Great Places to Teach English Overseas

By Nomadic Matt | Published February 24th, 2010

teaching english overseasEvery year thousands of people leave their home to travel and teach English overseas. They go to experience a new culture, work overseas, put off getting a “real” job, seek adventure, and earn lots of money while doing so. Sometimes they are just backpackers who are looking for an easy job that can get them back on the road quickly. Sometimes they are college kids looking for a break. Other times, they are licensed educators who want to spend their lives teaching overseas. The time I spent teaching in Asia was some of my most memorable experiences. Whatever your reason for going, here are some of the top places to teach English around the world:

South Korea – South Korea is one of the best, if not the best, places to go teach English. Jobs are abundant, the pay is high, and you get awesome benefits such as a completion bonus, free housing, and airfare reimbursement. A lot of recent college graduates are attracted to here because of the money, benefits, and the fact Korea takes a lot of first time teachers. If you don’t have any experience, Korea is one of the best options for you. Korean culture is a little hard to break into but the food is delicious, the people friendly once you get to know them, and the country is filled with a lot of young expats. Korea hits all the right notes.

Japan – Japan’s unique culture and food as well as its reputation for good jobs means it also attracts a lot of people looking to teach. Though the fat years of teaching in Japan and making quick cash are over, people willing to stay at least a year can earn a lot of money. The cost of living can eat up a lot of your salary, especially if you live in Tokyo, but if you stay awhile, you walk away with a lot. Moreover, the Japanese are incredibly friendly, the food delicious, and the culture very interesting. No one walks away disappointed.

The Middle East – The Middle East lures many teachers in for one reason: the salary packages. There isn’t much to do in this part of the world because of the strict cultural conservatism here but Middle Eastern countries offer incredibly large salaries, lots of benefits, and no taxes. A teacher here can walk away with around $50,000 after one year. However, this is no place for the recent college graduate. Countries here want certified and experienced teachers. No teaching degree means no job. Most of the teachers here are older, more settled, and have families. You don’t move here for a wild and crazy adventure.

Thailand – Thailand attracts lots of young and new teachers with its cheap cost of living, great weather, tropical beaches, mouth watering food, and party atmosphere. Most of the language school teachers are ex-travelers looking to save for future travels. Or travelers who thought they were doing that and ended up never leaving. The pay in Thailand isn’t wonderful. Unless you teach right in Bangkok or at an international school, you won’t earn as much as other countries in Asia but people don’t come here for the money. They come for everything else. It’s one of the best destinations for new teachers, especially if you teach in a larger city.

China – China is the rising star of the ESL world. Its continued rise on the world stage keeps attracting more and more interested people looking to figure out what the middle kingdom is all about. Jobs here can be very hit or miss. In the countryside, and at most schools, you’ll only get paid a small amount and you might be the only Westerner around. That’s great for cultural immersion but can make you lonely when you start to miss home. However, in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, you can find excellent paying jobs, especially if you have experience or teach business, as well as lots of expats. But the money isn’t why you should come here – it’s the absolute cultural shock you’ll experience. China is the brave new world and there’s nothing like it on Earth. Just watch out for that smoggy air.

More information on teaching English in Asia can be found here.

Mexico – Mexico is a popular destination for Americans. It’s close, it’s not that “foreign” and it’s warm. Most of the jobs can be found in Mexico City where Mexico’s upper class hire teachers for their kids. If you can find a lot of tutoring work in the capital, that is where you will make the most money. However, you can also find small language schools and government schools that hire teachers. Most language programs will set you up in schools in rural areas as that is where the most demand is. Riches won’t be found here but if you are interested in culture, friendly people, mouth watering food, and feisty approach to life, Mexico is where it is at. There are also a lot of volunteer opportunities here.

Central Asia – Central Asia is one of those places you hear very little about and know about even less. That makes it one of the most exotic places to teach English. Forget about money and benefits – you get none. Coming here is all about stepping into the past and exploring one of the most rustic and friendly areas on Earth. This part of the world is very rural and chances are you will end up in some village with barely any people, TV, or internet. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in a place totally different without any distractions. Central Asia is where the culturally adventurous go. Moreover, there is a high demand for teachers because so few people want to teach here that there are a lot of job openings. I hear the current best place to teach is Georgia.

Prague – Teaching jobs in Europe are hard to get. EU visa rules make it difficult to just pick up, fly over, and find a job. Luckily, Prague doesn’t have all those complications. You can find a lot of ESL jobs at language schools and if you do an ESL certification program in the city, most will find you a job. The pay is low and not Euros but you are in Prague and a stone’s throw away from everywhere in Europe making it a central base to explore the continent from. Prague is a hip city with an outgoing and lively population. You’ll never be bored.

