We’ve picked the best countries to teach English. Find out where you should teach English abroad and why!
China is probably the number one place to teach ESL for teachers new to the industry. Many schools only require you to have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, with no experience or TESOL certificate. It allows you to get experience as an ESL teacher in a very different culture while earning a decent wage.
You won’t earn as much as in a western country but you will earn enough to go on short trips on days off, and save a little. Most contracts offer free accommodation and some offer return flights and even motorbike hire. Contracts are usually one year long. Ensure you have a Z visa and also the correct work permit for the province you are working in.
Spain is a great country with a culture and history that many people love. Spain often has ‘internships’ for those who have just finished their bachelor degree and are looking to get out into the world. The rates are often low, but the contracts are short which allows you to get experience teaching so you can progress to better paying roles.
Many of the roles in Spain are at private language schools for both children and adults, which means often the work is in the evening, allowing the days for exploring.
Vietnam is a diverse country with lots of ESL roles in the public school system and also private language schools. Many ESL teachers work in the public system, and earn extra money by offering private tutoring, or working in language schools in the evening. Most roles are about 20 hours per week and you can generally expect to earn between US$18-20 per hour.
The cost of living is extremely low in Vietnam and provides a good base for exploring neighbouring countries during your days off. A TESOL qualification is often required as is a bachelor degree; however if you are in the country many teachers claim it is easy to pick up work with only a TESOL qualification.
Russia is a huge country which means you have the opportunity to either live in a metropolitan area, or experience rural living. The rate of pay can be quite low compared to many other countries but again the cost of living is very low.
Many Russian contracts also offer free return flights, accommodation and sometimes even utilities. Unlike many other countries, there appears to be no visa requirement for ESL teachers to be native English speakers, so some jobs may not have this common requirement.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most popular countries for ESL teachers who have experience because of the high salary which is tax free. It is not uncommon for ESL teachers to earn between US$3000 and US$4000 per month tax free. Contracts in Saudi Arabia also commonly include return flights, free accommodation and free driver service to get to and from work. The hours are often longer than some of the Asian countries, 40 hours per week compared to 20 hours per week, but you can earn and save a lot of money. When working in Saudi Arabia you do need to consider the cultural differences which need to be strictly adhered to.
Thailand is popular for ESL teachers who came for a holiday and decided they couldn’t leave. There are many public and private school positions, all of which require a bachelor degree for visa requirements. The salary is about average and the contract often includes free accommodation. Again the cost of living is quite low, allowing ESL teachers to live a reasonably luxurious life for minimal cost.
Japan is a great place for ESL teachers with and without experience. There are many jobs available in private language schools for children, adults and specialised classes such as business English. You will need a bachelor degree and a TESOL qualification for most roles.
The salaries are often quite high; however in the large cities the cost of living is very high. You may receive a housing allowance as part of your salary but may be sharing with as many as three other teachers. Most roles are only 20-30 hours per week allowing plenty of time to explore the region or take on private tutoring.
Remember…this information is very broad and may not apply to all roles in all countries. Always check the position description for salary and other contract benefits.