The 10 Best Places to Teach English Abroad

Ever thought about teaching abroad? Read on about the top ten places to do it and start planning your big adventure!

The list of reasons to teach abroad is endless. It’s a great way to get to know a culture up close and over a longer amount of time, to give back, make some money, gain work experience, and so on. The hard part is deciding where you want to do it!

Our list of the most popular places to teach abroad is here to give you some insight into what you can find where.

1. South Korea


Why South Korea: Teaching opportunities are abundant, salaries are high (especially compared to the cost of living outside of big cities), and many positions include big perks like paid airfare or free housing.
Popular Spots: You can find wealthier private schools in the suburbs of Seoul.
Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree.
Look out for: It’s important to have a well-negotiated contract with a reputable institution so as not to find yourself in for more than you bargained with no ticket home.
The Life: Rules of cultural and social etiquette can be difficult for a foreigner to navigate, but it is relatively easy to befriend fellow teachers and get to know the country with other young people looking for adventure.
Tip: Don’t blow your nose loudly and publicly.

2. Czech Republic



Why the Czech Republic: None of the hassle of obtaining an EU visa applies.
Popular Spots: Prague is the Paris of the 90’s, but consider teaching in a smaller town to avoid being treated as a tourist and to get to know the culture better.
Requirements: TEFL course certificates
The life: Employers may offer inexpensive language courses or find you accommodation with a local family. Beer is cheap.
Look out for: You won’t put away the kind of cash you might in Asian or Middle Eastern Countries. And winters are cold.
Tip: Salaries in Prague can be up to twice has high, but so is the cost of living.

3. Thailand



Why Thailand: Close your eyes and imagine paradise. You’re probably picturing Thailand.
Popular Spots: Chiang Mai, Ban Phe
Requirements: Bacherlor’s Degree, but TESL certification can lead to higher paying jobs.
The life: I said paradise.
Look out for: Low wages – which are often lower for women.
Tip: Don’t show up to teach dressed as if you’re on vacation – a neat appearance is important.

4. Japan



Why Japan: A variety of programs, safe travel, and a respected position.
Popular Spots: Large schools have branches in Tokyo and in many other cities. Through other programs like the Jet Program, it is possible to live in more rural communities and work more closely with your students.
Requirements: A BA. TEFL not required.
The Life: Start warming those vocal chords and brushing up on your sing along skills…
Look out for: Wages sound good, but the cost of living is high.
Tip: If you plan to arrive and then search for a job, be aware that the school year begins in April.

5. Saudi Arabia


Why Saudi Arabia: $$ (English Teaching salaries are rumored to reach 75,000 dollars.)
Popular Spots: It is possible to find posts in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam through the British Council
Requirements: Teaching experience
The Life: It’s a quiet one.
Look out for: Ask the U.S. State Department about this!
Tip: Women should be aware that most positions are available only to men.

6. China


Why China: There are a whole lot of people in China, and a lot of them want to learn English. Teachers are in high demand, which means competitive salaries and interesting perks.
Popular Spots: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are the largest international cities. For a more “authentic” experience, try Rizhao, Guilin, or Nanjing.
Requirements: Depends on location, but private schools tend to be more lenient.
The Life: The difference between big cities and the countryside is astounding, but an emphasis on family and community is everywhere.
Look out for: You might want to print this article before you get there… who knows what you’ll be able to access via internet.
Tip: Enlist help to take care of your basic needs, like finding an apartment.

7. Mexico



Why Mexico: The largest number of available English teaching jobs in Central and South America.
Popular Spots: Veracruz, Oaxaca, Pachuca
Requirements: TEFL or CELTA certification required.
The Life: Sun and Sights. Not to mention the Latin American gusto.
Look out for: Beaurocratic headaches.
Tip: Don’t be insulted if you’re referred to by a physical characteristic.

8. France

France (338 x 450)

Eustaquio Santimano

Why France: France ranks #1 for quality of life time after time.  And the French Ministry of Education and French Embassy’s “American Assistants in France” makes getting a visa easy.
Popular Spots: Wine lovers should try Burgundy or the Midi region, and both Provence and the Côte D’Azur have large international communities.
Requirements: TEFL certification is a must, as is basic proficiency in the French language.
The Life: Fashionable, intellectual, and delectable.
Look out for: Pickpockets in the Metro (if you’re in France).
Tip: Learning some French is key if you want to be taken seriously, and NEVER ask for ketchup.