Argentina – Argentina is where most ESL teachers go to find work and in particular Buenos Aires. Famous for wine, beef, and beautiful women, Argentina lures native speakers looking to experience that fiery South American culture in a “not as dangerous as Brazil” way. If salsa dancing, good beef, wine, and a culture that places heavy value on siestas is your idea of a good time, then Argentina is where you want to teach.

Ukraine – Another good spot to teach in Europe for those looking to be culturally adventurous. Ukraine is a hard country to live in – it’s cold, they use a different alphabet, and no one here speaks English. I had a hard time getting around during my time there. But it’s well off the beaten path and there are few western influences here. Ukraine is one of my favorite countries and one of the best places to get a truly isolated, cultural experience.

Even though it wasn’t always the most glamorous work, I had a lot of fun teaching overseas. While there is an opportunity to teach wherever English isn’t the native language, the destinations above draw the biggest crowds, pay the best, or offer the best perks. I look back on my years of teaching fondly and if you are think about doing it, my advice for you is to just go. You won’t regret it!

Want to get a high paying teaching job but not sure how to do so? I wrote an in-depth 186 page guide to teaching overseas, with detailed country by country job information and 14 interviews with teachers from around the world. This book will be the best resource you find on the internet and has already helped hundreds of people!

comments 94 Comments

@dave The damand is still pretty high in Korea.

For anyone thinking of teaching English somewhere, I would advise to contact people who are there now to know what you are getting into. I can say that I have been in Korea for almost a year now teaching and have not really enjoyed much of it, other than the money. I wish someone would have given me some honest feedback about it before going.

Kyle-

What would you say has cntributed to your negative experience?

Interested to get the sccop.

A.J.

It would be kind of a long answer, as there are many things. The crux of it is that I feel like we get very little respect from anyone. At school, I feel like an English monkey who is put in front of people to show my English skills. Outside of school, I feel as if people are extremely rude and uninviting. With that said, I have made a lot of money which will fund future adventures…

Brian

Kyle i am looking to get in touch with you to find out about the money you earned. I will receive my degree next year and i am looking to teach at a place to fund another trip to thailand where i would like to teach there as well.

courtney

my husband and I are very interested in this… is it something that we could do with our kids?

NomadicMatt

Yes, bring the kids! Educate them overseas.

Christine

Do you have any specific recommendations for companies or programs to use, particularly for Prague or Buenos Aires? I visited Prague over the summer, and would absolutely love to live there for a while–I had never thought of trying to teach English! And Argentina is at the top of my list to see.

Christine, a great place to start asking these questions (not just about Prague or Buenos Aires) is on the international job forums @ Dave’s ESL Cafe. Lots of chatter about schools, placement firms, employment climate, etc…

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/

And no, I don’t work for them — but I do do a lot of advising of students here at the UW-Madison who are looking to work abroad.

On Monday we leave the UK forever and plan to travel for as long as possible. When the money gets low teaching English seems one of the best options. Top of my list is Taiwan – it seems like you can save as well as in Korea & Japan but it’s a warmer climate and it’s better for vegetarians! I’m also interested in Latin America but not sure how likely a Brit is to get a job in Mexico.

NomadicMatt

I wasn’t a huge fan of teaching in Taiwan. It’s mostly little kids and I’m not the most child friendly person in the world. But you can get paid pretty good. If you are really interested in Taiwan, talk to Carrie over at myseveralworlds.com

Dunno about teaching English, but Taiwanese people are in my opinion the nicest in the world. You will feel helped and embraced by them. At the same time, there are many things to do, and has good transportation, so you would get to see a lot. Tropical in the south (beaches) mild weather in the north. I loved it!

federico
maitravelsite dot com

Yeah Taiwan is great for vegetarian food…I ate out for two years straight. Good stuff and also great fruit.

Hong Kong teachers salaries are among the highest in the world especially for a qualified teacher with plenty of experience. Many International schools offer a housing allowance also.

In Argentina an ESL teacher barely makes enough to cover rent, food and beer :-(

Great tips Matt! Not quite the “top ten” places that I would personally choose, but you sell them well.
Just two concerns:
Remember that your blog would be popular in many places including the UK & Ireland, so for those readers (quite a lot, I’d imagine) there is no EU visa issue ;) This opens up doors of opportunities for them for other places with “big crows, good pay and perks” right next door.
I don’t remember reading about your travels to Brazil. I’d be interested to hear why you consider Brazil to be “dangerous”, it’s quite a sweeping statement. I’d say Rio can be quite tricky but Brazil as a whole (remember that it’s the 5th largest country in the world) is safer than most countries I’ve been to, and frankly that definitely includes the states ;)

NomadicMatt

I don’t consider Brazil dangerous. The quotation marks imply sarcasm at a commonly held belief. Well, that was the intent.

