How the *%$ did you gain the courage to move to Cambodia without a job? Yes, we are asked that often.
Unlike some other countries in Asia such as China, Korea, and Japan, Cambodia is one of the many countries in which (at the time of writing this) it is very difficult to get a job unless you are physically in the country at the time of applying. This can be very nerve-wracking for first time travellers, oversea-ers, or even if you’ve done it in other countries a hundred times before, yes – it can be scary! Below, we’re just going to chat about how we gained the courage to move to Cambodia with no job prospects or having without ever even visited the country.
So, here are the reminders we lived by (and the reminders you didn’t know you needed) for your move to Cambodia (without a job).
There is a high demand for English teachers in Cambodia
It’s true, especially if you’re in Phnom Penh. If you are a native English speaker, chances are you won’t have a hard time finding an English teaching job when you move to Cambodia. The demand for English teachers is high, and with more and more Cambodian citizens enrolling their children into English language schools, the demand keeps growing.
At almost any time of the year, there will be expats leaving, ending contracts, and both old and new schools hiring new teachers.
Cambodia is inexpensive to both visit and live
So even with little savings, you can live comfortably for a while without having a secured job right off the bat. The cost of living in Cambodia is low, even Phnom Penh. With hostel prices as low as $3/night, you can give yourself some time to breathe and find an excellent English teaching position.
Exploring jobs on foot can actually provide you with a better experience in the long-run
This may be the last thing you want to hear when you’re simply looking for a job, but it’s true. As much as it’s fantastic to be offered a contract, a paid flight and lodging, when you come on your own terms you are not stuck to anything.
Take it from people who have done it, it is absolutely an advantage to be able to meet your potential employers, shake hands (or in Cambodia – bow), and talk about potential contract opportunities. It’s great to see the school, meet the staff, and decide if it’s a great fit for you.
You have the power to choose your job. It will not hurt you to explore your options.
Cambodia is right in the thick of South East Asia, so if you don’t like it, you can try another country
Something that always put our minds to ease was that: if we didn’t find success in Cambodia, we could always go somewhere else. This may be hard to imagine when you’re still thousands of miles overseas, we know, although it was a fact we constantly reminded ourselves.
The surrounding countries like Thailand, Vietnam & Laos, as well as other countries like Myanmar and Indonesia, are also all filled with an abundance of teaching opportunities you can explore if you get there just to realize Cambodia isn’t *really* right for you.
And hey – they’re just a short bus ride (or cheap flight) away.
You can skip the stress of looking for work on a tourist visa, and get an Ordinary Visa instead
A huge perk of choosing to move to Cambodia, particularly, is that there is a visa that is designed just for this exact situation. Unlike many other countries – where your options are: having a pre-existing job offer and/or work permit to legally start working OR risking the job hunt on a tourist visa (you’re not legally supposed to do this) – Cambodia has an option called an Ordinary Visa.
On the Ordinary (E-Type) visa, you’re legally allowed to move to Cambodia without a job & look for work for 30 days. We personally loved that this was an option and made arriving in the country so much easier on our mental health. To us, the ease of knowing that we were there legally and truthfully helped us gain the confidence to get out there with those resumes & start applying.
So, are you ready to move to Cambodia? Find our step-by-step guide on How to Move to Cambodia & Teach English.
Still curious about how much money you could really make over there? We have a write-up about how much money we were able to save while living in Phnom Penh here.