The Working Expat

by | Feb 17, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

Many expats are retirees living on Social Security, pensions, or investment income. Some expats are living off their savings. Others, like me, must continue to work in order to pay the bills.

It is possible to live in paradise and earn a living. Here are a few ideas to keep income flowing:

Teach English as a Second Language (ESL)

You don’t need to be a licensed teacher or have a certification in many cases. Becoming a teacher in a foreign country can even enable you to get a visa. Opportunities to teach online or in a classroom are available all over the world.

Teach online

There are several online teaching platforms used in China that regularly hire native English speakers without licenses or certifications. 51Talk and VIPKID are two that are popular. Classes are taught one-on-one via video chat, in short, 25-minute sessions. Lesson plans are provided by the companies. The per-session pay is around $15 to $22 per hour. The only drawback is you may be working the graveyard shift, depending on where you are living.

Teach in the classroom

Your classroom awaits
Your classroom awaits

Most classroom teachers are required to have a license, teaching experience, or certification.

There are many ESL training schools for teachers of English as a foreign language (TEFL or TOEFL for short) as well as the CELTA certification developed by Cambridge University.

You have the option of attending a training program in your new home country or, if you already have teaching experience, taking the course online.

There are dozens of companies that provide certification courses all over the world.

Online work

Some expats are lucky enough to have a job that allows remote work. Others have to hustle to find work online or learn a new skill. Jobs like website development, writing, programming, marketing, consulting, and virtual assisting can be found easily.

Freelance websites like,, and connect employers with freelancers for short-term or long-term assignments. is a job search website that compiles hundreds of job advertisements that include remote, part-time and full-time opportunities.

Open a small business

Why not follow your dream of owning your own business in your new country? Many expats have small businesses like cafes, restaurants, stores, and hotels.

They provide personal services such as massage, physical training, and hairstyling. They also teach dance, yoga, languages, painting, music, etc. Capitalize on your skills and share them with others while earning cash.

It’s best to consult with a local lawyer or business association to make sure you are in compliance with laws and codes.

Working and earning a living as an expat gives one a sense of purpose as well as income. There are many opportunities to develop new skills, use prior experiences and knowledge, and create new businesses.

Found a way to earn money abroad? Let us know how you have found a way to pay the bills. 

by: Rachel DeSalvo