Overseas and Over-50: Ask a Question, Share Experiences, Advice and Support

over-50-2512686International Educators aging on the circuit report it’s becoming increasingly difficult to land positions. Age-related visa limits, health insurance restrictions, schools that hire less experienced teachers to cut costs and a variety of other unforseen obstacles are factors affecting aging international educators.  Here’s the place to  share experiences, advice, support and ask questions on being Overseas and Over-50.  Also see our Visa/Age/Country Chart.

579 Responses to Overseas and Over-50: Ask a Question, Share Experiences, Advice and Support

  1. JB. Please be careful spending money on TEFL courses. There is a post on Linkedin offering work if you do the course for a month at the persons school who is offering the position. Reputable English organisations and the British Counncil will not take any of these qualifications. Yes thousands of people are travelling around China and other places all armed with questionable certificates that they obtained from the Internet or other places. If you are prepared to live cheap, backpack if you are young, be paid unqualified wages and some would say have lots of fun then go ahead. if you are a professional and want to truly teach Engllsh in reputable organisations then you will do yours in a Cambridge approved country and the course and attend practicum and be assessed teaching,

  2. JB says:

    Well, I must say I am more than disappointed. I was all excited to start my TEFL career in 4 years at age 53, but after reading all the negative experiences with ageism – along with the fact I’m not college degree’d – I believe a different course of action is needed. Too bad, too, because everyone I know personally and professionally – educators included – all, to the person, say I would make a wonderful teacher.

    Of the two countries that allegedly accept non-degree’d but TEFL-certified teachers, Thailand seems out because of ageism, and information on China couldn’t be more contradictory. Central/South America is out because the pay is too low and I won’t yet collect social security. No interest whatsoever in Europe. I’m open to new things, but find myself asking if it’s really worth the trouble of taking a TEFL course all in vain. Of course, TEFL tells me I’ll have no problem at all finding employment, but they have their own interests, of course, and can’t logically be counted on as objective. But do I really want to be in a foreign land bleeding money for who-knows-how-long looking for phantom work? My sales background has ingrained persistence in me, but I’m also smart enough to know a losing battle when I see one.

    Anyone care to change my thinking on this?

    Respectfully (and ruefully),
    JB

    • Brenda says:

      JB-You don’t need to go to a TEFL school. The teachers in my school in America took all of their courses, just three, on line, through a university. I took my three courses at the university, and now, I understand you can take a state certified test. Unfortunately, the stories you are hearing about ageism are all true. I taught in Austria when I was in my early 40′s. For the past couple of years (I’m 63 now) I tried to get on with schools abroad and was only offered two jobs. Both were from schools in China that had horrible reviews. I spent a small fortune on hiring fairs with no success. I found the job in Austria on my own, but I was younger then. I just retired in America from teaching, so I have my teacher retirement and social security. I just spent a few months in South America and LOVED it. I met a lot of American teachers there and I may go back to teach part time. You are right..the pay there is terrible, but it hardly costs anything to live there. There are masses of private English schools who will hire you with only an American college degree of some sort and the ability to speak native English. If you could work in America just until retirement and social security benefits kick in, you could live like a queen in South America and only teach part time if you choose to for extra spending money and to mesh with the community. I’m planning on moving there shortly.

      • Elsie Dannhauser says:

        Brenda, which South American countries are you referring to?

        • Brenda says:

          Cuenca, Ecuador. Also, Bariloche, Argentina. Google Teaching English in Bariloche. It’s like a little Switzerland. Good Luck.

      • Cecelia says:

        Seems like you have a wonderful life. I am seriously thinking of teaching overseas. I am a career changer from sales to teaching. I have a BA and wonder if I need the CELTA. I am over 55. So, I want to get going now, as I feel the time crunch, even though I look and act younger than that age. I am dreaming of getting out
        and experiencing the world outside the the US.
        Would you think someone has to have the CELTA to get a job?

  3. John H. McCann says:

    You ahould change the name of the blog then, because it states; “Ask a question, share experiences,advice and support” which implies individual experiences that will help a lot of people, I dropped out of this path, and have other ways around this: work within an established NGO or church. I have had success, and I am 66.

