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Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English?

Discuss working and making a living overseas, starting a business, or studying abroad.

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Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English?

Postby USA_luxury_prison » Sun May 01, 2016 9:59 pm

Hi Rock,

I posted a question for Winston on his "Ask Winston" thread but he didn't have a solid answer so I decided to post on here to see if you could help me out.

One of my biggest concerns (or should I say fears?) is being able to find a stable job overseas to support myself. Is a degree important when going abroad to get a job? Most of all can I survive overseas without a degree? And if I can what type of jobs can I get abroad without a degree?

Hopefully you can help me out since Winston said you've worked abroad without having to teach English.
"America is fun"

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Re: New HA Podcast Shows - Announcements Thread

Postby The_Adventurer » Mon May 02, 2016 5:53 am

USA_luxury_prison wrote:Hi Rock,

I posted a question for Winston on his "Ask Winston" thread but he didn't have a solid answer so I decided to post on here to see if you could help me out.

One of my biggest concerns (or should I say fears?) is being able to find a stable job overseas to support myself. Is a degree important when going abroad to get a job? Most of all can I survive overseas without a degree? And if I can what type of jobs can I get abroad without a degree?

Hopefully you can help me out since Winston said you've worked abroad without having to teach English.


A degree is pretty much a requirement to get a work permit in any country worth going to. Without it, you will not likely get any job. Exceptions are few. Many people are living abroad working for themselves, making money on their website, or Kindle or something. If you want to work for an actual company, it's not the company that requires a degree. It's the government. Someone has to be special to get a work permit and take a potential job from a local.

In some places, like Japan or New Zealand, you pretty much have to be the cream of the crop to be allowed more than a short tourism visit.
Last edited by The_Adventurer on Tue May 03, 2016 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New HA Podcast Shows - Announcements Thread

Postby USA_luxury_prison » Tue May 03, 2016 1:14 am

The_Adventurer wrote:A degree is pretty much a requirement to get a work permit in any country worth going to. Without it, you will not likely get any[/n] job. Exceptions are few. Many people are living abroad working for themselves, making money on their website, or Kindle or something. If you want to work for an actual company, it's not the company that requires a degree. It's the [b]government. Someone has to be special to get a work permit and take a potential job from a local.

In some places, like Japan or New Zealand, you pretty much have to be the cream of the crop to be allowed more than a short tourism visit.


Oh ok, that makes sense. So does it matter what degree one has? Can it be a degree in anything and does it have to be an associates degree, bachelors degree or are any of those valid as long as its a degree?
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Re: New HA Podcast Shows - Announcements Thread

Postby The_Adventurer » Tue May 03, 2016 2:59 am

USA_luxury_prison wrote:
The_Adventurer wrote:A degree is pretty much a requirement to get a work permit in any country worth going to. Without it, you will not likely get any job. Exceptions are few. Many people are living abroad working for themselves, making money on their website, or Kindle or something. If you want to work for an actual company, it's not the company that requires a degree. It's the government. Someone has to be special to get a work permit and take a potential job from a local.

In some places, like Japan or New Zealand, you pretty much have to be the cream of the crop to be allowed more than a short tourism visit.


Oh ok, that makes sense. So does it matter what degree one has? Can it be a degree in anything and does it have to be an associates degree, bachelors degree or are any of those valid as long as its a degree?


Bachelors degree. It really doesn't matter in what, unless maybe you want to teach, and then it would be nice if your degree is in the subject you teach.
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Re: New HA Podcast Shows - Announcements Thread

Postby Rock » Tue May 03, 2016 3:26 pm

USA_luxury_prison wrote:Hi Rock,

I posted a question for Winston on his "Ask Winston" thread but he didn't have a solid answer so I decided to post on here to see if you could help me out.

One of my biggest concerns (or should I say fears?) is being able to find a stable job overseas to support myself. Is a degree important when going abroad to get a job? Most of all can I survive overseas without a degree? And if I can what type of jobs can I get abroad without a degree?

Hopefully you can help me out since Winston said you've worked abroad without having to teach English.


I wish I could give you an easy straightforward answer but it's not like that. The playing field is kinda like a moving target. Markets and business are dynamic and what held 5 years ago doesn't necessarily work today.