9. Brazil


Why Brazil: Larger cities like Rio are international destinations with a high demand for English speakers.
Popular Spots: Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, São Paulo
Requirements: A BA is recommended, and many schools require in-house training.
The Life: Put on your dancing shoes!
Look out for: Work visas are not easy to come by.
Tip: I wouldn’t wear an Argentinean soccer jersey.

10. Russia



Why Russia: The idea that English is the ticket to a better job has led to a huge demand for teachers.
Popular Spots: There are many opportunities in Moscow , Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok, Samara, and Tver, but the list does not end there.
Requirements: The ability to read this post.
The Life: Sometimes requires a good sense of humor.
Look out for: Many schools have a bad reputation when it comes to payment.
Tip: If you can make arrangements in Russian, private lessons can be quite profitable.

Have you taught abroad? Let us know where you taught and how it was in the comments below!

If you liked this, you might also like 25 Signs That You’re a True Citizen of the World.

185 thoughts on “The 10 Best Places to Teach English Abroad”

  1. My experience involved teaching in American International Schools, located around the world. I taught in Paris for 4-years, Portugal for 3-years and Peru for 1-year. These were the best years of my life. Each vacation was spent traveling throughout Europe and South America. During the school year, I worked hard and loved the challenges.

    If anyone is interested in learning more about it, feel free to respond.

  2. What?! Taiwan didn’t make the list? I object.

    But seriously, nice post with some helpful tips. There are just so many great places to teach English abroad that it can be hard to pick just 10.

  3. I’m with GO! Overseas on this one. Taiwan is one of the highest paying countries for ESL teachers, jobs are plentiful, and the cost of living is low.

  4. Sandra:
    I would love to know more about your experiences! I am thinking of doing this for a year, basically as a way to get away before I have to get “serious” about my career. I want to do it while I’m still in my 20’s, single, and without children.


  5. I taught in the Czech Republic for more than a year. It was wonderful. Stable jobs were not easy to come by, but the life and people are great. Smaller towns and cities are definitely nice, but there are plenty of expats filling jobs there nowadays. Decent work generally goes to the experienced and talented.

  6. Sandra:

    Please do share more. I will be graduating from university in a year and hope to do something like this. I believe it will be very meaningful to be able to teach in various countries .


    why do u say so?

  7. Sandra,

    I also would like to hear more about your experiences. I am looking to get the process started for teaching abroad. Please email me if you have the time!

    I appreciate it!

    Thank you. :)

  8. Sandra:

    I would love some more information about teaching English abroad. I am currently in the process of figuring out how to tackle the infinite number of opportunities out there. I’m with Kim – ready to do some serious living abroad before settling down! Feel free to e-mail me at!


  9. There are many Korean English teaching companies here in the Philippines, since Korea is only 1 hour time difference and online study is popular, although there are also many offline opportunities during the summer and winter vacation periods especially.

    For native speakers expect a salary of around 25K-40K pesos. If looking to teach privately in condominums or similar probably around 300-500 per hour, depending on teaching experience. Those working with Korean companies should expect Korean company rules such as Korean holidays only (trust me there aren’t many the biggest is probably Chuseok (harvest festival), which is September, lack of paid vacation and the possibility of long hours.

  10. Great post, but one correction. Czech Republic is now part of the Schengen zone and does require an EU visa. I had a lot of trouble with this last September, after I was TEFL certified there and wished to stay and teach. Because it is new law, a lot of employers are either unwilling or unable to help with the visa process. Hopefully, with time it will become easier. I’m now teaching in South Korea, which is outstanding in terms of pay, benefits and experience. Seoul is a wonderful, vibrant city. I encourage anyone considering teaching abroad to go for it!

  11. I am not surprised to see that Italy did not make the list!

    Of course, I’m bitter because I had one bad experience. I am not ready to let that get in the way of my TEFL future. I just need to take some more precautions next time.

    That said, this post is informative, it cemented some of what I have heard already and set me up for thinking about my next TEFL experience.

    Unfortunately, I’m jealous of those of you who were able to use this experience as you ticket to travel around other regions. I’m more broke now then when I got here with no job :(. It is killing me to think I might have to leave Italy without thorough explorations of Italy and the rest of Europe!

    My best advice; find a company that either sponsors you for a work permit or doesn’t care if you have a visa. They are not worth the hassle for a company that is just going to treat you poorly after.

    Also, ALWAYS stand up for yourself, don’t let a company assume that just because you are a traveler they can walk all over you!!

    Happy teaching :)

  12. This article was great until i saw that thing about france.

    How is it that you can’t ask for ketchup in France ? 95% ( and im beeing nice) of people in France eat ketchup, wether it’s with fries or something else…

    So yeah, when I read that, then I completly lose trust about the rest of the article.

