Teaching English abroad is a great way to travel the world and experience new cultures, while also making a meaningful contribution to global education.
Whether you’re looking for a short-term gig or a long-term position, there are plenty of countries where you can pursue your passion for teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).
To help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the 10 best countries to teach English abroad.
From Japan to Spain, this guide covers popular and lesser-known destinations, as well as their respective ESL teaching requirements and salary expectations. So get ready to pack your bags and explore the world through teaching ESL!
If you’re looking to live in a safe, clean, and highly developed nation, you’ll feel right at home in Japan. Ranked as a top country for ESL teachers, this East Asian nation is also one of the world’s wealthiest countries.
Thanks to its growing tourism industry, a number of English-teaching job opportunities are also available in Japan. Salary-wise, depending on your experience level, you can expect to earn anywhere from ¥2,000 to ¥4,000 per hour. Ready to go?
The country’s official language is Japanese, but you don’t need to be proficient in the language to teach here. Also, make sure to get your TEFL certification before arrival, as it will make you more competitive in the job market.
2. South Korea
If you’re an aspiring ESL teacher, South Korea might just be the best place to start your teaching career.
This East Asian nation is one of the top destinations for ESL teachers worldwide, thanks to its strong economy, growing demand for English instruction, and attractive salary and benefits.
As one of the top-paying countries to teach English abroad, you can expect to earn between ₩3,000,000 and ₩5,000,000 per month. So you’re a millionaire in won! Plus, you’ll get to enjoy a number of other attractive benefits such as free housing, free flight tickets, and more.
While most employers require TEFL certification, you can also find work with a formal teaching certificate. The most popular cities to teach in South Korea are Seoul, Busan, and Daegu
This Southeast Asian country is one of the most popular destinations for English teachers from around the world. Here, you’ll find a strong demand for English instruction, especially among the younger generation.
In fact, English is the second most studied subject among Thai students. As a result, the country’s English-teaching job market is bustling with opportunities for ESL teachers.
You can earn between $1,000 and $4,000 per hour. You can even teach in a public school. But one of the best parts about teaching in Thailand is its incredible nightlife and sandy beaches.
If you love living in a buzzing metropolis and yearn to live in a culturally rich and diverse country, you’ll feel right at home in Spain.
This European country is one of the most popular destinations for English teachers worldwide.
While the bulk of the country’s English teachers is based in Madrid and Barcelona, other cities such as Cádiz, Malaga, Seville, and Santiago also offer various job opportunities for ESL teachers.
Based on the school placement, you can earn between €19 and €30 per hour. If you’re based in Europe, it might be just a stone’s throw away for you so it could be the perfect destination for you.
If you want to experience the world’s most populous country, you’ll find plenty of English-teaching job opportunities in China. This East Asian nation has been experiencing an influx of ESL teachers in recent years.
While the country’s capital city of Beijing is the most popular place for English teachers to work, other cities such as Chengdu also offer excellent living and working conditions. Depending on your experience level, you can earn between $2,000 and $4,000 per month.
Employers generally prefer English majors who possess a TEFL/TESOL certification and Bachelor’s degree. Similar to South Korea, you get tons of perks like flight reimbursements, free accommodation, and bonuses for completing a contract.
If you love the idea of living in a culturally rich country steeped in tradition, Italy is the perfect destination for you. This European country is one of the most popular destinations for English teachers worldwide.
In fact, the demand for English teachers is so high in Italy that many schools hire teachers on a continuous basis, without offering any long-term contracts or job guarantees. Depending on your experience level, you can earn between €19 and €26 per hour.
Employers generally prefer English majors who possess a TEFL/TESOL certification. Some of the other benefits of teaching English in Italy are its superb customer and the fact that you’re located in a central European country with lots of travel opportunities.
If you love the idea of living in a buzzing metropolis and yearn to live in a culturally rich and diverse country, you’ll feel right at home in Germany. Germany offers a great quality of life, with numerous cultural attractions, world-class restaurants, and beautiful scenery.
Germany has been a hot spot for ESL teachers in Europe for some time because it is a safe and welcoming country with plenty of opportunities for teachers. The cost of living in Germany can be reasonable, and housing is typically easy to find.
You’ll likely work as a freelancer in Germany so the system is a bit different than in other countries. But the demand for English teachers is so high in Germany that many schools hire teachers on a continuous basis.
If you want to experience the life of a beach bum or experience the rich culture of Mexico, you should consider teaching English in Mexico. This Latin American country is another popular destination for English teachers around the world.
Although Mexico has a lot of different English teaching jobs available, it’s most convenient for American and Canadian teachers. Any knowledge of the Spanish language is definitely an asset in Mexico.
Keep in mind that you don’t get as many benefits as teaching in East Asia. You’ll likely have to pay for your flight, accommodation, and anything else for general living expenses.
Brazil is a buzzing metropolis and a culturally rich and diverse country. This Latin American country is an emerging economy with an abundance of English teaching jobs, especially in business English.
Brazil offers a wide range of opportunities for teaching English, from private language schools to universities to international companies. Students here are generally very eager to learn English, and many are willing to pay well for good-quality instruction.
Furthermore, the cost of living in Brazil is relatively low, meaning that English teachers can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while in the country. Overall, Brazil is an excellent destination for those looking to teach English abroad.
Taiwan has a strong economy, excellent infrastructure, and vibrant culture. Additionally, the Taiwanese people are friendly and welcoming of foreign teachers. Teaching English in Taiwan can be both rewarding and challenging.
Although there is a demand for English teachers, the competition is often stiff and the cost of living can be high. Moreover, the language barrier can sometimes be an issue. However, if you are patient and willing to learn the language, then teaching English in Taiwan can be an amazing experience.
The lifestyle in Taiwan is also very attractive to many expats. There are plenty of things to see and do in the country, from visiting the bustling night markets to exploring the beautiful countryside. You can also enjoy delicious cuisine, soak up the culture, and make lifelong friends.
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