Posted on January 26, 2023 by Leo Healy
So you have your TEFL qualification and are ready to begin your first adventure. Some people know exactly where they want to go. Others are more open to seeing where life's journey might take them.
So you have your TEFL qualification and are ready to begin your first adventure. Some people know exactly where they want to go. Others are more open to seeing where life’s journey might take them. You might want to see as much of the world as possible over the coming years. Maybe you are relocating to be nearer to friends and family. If you are undecided about where to teach English as a foreign language in 2023. Here are our top 10 TEFL destinations of choice.
Thailand offers an outstanding balance of city living in places like Bangkok and more rural beauty with tropical islands lined with palm trees and beaches. The economy has become increasingly reliant on both tourism and international trade. Therefore there is an up-and-coming population of younger people who understand the importance of having good English skills to participate in the global marketplace. English teachers in Thailand will discover a good salary, and when you combine this with the lower living costs, you have plenty of spare cash to save or spend travelling. It is a great place to be based on exploring more Asia during your time off.
Finding work as an English teacher in Thailand without a bachelor’s degree is also possible. Provided you have a recognised TEFL certification. Many English teachers in Thailand also top up their income with private tutoring. Still enjoy a good work-life balance that enables them to earn enough money, still immerse themselves in the culture.
China has a massive demand for English language teachers, and there are over 1 billion citizens, so it’s easy to see why. It is a trendy TEFL destination for those looking to begin an adventure as an English teacher abroad. I know the salary you will attract tends to be lower than you might expect in your home country; the cost of living is also low, so it evens itself out, and you will still have enough money to finance your time there. It is common for jobs to come with extra perks, such as housing costs and flights. This will bring down the amount you need to spend, leaving you with more.
You are expected to have a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification if you apply for jobs in China and have English as your native language. It costs between $380-$1000 a month to live, and the wages tend to be between $1200 add $3500. So you can see that the maths works pretty well. It is a fast-paced and fascinating country to explore. There are lots of different religions and cultural experiences for you to immerse yourself in during your time as an English teacher in China.
Cambodia is an excellent destination for many people looking to teach English abroad. They welcome older teachers even if they do not have much experience. They did not require a bachelor’s degree for most positions. Provided you can demonstrate a good standard of English speaking; it does not need to be your native tongue. You do, however, require a recognised TEFL certification.
Cambodia has a meagre cost of living and is swamped with natural beauty, a rich cultural history and many stunning islands right for exploration. It is not as developed economically as some Asian nations. Still, there is plenty of growth in the tourism industry, and the arrival of the Internet has created a genuine interest in learning English. So if this is your first gig abroad, teaching English in Cambodia is worth a look. Also worth your time if you are in the country is Angkor Wat, which is an ancient temple city and spectacular.
If you have high-end qualifications and plenty of experience, you could land a lucrative gig teaching English in the United Arab Emirates. Because the jobs are so worthwhile, the competition will be fierce. Still, if you have a Masters’s degree, experience in the classroom and a recognised TEFL qualification, you should certainly add yourself to the mix. International schools offer the best remuneration packages, and the number of foreigners living in the country far outweighs the locals.
It is also a family-orientated country; if you want to take your spouse and children with you, they will be welcomed with open arms. English has become the unofficial second language, meaning a massive, lucrative English language teaching market exists. You will find work in one of the larger cities, such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or Sharjah. As well as your primary salary, some very comfy extras are added to the contracts, including subsidised accommodation, flights and more. Teaching English as a foreign language in the United Arab Emirates is such a worthwhile gig that many English teachers extend their contracts and stay for the longer term.
South Korea offers visitors a fantastic quality of life. It is very well developed, and the economy is good. There are plenty of opportunities for those who wish to teach English abroad in South Korea, including private teaching placements and state school placements via the government. They are also super generous regarding compensation and remuneration packages, with accommodation and airfare included for free. Not having to worry about where you live is pretty impressive. You will certainly have more money left over if you’re not paying rent.
