The Expat Chat: Lifestyle Travels and International Living

The Expat Chat is a weekday podcast where we interview inspiring expats who have thrown off the constraints of western congestion to enjoy their dream lifestyle in other parts of the world...often for a fraction of their cost of living back home. If you want the travels of Rick Stearn with the freedom of Tim Ferriss this podcast is for you.Subscribe today.
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The Expat Chat: Lifestyle Travels and International Living




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Nov 23, 2015

If you’re looking to travel than teaching English can be a great way to fund your lifestyle as Jack Askew  showed in an earlier interview. Jo Bruce headed to Korea from New Zealand 10 years ago armed only with a child care degree which was enough to give her a foot in the door of the English teaching game. Once there she was able to upskill sufficiently to relocate to Malaysia where the criteria for accepting English teachers was much stricter.

Jo is embarking on a new adventure, walking the Te Araroa walk from Cape Reinga to Bluff, the full length of New Zealand which will take her around 5 months and cover 3000kms. She then plans to walk even further traversing the Pacific Crest trail from the Mexican border to Washington State made famous by Reece Witherspoon in the movie “Wild”.

If you’re interested in embarking on a career teaching English overseas, or are an avid hiker looking for inspiration then you’ll enjoy listening to Jo.


What I learned from Jo’s interview:

  1. Korea can be a great entry point for teaching English. As long as you have a degree and fit the mold of European looks (sadly slim and attractive seems to be a helping factor) then you could find Korea is a great backdoor entry into this market as Dain and KJ Leathem also found
  2. Malaysia has a stricter criteria for teaching English however Jo’s time in Korea gave her the chance to upskill with a Celta course and turned her degree into a Masters while living there. She was then able to move to Malaysia with sufficient skills to start teaching other teachers in how to teach English
  3. Ipoh is a very affordable city situated just two hours from Kuala Lumpur and the same distance from Penang. Jo was able to live there in a 3 bedroom apartment with gated complex and swimming pool from as little as $US350 per month. All up living costs including food (she ate out a lot) massages, facials and other perks came to under $US1000 per month, not bad in anyone’ s language.
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