  4. Catherine says:

    Where are the editors you ask?? Well I can tell you they are working very hard to help new graduates or Teachers going overseas for the first time. I have been contributing for some years and YES there is the odd post that is a off the mark but the vast majority are nothing but the truth. If you had a positive experience then good for you but it is what most of these schools do not tell you that is the problem. Even when you ask them when you are trying to make the correct decision you get no answers or very vague ones. So many people are out of work and they decide to take the position because they want to work and they want to believe that their new employer is honest. So to use your fancy word that infers that this comment should not be published is way out of place. Keep up the great posts all Teachers who have experiences that they want published.

  5. Deborah Rowson says:

    I wish to work in education in the UAE. Please someone tell me where to apply and I am 61.

    • robsg says:

      I have been in international schools teaching since 1970 (44 years). I just semi-retired in Washington state at the age of 67. Last year I finished up at a very good school in Singapore.

      I could still go a few more years, but the grind of having 110+ lab reports, quizzes, tests, or home works to grade can be a bit grueling, boring, tedious, and not fulfilling. The actual teaching is great.

      I have joined international supply teachers. They hire teachers like myself to teach in schools overseas as relief teachers a few months to a year. That is something you might also consider.

      Rob

      • Gym White says:

        Good Morning Rob. I am 63 years young and on my fourth year teaching in Korea. Would you please share with me how I find more information about being an international supply teacher? I would love to hear some of your experiences as a supply teacher.

      • nans says:

        At what point (age) in your career did you feel the supply teacher gig was the way to go?

        • robsg says:

          I decided that 65 years of age was the time to be a supply teacher. BUT… if a teaching position came open in the sciences in Central america or Mexico, I’d want to experience that. It’s the one part of the world I’ve yet to teach.

          Rob

  6. Catherine Blackmore says:

    Dear Rod,

    Thank you very much for your warm response. I am still working overseas and if you want to know specific questions then perhaps you could email me. catherineblackmore2@gmail.com I am willing to try and help if you would like some information. Catherine

  7. Jan McKeogh says:

    Jobs overseas are available, you just need to be vigilant, professional, energetic and willing to cross your comfort zone. Once you get established, a good teaching record and rapport with your students and colleagues, will bring you even more opportunities.
    I am just taking a break from my overseas posts and am 66.

    • Jan McKeogh says:

      Sorry, I forgot to mention that certain parts of China offer some of theist rewarding teaching opportunities and life experience one could ever wish for. Age for getting an
      FCE ( Foreign Expert Certificates) are not granted beyond 65 though. That is for Primary or Secondary teachers. There is a little more leeway with Tertiary. A good tip would be to start a few years before turning 65 and if you are good, your Chinese hosts will make it possible for you to stay.

      • John McCann says:

        This is such a waste of talent. People at 60 are often at the top of their game. Most all corporate CEOS are in their 50s, 60s and some in their 70s! I am 66, am an art historian, cultural preservationist, and museum specialist, so the Chinese are very interest in the body of knowledge I posess, so I am sidestepping all of this stuff. I am sponsored by a corporation and will probably go there to teach, and am developing a syllabus for a course in American-style philanthropy. My grandfather was a missionary in China and my father grew up there, I am concerned about the air quality. I hear that the Olympic buildings are already starting to crumble. And why someone would want to go to the Emirates or Saudi Arabia, is beyond me,

        • Jan McKeogh says:

          Absolutely John, I totally agree with you and wish you all the best if you get to the Middle Kingdom. We had two wonderful years there and will return soon if possible.

          • Marian Blair says:

            Hi I’m in Kuala Lumpur training Malaysian teachers to teach English for the British Council, I was 59 in September! ( :

            Apparently the cut off point in Malaysia is 60 but apparently our contracts are being extended for another year …so watch this space!

        • Deborah Rowson says:

          I agree with you wholeheartedly, because I just got my doctorate degree and have been in the educational arena for many years. I am 61 and feel better now than at any other stage in my life . I wish to work in a leadership position in The UAE. Please give me advice, because I am clueless . (Thank you)

  8. Catherine Blackmore says:

    The information is coming from Teachers who have had all these experiences described. Believe me these factors have caught Teachers who would like to teach in the Middle East and other places. Many of these Teachers are highly qualified and have years of experience teaching in diverse places and classes but age is the factor that has put them on the unemployment lists.