It’s an excellent base for exploring Asia, and the salaries are outstanding. You can afford a good standard of living and even finish your job with money in the bank. The only downside is that South Korea is geographically isolated, and it could be hard to fit in if you don’t have Korean language skills. However, if you can overcome these barriers, it is a gorgeous location, and there is plenty to explore as you immerse yourself in this culture.
Known as the land of the rising Sun, Japan is relatively small compared to China and other areas in Asia and has a population of just over 126 million now. It has a wealth of booming businesses and a growing economy because they are taking place more in the international markets. Therefore children and those working in the tourist or import/export trades must have good English skills, so the demand for TEFL teachers is high. Japan has a relatively high cost of living, but your salary for being an English teacher is also very reasonable. For example, if you and ¥250,000, you will find you need to spend about ¥144,000 on living expenses. So as you can see, there is quite a lot left over.
Qualification requirements in Japan do vary, but you may be able to find work if you don’t have a degree, provided you have a recognised TEFL qualification. If you enjoy working with adult learners, language schools will be your best bet, and courses tend to take place in the evenings and weekends to accommodate people who work during the week,
Vibrant and steeped in culture, Spain is another exciting destination with many city and rural locations to explore. In the cities, you will find lively nightlife and plenty of mountains and beaches to explore. Obtaining a role teaching English abroad in a European country is much easier if you are an EU citizen, but don’t despair if you aren’t, as there is help available. Spanish is one of the top three languages spoken worldwide, so not only do you get the chance to impart your English knowledge, you can learn some Spanish while you are there.
The working day tends to be relatively short, but you should be able to earn €1000 a month. If you find this is not enough to live on, there are other ways to make money through various side gigs, including private tutoring. Having a bachelor’s degree is not mandatory, but many employers will be looking for such. So if you have a degree, so much the better. You must have a recognised TEFL qualification.
Heading to South America, Brazil is an excellent destination for TEFL teachers abroad. A warm welcome awaits you, and the Brazilian people are friendly and like to include newcomers. The jobs will be limited to the private sector as no public school teaches foreign teachers. However, there are lots of opportunities in language schools and private schools, as well as tutoring on a personal basis. There are opportunities available in bigger cities such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and more rural locations.
Portuguese is the national language, so it will help you learn some basics if you head there. Brazil is famous for its football and soccer following, with as many matches as possible screened everywhere. Perhaps the only downside of teaching English as a foreign language in Brazil is the ability to obtain a Visa. It can be pretty challenging, but if you stick with it, you will work your way through. Brazil has a fascinating and lively culture, with plenty to see and do.
It is easiest to find work in France if you happen to be an EU national; however, do not despair if you do not come from a European country. France is a beautiful country, and Paris is one of the most famous capital cities in the world. It is renowned for its street Cafes, wine production, and cheese. If you come from America and happen to be aged 20 to 35. You can apply for the Teaching Assistant Program in France, perhaps the most straightforward way to begin your TEFL journey.
There is little doubt that France is a very appealing country, so certainly worth looking into. You will need to have your bachelor’s degree to teach English in France and, of course, a recognised TEFL certification. The wages are not the best, and jobs don’t tend to come with accommodation. So you might find house-sharing the way to go. Maximum salaries tend to be €2000 a month, and the cost of living can range up to €2100 a month, so you may need to look for additional ways to create income.
Morocco is best known for its stunning bazaars lining the streets of Marrakesh. They are a riot of colour and something you should experience at least once in your life. Another country that has seen an increased tourist trade means Morocco is also looking for more English teachers. This means it is being promoted in schools as the country modernises the education system. But is also taught in language schools to adults working in various sectors. Morocco is described as a clash of North African, Arabic and European influences, and it’s a fascinating place to live.
Another great reason to teach English as a foreign language in Morocco is the stunning weather that lasts all year. It’s an excellent base for exploring Europe and North Africa in your time off. Morocco is quite conservative, and there is a strong Islamic influence in the government and everyday society. However, don’t let that put you off, as it is still a fascinating place to live in work.