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15 Best Countries For Teaching English Abroad

15 Best Countries For Teaching English Abroad

Greetings, earthlings. I believe you read my article about the 5 Certificate Courses You Should Take To Finance a Life of Travel and one of the options is to teach English abroad. Today, we are going to talk about your best options.

Tell me, where do you want to go? Before going through the list, pick a country that you really want to live in or travel to for a long time. Have you picked one?

I am asking you to do this because I don’t want you to choose a country based on the salary and the cost of living. I want you to develop a positive feeling towards a goal — where do I want to be?

Ready? Have you picked one? Scroll down and see the list of the best countries for teaching English abroad! This is arranged in alphabetical order.

 

1. Brasil

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Brasil is the biggest country in South America composed of beautiful beaches, rainforests (The Amazon), and a beautiful culture mainly known for football obsession. The biggest carnival in the world is also celebrated in Brasil. The demand for English teachers in the country is booming most especially when they hosted the World Cup 2014 and the upcoming Olympics in 2016.Before the World Cup last year, I did an English training for hostel staff in some hostels in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Business owners want to be fluent in English as the tourism of the country grows every year.

How much will I earn? The average monthly salary in Brasil is 800 – 1,500 USD.

Cost of Living? Break even. Brasil is onve of the most expensive countries in Brasil.

How about my work visa? Not a big deal. Most schools are okay with a tourist visa.

When is the best time to apply? Peak hiring times are in March and August.

Best cities to work: Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro

 

2. Chile

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Salt Lake, Atacama Desert, Chile.

Labeled as the second safest country in South America (next to Uruguay), Chile is a great place to teach English because there are enough jobs and the demand for teachers are getting higher. Though the cost of living is very expensive, you might consider it because Chile offers some of the best natural wonders of South America.

How much will I earn? The average monthly salary in Chile is 400 – 1,500 USD.

Cost of Living? 800 – 1,000 USD per month, most likely break even.

How about my work visa? Most Universities will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? Peak hiring times are in March to July.

Best city to work: Santiago

 

3. China

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Forbidden City.

Home to 1.3 billion people, China is probably a country that has a biggest demand for English teachers. I myself prefer to live in China because it is a very enchanting destination. I’ve been told that you should live in China at least once in your life and I believe teaching English is the best opportunity to see the country.

How much will I earn? $800-$1,600 USD (free housing), $1,800-$2,500 USD (without housing)

Cost of Living? $300-$400 USD (free housing), $900-$1,300 USD (without housing). With a reasonable budget, you can save loads of money within a year.

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? All year round for TEFL jobs; May to June for schools.

Best city to work: Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou. TEFL jobs in China is basically everywhere!

 

4. Colombia

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Cartagena de las Indias.

One of my goals in this South American journey is to live in Medellin, Colombia not because of the high pay offered to English teachers but because of the great community of expats and teachers living there. The support system is just amazing! Additionally, Colombia has the best weather in South America (except for Bogota) because it’s almost summer/spring all year round!

How much will I earn? $1,700 USD

Cost of Living? Most likely between $500 – $800 with a reasonable budget.

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? January, November and December

Best cities to work: Medellin and Bogota

 

5. Costa Rica

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Sunset in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Beaches, mountains, rainforests, sun all year round — who doesn’t want this?! Yes people, Costa Rica is the new English teaching hub. The demand is getting higher because being able to communicate in English in Costa Rica means more $$$ (read: high paying job).

How much will I earn? $1,700 USD

Cost of Living? Breakeven at $600 – $1,000 per month. Costa Rica is one of the most expensive countries in Central America.

How about my work visa? Not usually easy to obtain because it’s very expensive.

When is the best time to apply? All year round for private schools, January to November, most likely.

Best cities to work: San Jose, Central Valley, Cartago and Heredia

 

6. Czech Republic

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Prague Castle, Czech Republic.

Surprised? I was too! You might think how is that possible with a very small population but Czech Republic is becoming an investment hub in Europe hence the demand of English teachers is rising. If medieval times is your thing, then this country is the best place for you. It’s also easy to obtain a visa here!