  13. Glad to see South Korea at #1. I’m sitting at my desk in SK right now, students running by, and loving life, the pay checks, and cheap cost of living.

    It’s a great set up! Questions? or send me an email.

  14. Great advice!! I have travelled abroad before when in college some 15 years ago and have been teaching Elementary for 10 years. Now I have a husband, and daughter and was wondering how teaching abroad would be for me now. I am especially interested in any teachers who are African-American as this will surely come into play as an ESL teacher teaching abroad. Any advice or suggestions to steer me in the right direction? Send me an email:

  15. wow! What fun! I taught in English in Japan and in Taiwan over 20 years ago. I would do it again and may once my children are all grown up. There are so many possibilities out there. Thank you for the inspiration. I must say, when I taught in Taiwan, it was very enjoyable and there were many places looking for teachers. The only drawback was converting your money when you wanted to leave the country. Luckily there are just so many helpful people in that country that it all worked out fine. It is a fantastic place to hitchhike as well and so beautiful outside of Taipei. I highly recommend checking it out!

  16. I was so mesmerized by the superb photos that I almost forgot to read what it was all about. Great tips. I can’t add any tips since my English is not good enough to teach:)

  17. “never ask for ketchup” where in hell do you get that ?! french people eat as much ketchup as americans can we stop with the stereotyping

  18. Hi Katie!
    Thanks for a great post.
    Your post seems targeted at young people, still unmarried, who want to teach English in order to finance a little adventure before they get “serious”. I wonder if your ranking would change if the target audience were professional teachers with Master’s degrees in TESOL or teaching qualifications in their home countries, or I wonder what your rankings would be if you considered people who had limited qualifications but who wanted to increase their qualifications. Perhaps Japan would rank higher then, because it is still possible to get a job with just a BA, and Temple University and Columbia University offer Masters programmes to working teachers. Japan is definitely a good choice if you want to earn a decent living while getting qualified for a career in TESOL.

  19. To all of the people who have a problem with this post because the author recommended not asking for ketchup in France. I just want to say that I have LIVED in France and although SOME people eat ketchup and it is available, they have a stereotype of Americans as dumping cups full of ketchup on EVERYTHING. She was making a point to suggest that we avoid the stereotype. Some might eat fries with ketchup, but from what I saw they were much bigger fans of mustard or mayonnaise on their fries (I know… mustard… eww….)

  20. SANDRA! i would love to know more about your experiences! my boyfriend and i are looking to teach internationally and need advice on where to teach and how to continue teaching in a variety of different countries. If you have time to give me some advice and resources i’d appreciate it! thanks

  21. I’ve taught in Prague for three years and ever since the Czech Republic joined Shengen in January of 2008, you *definitely* have to get an EU visa to teach there. It’s not difficult to obtain — a lot of schools will pay for them (in exchange for a guaranteed year contract) or help you get them — but they are a pain to get ahold of. It’s a lot of having to go down to Vienna to get things stamped and doctor visits and whatnot. But living in Prague makes it worth it. It’s an amazing city.

    As an aside: don’t be fooled by the whole “winters are cold” thing. They’re no colder than anywhere else in this climate. It can get down to -10C (about 20F), but not really much worse than that. Winters in my native Toronto are colder.

  22. After Chinabounder’s case, English language teachers in China got very negative stigma of losers who come to a foreign country for a buck and bang.

  23. This top ten list is way way off in my opinion. I have been in Asia for 7 years and have been all over and know people teaching esl in pretty much every country in Asia. I can tell you first hand Taiwan is the best place to teach for pay, quality of life, friendliness of the locals, convenience and proximity to great travel destinations.

    Korean people and culture are far ruder and racist then any ive met in Asia, with restaurants and taxi’s that would serve you or pick you up if you are not Korean.
    Never heard of this in TW, in fact foreigners are often given deals and treated as special guests when out and about especially in parts with less foreigners around.

    Japan is very expensive and few people speak English or care to, there is little English on restaurant menu and around the city (Osaka). Most things are expensive and there is no special treatment toward foreigners there, but the people are nice, or just ignore you for the most part.
    In Taiwan you can get by in Taipei city with little to no Chinese and people love to practice there English. The Taiwanese are the friendliest and most helpful people I have ever known. People really go out of there way to help you in TW.

    Thailand is great for travel and culture but you wont earn a lot of money there. You can forget about saving lots of cash. You get paid enough to live off of and save a tiny bit if you are careful and can resist the urge to travel when there, as there is so much to see.
    In TW I can live an a lavish apartment, have a house keeper, a scooter, travel twice a year to other countries, and eat where I want and do what I want and still save around 1000USD a month. And all this with working a 30 hour work week.

