Linguistics Jobs Abroad

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A Guide to Linguistics Jobs Abroad

Were you the high school student who couldn’t wait for Spanish class? Did you decide to download DuoLingo to pick up some Japanese after living with your college roommate from Japan? If your passion for travel is heavily influenced by a love of languages, or even just a specific one, then linguistics jobs abroad are probably right for you! Whether you’re motivated to master a foreign language or to share your native tongue, there are plenty of jobs for linguists overseas that will test your skills in a new context and take your language abilities to the next level.

Why Work Abroad in Linguistics

Although you may consider yourself fluent in the classroom, linguistics jobs will put your language skills to the 360-degree test. Not only will you be immersed in a foreign language with all its local slang and flavor, but you will also be challenged to evaluate your ability to communicate in your native language, both in your specific position or in daily life. Compared to at home, the linguistic and analytical skills that you will gain by working abroad are multiplied tenfold and will only translate to more quality characteristics on your resume. 

If fluency in another language is what you are after, then linguists jobs overseas are perhaps the fastest way to overcome that final barrier to sounding like a native speaker. Selecting a linguistics job in an international office, school, or other establishment will ensure that the language is all around you. Although a full immersion will test your ability to analyze the ability from all angles, there is no better way to learn a language and get rid of that unforgiving foreigner accent. 

If your linguistic specialty is English, working abroad is an amazing opportunity to flaunt your skills and reevaluate the importance of English as a global language. The English language has symbolic meaning to people of different cultures, and the influence of other languages and cultures on English ensures that the language is always evolving. Working abroad in linguistics is a front row seat to the global context of languages and your future as a linguist with an informed international perspective.


The amazing thing about choosing linguists jobs abroad is that the field is applicable in countless countries and a wide diversity of disciplines. There are jobs for linguists everywhere, and finding the perfect opportunity is ultimately dependent on your particular interests and goals.

Working in China is a great opportunity to apply your linguistic skills in a diversity of fields and positions. Although programs focused on teaching English in China are abundant, there are also several great options for linguists jobs that will utilize your specialization in a variety of professional fields. Search for linguist job opportunities that will customize your role in order to ensure the maximum benefit from your experience working abroad. In China, you’ll gain from a thriving and driven workforce that will both appreciate your foreign insight and both twist your tongue and engage your ears with over seven to ten groups of dialects differing primarily on phonology. With China on the rise as the world’s largest second-largest economy, working abroad in China is strategic opportunity as you advance your linguist career. 

If you’re feeling that your high school Spanish is far from fluent, Spain is a great country to get back on track and perfect that Castellano accent, or even pick up one of the country’s other four regional dialects! Several linguistics job opportunities combine language classes or excursions with professional positions, like being an au pair, teacher, or even an entertainer! With the warm Mediterranean air swirling around, you’ll be swept up in the lively Spanish lifestyle with opportunities all around you to practice your language skills. As a huge and culturally rich country, Spain offers plenty of weekend and day trip destinations to satisfy your linguistic wanderlust. Whether strolling down Las Ramblas in Barcelona, commenting in Catalan, or dipping your toes in the dialect of Valencia, Spain is a welcoming country for your next adventure.

Maybe you think you speak English, but you might speak differently after you head down under for your linguistics job abroad, whether with the Aussies or Kiwis. Whether working at a start-up in Sydney or tutoring children in Auckland, you’ll pick up some fair dinkum English that’s bloody chockers of new flair. If you’re interested in indigenous languages, Australia and New Zealand are also exciting places to uncover the traditions of the Aboriginal or Maori people. Wherever you choose to find a linguistics job, you’ll be sure to find exciting opportunities that combine your passion for language with the knowledge of a new culture that can only come from working abroad.


The types of linguists jobs available abroad are ultimately tied to the various specializations within the field of linguistics. For those working in the field of applied linguistics, jobs exist in all kinds of environments from rural ESL classrooms or private residences to urban, corporate offices. Meanwhile, lexicographers, computational linguists, neurolinguists, and other researchers will be more confined to partner with a specific program, company, or university that offers placement within a relevant position, likely in larger cities or research hubs.

Hours and conditions for linguistics jobs abroad will again depend on the type of job and the norms of the particular country where you are located. Focusing on language camps, teaching, or au pair job opportunities will provide the most irregular schedule based on varying schedules or your employer’s needs. If you are balancing learning a language with employment, look at jobs for linguists that offer a combined schedule of part-time work and language courses. Other traditional linguist job placements will require a more formal commitment that fits their particular office culture.

As a linguist, you are fully aware that not knowing a particular language when you arrive in a new country is half the fun! While some linguistics jobs may require that you already have a working knowledge of the local language, many positions abroad will open up to you based on your own mother tongue. In fact, most TEFL or au pair employers will request that you stick to English, in order to sharpen your students’ listening and speaking skills. Outside your role as a linguist, your analytical skills are then free to roam, engage, and piece together the new language(s) that are all around you.


Immersion. As a linguist abroad, you will get the unique opportunity to immerse in fully a new culture through language (cue drool moment). No matter what language you are focusing on while working abroad, an emphasis on language is all around you. Sometimes you’ll have to reign in your unstoppable use of “y’all” or you’ll get called out for your inability to pronounce those tricky foreign sounds, but as a linguist, these communication holdups are just exciting fuel to your phonemic fire. While others might hesitate before working abroad, you know that the deeper you dive in, the more linguistic puzzles you’ll pull out.

Make-Your-Own Job. Although you may be specialized in your linguistic pursuits at home, working abroad may present the challenge of taking on a more applied linguistic role. Depending on your knowledge of the language in your host country or your level of desire to work in your native language, your direct options may be limited to teaching or translating. On the other hand, your work as a linguist abroad can be very flexible and provide gateways to new opportunities to show off your love of language that may not even exist at home. Job searching, just like language-learning, requires patience, practice, and an open mind.

Language is so embedded in cultural diversity of the world, who wouldn’t want to travel and soak it in? Now let’s talk about getting paid for doing what you love and where you want to be. Studying or finding your interest in linguistics, unintentionally or not, was the perfect setup for you to work abroad. Grab your dictionary(s), strap on that linguistic lens, and find that linguist job that makes it happen!

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A Guide To
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