How much will I earn? $600 – $1,000 USD

Cost of Living? Breakeven at $600 – $900 per month

How about my work visa? Long-term visa (Visa-D) which will allow you to stay in the country for 6 months.

When is the best time to apply? September or January

Best city to work: Prague

 

7. Dubai

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Dubai Skyscrapers.

Well, you know, it’s a business hub and the oil capital of the world so yes, the demand for English teachers is very high. The pay is really good, however, you have to have at least 5 years of experience to be able to land a teaching job in Dubai. Basically, pay is based on experience. God, I love Dubai! This city will teach you a lot of things! The thought of living there makes me shiver!

How much will I earn? $3,200 – $5,000 USD (no way!)

Cost of Living? $600 – $1,900 per month (no way, again!)

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? February to June

 

8. Ecuador

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Quito’s Historic Centre.

The jungle, the mountains and the beaches are one of the reasons that enticed me to work in Ecuador as a primary teacher two years ago. Though the country’s currency is in dollars, you will find everything very cheap! Ecuador is one of the cheapest countries in South America, next to Bolivia.

How much will I earn? $400 – $600 (take note that currency in Ecuador is in USD)

Cost of Living? Breakeven at $400 – $600. You can take private classes too!

How about my work visa? Employers accept tourist visa but it is very important to have a working permit in Ecuador.

When is the best time to apply? February to March and July to August

Best city to work: Quito

 

9. Japan

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Street view in Shibuya.

Like China, Japan has also a high demand for English teachers in Asia. Japan is a country very rich in culture and the food is A.W.E.S.O.M.E. There is no proper adjective for the beauty of this country. It’s indescribable! Additionally, teaching English in Japan will give you the best credential when moving to another country.

How much will I earn? $3,000 per month

Cost of Living? $1,500 per month. Saving is most likely especially if you live in small cities.

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? January to April

Best cities to work: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya. TEFL jobs in Japan is basically everywhere!

 

10. South Korea

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Myeong Dong, South Korea

Personal growth, saving and career building is best achieved in South Korea because of its wonderful opportunities. Like most Asian countries, the demand for English teachers in South Korea is over the top!

How much will I earn? $1,800 – $2,000 USD

Cost of Living? Pretty fair. You will be able to save.

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork (E-2 visa).

When is the best time to apply? March and September

Best city to work: Seoul, Busan

 

11. Spain

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Spain Square in Sevilla.

Did you know that Spain is my favourite country in the world? Really. Really. I swear. My life in Barcelona are one of the highlights of my youth! Spain has the highest demand for English teachers in Europe and it is okay if you start here with zero experience. It can be a good training ground!

How much will I earn? $700 – $1,500 USD

Cost of Living? Breakeven at $1,000 – $1,300

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? September and January

Best cities to work: Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, everywhere!

 

12. Thailand

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Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.

Ahhh, the land of smiles! Thailand is a tourist hub in Asia and most backpackers who come here found themselves staying to teach English. The cost of living is very cheap and you can live elegantly with the pay here. Well, it still depends on your lifestyle.

How much will I earn? $400 – $1,500 USD

Cost of Living? Very low. Really affordable.

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? September and January

Best cities to work: Bangkok, Phuket

 

14. Turkey

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Mosque in Istanbul.

If you’re looking for another English teaching trend but with a different cultural feel, Turkey is your best option. Turkey is in between the Middle East and Europe so living here will make your travels really exciting!

How much will I earn? $2,000 – $2,500 USD (with housing allowance)

Cost of Living? $1,700 a month for the big cities.

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? August/September and December/January

Best city to work: Istanbul

 

15. Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Probably one of the best Asian countries to hone/start your English teaching career. Vietnam is beautiful, laid-back and won’t give you too much stress of living in the city.

How much will I earn? $1,000 – $2,000 USD

Cost of Living? $800 – $1,000 USD depending on lifestyle. Vietnam is fairly cheap.