Thanks for that Matt, very glad to hear it was sarcastic! I read the quotation marks as classifying “not as dangerous as Brazil” as being one lumped description (in the same way as hyphens would). Sorry for the undeserved accusation! ;) I’m sure you know how much I love that place and will defend it to the death!! :D

Cheers – sorry I’ll miss you on your return to Thailand! You can find me in Europe over the next 6 or so months and that Couchsurfing offer remains open!! (Where to be revealed!) I’ll be out for my final weekend in Bangkok soon. We can hope that someone will convince me to go to Cheap Charlies, but I can’t promise it :P

I am currently teaching English in China and there are a lot of extra perks that you didn’t mention Matt, like airfare reimbursement, travel bonus, phone, water and heat paid for, free chinese lessons. And of course apt, and salary. All of those are standard in a contract today.

I would also like to point out that travelers shouldn’t use teaching as a way to make a “quick buck” as they travel around. (I’m afraid all too many people use it as an easy way to score with college chicks as well.)

It is a real job and you are teaching real kids who will make assumptions about westerners and western culture based solely on you. Plus, they pay a lot of money to go to school and you will be wasting everyones time if you show up to class late, talk about yourself and just show movies. (Which many teachers do sadly.)

So teaching should only be done if you have a serious interest in it, and not just because your broke.

mike

“and not just because your broke.”

It’s you’re. Good teaching.

Uh-oh it’s the grammar police! Ha ha!

And no, I don’t teach grammar, so don’t fear for my students. (I am a product of the American public school system after all, so of course I’m terrible at it.)

Caitlin

Hi Becky

I’m planning to go to Shanghai, China in August. Any advice about finding a job? I’m afraid I’ll choose the wrong school.

‘They go to … put off getting a “real” job, and earn lots of money doing it.’

They’ll be disappointed, then. TEFL is very definitely a real job, with potentially long hours and an awful lot of responsibility. Once you factor in lesson planning and marking, the money is also pretty dire, in common with the rest of the teaching profession. I’m currently working in southern Italy, and earning the equivalent of just over £400 sterling per month. That’s about half of what I earned for my first secretarial job in London, in 1997.

However, on the upside, it can be tremendously rewarding and a lot of fun. I often find myself doubled over with laughter at things my students have said to me; teenagers, for all their unpredictability, are entertaining company an awful lot of the time.

NomadicMatt

It’s not such a real job in many parts of Asia!

It sounds as if the bar is fairly low so that most any traveler can find this kind of position, is that the case? Or are there baseline requirements most outfits look for?

Good article and interesting topic.

Sadly, yes you’ll probably find that pretty much anyone with English as a native language can get a job teaching EFL. The decent schools usually require a minimum of a degree and a year’s teaching experience, as well as a TEFL qualification, but there are plenty of cowboys out there who’ll take anyone who turns up.

I taught for 3 months in Paris (the exact length of the work visa) and will hesitantly qualify it as a great experience. This was 2001 so the visa rules may be different now, but I recall having a pretty easy time getting one.

It was however an exhausting way to make a living, didn’t pay much more than the cost of living and the French bureaucracy seemed always to be nipping at my heels but I surely wouldn’t undo the experience. I’ll remember it forever. I’d never taught before but was nonetheless given the job faster than I could fill out the form.

Gerry

I have a 4 year B.A.A. in Photo Arts Film Studies. I taught as a Gunnery Sgt in the army reserves and I have taught cinematography at a Private Film School. I have lectured on filmmaking in various film co-ops and film festivals. I love the film industry work but I do love teaching also. I’m thinking of getting my TEFL/TESOL/or CELTA and I would like to teach maybe for a Summer or three months where the pay is decent. THOUGHTS!
:)

I’m in Japan with the JET Program and I would suggest anyone who is at all interested in teaching in Japan to try it out. We found my girlfriend a job in a small city so I’m pretty sure a lot of people could find good jobs in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, etc.

If you have a friend living in the country, go and stay with them and see if you can put some feelers out to the after school companies. You’ll have 3 months if you’re an American and they may even sponsor a Visa for you. A lot of them are in need of foreign English speakers and would love to hire.

Great post!

Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

Sofia - As We Travel

Rome is another place where you can work as an English teacher. My sister did this for over two years, she said it was a great experience – plus she always got expensive perfumes and gifts from the rich parents of her students ;P

My wife and I just finished a year of teaching in South Korea. We have no regrets. Why?

In the past year, we’ve visited five new countries, tried all kinds of food (I just had kangaroo for lunch), and saved a nice chunk of change.

Given the garbage U.S. economy, we might just stick around another year.