But at minimum, I would say you should at least get some sort of 4 year uni degree unless you are a blazing entrepreneur type. A 4 year degree is kinda the basic minimum expected of western expats in Asia generally. If you don't have that, or some sort of specialized qualifications or certifications at least, you may find that even getting a work permit is not possible in many of the more developed NE/SE Asian countries.

As the last year of my finance course progressed, equity markets in greater China became increasingly attractive to global investment funds. I used my MBA to jump on that bandwagon by getting Chinese proficiency and hitting up all my alumni in that region for networking opps. I got lucky and secured two offers - one at a London bank which would give me a secondment in China within 1-2 years and another one on the ground in Taipei immediately. I took latter, and rode the markets for a few years. But after 2008, the banks imploded.

Then there are the oil guys. I used to see them in southern China and even Thailand. I don't know exactly how they got their positions other than getting hired by the big oil companies and somehow getting placed in Asia at young ages. But oil prices have since collapsed and the industry is shrinking at the moment.

The guy renting my condo upstairs here in Makati now is an older British guy. His work has taken him all over the world including long stints in Africa. All I know is that he does some sort of IT work on a project basis with each project lasting a few months to maybe a couple years.

Check out the NGO/non NGO career tracks in developing parts of the world. In Haiti, I saw a lot of NGO guys from various countries in the world on what I was told are pretty sweet packages.

HK and SP and increasingly Shanghai are full of white and other expats across the board - younger guys at low/mid level, very experienced senior manager types, GMs and CEOs, and plenty of entrepreneurs.

A great book which might change your life if you follow through with it is "The Unchained Man - the Alpha Male 2.0". That will help you to figure out your mission, goals, etc. Once you get to that stage, you can network in the countries of your choice to see what is practically possible in the near future. You may be required to pick up qualifications or may not be. It all depends.

Please, get the book, read the relevant sections (first half more or less), and after you've done that, come back here with an idea of where you wanna go and what you wanna do. Armed with that info, I can probably give you some direction or steer you to others who can.
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Re: New HA Podcast Shows - Announcements Thread

Postby USA_luxury_prison » Tue May 03, 2016 10:31 pm

Rock wrote:I wish I could give you an easy straightforward answer but it's not like that. The playing field is kinda like a moving target. Markets and business are dynamic and what held 5 years ago doesn't necessarily work today.

But at minimum, I would say you should at least get some sort of 4 year uni degree unless you are a blazing entrepreneur type. A 4 year degree is kinda the basic minimum expected of western expats in Asia generally. If you don't have that, or some sort of specialized qualifications or certifications at least, you may find that even getting a work permit is not possible in many of the more developed NE/SE Asian countries.

As the last year of my finance course progressed, equity markets in greater China became increasingly attractive to global investment funds. I used my MBA to jump on that bandwagon by getting Chinese proficiency and hitting up all my alumni in that region for networking opps. I got lucky and secured two offers - one at a London bank which would give me a secondment in China within 1-2 years and another one on the ground in Taipei immediately. I took latter, and rode the markets for a few years. But after 2008, the banks imploded.

Then there are the oil guys. I used to see them in southern China and even Thailand. I don't know exactly how they got their positions other than getting hired by the big oil companies and somehow getting placed in Asia at young ages. But oil prices have since collapsed and the industry is shrinking at the moment.

The guy renting my condo upstairs here in Makati now is an older British guy. His work has taken him all over the world including long stints in Africa. All I know is that he does some sort of IT work on a project basis with each project lasting a few months to maybe a couple years.

Check out the NGO/non NGO career tracks in developing parts of the world. In Haiti, I saw a lot of NGO guys from various countries in the world on what I was told are pretty sweet packages.

HK and SP and increasingly Shanghai are full of white and other expats across the board - younger guys at low/mid level, very experienced senior manager types, GMs and CEOs, and plenty of entrepreneurs.

A great book which might change your life if you follow through with it is "The Unchained Man - the Alpha Male 2.0". That will help you to figure out your mission, goals, etc. Once you get to that stage, you can network in the countries of your choice to see what is practically possible in the near future. You may be required to pick up qualifications or may not be. It all depends.

Please, get the book, read the relevant sections (first half more or less), and after you've done that, come back here with an idea of where you wanna go and what you wanna do. Armed with that info, I can probably give you some direction or steer you to others who can.