    In China it is very similar to Taiwan but the people are not as friendly, less English is used, the cities are more polluted and dirty, but the pay is pretty much the same. You also have to deal with communist restriction on internet use, and various other things that the democratic country of Taiwan does not enforce.

    Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are all also very poor, leaving you with not much cash but an adventure im sure.

    Taiwan is number one all around without a doubt!

    Thats my opinion and advice, take it or leave it….

  24. David,

    I am very interested in Taiwan. Will you post your emil address so that I can ask you some questions? Thanks so much.


  25. I’ve already graduated college in 07, and I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that I really want to do career wise. I love travel, learning and language/cultures so I thought teaching English abroad would be a great way to experience all of this.

    I too have done lots of reading and asking people about where the best places to teach are. Its quite confusing though hearing some people giving rave reviews to some place (ex. S. Korea) while others totally lambast it. I’ve considered Taiwan and I would love to get more detailed info about not only teaching there, but real every day life.

    I’d also like more info on places like Vietnam and Saudi Arabia (which is not a place that I’ve thought about for many reasons, but I’ve heard that it can be extremely lucrative). I’d really appreciate any/all inside info.

  26. Excellent idea especially helpful for those looking for new ideas and places to teach English. I guess it depends on what you are looking for in your teaching experience, new cultures, travel, money…. There could be a top 10 for several categories.

  27. I am about to graduate and i love to travel. I have thought about teaching English, but i have a problem. My spelling sucks…. It is really really bad. I can edit my papers really well, but if some one asks me to spell something, i am a bit in trouble.

    This might be a stupid question but how much does this matter when teaching abroad? Also, how would this affect taking a TEFL course?

  28. Peculiar list. Perhaps these are just the most common countries?

    Vietnam should be top on any list of best countries for teaching English. Huge demand, high salaries, and super low cost of living compared to any of the countries above. You can easily find a job, drink boatloads of cheap beer, and stock away plenty of savings every month.

    In Vietnam, you can live in the major cities, not the sticks. Yet not deal with high crime, kidnappings, terrorism, etc. like in many of the listed countries.

  29. Does anybody know anything about Italy or would care to tell me about your experiences, I am thinking about teaching there since I already speak the language and its relevant to my field of study, Art History. Thanks!

  30. I would also like to know more about teaching in France. If anyone knows anything about this please feel free to email me at I am wondering about childcare services, good legitimate websites and contacts etc. This sounds amazing!

  31. This is a well written and researched article and I really like it. The reasons one might have in teaching english abroad might differ but it is a very rewarding and fulfilling. It’s something new and different but it is also worth it.

    Thanks for the tips! If you have a chance, come visit me back.

  32. Hi, :D
    I’m considering teaching English abroad, I’m not sure where yet. I am barely receiving my Associates in Arts, was considering Japan, but apparently can’t without a B.A.:(
    I would though, REALLY appreciate anyone’s input on where you have received your certification. I’m a little weary of the fast track programs I’ve been running to online,( you know the ones that promise you your cert. in 6 days for an arm and a leg lol). So please if you can email me at with any information.

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. I am internested in learning about your teaching experiences internationally and how you went about getting these positions

  34. I am very interested in teaching English overseas. I have a BA in business marketing and 5 years tutoring experience. I would really like some information how to find the jobs and if needed certification.


  35. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Italy. I’ve been teaching English in Italy for nearly seven years, and while I must say salaries aren’t generous, the culture and history one absorbs via “full immersion” here more than make up for it.

  36. France does not require a TEFL for teaching assistants. The process is handled officially through French embassies.
    Umm.. It’s spelled Burgundy. And there’s also the Bordeaux region for wine, as it the Rhone Valley and the Languedoc.

  37. My guess as for why Taiwan wasn’t listed is the commonly held belief that Taiwan=China.

    It’s just as well; perhaps its exlusion from the list will limit the job competition for those of us who’ve discovered the benefits of earning a good living while learning Chinese and living among the friendly Taiwanese people.