NomadicMatt

I had kangaroo for dinner! How delicious is it?

Hey Matt,

I taught English in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 18 months (amazing experience) but what I would really recommend for some quick cash is to work on an English camp in Korea, they run at xmas and in summer – 8 weeks or something, $4k AUD, free food and accommodation. I was running low on cash after travelling for so long, nipped over to Seoul for a spot of teaching, 2 months later my bank account was replenished and my journey continued! (and it still continuing now….)

NomadicMatt

For sure. Those winter camps are lucrative. Great money.

Rachel

Are there any good websites for these winter camps? I have wanted to teach abroad for a couple of years now but moving overseas for a year I’m uncertain about and I want to go somewhere where I can experience culture, make decent money for my student loans, and meet some cool fellow English speaking young people to travel with. I think a short program like this would be good for me to start and get a taste of Korea since I’ve heard so many mixed feelings on it.

I would add France to this list. The French Embassy in the U.S. has all the info you need. They take a lot of Americans, even ones who don’t really speak French. You’re there to speak English, after all. It pays enough to survive, you only work 12 hours per week (classtime, that is, more with prep), and you get to live in France! Wine, food, history, natural beauty, easy travel to other European locales…

Great list, Matt. Thanks for the mention. Here’s my two cents on Taiwan:
I’ve been here for four years and I think it’s a great place to live and teach. The cost of living is low and the pay is excellent. There’s plenty of opportunity to save. My youngest students in Taiwan are 13 years old, so I can’t comment on teaching younger students, but I have plenty of friends who teach younger students and seem very happy to do so. Teaching in Taiwan, however, isn’t limited to kindergartens. There are plenty of schools that have students age 8 and up. There are also opportunities for teaching adult and business English classes as well.

NomadicMatt

I never saw those opportunities in Taiwan. There were a few but it mostly seemed like it was younger students. Maybe you have to be there a while before the adult classes appear!

Good comments. I would take the stand that 9 of 10 people I talk to either dislike or hate Korea. I’d also agree with beck about the perks of China. I work with a lot of people who have worked in a lot of ESL places for a long time and the packages in Chinese (1st, 2nd tier at least) cities can’t be beat. And if you’re in the country side I dare you to find something to spend your pay check on.

Hillyrob

Just wanted to put something out there about Korea as I have been here for just over a year and I have signed my new contract which means I’m here until 2011. Personally I love Korea. The way that they conduct business can sometimes be frustrating and you can never get the simple answer you want it has to go to several people before anything happens. With this in mind I’ve taken to asking for things I need that much earlier so when they finally give me my answer it’s not to late. Public school are the best place to work if you want more holiday’s and like working 9 – 5pm. If you prefer to saty up late partying and like sleeping in the morning’s then Hagwans are maybe better for you as you usually start around 2pm until 9 or 10pm in the evening. You can however be asked to work half day’s on Saturdays if this is written into your contract. As for the people and their culture it can take a bit of getting used to. They can be rude and pushy but after a while that seem’s to amuse you rather than get you mad! I have made lot’s of young Korean friends and get on well with all of the Korean teachers at my school. The money is good, the housing is small but perfectly ok and the country is beautiful. Anything more I can tell people just ask I’d be happy to give you any info I can x

melisssa

Hi hillrob,

Thanks for all the information but I do have one more question. what would you say is the average age of English teachers in Korea? I am thinking of applying to teach over there but I am still undecided because I hear a lot of bad stories and then some few good ones

Vanessa

I’m researching schools in Korea and think I would definitely prefer to work in a public school bc of the vacation days off and benefits, but is the pay less than a private school? what should I expect to get paid as with a Ph.D but no previous teaching experience? And, also what are the hippest areas of Seoul or surrounding to live in?? Does anyone know if it would be even possible to bring a dog with you from the U.S? I don’t know if I can be away from him for this long:(

Any advice appreciated!

I started out teaching in Taiwan. I only stayed for 3 months. I didn’t want to teach 2 and 3 year olds, and that seemed to be where all the jobs were. I made some very good friends in Taiwan and visit twice a year. I think a lot of things have improved over the years. However, I am not interested in going back there to teach.

I’ve been in Korea since 2001. Korea is not the easiest place to live. For me, it’s a life style choice. After I was here for a few years I upgraded my skills. I now have a Masters degree and teach at the university level. I also teach outside of Seoul, a conscious choice, and have a lot of time off. I like teaching, but I’m at a point in my life where I want more time to do the things I love…..travel and photography. I now travel 5 months of the year. If I had to live in Korea 12 months out of the year, I would shoot myself. Fifteen weeks at a time is great. There’s a lot to see and do here if you make the effort.

liezl

Great blog Matt! Among the countries on the list , I guess Thailand has the cheapest cost of living so even if the pay there is not that big, you will still enjoy the experience immensely.