How about my work visa? Employer(s) will help you with the visa paperwork.

When is the best time to apply? All year round

Best city to work: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh

In the opening of this article, I asked you to think of a country where you want to live. Was it on the list? If not, what’s your pick after reading and why did you chose that country? It would be really great if you can share your thoughts on the comment box below!

P.S. For an ESL job, I will always choose China. 🙂


Expand your network of teachers around the globe! Join our Freelance English teachers Facebook groups in Asia, Latin America and Europe!

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Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on Instagram - @psimonmyway

  1. Natalia Roman

    6 April

    Hey!
    I really love all your post, they are so nice and make me want to travel immediately haha!
    I’m a Mexican fan of yours and I really want have contact with you as son as possible because I have something very important to ask and propose so please as soon as you contact me the better 🙂

    • Hey Natalia,

      You can e-mail me at trishavelarmino[at]gmail[dot]com. Thank you!

    • Eric Froiland

      8 December

      The salaries in Colombia are much much lower than what is quoted, maybe 1/2 or 1/3!

      • Travelman32

        11 December

        Not if you find the right job. Been here for 2.5 years and been making between 4 and 4.5 million a month for the entire time I have been here….The people (in Bogota) on the other hand…meh…But any way, better off to stay at home where that kind of salary is more plentiful.

  2. Stefan

    7 April

    Great article. We’re completing our first year of travelling and thinking about South America trip soon. After that we want to spend a year teaching English – somewhere.

    This is reassuring to read because everything I’ve read about South America was it’s badly paid, expensive to live (obviously depends where). So not as bad as I thought 🙂

  3. I completely agree that Spain is awesome, though most employers are reluctant to help with visas! Best to come with a program like the Ministry or BEDA programs if you want to be legal!

  4. Mertcan

    13 April

    As a inhabitant of Eskisehir in Turkey, I highly recommend the English Language Schools in Eskisehir. Easy to get the job, full of students (called students’ city in Turkey) and cost of living is lower than $500 per month. Plus, living standards are sometimes higher than any other city in Turkey. 😉

  5. carmela

    23 April

    Aahh Colombia! I go accepted for an English teaching internship there three years ago but the plans fell through. Now my inbox is filled with invitations to apply to Colombia again but ah, the plane ticket is too expensive for now. Soon, soon.

    • Travelman32

      11 December

      Where are you from? There are tons of low cost airlines here…But hopefully it is not in Bogota where you are going.

  6. Iveta

    25 April

    Czech Republic included !:) I ve spent 5 years in Prague since it is my home country and yes, you can easily live by 600USD per month, or try Brno, smaller student cozy city and lot cheaper;)

  7. Hello Ms. Trisha! I saw mine on the list! South Korea! 🙂 However, I am a nurse, and I know I can speak English above average level. But I haven’t taken any formal or certificate courses to teach English. I read your article about that. By any means, do you have an idea if there are centers in S.Korea that doesn’t need those certificate courses as their qualification? I am Pinay and taking courses are a financial challenge for me 🙂

  8. Junel Ayala

    6 May

    Wow! Just resigned from my contact center job, and I was able to check on this blog. I was planning to work/ travel abroad and you just gave me an idea. Thank you. By the way- it’s Spain.

  9. Jen Adrienne

    6 May

    Hi Miss Trisha, I’m really interested in teaching in South Korea but I got disheartened when I found out they only entertain applicants from native English speaking countries for public school positions. But I’m still hopeful for other teaching jobs available. Do you know a good school or someone who could help me find one? Anything would be great help 🙂

  10. Katrina

    7 May

    Among the list, I will be comfortable in Vietnam since I’ve been there last July. The place and the people are nice and it’s true that it’s really cheap.

  11. Reading this post really excites me. Traveling and working abroad are really the things I wanted to pursue. I had worked already in Uganda and Qatar bu I am still craving to work in a few countries in South America.

