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does any one have any insight into the availability of jobs for US citizens abroad as teachers?

my big dream is to do a PhD in the states and then work abroad as a professor. Is this a naive idea or something that could be a reality?

any thoughts would be much appreciated!

Edited by edie
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  • 5 months later...

I think the fact that you posted this and it has over 700 views with no responses except from a spammer is telling of how many people would consider/choose this route, or of how little knowledge people know about this. It is most certainly not a naive idea. I also have the same dream and I think we are very lucky because a Ph.D. from the U.S. is highly valued throughout the world, even more so if it is from a well-known university or institute.

Things work differently in many different countries, but for the most part you need to make sure you have a strong publication record and a solid post-doctoral fellowship. Making contacts in the country in which you'd like to work would be ideal, especially if they are at a university you'd like to be a part of. I would recommend for you to do your post-doctoral work in this foreign country so you can test the waters. Take a look at a Marie Curie Fellowship... they are difficult to get but very prestigious and lucrative.

Realize that landing a professorship is difficult anywhere, especially in certain countries in Europe where the financial situation is destroying jobs. Also, having a grasp of the native language will be important. After speaking to your mentor and other advisers you know, I'd also use the typical search engines/job sites because there are a lot of postings for jobs abroad as professors.

Know what you are getting into though... I've done scientific research in several countries outside of the U.S.; nothing compares to the caliber of research the U.S. possesses (excluding Germany/UK/ETH/Japan). The quality of life is much better though outside the U.S. I've learned. A 40-hour work week is normal. People work to live; they don't live to work.

Good luck!

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  • 1 month later...

I think that the availability of positions really depends on the country and the field. I hope to do this too, as I received my bachelors degree in Canada and am now going to the States for doctoral studies. From what I have seen in Canada it is very much a reality there, as many of the professors in my field of art history hold either an American or British doctorate. Many Americans teach in Canada, and many Canadians come to work in the States. In, Europe, I really don't know. The only suggestions I can offer is try to forge connections in the countries you are interested (looking at a postdoc there down the road might be a good way to get in the door). If you are looking to teach in a language other than English than you need to have a credential of some kind certifying your language abilities (far beyond your language requirement test!). I hope to work in French at least partly so in about four years I will take the D.A.L.F. C2 exams which are required to show you have a university-level understanding of French and which are regulated by the French government. Keep the dream alive!

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One thing to keep in mind is any student loan debt you may have left over. If you move to a country with a strong currency, like the euro or pound, you would have no problem paying on your loans, or possibly even an easier time. If you move to a country with a weak currency and/or a low cost of living, like non-euro Eastern Europe or much of Asia, then it may be difficult to make payments on loans denominated in USD.

That said though, I lived in Prague for two years and the place is loaded with foreign professors, particularly from the US and UK, so it's definitely doable.

Edited by jeffster
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  • 4 years later...

I am also interested in teaching abroad in Europe, in particular.  In my case, I have a Romanian background, but found out that I must be able to teach university level classes in both English and Romanian.  (While my speaking skills are solid, I have no formal written training.)  Given how few schools even offer Romanian language courses, this is particularly difficult.  It's unfortunate, as conversationally I would get along quite well and have family there.   I wonder if other European countries are the same way- requiring you to teach English and the native language at the university level...? 

 However, I do speak Spanish with an advanced degree of fluency, and am licensed to teach Spanish in my home state.  I would venture a guess that I have a better shot at passing a written and oral Spanish exam with opportunities in Latin and Central America a possibility.  (I do recall reading somewhere, possibly on GradCafe, about someone using a U.S. PHD to teach in Latin and/or Central America...)

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