The options for teaching English abroad are huge and widespread throughout the world. The location you choose might be based on where the most money can be made, the best quality of life, or a specific culture that attracts you. However, every potential destination has pros and cons to consider which we look at below to help you make the right choice.
Which region is the most popular for teaching English abroad?
Asia is without doubt the most popular region for teaching English abroad as it has far more positions available than any other part of the world. Right across the continent you will find potential opportunities in all kinds of environments. Modern cities such as Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing always have an abundance of jobs, while countries such as Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam also have plenty of options for teachers who prefer a slower pace of life.
Which countries in Asia offer the best salaries?
If saving money is important to you then Asia’s more developed countries are the best option. Countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan all have a strong demand for teachers and the balance between salaries and the cost of living is generally very favourable. Jobs in these areas can routinely be arranged before leaving home which is another reason why they are among the most popular destinations in the TEFL world.
Where else can I teach English in Asia?
Many of the best paid jobs in the region are located in major cities which is not to everyone's taste. If you prefer the idea of relaxing in a hammock beneath a swaying palm tree then you might want to look elsewhere. One country in the region that tends to attract a large number of teachers due to its culture rather than cash is Thailand. Saving money here will be difficult, but the easy going lifestyle can be enough compensation for many teachers. Other similar environments with a good amount of jobs can be found in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
What about the Middle East?
In comparison to the wider Asian region, the Middle East is small in size but big on opportunity. This is where you will find the top salaries and best benefit packages on offer anywhere in the world. However, these tax-free incomes and contracts bulging with bonuses means that competition for jobs is very high. Typically, you will need a high level of qualifications and some previous teaching experience to be eligible for the best positions. The two main markets are found in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, although other countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are all starting to catch up.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of teaching in the Middle East?
On the plus side, jobs in the Middle East generally come with a competitive salary and other add-ons such as free accommodation and paid flights in and out of the country. However, if you want to take advantage of these benefits you will also have to comply with the conservative nature of society that is common throughout the region. For some this is no problem at all, but others might find the restrictions on female to male interaction, for example, to be hard to live with. If you plan to head to this part of the world it is best to research the local culture and customs in advance to make sure you would be comfortable living and working there.
What about teaching English in Europe?
Due to its popular culture, history and modern infrastructure, Europe has long been a popular destination for teaching English abroad. Job options are available across much of the continent, from the sunny beaches of the south to the historic capitals of the north. If teaching in Europe is your dream, there are some things to think about before you buy your plane ticket.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of teaching in Europe?
The biggest problem for most teachers in Europe is the high cost of living that exists in many areas. People have been drawn to the region’s major capitals such as London, Paris and Rome for many years, but the reality is that it is very hard to afford a comfortable lifestyle in these areas on a language teachers income. It is also worth noting that some employers prefer to hire teachers with British-English accents which can limit the options for other teachers. Another big issue for some foreign teachers is that obtaining official work permits can be difficult in many countries, including the most popular locations such as Spain, Italy and France. However, despite these obstacles, many thousands of people every year still manage to find themselves living and working across Europe and enjoying all that it has to offer.
Are there other options outside of Western Europe?
If the obstacles of teaching in Western Europe prove too much, you might want to consider Central and Eastern Europe as they offer an excellent alternative for a large number of teachers. In many countries it is far easier to obtain the legal right to live and teach than it is in the West, and the cost of living is generally much lower in most areas. The Czech Republic has been a very popular destination for several years and the demand for teachers is still as strong as ever. Other options that continue to grow in popularity are Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.
Can I teach English in Latin America?
Despite its huge area that stretches from Mexico in the north to Argentina and Chile in the south, Latin America does not offer the number of teaching jobs or high salaries that can be found in other regions. However, this does not stop tens of thousands of people every year heading there to enjoy the natural beauty, rich culture, and laidback lifestyle that the region is famous for.
What are the best options for teaching in Latin America?
Argentina, Chile, and Costa Rica have long been among the most popular teaching hotspots in South America due to their relatively stable economies, modern infrastructure and strong demand for TEFL qualified teachers. However, this popularity means that the competition for jobs can be very tough in the most popular areas. Many teachers now look outside of these countries to up-and-coming destinations that offer a steadily increasing job market and plenty of potential adventure. Countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Peru are just some of the countries that fit into this category. Finally, Mexico cannot pass without mention. This huge and fascinating country is ever-popular with many teachers as it offers endless culture and a large number of jobs.