I would add that people who are interested in teaching in Europe and think about teaching in Prague should also consider the smaller cities in the Czech Republic. Prague is an amazing city, but there are lots of expats there already, so people might prefer to work in Olomouc or one of the other great places in that beautiful country.
Private tutoring is also an option to make some extra money outside your teaching salary, but I found that you should really brush up on your knowledge of grammar rules, especially those that are troublesome for non-native speakers since they are so different from what native speakers have trouble with. Buy some good ESL grammar reference books (Azar is a good one).
My time teaching abroad left me feeling unprepared and under-trained. it’s not easy work but definitely a great experience.

paddy

hey nice list, good for beginners who havnt a clue about teaching, interesting for the english teacher too. i haveto say you forgot vietnam! for money it beats china and korea hands down, i live very comfortably and save a couple of hundred a week. if you have a little experience the 25hr work week at $40hr is right around the corner, tax free too. actually its propably best vietnam isnt on your list, the place will be flooded with native speakers in no time.

Dave

$40 an hour teaching in Vietnam? At 25 hours a week that’s $1000/week. I taught there for 8 months and didn’t meet a single person making even close to that. Even international schools usually pay about $2000-$2500 a month. You can make a lot of money teaching if you work a lot of hours, but you won’t make close to $40 an hour. Average is about $16/hour, but I met a few people making $20-$25.

Dave

Oh and it’s not tax free either. In many cases the school will pay the 10% tax for you, but that means a lower hourly wage. $16 is about average though after tax. If you are paid pre-tax then you will probably make a bit more.

Nikki

I just returned to the US after teaching in HCMC Vietnam and I made a bucket load of cash- tax free. I think it’s very hit or miss and the quality high paying jobs are reserved for teachers holding certification from the states or other native English speaking countries. I had accommodations, insurance, roundtrip airfare and a salary of $2200 a month USD on direct deposit. But, that being said, I had a MS in Education and 2yrs of domestic teaching under my belt to get such a deal. Would have stayed a second year BUT (big but!) the school decided it might be a good idea to take our contract and toss it out the window mid-year. This is very common in Asia, so I’ve learned, so be prepared for a lot of ups and downs while teaching over there. Traveling was amazing as Vietnam is a central country- I got to Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand in the first 6 months just by weekend tripping and Christmas break. Do your research! That’s the key. Best part were my students and the friends I made— the kids are SO cute and loving -I had middle school– and they actually appreciate their education. It was a great experience overall. I’m currently deciding between Costa Rica and Spain for my next year abroad :)

ellen green

I’m interested in teaching in Vietman but I would be traveling with 2 children ages 14 and 12. I have an MFA in writing and will be CELTA certified. What are the chances that I can find a stable job, accomodations and schooling for the kids? And would I make enough to cover expenses? Though I have some income from other sources I would need the salary as well.

Please help! All info is appreciated.

patrick nolan

I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. It strikes me that how one feels about living in ANY country is VERY subjective.

I have a question: does anyone know where is the best place to apply for a job if you are 60? Or what countries/schools would be most accepting of an “old” American?

I taught in Japan for a year back when I was 50, but no one seems interested in hiring me now.

Thanks!

G

Nice work going over some teaching options that are out there…I worked in Korea and Japan for a few years (mostly in Seoul) before moving back to the states and going to grad school to get a teaching degree (social studies)…. When I applied for teaching jobs here in the USA after grad school many school districts who had Asian residents were interested my experience in Asia, and this experience was one of the factors that helped me land my current teaching job. In addituion to the fun-money-travel-culture aspects of working overseas, these jobs can help you in the future if you are interested in teaching as a career and want somethig to set you apart from the rest of the pack when applying for jobs in good school districts.

victor

what do you mean “not as dangerous as Brazil”? Argentina is much worse, just don’t get as much attention.

will

Great article. I am looking for a teaching job abroad (my first job abroad) but I have run into a few problems being a non white native american. I had a recruiter from korea tell me he wouldn’t be able to find me a job and I’ve read that it is much harder for non whites. I am wondering if you guys would know any countries that wouldn’t be to diffcult to find a teaching job in. My first choice is japan but I am not having luck. Not really due to prejudices moreso due to timing. Most programs I see are for feb march next year and I was hoping to leave soon..thailand was my second choice but I’ve heard the racism there is really bad. I am ready to moveon since I need a change in my life and the economy here is really bad right now. I have a degree and a tesol certifcate but its from a online class. Any help would be appericated.

Mark

what city do you work in Vietnam? I am interested in going there in a couple months.