  9. Round trip says:

    Oh,yes, 53 may as well be 23. Don’t drag your heels though because once you hit 60, you might as well be 80. I agree that Search Associates is the best.

    • Elsie Dannhauser says:

      What is ‘Search Associates’? How does one register? I registered with Teach Away and was informed that we might not register anywhere else?

      • carminaburana says:

        Actually I found Search Associates very unhelpful,,,,,I met one of the associates in Spain to discuss a Reception Post and he more or less told me I had no chance (I am 60) and not to bother!

  10. Brenda says:

    Singapore does not have an age restriction and their schools are very forward thinking. Pay is decent, too.

    • Sue says:

      My understanding is that the law changed about two years ago and that one cannot get a work visa if you are over 50. If this is not the case please send me a way to verify that it might still be possible for me to get a job in Singapore. Thank you.

      • Catherine Blackmore says:

        At the beginning of this post there is an excellent link to all of that information. China will not and the best schools in Singapore are quite fussy. If you have excellent experience and a CV and are under 60 then Singapore would be interested as several by of my colleagues work there. One found his job as a Music Teacher through Search associates and others by applying to the schools.

  11. Brenda says:

    I have blonde hair, blue eyes Nd fair skin, but I couldn’t get hired there either. I’m glad it worked out that way now.

  12. JILL B says:

    Sorry meant who fight for a position??

  13. Lyn says:

    Has anyone taught in Turkey at age 65?

    I have a doctorate and was interviewed today by a director of ESLI to teach English at Uskubar University in Istanbul.
    Does anyone know much about ESLI? Or prejudice against older Ph.Ds in Istanbul? I think the Director wants to hire me but said his higher-ups like young, blonde, “very American-looking” candidates. If I do get an offer, I would feel terrible if I am the grandmother over there contrasted with younger teachers in their thirties!

    Also, I have never taught abroad and am wary somewhat of adjusting there at this age, as I own my own home and would have to rent it out.

    Lyn

    • Kim says:

      Lyn,
      Count your blessings that at least he was honest with you! But, offer to help like crazy with all the special skills you have. Probly none of the cute younguns with BAs can start creative writing magazines, put on a play, revamp entire curricula, write EFL/ESP courses, do trainings, etc.

      That said, you gotta be “up” on technolgy and dress and act as lively as you can muster. I’m 61…learned by chance that being seated while students wrote was deemed “lazy”–by them! geesh!

      I also keep hair more blonde than gray/white and try to dress fashionably. Is it fair to be judged for this? No, but I want to keep the job! There are many good things about grandmothering. Younger ones might be afraid or jealous until you just encourage them and help them…
      Good luck. It will be an adventure for sure!
      Mimi in Saudi

    • Brenda says:

      Mimi, try out South America. It’s a wonderful lifestyle and the private schools don’t care how old you are.

      • JILL B says:

        Mimi in Saudi
        Did they disclose to you if they can get you a visa because this is sometimes the stumbling block in countries and oftentimes it is promised but then after weeks of communicating one is advised it is not possible. So check this out as a first consideration and then if this is OK go ahead. There are thousands of us who write regularly on this site who are healthy, active and excellent educators for fight for a position because of age. Good Luck
        Catherine

    • Been There.... says:

      Ah, that explains why I could never get a job in Turkey. I thought it was my age or qualifications, but as soon as I sent them a photo, I never heard back. I have dark hair and olive skin. Come to think of it, a colleague in another school had worked in Turkey and aside from being younger, he was tall and blonde but had the same qualifications. Lucky you are blonde!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I spent a week giving ADEC all of the required information, copies of my passport, family information, everything, then never heard from them. When I finally contacted them, they said I was too old. They told me the age cut off was 59!!! Why didn’t they tell me that to begin with. They had my resume and could clearly see when I graduated from college. Now I worry that I have given out all of that information. South America is a MUCH better place to teach and live. Check it out. You won’t make the money that you can sometimes make in the Middle East, but you will live on 1/3 of what it costs to live in America or Europe, the people are warm and friendly, and your quality of life will be 100 times better than it would be in the Middle East. This is just my opinion.

    • Linda says:

      Any suggestions for which country in South America would be best place to teach. I’m 70!! But extremely active, former college professor and business owner looking for another chapter in life. I really do not want to apply for a zillion jobs all over the world. I plan to visit San Miguel, Mexico in another month, but would prefer South America. Would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ecuador is a wonderful place to live, and also Argentina and Peru. Don’t let the salaries turn you off. Also, remember that there are private English language schools like CEDEI you could apply to.

