Do you dream of earning money while you travel? Then teaching English abroad could just be your ticket to the world. If you’ve always wanted to experience life in another country, live like a local, and immerse yourself in a new culture, becoming an English teacher can be a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone.
Learning English is a global market, and jobs are in ready supply as long as you speak English fluently and are suitably qualified (holding a TEFL certificate and a university degree are the usual requisites). TEFL means Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and it is wise to enroll in a course with an accredited provider before embarking on a career in teaching English. Courses provided by internationally recognised companies are recognised by employers worldwide, so it’s worth doing a bit of research and checking out which course is right for you.
Once you’ve earned your certificate, the world is your oyster! Millions of people are learning English so there’s a huge demand for teachers, and this is what makes the industry so exciting. We’ve put together 10 great countries to consider teaching in:
Culturally rich and crazily high tech, Japan is a big draw for qualified teachers. Countries in Asia also offer some of the best job packages, and in Japan, you can expect a higher teaching salary than in other parts of the world. You may even get benefits such as accommodation, flights, and health insurance included in your contract. In Japan, you can opt for the busy city life, where the chance to meet other expats is more common, or you can choose to teach in a charming rural village and throw yourself into local life completely.
The Middle East is another part of the world where teaching salaries tend to be higher, but it is also a competitive market so teachers are usually expected to have some experience first. Oman is fast emerging as a tourist destination and this brings with it a demand for learning English and in turn the need for teachers. Known for its warm hospitality and natural beauty, Oman welcomes foreigners and offers a wonderful opportunity to discover a country often overlooked in this part of the world.
Where the level of English proficiency is lower, the demand for teachers is higher. This means there are more entry-level opportunities, like in Vietnam. Teaching salaries also go hand in hand with the cost of living around the world, but in Vietnam, teacher’s salaries are comparatively high. You can live comfortably as things like accommodation and food are less expensive generally. Vietnam has bustling cities and bucolic villages. Getting off the beaten track and teaching in a rural setting could really be your key to total cultural immersion.
Be captivated by the fairytale medieval towns and forested expanses of this fascinating Baltic country. Eastern Europe has a strong market for English language teaching, and although the salaries aren’t high, they are comparable to the cost of local living. Typically, countries in Europe don’t include flights and accommodation as part of their teaching packages. But eastern countries, like Estonia, are often the exception so it’s worth checking out what you can get for your earnings in this part of the world.
South America is another part of the world with a strong market for teaching English. And in a country like Colombia, you sometimes don’t even need a degree to qualify as a teacher. Salaries can be low, but the country is an up-and-coming tourist destination and this cries out for more English-speaking locals. Once considered unsafe, Colombia is now flourishing and has plenty of cultural heritage and stunning natural scenery to flaunt. If this is your country of choice, it’s also a sure-fire way to brush on your Spanish.
Speaking of Spanish, and Spain is one of the stalwarts in the world of English language teaching. Again, southern Europe is a strong market for finding work, and Spain offers far from slim pickings. Choose between lively cities brimming with culture, sunny Mediterranean shores, lone villages dotting desert plains, or the lush green landscapes of the north. It’s always worth checking if a country requires a visa before securing employment, and non-EU citizens will usually need one to work legally in Europe. In most cases, your teaching contract should account for this.
Like Japan, China is another destination in Asia in high demand with the opportunity to earn more than in many other parts of the world. Of course, salaries can vary greatly between bigger cities and rural locations. But teaching packages for China often include the perks of housing and flights, which can make all the difference. Spending time in a country as exhilarating as China can be such a rewarding experience, which is why it is one of the most popular choices for English language teachers.
Another country rich in culture and heritage, Mexico is full of teaching opportunities – sometimes even without the requisite qualifications. With a reliable tourism trade, the locals are eager to learn English. And this is where you come in. Mexico offers an intriguing history, sprawling cities, sweeping desert landscapes, swathes of sandy beaches, and the chance to snap up a teaching contract anywhere in the country, from small private schools to higher education institutes.
In northern Europe, where the level of English is generally high, teachers with a good bit of experience are favoured. Denmark, the gateway to Scandinavia, is known for being one of the happiest places in the world to live, and this in itself is reason enough to shine a spotlight on the country. The Danish people have a great work-life balance, and if you’re lucky enough to find a teaching post here, it’s safe to say you too can take advantage of the local lifestyle.
If you have a real appetite for adventure, then taking yourself off to Malawi in Africa could just be the challenge for you. Be prepared for a lower standard of living and limited teaching resources, for this is one of the world’s poorest countries. But in return, expect warm and welcoming hospitality, a wonderfully diverse landscape, and an experience that really will be worthwhile.
Sometimes, choosing to work in a country where you can make a difference is all the motivation you need.