Teachers have a wide and varied range of motivations for teaching abroad.



Opportunity for professional development 37%
Desire to see the world 26%
Better pay 26%
Looking for a life change 16%
Need to support family 12%
Other 8%
Lack of employment options in my home country 7%
Instability (political upheaval, natural disaster) in my home country 7%
Note: Percentages sum to more than 100 because respondents could give equal weight to several factors.


Additional contemporary push and pull factors influence teachers’ decision to work abroad:

  • To pursue a better life.  Teachers saw job opportunities abroad as a way to access special health care services, religious freedom, the right for same sex partners to marry and greater independence for women.
  • Host countries offered opportunities for their children.  Migrant teachers noted quality education, cultural exposure and language immersion for their children as motivating factors.
  • To reunite with or follow family who had migrated abroad.  Uniquely among top sending countries, 26% (n=178) of Indian teachers reported that they migrated to accompany a spouse.
  • The opportunity to improve language skills or pursue an advanced degree attracted teachers to posts abroad.
  • Teachers noted that frustrations with the educational system in their home countries drove them to teach abroad.  Specific factors cited included standardized testing, misdirected policies, and disrespect for teachers.