If you’re looking for your next TEFL post, then you might want to consider teaching in Europe! Whether you’re from Europe or not, you can find something for everyone in terms of teaching, TEFL and adventure! There are so many reason to start your TEFL internship journey in Europe.
Why teaching in Europe?
Europe might not have the same “exotic” feel to it that other continents might have, but it has a lot to offer. There are so many different countries to explore, each with their own culture, traditions and language. There is something unique about every country so, for a TEFL teacher, there is something to learn wherever you choose to teach!
The beauty of teaching in Europe for the travel-minded is that you can get cheap flights across the continent and explore what it has to offer very easily. You’re never too far away from another country to make a weekend trip and add to your list of countries visited. Europe has extensive train and bus networks making travel easy, cheap and convenient!
Where are the best countries to teach in Europe?
There are many options in Europe so the best country for you might not work for someone else. Your preferences for location, culture, and language will come into play and affect where you decide to teach. Let’s look at some popular European countries for teaching English and their pros and cons.
Teaching in Spain
Spain is a huge favourite for TEFL teachers all over the world. The famous Spanish lifestyle appeals to many and with good reason! Teaching in Spain can be relaxed, sunny and full of opportunities to explore a vast and fascinating country. Each part of Spain can be very different and even involve you having the chance to learn different languages. Popular cities include Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Bilbao, Malaga and let’s not forget, the Canary Islands!
Requirements / Preferences for Teaching in Spain
-a TEFL certificate
-a degree is not always required, but it will help your CV
– a high level of English
-Knowledge of Spanish not necessary but will be an advantage
-Knowledge of English language exams would be useful as these are popular in Spain
-There are more TEFL jobs in Spain than any other country in Europe so if you’re qualified and ready, you can easily find work if you’re flexible on location! Spain has a booming tourism industry so many people require English for their jobs. In many workplaces, and to enter university, a certain level of English is required, leaving lots of work for TEFL teachers.
-If you’re not a citizen of the European Union, there are different teaching assistant programmes which can help you get a visa and a job more easily than in other countries.
-Spain is a vast country and you can explore it easily on the weekends with cheap internal flights and an extensive railway and bus system. The climate, language and cuisine can be quite different from the North to the South so you can find something different everywhere you go!
-If you don’t have any experience yet, Spain can be a good place to start. Many language schools are happy to accept newly qualified teachers and will offer further professional development to help mould you as a teacher.
-Lower rates of pay for TEFL teachers. This is often enough to live on in smaller cities and towns but not a lot to make a lot of savings.
-Some of the bigger cities have higher costs of living than what the average TEFL salary can permit. There are ways to earn a supplement income (private tutoring, online lessons etc) but it’s important to consider this if you want to move to a big Spanish city.
-The famous Spanish organisation. If you have any paperwork to do (visas, residency, banking etc), budget extra time and photocopy everything three times just in case!
Teaching in Italy
Italy is another popular choice for our TEFL teachers interested in teaching in Europe. It’s no secret that Italy is everyone’s culinary fantasy. The list of possible TEFL locations is never ending here; Rome, Milan, Verona, Florence, Reggio Calabria, Naples and let’s not forget Sicily for TEFL island life!
Requirements/ preferences to teach in Italy
-a TEFL certification
-high level of English
-degree not necessary but preferred
-knowledge of Italian useful
-a beautiful country to explore! The railway system is extensive and easy to use so you can get to know the country in your free time. There’s nothing like Italian culture, history and food! As a teacher here, you get to be a part of it!
-good opportunities to supplement your income with private lessons, especially for Business English and English for international exams. This will top up your salary and make life easier in bigger cities.
-There is little work in summer, except for summer camps. August is usually holiday time for everyone and this will most likely be unpaid. If you want to continue teaching in August, you may find it difficult to generate much income.
-Sometimes you have to travel between schools or companies for full-time work. This could involve going to local schools or businesses.
Teaching in Poland
Poland may sometimes get overshadowed by Spain and Italy for TEFL teachers but it’s not a country to underestimate! There are countless reasons to look into Poland. It is a beautiful and vast country and there is a lot of transport between the big cities leaving you lots of chances to explore everywhere. Popular cities to teach in include Warsaw, Krakow, Gdańsk and Wrocław.
- A TEFL certification
- A degree is often required
- A high level of English
-Lots of language schools and opportunities for growth for TEFL teachers. There are well-known international brands based in many cities in Poland, giving you lots of opportunities for training in TEFL.
-Low cost of living and manageable with the average salary. Teachers can live quite comfortably on their wages.
-More difficult to save money with the lower salary. You will have enough to live on but to save or make any bigger purchases, this could be more difficult.
-More difficult for non-EU nationals who need to acquire a visa in order to work here
Teaching in Germany
Germany attracts a different type of clientele for teaching English, as the English teaching climate can be different here. The quality of the German education system is such that most adults leave school or university with a very good level of English and clear pronunciation. This means that there are not many opportunities for lower-level English classes, but instead, there is more demand for advanced and professional classes. Business English is a popular branch here, making Germany a great country to teaching in Europe. Bustling cities such as Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt are waiting for TEFL teachers!
-A degree in any subject
-A TEFL certification
-High English proficiency (native level)
-A higher salary compared to other TEFL-popular countries. Teachers here make considerably more than in Eastern Europe or Southern Europe.
-The opportunity to do well in the field of Business English, which can be very lucrative. A lot of teachers do classes in companies where rates of pay are higher. There is also the possibility of specialising in certain areas of Business English (Real Estate, Law etc) which could mean higher salaries.
-Well connected to other European countries to explore on weekends. There are lots of cheap flights and extensive rail and bus systems heading all over the continent.
-Most likely you will need to register as a freelancer for a position. There are few contact positions in Germany and these are coveted. Most teachers work as self-employed. While this can be advantageous, there are more administrative considerations such as having to organise to pay your own taxes-
-A lot of positions require travel around different locations. This is especially common for Business English teachers who will move around from company to company.
Teaching in the Czech Republic
The demand for TEFL teachers in the Czech Republic is growing with more people needing to learn English for their studies or work. Tourism is also popular here so many students are keen to learn. The Czech Republic is a beautiful country with interesting culture to explore. Prague is a popular choice for those lookialthough there are other cities to choose from, such as Liberac and Brno.
-A degree is often preferred
-A high level of English
-A TEFL certification
-Lots of opportunities in both public and private schools. Teachers with more experience can also work in universities.
-A wide range of areas are popular : Business English, Academic English, General English
-Cheap and extensive transport system making any supplementary work easy to manage
-Prague is becoming more and more expensive whilst TEFL salaries stay at a similar rate which can make it more difficult to live and save money in the capital.
-Hours are not always guaranteed in schools or businesses which means that full monthly wages can be unstable. This is particularly true around holiday time.
Teaching in Europe can provide a lot of opportunities in different contexts. As we’ve seen, a degree isn’t always required but a TEFL certification is a must if you want to find a job here. It’s also important to have a good level of English, equivalent to an advanced or native level. Make sure you check the country specific requirements for any further must haves for your application.
We’ve only looked at a few European countries to teach TEFL in but already we can see that there is a range of different places and cultures to get to know. There are other countries to consider too such as Hungary, Romania, Portugal and more! There is something for everyone so do your research and you will find the place for you in Europe!