Dasi

I am just wondering if anyone has any good info on programs to get your TESOL Certification?

NomadicMatt

There are a million out there. There’s a link on my teaching english guide section.

andy

i just got offered at contract to teach 1 year with EPIK in Daegu, south korea.. anyone have any advice or information on this city other than what is online? personal experiences?

Kate

I stumbled upon this page from Matador and, though I’m a bit late to the conversation (what is the online etiquette on commenting on an article from a year ago? is there any?), I wanted to make the point that, while international travel is the topic of this particular article, there are many incredible places to teach right here in the US. I’ve taught on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in rural South Dakota for the last three years, and the culture shock I’ve experienced here is far more drastic than my travels abroad. The US does tend to have stricter licensure and certification laws, but there are many states that will give you emergency certification if you have any undergraduate degree. Programs like Teach For America (I’m an alumnus, that’s how I ended up on the Rez) require a longer commitment, but take care of licensure for you. Anyway, my point is, there are opportunities to teach stateside that pay well and provide cultural awakenings, as well as fill a drastic need in domestic education.

Luke

It’s generally known as Necro’ing an article (as in necromancy) and it’s not always a bad thing, especially in this case!

After reading what you posted I am adding America to my list of possible teaching locations along with Korea and China thanks to this article! I am wondering however if it would be difficult for a UK citizen such as my self to be employed in the States; is there less of a demand for English teachers from other countries in the States, seeing as it is one of the native languages? I do not have any experience with teaching abroad yet but have had an interest in working abroad since I acquired my Bachelors Degree a year ago and would LOVE to work in the US.

Any information anyone can provide on this would be greatly appreciated!

ShiningT1g3R

Luke, the U.S State Department website is your friend. The government is always keen on inviting eager and interested foreign teachers to come to the US for research projects or joint teaching assignments.

http://www.state.gov

Check the part under “Education” and read about the numerous programs that it offers.

Mairi

Kate,

That sounds incredible, can you give me some more information on how to go about teaching at Pine Ridge? I have a degree in psychology and currently doing a masters degree in forensic psychology (through the Open Uni). I’m concentrating on ethnography and have been researching American Indian culture, which is why I am keen to teach on a reservation.

Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,
Mairi

I taught English in Japan for 3 years and had a great time. I went on the JET programme and can really recommend it.

Jon.

Shiro

Hi! Can anyone shed light on the best places for an African single mother to move in with kids, teach and settle down? Thank you.

Brianne

Matt – this is such a good blog! I just came across it after hours and hours of google searching and reading……. I love it.

Brianne

oh – btw, Shiro – check out http://www.teachaway.com – I think they offer teaching jobs that include family benefits. (kind of a late reply but I hope it helps!!!!)

Josh

PRAGUE, teaching English in Prague is great for single people who dont have a family to support. Salaries are very low and the hours very long, particularly if you get hired by one of the large language factories churning out EFLers by the dozen, This is the point. The market is oversaturated as of 2007 the Prague EFL bubble has burst. Cost of living is very high and quality of life low and can be frustrating when you have such a poor selection of food in supermarkets. Yes, even in 2011. Clothes are ridiculously overpriced and clothing from the big brand stores are of poorer quality than in Western Europe. Crazy. Dont think because youve walked across Charles Bridge and strolled around the Old Town, that life here is wonderful= it isnt. Most teachers dont live in Old Town, they live in horrible Soviet era housing blocks which can really destroy a vulnerable soul. Hedonism, selfish pursuit of money is the order of the day. RIP Prague. Be warned.

Doone

Hi there. My boyfriend and I are looking to move overseas to teach English. We’re not picky, and plan on having at least a year of experience teaching English to foreigners here in Canada before we go. I was just wondering where we could make good enough money (I’m not expecting anything miraculous here) to pay off student loans from back home. Another problem at hand is that we have a large (100 lbs) Mastiff type dog that we will need to take with us. Any advise on traveling abroad with your dog and the most dog-friendly countries would be GREATLY appreciated.. Thanks!!

Ruth Jewett

Did you have any luck finding a post with a big dog? I’m in a similar situation.

Kathryn

I think Josh’s perspective on teaching in Prague is a little bit too negative, but I agree that it’s not a fairy tale. I’m in my third year teaching in a small town in the western part of the Czech Republic, and it has been a good experience. However, people without EU passports should be warned that getting a work permit and visa is a nightmare. I made 14 trips to various offices last year to renew my current residence permit, a process that lasted over six months. For those applying for their initial visa, they must do it outside the Czech Republic (a stipulation not made by other EU countries such as Germany and Austria) and gather a host of documents before doing so. If you are determined to complete the process and your employer is willing to help, it can be done.