        • Michelle says:

          I am so glad I finally found an informative site for older teachers. I am in desperate need of advice. I will retire next year and then hope to teach English, preferably in Ecuador. I anticipate certification in Oxford TESOL in September. Will this certification along with my Bachelor’s. be enough to secure a teaching position. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

          • Been There.... says:

            Please do not get TESOL certification from Oxford. They are one of the many quickie firms that offer this certificate, and one of the certificates that are sometimes not accepted. If you can, please try to get a proper CELTA certificate. When I began teaching, it was not offered in the US. It is now, through a concern called “Teaching House” in some US cities. I also saw that it was offered in Ecuador. The cost for the program is the same wherever you take it. I will be teaching in Ecuador in September, and have gotten employment with just a bachelors and a TESOL certificate from another terrible quickie school, but if I had the choice I would definitely go for the proper CELTA. It will make your life-and work easier.

            • Linda says:

              Do you have any information about how the Teaching House Celta compares to the International House Celta?

            • Been There.... says:

              No, but it doesn’t matter. A “CELTA” is a CELTA. I just know that the one offered in New York was run by an organization called “Teaching House”, perhaps they changed their name? I’m not sure what city you are in. There may be some variation in how the course is taught, but as it is a standard certificate (Cambridge Equivalency etc.) the material covered should be the same. I would suggest that you do some research and contact the main organization (CELTA) in England and they can give you more details. I think they set the price, as it was almost the same in New York, and Riyadh where the program administrators of the school where I worked were going to offer it. Perhaps, the price is set by the Cambridge people. Also, I saw a group offering it in Ecuador, and the cost for the course was also around 2,000. Hope this helps.

            • Susan says:

              What is a proper CELTA? How does one know the difference?

            • BeenThere says:

              A “proper CELTA” is exactly that. A school like Oxford, e.g. will not (cannot) claim their certificate is a “CELTA”. They offer a TESOL or TEFL certificate. If in doubt, I suggest you contact the Cambridge Equivalency organization (I’ve forgotten the full title) in England. However, most organizations that offer a CELTA can only do so with the approval of the main organization in England. I suggest you google it. Also, a CELTA certificate takes at least 6 weeks full-time, whereas the other quickie certificates can take as little as a week-end online. Definitely not enough time for you to learn anything.

          • Brenda says:

            Michelle, I just returned from Cuenca, Ecuador and had the opportunity to meet several English teachers there. They all taught for CEDEI and loved their jobs. I am a retired English teacher in America, and traveled to Cuenca to see if I wanted to move there. I am ESOL endorsed in America. The ESOL endorsement only requires three courses (which can be taken mostly on line). through most universities. The ESOL endorsement can be used for the TESOL or CELTA.

            The pay at schools such as CEDEI is very low, but in Ecuador you can live well on it. I loved Cuenca. By the way, I met teachers who were in their late 60′s and early 70′s who had no problem finding teaching jobs, but some were tutoring on their own. One friend is making $15.00 an hour tutoring a young girl. She tutors her two hours a day, three days a week and the pay is in cash. Jobs like this are ideal if you are already receiving a retirement check from your home country.

            • BeenThere says:

              Nonsense! I am now in Cuenca and regretting it mightily, as it cost me a fortune. You CANNOT live in Cuenca on the salary that CEDEI pays! Then, there is the issue of health insurance. What the school offers is worthless. Not only do they refuse to pay for pre-existing health conditions, which after a certain age is just about everything, but the school offers little assistance and I’ve had to make two trips there. Ultimately, after 4 hours of pleading with them and trips to get more documentation, I wound up getting paid about $50 of an $89 bill. In addition, if you don’t have a pacemaker and knee replacement before you work there, you’ll need one after as there is no elevator and the classrooms are on the third floor of an old colonial building.

              The school also offers little assistance in finding housing, and due to the influx of retirees the rents are close to US prices. Generally, it will cost you almost the same as the US to live here. Also, the vaunted weather is a bust. Think Canada in July, not San Diego. It’s cold and the sun rarely shines…and then there is the pollution.