  12. Great post Trish!! I teach English here in Japan. In reality though, it’s very tough to work and live here if you’re single and alone, paying for your own rent and such. Generous companies are hard to come by who include place of stay as part of the package. Generally, the $3,000 with pension and apartment are offered to those With Education Degree and experience. Many people think it’s easy to get a teaching job here, but in reality, it’s very tough, considering that most, if not some companies, only like to hire “true” native English speakers. Socks, but it’s true.

    • Ian Leahy

      25 March

      I agree accommodation is rarely included and most teachers make closer to $2000 a month. The average salary is 250,000 Yen and even that is getting lower in some places. Japan has the most competitive market in Asia. High demand and a low supply of jobs.

      You need to be a native English speaker to teach in most places.

  13. Claire

    4 September

    Well this post has made my feet itch big time! I’m considering teaching in both South Korea and Colombia and it’s great to see how feasible it is to save money while working in these places! But now i’m dreaming of Dubai too…. I’m 5 years maybe!

    Do you know anything about teaching English in Peru? Another destination I was considering for the South American leg of my adventure!

  14. aya

    4 October

    Hi,

    I am just curious but did you learn the local language during your stay? Or does it just help to speak English?

  15. J

    13 October

    It would be nice to add in which countries you need to be a native speaker in order to teach. Some countries, such as South Korea, are very strict on this.

  16. I enjoyed your list of places to teach. In terms of money, I’d have to go with the Middle East or Korea. They’re by far the most lucrative if you want to save more than a couple thousand a month.

  17. I agree that Spain and the Czech Republic are great places to teach English. We also loved living in Barcelona for 4 years and are planning to settle down in Spain soon and maybe even open our own school. I would also add Poland to the list. In most places you don’t need any teaching experience at all as long as you can speak good English (or if you are a native speaker) and you’ll earn good money (usually between $750-1250). Plus, the cost of living is low, so it’s worth considering.

  18. M Smith

    3 February

    Sadly, many of these countries do not hire older teachers. Find out about age limits before you apply.

  19. Peter

    12 April

    Your article was so insightful…thank you!!

    -Pete

  20. Kat

    3 August

    Nice read. I have taught English in Japan, Peru and now in Abu Dhabi. By far, the most money I have made is in UAE. Not only is my salary good, but my accommodation is also paid for by my employer. There are education requirements, as stated, but I didn’t need five years of experience. To make this money, you absolutely must have your full teaching certificate though. And, you usually need to be hired through a recruitment company.

  21. verushka

    20 August

    Thanks for this list ! I am a teacher and this now gives me food for thought. Currently looking at Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

  22. Alexis

    1 October

    Thanks so much for this article, it was really helpful! I’m looking at teaching in Asia (Korea, Japan, Vietnam) but where do I go to apply for each country? Is there one central location or does each country have a separate center to apply through? Thank you!

  23. ESL

    5 October

    I agree with the countries you listed here. I actually taught in South Korea for awhile and it was a high-paying job. It is actually still a high-paying job until now.

  24. Nisha

    29 October

    This is a kickass post!
    Loved it! Complete guide of where, when and how much. Thank you for sharing this to help other travelers to know all about English teaching.

  25. Femi Okedara

    6 November

    Comment… Nov.6,2016 I am interested in becoming one of your freelance teachers in Asia.Pls tell me how to go about it.Thank you sir.

  26. javi

    6 November

    This is a very helpful article . I hope there are lots of opportunities for Filipinos as well. 🙂

  27. LaShon Poitier

    3 December

    Wow! I just thought about this a couple of weeks ago and now I can’t stop! I’m having a hard time choosing what country I want to start first. I’m mad that I did not do this a long time ago. I’m in my early 50’s and hoping that countries will accept me inspite of my age. Also, I heard that China is prejudiced against blacks. How true is that to your knowledge. Please be honest. Wanna know what i could be facing.

  28. Claire

    21 January

    Hi Trisha,

    May I ask how do we get certification to teach English? Do we need to get it here first in the Philippines?

    Thanks,
    Claire

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