Choosing where to teach English abroad can be tough. The best country to teach English in might not be the country for you. You may harbour a long-standing childhood dream to live in a specific country. You may want to live somewhere feeling the sand between your toes as you stroll along a golden lit beach. The thought of living in a bustling city might make your heart skip a beat. Whatever your reason, deciding where to teach English abroad is down to the individual. Your choice will require plenty of research by you.
Choosing where you want to live for an extended period involves asking yourself some hard questions.
- Is earning and saving money a priority?
- How often do you want to travel?
- Would you like to belong to a strong expat community?
- Do you want to be surrounded by nature or live in the city?
- Are you interested in learning another language and what type?
- What region do you want to live in and what type of culture interests you?
If you’re looking to teach abroad to make money, there are several factors that you have to weigh up.
The salary that you will be earning is of course the first consideration when it comes to making money. Not many countries offer TEFL teachers high salaries – sad but true. English teachers can be so unappreciated, and usually, the money earned is just enough to cover a lifestyle. So, if it’s money you’re after, then you need to be looking at places that offer high wages. And they do exist!
High wages don’t count for much though if you have to spend everything you earn just to be able to live. Weigh up the salaries you can earn in your chosen destination against how much the standard cost of living will be. Will you be able to live lavishly, have to skimp and save or dip into your savings to make ends meet.
Do your research and see if the teaching jobs include benefits, such as pensions, bonuses, free accommodation, and reimbursement of your flights. All of these factors can make a major difference to your bank balance at the end of the year. Read our blog post for some of the most lucrative countries to teach English in.
Good countries to save money in include: China, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.
If teaching English is your gateway to travelling, then consider the opportunities each country will offer you for exploring. Does the country have a lot to offer and how would you get around? Do the jobs within the country you’re interested in working in offer enough time off so you can travel? And is the country in close proximity to neighbouring countries that you can travel to easily?
Unless you’re planning on travelling first while teaching English online, it’s best to secure a TEFL job before you travel. Some countries though will only interview you in person.
Teaching English does not have to be the be-all and end-all of your time in a country. Many people take the TEFL course as a way to work while living in their desired country before scoping out new career opportunities.
You might be looking to get away from the hectic lifestyle and daily grind and are looking for a career change that will give you the chance to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. If you’re in search of a laidback lifestyle where you’ll have plenty of fun, make friends and are surrounded by nature, then consider volunteering in one of the more exotic destinations away from city life.
Deciding where to teach English abroad can come down to something as simple – but important – as the weather. Sitting out in the tropical sun wearing nothing but shorts and t-shirts might sound appealing to you. However, living in tropical climates also means you have to work in hot and humid conditions. Teaching English in local schools where there’s a lack of air conditioning can be hard to deal with every day. There’s also the chance that the constant year-long sunshine might make you long for four distinct seasons. Maybe you’re someone who would crave the crisp air and blanket of snow that winter offers, or the colourful change of autumn sweeping in. Little things like the anticipation of shedding your heavy clothes to lighter garments as warmer weather comes in might spark bouts of homesickness.
Your expectations have to be measured when it comes to where you’ll be living. Accommodation is naturally going to be more expensive in the centre of the city, which is where most of the school jobs will be available. If you’ve read our blog post on how much can you earn teaching English online and that’s your plan to make a living, have you determined if you’ll be able to earn enough to pay your rent? Provided accommodation that some employers offer TEFL teachers is often shared living quarters. Is that something that appeals to you or would you prefer your own space?
The thought of going somewhere completely different sounds exciting for the budding TEFL explorer. Living off the beaten track where you’re the only foreigner may sound appealing to those with adventure in their heart. However, culture shock is a real thing. If you’re unprepared, you can find yourself quickly missing home comforts. Our blog post on tips to help overcome that first year as a TEFL teacher teaching English abroad can help you prepare for any struggles you might face.
Moving somewhere with a strong expat community can make living life abroad an easier transition. By teaching English overseas, you are bound to meet other foreigners who will either help you settle or share in your experiences.
We hope this helps you with your decision on where to teach English abroad. For more TEFL and travel inspiration, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook.