So I was listening to this story on The Moth about a woman who earned a degree in Egypt and then an advanced degree in England and then went back to Zimbabwe to be a professor at local university: http://themoth.org/posts/stories/grandma-mahembes-farm

Would it be possible for a US citizen to do something similar and, after earning a PhD in the US, then pursue a professorship in a developing country? Is there any stigma against this as well? Should US citizens be expected to leave such opportunities the peoples of those countries? I know that the NSF has some bridge programs to bring people from developing countries to he US, but are there programs that do the reverse: that is, programs targeted at sending US PhDs to developing countries?

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    I did my UG in South Africa. We had a few professors who were from overseas, although mainly Germany and the UK. So it is possible. Our department even brought in a German academic straight to full professor to run a new group. I would guess you just apply to job postings normally? Though I think a post-doc is the sensible place to start
    – JP Janet
    Jun 1, 2015 at 17:50

3 Answers 3


While I'm not aware of specific programs for international professorship opportunities (other than direct ads in regard to open positions), I compiled the following list of international-focused research and teaching programs, which might very well be what you're looking for. Keep in mind that the list below is not exhaustive, as there are various other programs (especially field-specific, i.e., biomedical, complex biological systems, social sciences, etc.), but IMHO contains the most well-known and/or important programs on the topic. Hope this helps.


Would it be possible for a US citizen to do something similar

Yes. I know of one person who moved from a wealthy country, where they were born, to a professorship at a poor country.

Is there any stigma against this as well?

There is a stigma associated with low-ranked universities.

Should US citizens be expected to leave such opportunities the peoples of those countries?


The main difficulty are the financial and health disadvantages of working in developing countries.


Many developing countries try to build up a university system, but they have difficulties staffing it, because the local crop of Ph.D.s is too small or of bad quality (because of lack of educational opportunity). The movement of qualified people is in general in the other direction, from developing countries to the US and Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Very often, the pay is close to miserable and the conditions are poor, such as very high teaching loads and lack of research support. In Latin America, high school teachers often need two jobs to survive (one at a morning school and one at an evening school) and university salaries are not that much better. This is balanced against the chance of being able to make a real difference.

If you decide to pursue a career outside of the US in a developing country, be aware of bureaucracy (you will need to get the right type of visa and eventually residency), the difficulties of inculturization (how do bused in Montevideo UR work, when to go to a doctor, ...), the dangers ('Don't go on a bus in El Salvador, the gangs will kill you'), the language difficulties (in India, you need to be trilingual if you want to function), the differences in the educational system and the level of administration, the attitudes of students towards the institution and vice versa, prejudices against you and by you, etc. Often, people will welcome you, but sometimes not. Your experience will be overvalued or undervalued. ...

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    As an european (mixed very south&very north european), I could say exactly the same, but about accepting a position in a US university instead of one in a Swiss or Danish one. Yes, even the prejudices are there in the US, try to be a vaguely "indio" look ing woman in the progressive California. Well, at least in the seocnd/third world you have the reward of "having the chance of being able to make a real difference". In the US not even that.
    – EarlGrey
    Jun 30, 2022 at 12:25
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    Even if the salary is good relative to local cost of living, it is often poor when converted back to $US. This may be problematic if you want to return to visit family and friends, or when you decide to move back home after several years away and find your savings are not sufficient to cover housing deposits etc.
    – avid
    Jun 30, 2022 at 12:31

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