              Finally, the prep time for classes is extensive. Then there are the “split shifts” which force you to teach a morning class, then hang around or go back home for a few hours before your next class. All this for less than you would make as a grocery clerk in US,UK, etc. I’m leaving and suggest others skip this place.

            • Brenda says:

              Been There- I’m sorry Cuenca didn’t work out for you. Everyone’s situation is different. If you are looking for a school in South America to completely take care of you, you would be better off going to Europe or the Middle East, and that will only probably happen if you are under 50. CEDEI is a good deal if you are already getting your retirement and/or your Social Security from America. It’s true that CEDEI doesn’t pay a lot, buts it’s a nice little supplement to use for spending money. I loved the weather there, but then again, that’s a personal preference. The days were cool and sunny, evenings dropped down to the 50′s and it rained for about 30 minutes or an hour each night. My friends rented very spacious homes from $350-$600.00. Utilities were dirt cheap. Maybe you would like Peru.

            • BeenThere says:

              Yes, I agree CEDEI is strictly for rich retirees and trust fund hippies, or new grads who can call up Mom and Dad for extra money. You will definitely NOT be able to afford an apartment that cost $400-600 on a salary of $200-325/mo. And I would still caution older teachers with health problems about working here, as the stairs in all of CEDEI locations are difficult for anyone but the very young. I was actually getting chest pains and shortness of breath and have to rest every flight-and I’m “only” 63. I got jobs in the Middle East when I was in my late ’50′s and in KSA when I was 60, so I think ruling out anyone over 50 for a job there is not accurate.

            • Brenda says:

              I’m neither a rich retiree, nor a trust fund hippie…just a retired teacher who has worked hard and made sound decisions about preparing for these late years in life. I am not a liar. The situations I relate are situations I have observed personally. If you have health issues, you probably should wait until healthier and happier times before you make a move out of the United States.

          • Brett Douglass says:

            That is plenty for teaching in any area. I am teaching in China, have been here since I was 60 but now they are not renewing my contract because of the new age limit in Hunan which is 62. I have also been turned down at a few other universities in China but I am not ready to give up yet. I have an Oxford TESOL and it has never been an issue. It will not be an issue in south or central america as Oxford has many clients in the countries there including Ecuador. Good luck, if i can’t find a university here that will hire a 63 year old, I’l be joining you in Ecuador or maybe Chile

  15. Jo says:

    Jo asks:
    I have applied for a teaching post with ADEC about 2 months ago, but haven’t heard from them since. Should I contact them and inquire whether they received my application? Can anybody please explain to me what procedures I should follow, if any? Does anybody have their contact information? I registered with Teach Away, but cant find their contact details on their Website.

    • JILL B says:

      Dear Jo,

      I hope this is helpful but ADEC outsource all their positons to Teachaway (they have the contract) and it is TA that you should contact if you want to know what progress your application has made. It can take manyh months at this time of the year because the positon will not start until August. I agree that they should give you an answer and if your experience fits the description on their website then you have a very good chance. You have to remember that the recruiting team possibly send hundreds if not thousands of documents back to be processed to a main office. Teachaway in every country in on their website so take the matter up with the office you contacted in the first place and get an update. I also think a colleague who worked in a very high position with them told me that all applications have to go to ADEC for approval but not sure at what stage of the process so make some inquiries and hope you are successful.

  16. constantly i used to read smaller articles or reviews
    that also clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece
    of writing which I am reading now.

  17. carminaburana says:

    what exactly is your job I gather you are….Polish? Do you have a story to tell ?

  18. Sophie Hamilton says:

    My word! What an eye opener. I would like to take a course on teaching English abroad. Currently, I’m a Brit living in the US ( now a citizen of both countries). However, I will be 70 years old and the future I envisioned looks a trifle dubious. I have no interest in China but really would love to hear any feedback re living conditions, accommodation etc on ANYWHERE that has accepted oldies as I have a mind to continue on with my plan. There are abbreviations used here that I’m not familiar with so clarification would be good. TEFL or Celta ( degree is in Interior Design). So, fellow adventurers, please feel free to mail me. I thank you you in advance and look forward. My contact address is sophiehhamilton@gmail.com

    • robsg says:

      I’mm 66 and been teaching in international schools since 1970. Still a full time teacher in Singapore.

