POPULAR TEACHING DESTINATIONS

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Every year, thousands of people move away from their home countries to teach abroad. They move away for many reasons. Teaching abroad offers decent work experience and good pay and it also allows individuals a chance to travel to exotic countries. Moreover, you don’t need a lot of skills to teach abroad. Every country has its own rules and guidelines for international English teachers, but there are also several common denominators that can be assumed for each country.

  • You must be a native English speaker.
  • Most teaching destinations these days require a university degree.
  • Previous teaching experience is not necessary, but it does help your chances of getting a job.
  • TEFL, TESOL certification, while not required, can help you secure a higher salary.
  • If you are looking for work in public school systems, you will most likely need to be a certified teacher with teaching experience.

TEACHING ABROAD IN ASIA

Owing to a high demand for teachers, the best countries for teaching abroad are in Asia. Finding a job in Asia is easy, especially if you are from North America. There are a number of websites, job placement agencies, and recruiting companies that can help you with your search.

TEACHING ABROAD IN EUROPE

If you’re looking for work in Europe, keep in mind that it is very difficult to get a work permit if you are not a citizen of the European Union. If you are from the UK, however, finding a job shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Two major tips to keep in mind when you are job hunting:

1. Do your homework on any company or school you are interested in working for.

2. Remember that the interview process works both ways. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for references, and don’t pay anyone to secure a job for yourself.

With these details in mind, please read on to learn about some of the most popular TEFL destinations in the world.

Useful Links:

Five of the Most Popular Teaching Destinations in the World

TEACHING IN SOUTH KOREA is well known for offering teaching positions that come with some pretty amazing benefits, making it a popular destination for many teachers heading to Asia.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • Bachelor’s degree

PROS

  • Excellent pay. Basic salary is around 1.8 million Won ($1900 USD) a month
  • A low cost of living
  • Airfare is generally offered by most schools
  • Housing or housing subsidy
  • Health insurance airfare

CONS

  • Minimum one year contract
  • Long workweeks – 40+ hours a week.
  • Korea is also well known for dodgy schools, so do your homework and check out the schools you are applying with before you sign a contract.

JOB RESOURCES

TEACHING IN CHINA Over the past ten years, China has become a popular choice for English teachers. Five years ago, it was easy to find a job without a degree. These days, however, it’s getting harder and harder to find a job without the proper qualifications. Competition is fierce and good schools are hard to come by.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • College or university degree
  • TEFL requirement – The Chinese government is cracking down on teaching in Asia. Reputable schools now ask that teachers have a TEFL qualification in order to be considered for a teaching position.
  • You must be 24 years of age
  • You must have two years of work experience, preferably related to teaching, after graduating from university.

PROS

  • Most schools offer paid holidays
  • Some schools offer benefits
  • It’s still possible to find work without a university or college degree
  • Extremely low cost of living
  • Accommodations or Housing Assistance
  • Visa sponsorship
  • Some schools offer airfare reimbursement
  • Some schools offer end of year contract completion bonus

 

CONS

  • Be cautious when you’re searching for jobs. If you’re interested in teaching at a school that offers all kinds of benefits, make sure you do your homework.
  • Not all schools are legit and many schools have been accused of all kinds of abuse, including holding on to a teacher’s passport and refusing to pay for return flight tickets.
  • A teaching salary is more than adequate to live on comfortably, but you might not be able to save or travel as much.

JOB RESOURCES

TEACHING IN JAPAN Jobs in Japan may be a little harder to find, but there’s no denying that Japan is one of the top destinations for teachers looking for work abroad.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • A Bachelor’s Degree
  • Preference is generally given to teachers with Master’s degrees or previous experience

PROS

  • Monthly salary of $1800-$2300US
  • Visa sponsorship
  • Paid vacation
  • Housing assistance is sometimes offered

CONS

  • A high cost of living can take up to 75% of your paycheck
  • One year contracts
  • You’ll need start-up capital
  • Teachers generally need to pay their own airfare
  • You might need to be flexible about your job placement
  • Good jobs can be hard to find because the market is oversaturated

JOB RESOURCES

  • The largest schools in Japan are with AEON
  • JET or The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program

TEACHING IN TAIWAN Few places can match Taiwan’s cost of living vs. pay ratio. Over the past ten years, it has been an extremely popular destination for teachers looking for work abroad.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • TEFL/CELTA certification isn’t necessary, but it will increase your chances of getting a better salary. Some schools will not hire teachers without a TEFL or CELTA qualification.

