Can I Teach Abroad? Motivations and Decision-Making Processes of Teachers to the International Locations

Luis Miguel Dos Santos


Over the past few decades, South Korea has become a popular education and teaching destination for native English teachers, international school teachers, and university lecturers. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the requirements, offshore teachers need to complete the self-funded quarantine before they can join the workforce in South Korea. This study aims to understand the motivations, career decisions, and decision-making processes of a group of native English teachers who decided to come to South Korea to develop their English language teaching career, particularly those who came during the COVID-19 pandemic. The phenomenological approach with interview session, focus group activity, and member checking interview were employed. Based on the social cognitive career and motivation theory and qualitative data from 38 participants, three themes were categorized: special life pathways, easy employment, and attractive cultural environment. The results of this study may provide some recommendations to school leaders, employers, and policymakers for native English teachers who would like to provide teaching services in their countries. As the COVID-19 pandemic and traveling restrictions will eventually eliminate, the human resources management and school leaders should continue to reform and improve the management to meet the needs of the long-term human resources shortage.

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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