      JimSg

    • Anonymous says:

      Sophie, check out all schools, public and private in South America. They respect older teachers there and the lifestyle is wonderful, especially if you are in a mountainous area that is cool.

      • Been There.... says:

        Glad to see this. I’ve accepted a job in Ecuador and while it seems ideal in many respects, the salary is barely enough to cover expenses. The very nice interviewer even alluded to having other income (which I took to mean Social Security), so yes indeed I don’t think advancing age is going to be a problem. My last job was in KSA and despite the high salary, a horror in every other way. So, I decided if I couldn’t be rich, at least I’d be happy. Besides the money, my only other concern is the visa process (I’m going in on a Cultural exchange visa). The consulate doesn’t answer their phones and I picture having to trudge into Manhattan more than once in the dog days of summer. Anyone out there have any experience getting an Ecuadorian work/culture exchange visa?

        • Brenda says:

          Hi Been There, I was reading some old posts and came across this post by you…I hope you are enjoying Ecuador. Might I ask where you are teaching? I just returned from a three week vacation in Cuenca and thoroughly enjoyed it. I went to see if I wanted to move there now that I have recently retired from teaching in the U.S. I’m 62 now and would not have had problems finding a teaching job in Cuenca. True, the money isn’t great for teachers there, but if one is receiving retirement and Social Security from the States, it’s more than enough for a great lifestyle in Ecuador. Most of the teachers I met there were in their late 60′s, early 70′s and teaching for CEDEI. I’m planning on returning to Cuenca, then Quito next year. Happy teaching.
          Brenda

          • Been There.... says:

            Hi Brenda:

            I will be will be teaching at CEDE in CuencaI. I am happy to see the positive comments about it and Cuenca. Despite needing to put in a few more years of working at a good salary, willing to change my plans for the right spot, and this sounds like it!

            • Brenda says:

              Yes, go for it. There are thousands of Americans living, working, and retired there. Go to the California Kitchen to meet a lot of them. The owners are Californians and cool. They have fabulous American food and entertainment. Where will you be staying? I stayed at the Hostal Macondo and that was sufficient, but don’t take a room in the main old building. The newer rooms in the courtyard are better.Beakfast is included. Tell Jessie at the front desk that Brenda says Hi. I had to come back to Florida to stay with my mother who is 92 and not feeling well.

  19. iTeach says:

    I am 53 years old and have IB experience. I have applied to lots of International schools in Singapore but haven’t heard back from anyone, even the ones that emphasize “IB experience an advantage”. I can’t help but wonder if it’s the age or the race the factor!

    • robsg says:

      Hi. I’m American and have lived in Singapore for 25 years as a teacher, although I’ve left now and then to teach in other international schools in Asia and Middle East.. I’m currently 66 years of age and working full time at an international school in Singapore. I know that most of the schools the age limit is from 62 to 65. I am able to teach here because technically they hired me as part-time, but I work full days.

      Here is my suggestion. Apply to TIE online, and get the latest openings, and some of them have been in Singapore. Go to the school web sites, and apply to schools only if they have openings in your fields.

      BTW, I am hoping to enjoy life a little more next year. If I could just teach without the meetings and grading, I’d teach until I was 90.

      Best of luck, and hope something turns up.

      Regards

      • iTeach says:

        Thanks for your reply. I have been going through TES and through the school websites for the relevant positions. It seems most of the school have HR (who are probably not educators) who are hiring. I can’t seem to go past them :-) Still, I will keep my chin up and hope for the best. Thanks again.

    • boomerexpat says:

      Age is a big issue over in Asia. I’m in China teaching business English and business strategy along with it. Very eye opening. You really start understanding the age discrimination issues when you begin to understand their views on age.

      I had one class of 9 professional, college educated women in their 20′s and 30′s. All wanted to be dead by the time they were 60 because at that age you are simply too much of a wreck for life to be worth living. Yow. Made me wonder if, at age 59, I should just fall on my sword or shuffle on.

      Another business planning workshop comes to mind where adult students came up with the idea of clothing for “old” people who are retired. Their definition of old was 50 or older. They could not see the need to segment their market and saw no difference between people in their 50′s and 80′s. In their words: “they are all old.”