PROS

  • Low cost of living
  • Excellent salary. Teachers here can expect to earn between NT$50,000- NT$60,000 a month. ($1500-$2200 USD)
  • Medical Insurance is generally provided
  • Some schools offer a housing subsidy
  • Some schools offer paid holidays

CONS

  • The market has become oversaturated in the last few years and jobs are getting harder to find
  • Compensation packages for airfare and housing generally aren’t offered
  • You’ll need start-up capital for your first few months
  • You might only be able to find work teaching children
  • 20% of your paycheck goes to taxes
  • One year contract

JOB RESOURCES

 

TEACHING IN BRAZIL Teaching English in Brazil is a wonderful experience and there is a high demand for English teachers.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • A bachelor’s degree is generally required for work in Brazil.

PROS

  • TEFL, TESOL, or Cambridge CELTA certification is not a prerequisite.
  • If you are hired by Brazilian school or company, you will probably receive in-house training regardless of whether or not you are certified.

CONS

  • Getting a work visa for teaching English in Brazil is quite difficult and will require a lot of patience.
  • Because of the complications and expenses involved in filing for work visas, most schools in Brazil are generally unwilling to sponsor teachers.

JOB RESOURCES

  • It is possible to arrange a job beforehand. Dave’s ESL Cafe occasionally has ads for teaching positions in Brazil. You might consider researching schools and then contacting them directly instead of waiting for advertisements to appear online.

TEACHING IN SAUDI ARABIA Some of the highest paying jobs for native English speaking teachers can be found in the Middle East.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • TEFL/TESL/CELTA certification generally required
  • BA in English
  • 2-3 years of teaching experience
  • Some schools require a Master’s degree
  • A good understanding of what to expect from life in the Middle East and an understanding of cultural differences is required.

PROS

  • Excellent salary. $2000US a month tax free
  • Health insurance is generally provided
  • Accommodation is usually provided]
  • Visa sponsorship paid
  • Airfare compensation
  • Paid holidays up to one month
  • Free transportation to and from work
  • Low cost of living

CONS

  • Previous teaching experience is a requirement for any job
  • Restrictive society
  • Significant cultural differences. A good understanding of Middle Eastern culture comes highly recommended
  • Teachers share a flat with another teacher of the same sex
  • 40 hours a week

JOB RESOURCES

TEACHING IN THAILAND If paradise is what you are after, consider looking for a teaching position in Thailand.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • A university degree is a basic requirement for teaching in Thailand

PROS

  • Incredible opportunities for cheap travel
  • Low cost of living
  • Monthly salary between $700 and $900 USD
  • Some schools offer housing or housing subsidy
  • Completion and performance bonuses
  • 20 days paid vacation

CONS

  • Minimum one year contract

JOB RESOURCES

TEACHING IN TURKEY Teachers considering a teaching position in exotic Turkey will be pleasantly surprised. The people there are friendly and hospitable, the architecture is sublime, the food is incredible and there is a dynamic mix of eastern and western cultures here. Best of all, there is a high demand for English teachers!

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • Native English speaker
  • Bachelor’s degree is good, but not necessary
  • No previous teaching experience required

PROS

  • Many schools will hire without the proper qualifications as the number of students wanting to learn English far outweighs the number of English teachers
  • Monthly salary of $700 – $1500 USD
  • Accommodations are generally provided by schools
  • Six and twelve month contracts
  • Some schools offer return airfare or airfare subsidy
  • Summer job placements available at some schools

CONS

  • Owing to low salaries, there isn’t much opportunity to save
  • Most schools aren’t willing to provide a work permit
  • Income tax 25%
  • Cost of living is low but it has been increasing sharply because of inflation
  • Some schools still treat their teachers quite badly. Do your homework!