Simon

I spent six years in Japan teaching English. The opportunities and working conditions were decreasing year by year. University programs were shutting down (due to economy and low birth rate), dispatch companies were hiring people on lower wages, and commuting in the Tokyo area was really tough (most people were doing 2-3 hours per day). I did have a great time, and it is a place like no other, but be warned – getting decent work is going to be more of a struggle than before. I would actually recommend heading to Osaka, Nagoya or Sapporo rather than Tokyo these days.

“and the country is filled with a lot of young expats” I can’t think of a better reason not to go to Korea. Why would you go all that way and spend time with english speakers!

NomadicMatt

You can find a lot of Koreans there too but having a support community is good sometimes. Not everyone can just jump off alone.

littletrunk

I tried teaching at a hogwan in Korea but I only lasted two weeks! I’ve been back in the states for less than a week now and I think a lot about Korea and how much I enjoyed it, as a country. The school I worked for tho, is another story. It is really hard to know what you are getting yourself into when applying and accepting from over seas! If I end up going back to Korea, I will teach in a public school instead. But the culture was great and I enjoyed the expat community too.

Susan

Hi folks

In my view, Hong Kong is one of the best places. Teachers are highly regarded, the pay is good, an apartment is usually furnished and it’s a fascinating place. Plus, you can visit mainland China and the rest of Asia fairly easily.

I taught for 2 years in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in the public system. It was very challenging in many ways, but I learned a great deal and you can save a lot of money. You just have to be VERY flexible and adaptable and you could have a positive, but not always easy, experience!

Definitely something I should look into to fund my travels outside of Canada!

fronze valdiviezo

Hey there folks,well here is my story i went to Peru and end up teaching there for nearly 2 years and a few months,I am from new york city and well when i was in Peru i managed to get my TEFL certification but an incident came up,someone broke into my apartment and stole my things,long story short i was not able to recover those things as well as my certification and now i am back in the states.
I love to teach and i feel is my passion i did some college but didn’t finish it,and well i have now teaching experience,what can i do i want to teach in Korea or somewhere near there where the cash is good,what would you recommend? i was thinking would i have a chance if i go to Korea and while i am there get a job teaching English?how fast would i be able to get a job there? would that be possible? some one please help me out here.

thanks

Costas

Hello everyone,

I am a European, non-native English speaker who has a Bachelor from the States and a Master from the UK and looking for work as an English teacher in Taiwan or Eastern Europe and the Baltic. Having some years of experience in teaching English, I want to get CELTA or TESOL certified and work in that area. Looking for something, safe, where i could also save some money, maybe some academical institution that I can do the certificate and afterwards get a job in the area. Any suggestions, contacts and/or links will be appreciated.

Thank you,

Constantinos Vakalopoulos

maxfive

Great site and really insightful comments! So, thank you for that. I have a few questions. I will have my BA in Communications next year and will also have a TESL minor. Is this enough, or will I still need to get a certificate?
Also, does anyone have info on healthcare abroad? I have to take prescription drugs every day and can only get three months of meds at a time. (I’ve heard the healthcare in Singapore is one of the best in the world, but does that cover non-citizens?)
Finally, any info on teaching in North Africa would be appreciated. I would love to go to Morocco! One of my teachers always raves about his experience teaching esl in Tunisia, though I’m guessing his info is a tad dated.
Thanks again! I am envious of all of you who are living the dream-maybe we shall meet on that unbeaten path!

What about for people without a college degree?

NomadicMatt

You will need a TEFL degree for sure.

Detroiter

Japan was my favorite country, but beware, very expensive and hard to find work if over 35 yrs. Taiwan is good, fun, beautiful women, very competitive to find work. M.A. degree and State Certification ++. China is not for everyone. It is very polluted, but lots of woman, work and cheap beer. Middle East is hard core duty – it is where all the fruits and nuts land. Your colleagues will be ‘colorful’. Turkey, Mongolia always looking for teachers. Enjoy, but beware: not all countries have Fox News and NFL Sunday, but thanks to www – Rush, Sean and Laura always available. Talk radio saved me.

NoTruth

I’m 27 and I want to complete a Masters of Arts in Teaching English before going to teach in South Korea. I’m concerned that if I don’t go teach abroad now then I won’t be able to find a job because I will be right at 30 when I graduate. I have a friend teaching in South Korea now while she attends an online graduate program at Grand Canyon University. I’m concerned about their reputation so I would like to graduate froom a traditional state school and then go teach abroad.

Does being 30 matter when teaching abroad? I just want to get this last degree done with because I will need it to teach when I return to the states, but I don’t want to miss the teaching abroad opportunity.

NoTruth

Is the TFL certification a must? My friend got a job without it. Will I get paid more with it?