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s horrifying! I was 57 when I was in China and didn’t feel any problems. All I heard were stories of 70 year olds teaching, etc. Things have changed a great deal since then (2007). When you consider how hard the Chinese work (often 6-7 days/week with few holidays), it’s no wonder they are burnt out by the time they are 50! Another reason they may feel they are “simply too much of a wreck for life to be worth living” at age 60, could be their horrendous medical care. I had two encounters with it and consider myself lucky to have survived them. It put me off China regardless of age.

        • boomerexpat says:

          Things have changed. Many provinces don’t even give visas for people, including teacher kind of people, who are over 55 and 60 is usually a no no. If you are of the older persuasion you usually have to go to less desirable places that are not flooded with younger people – the teacher of choice. Nothing is impossible but I’m being realistic.

          I agree with you that Chinese seem to prematurely age – something that is common in developing countries. Most, especially the women, look warn out at 40 something. Too many hours working, not enough fun…maybe pollution, lack of exercise, and quite possibly the dreadful healthcare too.

          That said, healthcare is improving. There are some top notch doctors in China but overall doctors don’t make much money so you will also find doctors:
          A. proscribing the wrong medicine because that is what they get the kickbacks on
          b. insisting on a bribe if you want a “good” operation
          c. performing the wrong operation because that pays money.
          I know people who have had one or more the above experiences.

          There is also an appalling low level of hygiene in medical care. Chinese in general don’t believe in washing their hands with soap because they believe it leaves a harmful residue that is worse than the benefits (I’ve almost never seen a Chinese wash with soap and have been told about their belief in soaps harmful effects by Chinese and expats who have married locals).

          Even in the dental hospital where I got my teeth worked on (great job by the way) there was no soap in the washroom. While doctors wore gloves those same gloves and the instruments were handled by nurses who don’t wash their hands with soap. When you think about the super bacteria that is resistant to current antibiotics, it becomes very scary.

          Things are changing quickly in China for the better and worse. But it is hard for Chinese to change their beliefs because they tend to believe there is the Chinese way and the wrong way to do things. Their educational system is built on students regurgitating what teachers tell them and abusing students if they get anything “wrong” and that sure doesn’t help them think in new ways.

          • Anonymous says:

            Fascinating. Thanks for the info. Yes I was told they don’t use soap to wash their hands, but not why. When I had minor surgery, they made us void (empty our bladders) first, but there was of course no soap to wash our hands with afterwards and we went into surgery like that. Most likely the surgeon didn’t wash his hands either, nor did he have any idea of how to close a wound properly,not to mention that he took out the wrong thing and the whole surgery was unneccessary.

            Surprised your dental work turned out well. I wound up loosing a tooth after foolishly agreeing to a most likely unnecessary root canal in a filthy dental office. Two countries and seven dentists later I gave up and had what was left of it pulled. The original cost of the root canal? $12. The cost of an implant? $3,000!

            I wouldn’t worry about superbugs as they develop as a result of overuse of super antibiotics (Vancomycin, Methycilln) and I had an impossible time finding even basic penicillin in Luoyang, Henan province after my root canal became infected (surprise, surprise).

            Again, thanks for sharing.

            • boomerexpat says:

              Good news though. You can come on back to China! Now they have antibiotics!

              Last year the government announced that 10% of all the cooking oil sold was made with a combination of real oil and sewage runoff. People were arrested.

              This year the Chinese government has announced that (I’m not making this up) innovative entrepreneurs are making antibiotics with that same sewage runoff!

              Glass half full: antibiotics are available

              Glass half empty: well, before taking said antibiotics it might be best to find what drug is good for treating you from the effect of putting sewage runoff in your body.

      • Sunny says:

        Hi, this may be too late for an answer since it is Nov. 2013, you may have left China but if not let me know. What part of China are you teaching in. I am about an hour from Shanghai. I would like to touch base with expats in this area. If you have any info please let me know. So far my experience has been positive here.

        • boomerexpat says:

          Hi Sunny, I was in Wuxi. I’m now in Mexico. Glad to read your experience has been positive. I’m glad I spent the year in China. China was fascinating and living and working there was quite the learning experience. However, I’m also glad to be out of there. During the time I was in China, I saw real blue sky (as opposed to grayish blue) only twice for brief glimpses only. I’m happy to be acquainted with the color blue again when it is above me.

