, at least the wealthier states like Saudi Arabia, are rapidly emerging markets. Certain parts of Latin America and Eastern Europe get a smaller share of teachers, but still have regular demand.

To put it bluntly, many of the countries that are hiring English teachers are places I have qualms about living in. I am not ashamed to say, that while I am willing to adjust for cultural differences, I appreciate having personal liberty, and don't think I could live (right now) in China, Russia or Saudi Arabia. There are also countries where I have to worry about crime. And health and safety. Some things are deal breakers, other things are not. In some cases, I will take risks and make allowances, in others I will not. Chile, despite its current unrest, was actually ideal, because despite being rough around the edges, it was still a place I could be sure the tap water was safe to drink and not worry about going to jail because I was at a party where people were using cannabis. In general, despite some cultural differences, the general attitude to many things, such as sexuality and gender, substance use, or just something like how closely to follow traffic laws, were all comfortable to me.

So my challenge, going forward as an English teacher, is to find a place that is challenging and interesting: but not too challenging and interesting. Some place different---but not too different. Some place where I can have an adventure, and also have M&Ms and English language books. Perhaps I am being unreasonable, trying to have my cake and eat it too, but as I look at Google Maps, spinning a virtual globe and looking at Mongolia, Poland, Fiji and Cabo Verde, I know the right place is out there for me somewhere.

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