Hi Rock, I really appreciate you responding back to my question.

I had a feeling an easy straightforward answer wasn't going to be possible since things are always changing everywhere.

It seems like you know a lot and have lots of experience out there. I bet you've been through a lot with many ups and downs. It takes courage to go abroad and do everything you've done out there doesn't it? So an associates degree isn't enough to go abroad? I was going for graphic design(I know, its probably useless nowadays everywhere) at a state technical college(2 yr school) and still have 1-1.5 yrs left to finish. I don't plan on going all the way to china/asia or any of its surrounding countries. I do however have my eyes set on Eastern Europe.

I'll for sure check out the NGO/non-NGO career tracks.

So is that book really worth the $20 on Amazon? I don't have much to spend and am on a budget right now. Do you know where I can get it a bit cheaper?

Again, thanks for taking the time to type all of that and helping me out.
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Re: New HA Podcast Shows - Announcements Thread

Postby Rock » Wed May 04, 2016 4:11 pm

USA_luxury_prison wrote:
Rock wrote:I wish I could give you an easy straightforward answer but it's not like that. The playing field is kinda like a moving target. Markets and business are dynamic and what held 5 years ago doesn't necessarily work today.

But at minimum, I would say you should at least get some sort of 4 year uni degree unless you are a blazing entrepreneur type. A 4 year degree is kinda the basic minimum expected of western expats in Asia generally. If you don't have that, or some sort of specialized qualifications or certifications at least, you may find that even getting a work permit is not possible in many of the more developed NE/SE Asian countries.

As the last year of my finance course progressed, equity markets in greater China became increasingly attractive to global investment funds. I used my MBA to jump on that bandwagon by getting Chinese proficiency and hitting up all my alumni in that region for networking opps. I got lucky and secured two offers - one at a London bank which would give me a secondment in China within 1-2 years and another one on the ground in Taipei immediately. I took latter, and rode the markets for a few years. But after 2008, the banks imploded.

Then there are the oil guys. I used to see them in southern China and even Thailand. I don't know exactly how they got their positions other than getting hired by the big oil companies and somehow getting placed in Asia at young ages. But oil prices have since collapsed and the industry is shrinking at the moment.

The guy renting my condo upstairs here in Makati now is an older British guy. His work has taken him all over the world including long stints in Africa. All I know is that he does some sort of IT work on a project basis with each project lasting a few months to maybe a couple years.

Check out the NGO/non NGO career tracks in developing parts of the world. In Haiti, I saw a lot of NGO guys from various countries in the world on what I was told are pretty sweet packages.

HK and SP and increasingly Shanghai are full of white and other expats across the board - younger guys at low/mid level, very experienced senior manager types, GMs and CEOs, and plenty of entrepreneurs.

A great book which might change your life if you follow through with it is "The Unchained Man - the Alpha Male 2.0". That will help you to figure out your mission, goals, etc. Once you get to that stage, you can network in the countries of your choice to see what is practically possible in the near future. You may be required to pick up qualifications or may not be. It all depends.

Please, get the book, read the relevant sections (first half more or less), and after you've done that, come back here with an idea of where you wanna go and what you wanna do. Armed with that info, I can probably give you some direction or steer you to others who can.


Hi Rock, I really appreciate you responding back to my question.

I had a feeling an easy straightforward answer wasn't going to be possible since things are always changing everywhere.

It seems like you know a lot and have lots of experience out there. I bet you've been through a lot with many ups and downs. It takes courage to go abroad and do everything you've done out there doesn't it? So an associates degree isn't enough to go abroad? I was going for graphic design(I know, its probably useless nowadays everywhere) at a state technical college(2 yr school) and still have 1-1.5 yrs left to finish. I don't plan on going all the way to china/asia or any of its surrounding countries. I do however have my eyes set on Eastern Europe.

I'll for sure check out the NGO/non-NGO career tracks.

So is that book really worth the $20 on Amazon? I don't have much to spend and am on a budget right now. Do you know where I can get it a bit cheaper?

Again, thanks for taking the time to type all of that and helping me out.