JOB RESOURCES

TEACHING IN RUSSIA

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • CELTA, Trinity TESOL and/or Degree in TESOL
  • Teaching experience is generally required

PROS

  • Decent monthly salary ($1040-1160 USD)
  • Some schools offer an end of contract bonus
  • Visa support
  • Accommodations are generally provided
  • Health insurance
  • Some schools offer airfare reimbursement

CONS

  • On-line teaching qualifications might not be accepted

JOB RESOURCES


TEACHING IN MEXICO is a great place to gain experience as an ESL instructor. It’s unique culture, rich geography, and extraordinary sights mean you’ll never be short of things to look at.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • A university degree in related fields
  • TESOL, CELTA, TEFL, EFL certification

PROS

  • Low salary, but more than enough to live on
  • Accommodations are generally provided by the school
  • Paid vacation

CONS

  • Teaching salaries in Mexico are quite low, starting between $350-$700 USD per month
  • Some areas in Mexico are dangerous, especially for women
  • It might be difficult to find a job before you go as hiring rarely takes place via the telephone or Internet

JOB RESOURCES

  • If you’re interested in finding a teaching position in Mexico, contact a local TEFL program and ask them to help you get in contact with a good local school.

TEACHING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC offers incredible scenery and architecture, Eastern and Central European countries are more likely to take non E.U. citizens than Western Europe.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • University Degree

PROS

  • A low cost of living
  • Decent salary. Teachers here can expect to earn between 16,000-24,000kc per month ($750-$1100 USD)
  • Jobs are relatively easy to find owing to a high demand for teachers

CONS

  • You’ll have to find and pay for your own housing
  • Teaching in Europe is generally restricted to residents of the EU. Americans and Canadians will find it hard to get a job here.
  • Don’t rule out the possibility of finding a job in Europe if you aren’t an EU citizen. You might have to do more research in order to find your dream job.

JOB RESOURCES

The Prague Post, a weekly English language newspaper, is the best place to look for job opportunities.

 

TEACHING IN VIETNAM is a good option if you want to teach young kids.

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

PROS

  • Low cost of living
  • Contract completion bonus
  • Paid vacation
  • 30 days vacation each year
  • Some schools offer annual paid home-visit on renewed contracts
  • Some schools offer free language lessons
  • Visa and work permit sponsorship

CONS

  • Housing is usually not offered
  • Airfare generally isn’t included with your contract
  • You’ll need some start up capital for your first few months in Vietnam

JOB RESOURCES

TEACHING IN INDONESIA

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • University degree
  • CELTA/Trinity (or equivalent)
  • US/UK/AUS/CAN/NZ resident

PROS

  • Your salary is more than enough to live on comfortably
  • Low cost of living
  • Some schools offer housing
  • More than 20 days of vacation time
  • Some schools offer one month contract completion bonus
  • Health insurance
  • Some schools offer return airfare
  • Visa and work permit covered by school

CONS

  • Teaching contracts vary greatly from school to school
  • In-country travel restrictions
  • You must be willing to sign a one year contract
  • A low monthly salary ($600-$800 USD) is more than enough to live on

JOB RESOURCES

TEACHING IN CHILE

ACADEMIC & JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • University Degree
  • TEFL/TESOL certificate required
  • No previous teaching experience required

PROS

  • Low cost of living

CONS

  • Minimum 10-12 month contract
  • Low monthly salary ($600USD – $800USD)

JOB RESOURCES

About 

A Canadian expat that has been living abroad in Asia since 2003, Carrie began her career with Reach To Teach Recruiting in 2006 as an ESL teacher in Taiwan. Today, she and her husband are co-owners of Reach To Teach. In her free time, Carrie works as a freelance travel writer and photographer, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. She writes about her personal travel adventures on Travel Asia – My Several Worlds. Follow Carrie on Google+ or on Twitter @globetrotteri.

