David has worked as a language teacher and researcher in many countries including his native Australia, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil, Japan, and China. In the early 1990s he took up the inaugural Chair Professorship of Applied Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong, a position he held for fourteen years. He also founded the first online graduate program for teaching English to speakers of other languages at Anaheim University.
Nunan has published 30 books as well as several hundred articles on language, culture, education, and travel. He also writes textbooks for learning English. His junior high school series Go For It is a world leader, with sales in excess of three billion copies.
In addition to his academic teaching, Nunan carries out consulting work and gives conference presentations in many parts of the world. When not traveling and speaking, he splits his time among Hong Kong, Sydney, and California.