NomadicMatt

No and yes. Depends on where you want to teach. Requirements for every country are different.

lisa peratt

My daughter will be teaching abroad in Chile through the English Opens Doors program. Has anyone travelled through them or can anyone give advice as to the best areas of Chili to teach, must-see tourist spots, safety advice, etc??

I’ve been in South Korea for 9 months now, and it was very difficult in the beginning but found a new hagwon and have been there ever since. I’m lucky I’m with a small school and nice staff in a nice part of Korea (Jinhae), but my contract’s up in March (due to Visa) and I’m considering Japan (I visited Kyoto last April and loved it).

Here’s the other twist: I also want to work on my art and looking to settle somewhere where I can teach English, maybe even teach art and live in a more friendly environment where I can save money, make art and perfect my teaching skills. I’ve also thought about Rome or Florence, maybe even doing another TEFL course because I would like some training and might help me become better prepared (I’ve struggled and learned “on the job” in Korea and it’s been tough for me). Any suggestions?

MattJ

Not sure if anyone posted about this, but I took a legitimate, certified TEFL course in Madrid back in ’08 called ttmadrid. They helped get you set up with accommodation and find work for you when done. I was there for two years and never had a visa. It was pretty easy to find work and I was making €17/hr. I went in and out of the country/eu multiple times and never had a problem. Best two years of my life.

Chris

Hi All!

We’re an English couple with solid degrees, work and teaching experience, and skills in several European languages who are looking at teaching English in SE Asia (probably Vietnam, Hong Kong or Thailand) for 12-18 months.

Any tips in particular regarding teaching English in Vietnam?
Anyone who has taught in two or more of the above countries?
Better pay teaching in schools, universities, or business language schools?
Best city for job availability and standard of living?
Pay brackets with / without TEFL TESL qualification?
Organise everything before we travel, or book flights and a hostel and then do that all face-to-face with future employers / landlords etc.?

We are looking really for some adventure, a comfortable standard of living, a home from home, a good location from which to travel around SE Asia. Any recommendations other than Vietnam?

Thanks in advance!
Chris

Brandon

I agree. I have been in South Korea for almost 6 months. Money is the principle motivator here. There is nothing about the culture that is alluring to me. When you are presented with “warmth” it seems that it is forced (a persistent remnant of their feudal past). I spent 7 months in Colombia before coming here, and I must admit, I am anxious to get back to that kind of lifestyle.
As mentioned above, the expat community is what makes South Korea tolerable. If I were to have to live here without any other foreigners, I don’t know what I’d do. In Colombia, I intentionally didn’t hang around foreigners, and I had a blast. It was the same story in Mexico. I’m not sure how old your post is, but hand walking your resume to several Universities and language schools in bigger cities in Latin America is hiiiiiiiiighly recommended. On top of that, Spanish is super easy to learn even if you are a pure beginner.

-Brandon

John

Nancie, I’m considering a pursuing positions in either Busan or Jeju based on a friends suggestion. I wondered if you’d allow me to contact you to and get your input on the finer points of the what’s available and what to expect. I would really value your opinion with so much time spent in-country, and in the ESL industry. Thanks!

James Brennan

@Brandon:

I lived in South America (Chile) for a year a long time ago and would love to go back and teach. I have a BA and a TEFL-certificate. and a couple years of ESL experience. How difficult is it to get a job at a university there? And where do you look for such a job? Is there a special website for it?

Hey Matt, I’ve been teaching in Singapore for about a year and a half, it’s probably the best place to save money in Asia, around $2400 a month!

Kyle Knight

Hey Jon,

Are you saving $2400/mth or making $2400/mth. Could you expand on the certifications, incentives (airfare, accommodation, etc?) and cultural experience in Singapore.

Have never taught abroad, but am seriously considering. So far China, Hong Kong, Georgia, Taiwan and Prague have caught my interest.

Could you shed a bit more light? Thanks

Sam

China has one of the largest demands for English teachers. Depending on the characteristics of the teachers, one after spending a few years there, could climb up the ladder and place themselves in a higher income bracket than any of the neighbouring countries, and in some of the emerging parts of China, due to the low cost of living, you end up saving alot more on the long run.

I just want to point out that Georgia is NOT Central Asia! It’s in the Caucasus (along with Azerbaijan, Armenia, and a chunk of SW Russia). I am currently living and working in Saint Petersburg and there are tons of opportunities for native English speakers here! Demand is high and supply is low- I had some experience but no certifications and I am making $14-20/hr, 20 hours a week and my salary is higher than the average Russian (at least on paper).
Russia is a big commitment, but for someone interested in living here, teaching English while studying, freelance writing, or any other job is absolutely a great option.