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22 responses to “POPULAR TEACHING DESTINATIONS”

  1. Dan

    Useful summary. I have been thinking about teaching English recently and this has given me a lot of good starting points. Thanks.

  2. Graham

    Wow, this is a great list Carrie.

    I think your summary of teaching in China is pretty spot on. One thing for sure is you need to do your homework or go by referral from a trusted friend. I’ve also heard bad stories from other expats of shady businesses and schools jerking teachers around. Unfortunately it seems like the business culture in China is that if someone can take advantage of you to make/save money, they will. You have to be careful and be smart.

    The extreme low cost of living in China is great. Although a teacher’s salary is pretty low (anywhere from 2000 RMB in small, backwater cities to 10,000 RMB in Shanghai/Beijing per month) it’s still enough to live comfortably and enjoy some Western luxuries from time to time.

    I totally agree that if you are looking to travel in China while teaching, you’ll be hard pressed to save any money at all.

  3. Financial Samurai

    Such a fantastic overview! Sweet!

    What I heard about China is that if you are Chinese American ,or Chinese English i.e. not Caucasian, they don’t accpe tyou to teach English. Is this true?

    See you at Financial Samurai one day!

  4. kim

    Ahw man. You must be a native English speaker… I was hoping that “fluent” would be enough. There goes carreer option B. Who on earth wants to learn how to speak Dutch? Anyone?

  5. Nomadic Matt

    You can get out of your contract easy anywhere you go. I mean I’ve never really followed with that. But in Thailand you can get a lot of teaching jobs that don’t have any contract. There is a lot of test prep here that is contract free…pays super good too. …Also the salary is usually around 40,000-50000 baht for a language school teacher.

  6. Weekly Links – December 3, 2009 « The Daily Bubble Tea

    [...] Thinking of teaching abroad?  Carrie provides a quick guide to some popular destinations. [...]

  7. Cahleen

    This is so helpful! My brother is interested in possibly coming to Asia to teach, so I’m going to pass this on to him. Thanks for this!

  8. Ana

    Nomadic Matt, I’d be interested to know about opportunities to do test prep and similar in Thailand. I always heard Thailand was cheap but the low pay prevented any kind of real traveling or saving. I’m finishing a contract in Japan at the end of March ’10.

  9. Robyn

    Hi Carrie,
    I’m wondering which organization(s) you went through to secure your teaching positions, and if you’d recommend them? There are so many options to sift through and it’s difficult to know which ones are reliable/legit.
    Thanks for sharing all your info resources!
    Robyn

  10. Robyn

    This is very helpful – thanks Carrie. I’d also heard Footprints Recruiting was recommended…but I wonder why you were warned away from recruiters? I did explore Reach to Teach and so far am very impressed. A couple emails I sent were answered promptly.

    Thanks again for your info and insights :)
    Robyn

  11. Robyn

    Hi Carrie,
    Again – lots of great info. Sounds like you guys really did thorough research. I’ve now stumbled upon Aclispe – http://www.aclipse.net/index.html – and they look good too!
    I’m intrigued with all of this.
    I appreciate all the insight!
    Robyn

  12. Robyn

    Actually, I’ve just been reading some reviews of Aclipse and they’re not good ones. hmm.. the research continues…
    best,
    Robyn

  13. An Excellent Blog on Teaching Overseas | World English Teacher
  14. Lola

    Hello Carrie and everyone,

    I took a gap year to teach in a school in Nigeria, West Africa and it was a great and very fulfilling experience. I ended up going back to teach for another four years. I have been asked to help recruit english teachers and school Registrars for some of the Schools i worked with so if you are interested or you might know anyone who is, please contact me for more information.

    Lola
    missbogun@yahoo.co.uk

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