Great luck. You're in Texas which last time I checked is still in USA. So $20 bucks is relative chump-change for a book which can materially improve your life. What's that like 3 hours behind the counter at a fast food joint? Even here in the impoverished Philippines, it's around 900 Pesos which even students I know here could afford. Don't blink. Buy the book, read it, and apply it.

BTW, I didn't take much courage at all for me to leave the USA. My life as a young person was full of frustration and grief. But once I set foot in the new world (better known as abroad on HA or in my case, Taiwan), then my real life started.
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Re: New HA Podcast Shows - Announcements Thread

Postby USA_luxury_prison » Wed May 04, 2016 10:03 pm

Rock wrote:Great luck. You're in Texas which last time I checked is still in USA. So $20 bucks is relative chump-change for a book which can materially improve your life. What's that like 3 hours behind the counter at a fast food joint? Even here in the impoverished Philippines, it's around 900 Pesos which even students I know here could afford. Don't blink. Buy the book, read it, and apply it.

BTW, I didn't take much courage at all for me to leave the USA. My life as a young person was full of frustration and grief. But once I set foot in the new world (better known as abroad on HA or in my case, Taiwan), then my real life started.


Ok, I'm for sure going to buy that book then. I've read the few reviews on Amazon and the majority of them gave it positive reviews so I'm going to go ahead and buy it.

So what's it like being abroad? Did you have any negative experiences while over there? I've only been to Mexico but never on the other side of the world. I'd imagine every country abroad is rich in culture, has it's own variety of cuisines, ceremonies,etc.

So if someone leaves the USA(having lived here their whole lives) and goes abroad for the first time, there's no way that person's going to want to come back?
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Re: Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English

Postby Winston » Wed May 04, 2016 10:55 pm

* Note: I've split these posts from the Podcasts thread and created a separate topic for them, since they were getting off topic there.

Rock, thanks for your response. But the question we were wondering is, how did you get a job in a good company in Taiwan with no prior work experience, so that you didn't have to become an English teacher? Can others do the same as you? If so, how? Getting a good job like that with no prior work experience (you told me) is quite impressive. So how can others here do the same? I think that was the crux of USA luxury prison's question.
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Re: Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English

Postby Rock » Thu May 05, 2016 2:19 am

Winston wrote:* Note: I've split these posts from the Podcasts thread and created a separate topic for them, since they were getting off topic there.

Rock, thanks for your response. But the question we were wondering is, how did you get a job in a good company in Taiwan with no prior work experience, so that you didn't have to become an English teacher? Can others do the same as you? If so, how? Getting a good job like that with no prior work experience (you told me) is quite impressive. So how can others here do the same? I think that was the crux of USA luxury prison's question.


Here was my answer regarding Taiwan in first response relating how I got a non-English teaching job in Taiwan without any prior work experience in that industry: As the last year of my finance course progressed, equity markets in greater China became increasingly attractive to global investment funds. I used my MBA to jump on that bandwagon by getting Chinese proficiency and hitting up all my alumni in that region for networking opps. I got lucky and secured two offers - one at a London bank which would give me a secondment in China within 1-2 years and another one on the ground in Taipei immediately.

I also highlighted that it's a moving target so that what worked for me then likely won't work for someone now.

If someone wants a non-teaching job in Taiwan or any country for that matter, that's really not a very good way to frame it. I mean, if I put that on my CV as my objective "A non-teaching job in Taiwan", any potential hiring companies would get a good laugh at that. Instead, someone has to invest a lot of grunt work in their country of choice to figure out where opportunities lie for expats if any exist at all, decide whether any of those are careers they would be interested in pursuing, and if so, doing whatever it takes to get qualified whether it be a particular course in uni/grad school, certain certifications, networking with people in the industry and eventually courting target companies to get a foot in the door, or whatever it takes to maximize chances. I did all of the above so you see, there is no easy cookie cutter way to obtain a professional career abroad. It requires a lot of self examination, research, preparation, and luck.

Taiwan's economy is tech heavy so perhaps the most lucrative opportunities lie with some of the upstream and downstream tech sector. Finance and stock broking (sales, resarch, trading) is still a possibility but would require a specialized degree at least at undergrad level and a lot of marketing oneself to local and foreign firms on the ground. I've seen a few expats with law backgrounds or connected with law firms including Airking but I'm not clear on how they obtained their positions.
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Re: Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English

Postby Rock » Thu May 05, 2016 4:33 am

BTW, if anyone on this forum is qualified to give a more comprehensive answer loaded with specifics on Taiwan, I reckon it would be Momopi.