    • teacherofacertainage says:

      I would suggset registering with Search Associates and wait for vacancies to arise at the last minute. Schools are far less particular as the end of the year approaches. They will contact you if you fit their needs. 53 is still young!!! I have been hired internationally 3 times since that age by good schools.Now 63 and working full time.

  20. AnnieL says:

    Hi, everyone. Though the children there can be very undisciplined and the school ambiance colourfully chaotic, try the Erasmus Schools in both Offenbach and Frankfurt Germany. They have hired teachers 60 years old and up.

  21. Brenda says:

    There are several positions in Kazakhstan and age doesn’t seem to be a problem. Go to the SeriousTeachers site.

  22. Brenda says:

    I live in Thomasville, Georgia. I’d love to talk with your friend to see how she is getting these positions. I have no dependents, so it would be easy to pick up and leave. Good luck to you.
    Brenda

  23. Brenda says:

    I would go with choice 1. In this economy, I don’t think it would be wise to give up a paying job unless you have another teaching position lined up. I’m 62 with great credentials and references and I can’t even get any feedback from my letters of interest that I send out. I can retire in America in two months and wanted to move overseas again to teach. Have you checked to see if other administrators are over 60? I was interested in getting my administrator’s certificate, too, but what would the point be if I couldn’t get hired after 60?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Brenda,
      Thanks for your reply. Where are you living right now? I have a friend who is 67 and who continues to get teaching jobs overseas. She has a TESOL degree and teaches elementary. I will take your suggestions.

  24. tazzamirTucky says:

    Hi all over 50s,

    I am a 57 year old American woman currently teaching foreign language at an International School in Chennai, India. I am thinking about 3 options:

    1.) Staying here one more year. to save money and to be in one place for 3 years. Going into Admin by taking summer courses at PTC. I’d get the certificate at age 59, then try to get into a school, as an ass’t principal anywhere before I am 60.

    2.) Leaving at the end of the year and still trying for the above.
    3.) Focussing on getting TESOL and teaching ESL and or teacher training in Mexico and S. America.

  25. Brenda says:

    I’m so aware of this. I can retire in America now and wanted to go back overseas, but can’t even get a response from anyone. It’s disheartening.

    • Dr. J.P. Singh says:

      This fact is the biggest problem of today’s old energetic and full of experienced person.The longivity of life has increased all over the world but the old age concept of denial of the work opportunity to old people still persists. Present generation should think about it as they also gray their hair over a period of time.

  26. Brenda says:

    To all who have tried in vain to get a job via Internet, maybe it’s time for Plan B. When I got my job in Austria, I didn’t use the Internet. Principals get so many applications that way that they just quit opening their mail if it seems to come from a candidate. I knew I wanted to work in a German speaking country, so I made 12 packages with my photo, resume, past recommendations, and my educational philosophy and sent them to my targeted schools in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The Headmaster of a school in Austria called and hired me on the spot. It was a great year. I was in my 40′s then, but there were teachers in my school there who were in their 60′s. You might also take a vacation and go knock on a few doors. That has worked for a lot of people. Don’t give up.

    • Expat from MN says:

      Times are very different now. Just in recent 3-5 years age limits have hit the international teacher market.

      • Been There.... says:

        Yes, as I posted recently, I see that KSA ( a place of last resort) is now asking for teachers under 55 which they never did before. Finally saw an ad for Turkey, which I have been wanting to teach in for a long time that did not require a degree in education per se, but they clearly state that 60 is their age limit and I am now 62! Am looking in S. America where the salaries are low, but they seem to be aware that retirees (i.e. people over 60-62 with retirement income) might be their ideal choice as younger people could not afford to work there.

        • carminaburana says:

          Is this a new age limit in KSA? I am 60 and have just had my contract renewed here in KSA

          • Been There.... says:

            I was wondering that myself when I saw that. It probably is the preference of the employer. If your contract has been renewed I wouldn’t worry about it. As far as I know, the labor law read that the official retirement was 60, unless with the consent of both parties, the person wanted to work longer. KSA used to publish a very lengthy explanation of their labor laws on Dave’s ESL Cafe. I quoted it as an example of increasing prejudice against older workers. On the other hand, I do know that Oman (a much more pleasant place to work) does have a strictly enforced age limit of 60.

    • Been There.... says:

      It sounds like a plan, but how did you find your target schools?

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