By Josh Butterworth. Josh is Impact Teaching’s Thailand Program Coordinator, and he lives in Thailand.


I feel like I’ve really gotten to know our new teachers in the past few weeks. First, I watched through all of the short introduction videos they made to send to schools, then we had our latest teacher training presentation on Zoom. Although it kicked off at midnight for me over in Thailand, it was fantastic to meet everyone for the first time and there was a great turn out.

It’s Josh, by the way, the Thailand Coordinator for Impact Teaching. Arnold, our Director, does all of the interviews and most of the communication with candidates predeparture. So, watching the videos and meeting people at the presentation was a great way for me to understand them a bit more, and I couldn’t help noticing a few common themes.

Using my experience as a teacher, the time I have been working for Impact and the impression I got from our amazing 2024 candidates – I have come up with the four main types of people who choose teach abroad, and why. Maybe you fall into one, several or all of these categories. Read on to discover what they are!


English teacher in Thailand smiling next to an elephant…these are usually recent graduates who crave a new challenge and a big change after slogging it out at university. Traditionally, this demographic represented the majority of our candidates, but we’ve seen a much wider variety of people in recent years. Adventurers usually have no direct teaching experience but have often spent time working with children in a more casual setting, such as an afterschool club or babysitting. They bring energy and enthusiasm in abundance and are excited for something completely new. Teaching may not be their long term plan, and that’s absolutely ok, it is simply a tool to assist them in their latest and most thrilling adventure yet. Whether they love it or not, the experience of working and living abroad can be ticked off their list, and they have the opportunity of time to decide what’s next in life without the pressure of being in their home country. To all our adventurers this year, we salute you and cannot wait to follow your journey.


True Teachers

English teacher in Suzhou China, raising her hand in front of the whiteboard …as different from the adventurers, true teachers can claim to be very experienced in the classroom. Their motivation to teach abroad is usually more than 50% to do with making a real impact on students’ lives, as well as developing themselves as teachers. Often, they are slightly older, anything from 28 to over 50. But their passion and charisma is clear for all to see. Many of these teachers come from outside of the UK, but definitely not all of them. Their students are incredibly lucky to have them, and so are we. But despite the teaching side of things being the most significant driving force in their move, it is by no means the only one, they are just as thrilled and excited for a new adventure. True teachers bring so much experience to the table and we love to get their feedback, they have perspective on what it is like to work in a variety of schools, so their opinions are incredibly valuable to us.


Cultural Connoisseurs

English teacher sharing her meal with colleagues in China, and smiling …age and experience do not define cultural connoisseurs, they are driven by a desire to throw themselves into a place that excites them more than their home country ever has. Sometimes, they are fresh graduates who have spent their studies learning about another country and are now ready to experience it for real. But they could also be older, maybe they fell in love with the country on a trip or have always been fascinated by it. Whether it’s the cuisine, politics, history or anything else that interests them the most, cultural connoisseurs can all be identified by their passion. They are the most likely group to learn the local language, try all of the local dishes and spend the majority of their time with natives. And teaching the youth of a country offers the best opportunity to see how its people develop their ideas and outlook on the life, cultural connoisseurs use this to create strong bonds with their students, which only leads to success and satisfaction for all.


Fresh Starters

English teacher in Shenzhen China, taking part in Model United Nations and smiling …their motivation for teaching abroad can be varied, but what unites them is a desire for change and a new start. Their home country may not be offering everything they want in life, their job might be unsatisfying or they may simply want to test themselves in another place and different career. Often with more life and work experience than adventurers and cultural connoisseurs, fresh starters are the most likely group to settle and stay long term in their new country. While true teachers might be completely focused on helping their students succeed, fresh starters seek overall success in their job, but the end result is the same. Hard work, focus and a drive to improve can all be found in fresh starters, this results in excellent teachers and citizens that make their new country into a home quicker than other groups. We’re always thrilled to assist people like this embark on the next chapter in their lives, and watch on as they flourish.

To be completely honest, most of our teachers are a combination of all these categories, but some are clearly more prominent than others. They are all wonderful in their own ways and we feel honoured to get to know them, to turn their dreams into a reality, whatever the motivations.

Which one are you? Or which one resonates the most?

Whatever your reasons for teaching abroad, we can make it happen!

We have programs in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Poland and Hungary. Something for everyone!

Click here to check out all of the destinations we offer.

Or click here to sign up and get your teach abroad journey on the road today!