He's probably best able to accurately go industry by industry or potential position by position and comment on career prospects and paths for inexperienced foreigners. So perhaps give him a heads up about this thread Winston.

Also keep in mind, Taiwan industry and business is very integrated with mainland China these days. Taiwan manufacturers in most industries do the bulk of their actual production on the mainland and there are something like 1 million Taiwanese (out of 23 mn citizens) living in China. So a Taiwan career has a big chance of requiring travel to China or even relocation there.
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Re: Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English

Postby MrMan » Thu May 05, 2016 5:20 am

There are other ways to go abroad. You could join the military, and they may send you abroad with a bunch of other guys. You may end up in a remote area in some desert and not talk a lot to local people.

You can teach something besides English. You'd probably need a degree. If you want to teach, it's probably best to get a degree in teaching whatever subject you want to teach abroad and then get certified. Then you can get a teacher job with US or close to US wages at an international school abroad.

You could get a PhD and teach at a foreign university.

There are some things you can do without a degree. I met a man at an airport in China once who had expertise in running shoe factories. He'd done it in other countries. He didn't have to pay taxes in his home country of the UK because he didn't spend a lot of time there and made his money from non-UK sources. He had his bank account in Hong Kong and was self-employed. China had him on a business visa, not a work visa, and he had an apartment in Guangzhou.

I'd imagine importer/exporters could do something similar. If you want to work abroad, first get some kind of special knowledge in some specific industry that you can work in abroad. Either that, or get a degree and you can teach English, or get a degree in education and you can teach in a school.
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Re: Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English

Postby Winston » Sun May 15, 2016 8:18 pm

Rock wrote:BTW, if anyone on this forum is qualified to give a more comprehensive answer loaded with specifics on Taiwan, I reckon it would be Momopi.

He's probably best able to accurately go industry by industry or potential position by position and comment on career prospects and paths for inexperienced foreigners. So perhaps give him a heads up about this thread Winston.

Also keep in mind, Taiwan industry and business is very integrated with mainland China these days. Taiwan manufacturers in most industries do the bulk of their actual production on the mainland and there are something like 1 million Taiwanese (out of 23 mn citizens) living in China. So a Taiwan career has a big chance of requiring travel to China or even relocation there.


Thanks Rock. Well the OP isn't asking about how to work in Taiwan specifically, just how to find a job overseas that doesn't involve teaching English. As for Momopi, I don't think he's worked in Taiwan before. He's only worked for US companies and Asian companies in the US and sometimes they sent him on business trips overseas to Asia. So I think you are more qualified than him to comment. Momopi may have some theoretical knowledge, but you have real life working experience in Taiwan, Rock. That's why I thought you were more qualified to comment on this.

So without any work experience, only with an MBA degree, you got a good paying job at a finance company in Taiwan? Wow. Also, I didn't know you were the academic type. You spent extra years in college just to get an MBA? I thought you didn't like sitting in class and memorizing large amounts of information and taking notes too? That's too robotic and left brained. And neither of us having photographic memories, especially when it involves large amounts of data.
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Re: Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English

Postby USA_luxury_prison » Mon May 16, 2016 5:59 pm

Winston wrote:Thanks Rock. Well the OP isn't asking about how to work in Taiwan specifically, just how to find a job overseas that doesn't involve teaching English.


Thanks for clarifying things out for me Winston. That's exactly what I was trying to ask in the first place.

I have my eyes set on somewhere in Eastern Europe. Id imagine I would just have to find companies or businesses in certain parts of Eastern Europe and see what positions I could see myself working in and then go to a college/university(here) and major in that area or field for that company. Am I right or wrong? I hope I made sense..
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Re: Rock, how do I get a job abroad without teaching English

Postby MrMan » Mon May 16, 2016 9:28 pm

Sure. Just get a PhD in an academic field besides English and apply for jobs overseas. Depending on the field, foreign schools may be interested in you. Chinese and Korean universities sometimes hire foreigners. I don' t think the market is that great for less developed countries, and non-English university jobs may be hard to get in Japan.

So just spend about 10 years of your life in higher education, then go do that.
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