26 Aug 13 Great Countries Around the World to Teach English as a Foreign Language
Now that English is effectively the common language across the globe, there is a high demand for teachers. That means if you’re a native speaker and have the right training, finding a job teaching English as a foreign language can be relatively easy. Since there are so many places to choose from when applying for English teaching jobs, here are 13 great countries to teach English across Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and some tips to get you started.
With a pleasant climate for most of the year, Spain is a very desirable country to work in and the quality of life for expats is good. There are also ample job opportunities since so many people want to learn English. In general, salaries range from €800 to €1100 per month, but the cost of living in Spain is quite low, meaning if you are frugal you could save a third of your income. Working for a private language school, you will have most of your day free, as lessons only take place in the late afternoon and early evening. Spain is also one of the most gay-friendly countries so it’s a great option for LGBT+ teachers as well.
In Italy, the best approach to finding a job is to be on the ground already, handing out CVs at language schools in person. As in Spain, don’t expect a very high salary, but outside the major cities, the cost of living is very reasonable. This means you can live well and have a little extra to travel during school holidays.
The quality of life in Austria is extremely high compared to its neighboring countries, yet it is still not a terribly expensive place to live. Jobs for teachers of English as a foreign language can be hard to come by, but those that exist are well paid. It is standard to receive 14 payments per year in Austria if you are on a full time contract, meaning you get a double salary twice a year, in summer and winter.
Offering the largest proportion of jobs to teach business English, France is an excellent option for more experienced teachers wanting to earn a bit more than in other European countries. Most jobs in France require at least a couple of years of experience and allow the teacher more flexibility by contracting them out to work directly in companies rather than at a school. You can expect to earn upwards of €2000 a month in France if you have relevant experience.
In Germany, it is common for native English-speaking expats to go the freelance route and find students to work with on a one-to-one basis, rather than working as an employee at a school. One important thing to consider if you decide to do this is the compulsory health insurance in Germany, which can be expensive for freelancers. Despite that, teaching English in Germany can be a rewarding experience and indeed there are plenty of students looking for private native teachers as Germans do not generally speak such good English as you might imagine, especially outside the large cities.
If you’re looking into teaching English in Brazil, the most important thing to remember is that you’re doing it for the cultural experience, to see the attractions of Brazil by living there, and not the money. The quality of English is extremely poor in Brazil and many people still don’t see the importance of a native speaker teaching, so the salaries are usually just enough to enjoy going out on the weekend and live month to month. You don’t need to be a native speaker, and definitely don’t need a TEFL certificate, but if you have a college degree and experience in an English speaking country, you’ll have more power to negotiate your salary. You’ll probably need to work at two schools to get enough hours, and don’t expect to work more than 25-30 hours a week.
Teaching English in Panama can be challenging, rewarding, and at times, a little frustrating. If you’re looking to teach in this tropical playground, you’ll need to bring lots of patience. Most English teaching work here is found through ‘word of mouth’ or by going door to door – few jobs are advertised online (however this is slowly changing). You can expect to find a part time job fairly easily in one of the many language schools, and private (freelance) classes are plentiful, and usually at the student’s home or business. To land a job, the minimum you’ll need is to be a native English speaker. Having a degree or TEFL/TESOL/CELTA is an added bonus. Due to the cost of living and salary, expect to live comfortably and ‘break even’, as opposed to saving big bucks.
The English teaching job you get in Mexico will depend upon your experience and qualifications. Due to an abundance of good English teachers – both foreign and Mexican – simply being a native speaker isn’t enough for most teaching jobs. For better jobs at English schools or universities, a bachelor’s (or master’s) degree is necessary. A TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate helps, but previous teaching experience is much more important. Consider doing your teacher training course in Mexico. Afterwards you can probably get a job at the English school where you took the course. The Anglo, for example, offers a training course and can be found all over Mexico. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish. Although it’s a big help for living and traveling in Mexico, most school directors speak English, and you won’t need Spanish to teach. Never using the students’ native language is a basic teaching technique anyway.
Teaching in Argentina means getting a job in Buenos Aires. There are other places like Rosario or Cordoba, but a third of the country’s population live in the capital and work is concentrated there. Argentine state schools have relatively good English teaching and a high proportion of English language speakers generally. As a result, EFL teaching tends to be with adults, in the company and with a relatively small proportion of beginners. This also means that competition is high due to the large number of natives teaching English. With this in mind, it is relatively easy to find enough work to make ends meet in ‘Capital’. However, don’t expect to get rich either. For example, your wages might allow you to travel within South America but you would have to work very hard to pay for a flight to North America or Europe. The quality of life is excellent on the other hand and you will find that you have plenty of free time to enjoy the city and the welcoming residents.
Moving to the Land of Dragons to teach English might not only be an amazing cultural experience, but also a great source of income as you can save up to $18,000 a year when working full-time and traveling part-time in China. Finding a teaching job in China is not difficult, even if you are not a native speaker of English. What is much harder though, is getting legal permission to teach there, for which you must obtain a working (Z) visa. It’s best to apply for your visa before your arrival because it takes weeks to sort it out in China and it is much quicker to do it in your home country. If you secure your job before getting to China, you will avoid the stress of having to find a job after arriving. Moreover, that can save you a lot of money as you will not have to spend money on accommodation while looking for a job in China and your employer may purchase your inbound flight ticket in advance if that’s one of your contract benefits.
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Hong Kong is a great place to teach English as the wages and quality of living are high yet the cost of living (excluding rent) is low. You’ll have most of the comforts of home and most people will speak basic English. Legally, you’ll need to secure a job before arrival, but there is often a high demand for teachers, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one. Unless you’re a qualified teacher, you’ll most likely get a job at a government school, a language center, or as a freelance tutor. At a minimum, you’ll need a TEFL certificate and a bachelor’s degree in any subject. When negotiating salaries remember to take into consideration that rent is generally around $5,000-$8,000 HKD per month for a small flat. As an English teacher, try not to accept anything lower than a salary of $20,000 HKD monthly.
Teaching English in Taiwan is becoming more and more popular as people discover just how lucrative the job can be (and how awesome living in Taiwan is). Unfortunately, that also means that competition is increasing all the time. While it used to be possible to arrive in Taiwan and find a job on the spot, that’s becoming more and more difficult—especially if you aren’t conversational in Mandarin Chinese and qualified to teach. You should secure an English teaching job prior to your arrival in the country, especially if you want to teach in the bustling capital city of Taipei. There are plenty of chain schools that will hire you while you are still in your native country even if you don’t have any sort of TESOL certificate, though keep in mind that these won’t be the highest paying jobs.
If you’re planning to teach English in South Korea, consider what type of setting you’d prefer: city living or countryside setting? What many new teachers may not know is that rural locations often offer an additional stipend to woo candidates to remote locations. If you’re looking to save a lot of money while working as a teacher, you may want to consider a smaller town.
Cities like Seoul and Busan may sound much more alluring, however, there are also many advantages to teaching in a rural setting. Small town life will mean that you have a more authentic Korean experience and you’ll likely learn more Korean than you would in the city. Plus, with Korea’s extensive rail network, you’re never too far from the big city and you can easily take weekend trips to various parts of the country.
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Have you taught English abroad? Where do you think is the best country to teach, and what is your best advice for someone to get a job teaching English there?