  38. Hi,
    I am soon graduating and recieving my B.A and I have been reaserching alot on the best place to go and teach english. I am chinese and have heard rumoured they prefer to hire cocasion people is this rumour true? I was also debating between Taiwan and Japan and was wondering anyone who has went, if they are able to give me some details about where they got their tesl. There is a course offered at a university near me but the cost is $1000 CAD, i’m not sure if this is the average cost of these courses so any information would be helpful to me. Please email me at

  39. I too would like to jump on the Taiwan bandwagon. I’ve lived here for over six years and although the life is getting a little old and I’d like to return home, I have to say it’s not something I regret doing. The main difference between Japan, Taiwan, and S. Korea as far as I can see is the pay/expense ratio. Living costs in Taiwan are much cheaper than the other two countries, and you have a lot of choice as to the kind of life you want to lead. Taipei has plenty of nightlife and is an international destination when bands are touring – the Cirque du Soleil is here at the moment. There are also smaller, quieter cities if you prefer to be a bit more out of the way. Personally, I’ve only been to Taipei a dozen or so times since arriving; Hsinchu City has pretty much everything I need, including restaurants that serve food from around the world.

    Travel throughout Asia is easy to do from Taiwan, and teaching jobs are fairly easy to come by. Getting a decent school is harder and can take time, but companies such as Hess and Shane recruit from abroad.

    To answer the question about race, I’m sorry to say that schools do prefer white teachers. If you happen to come from an English speaking country but are of Asian decent, you’ll have to work hard to convince the school to take you and pay you the wages you deserve. To be fair, however, I have met black teachers here and they seem happy in the jobs they’ve found.

  40. I am planning on teaching English abroad within the next year. Ideally I would like to go to Italy to get TEFL certified and ultimately teach there as well. I have heard that it is hard to get hired in Italy as unemployment is high and the first to be hired are Italians and EU citizens. Therefore, I have also been thinking about South America. Either place would be great. Im trying to figure out where the best place is to teach, where I would get the most opportunity and have an amazing time as well. Any thoughts, experiences, or ideas? Oh, and I have a B.A. in Sociology and am certified in Elementary Education with 2 years teaching experience (substitute teacher). Email me if you have any suggestions or comments! Thanks! :)

  41. I just finished reading all the comments and am still trying to decide on the best country to start my teaching career in.Initially i was attracted to Thailand but have now been swayed with the idea of maybe teaching in Taiwan.
    I’m a 40 something single fella,no kids,no wife,no bills who’s just fed up with everyday boring life in the rat race here and decided that teaching english would be a great way to expand my so far limited horizons.
    Any pointers on the best places to teach in Taiwan are,the average cost of living prices and the type of teaching schedule you are expected to fulfill would be greatly appreciated.
    Anybody have any bad experiences or things to watch out for being a noobie going to another country?
    I’m looking forward to starting the second half of my life and would appreciate any help i can get to make it a much easier transition from boredom to wonderment!
    Thank you all and look forward to hearing from you.

  42. Hello,

    I have been thinking about possibly teaching overseas…..I recently graduated with my B.ED. I enjoyed the list as well as many of the comments, but my biggest question is…..where is the best and safest place to teach with a child? I have a 5 year old daughter…..who will be in grade one next fall….so if I become serious about this decision…I need to make sure it is safe. You know, without all the kidnappings….. terrorism…etc….and where she can enjoy her education as well.

    If anyone has any ideas…please email me at

    Thanks! :)

  43. I may be of the minority but having teaching experience in both South Korea and Taiwan, I highly prefer South Korea but YMMV. Those that say its cheaper to live in Taiwan are not taking all costs into account when comparing both countries. Day to day eating costs for example are cheaper in Taiwan but thats about as far as it goes. A beer, nearly same price in both (5,000w vs 150nt) Taiwan you are paying airfare to and from, paying your own rent, taxed at 20% (going to 6% after first 6 months) vs 3.5% in Korea. Buying a scooter in Taiwan (you won’t want to be in taiwan without unless in Taipei). Severance pay and pension tack on another 4,000USD to Korea. Food imo was better in Korea. The natives are more friendly towards expats in Taiwan, I will give them that. Not that Koreans are unfriendly, just more indifferent. Any questions?

  44. Great comments everyone! Well I have been teaching English in Vietnam and it is just brilliant! Living in Hanoi is alright but Saigon is better for sure. The communist stuff is definitely felt more in the north and the people are not as friendly, but the north is plentiful with jobs. The southerners pride themselves in being nicer than the northerners- lets just put it that way. I was thinking of teaching in Thailand but was just there last week and it was ALL TOURISTS. The tourists outnumbered the locals by about 10 to 1 which was disappointing but I guess its to be expected by such a touristy place. You make good money in Vietnam too, well alright money- Ive never taught before and Im making $1,200 bucks a month and living for cheap. I would definitely check out Vietnam if I were you, good fun. Easy too, I just showed up in Vietnam, put my name on a website and got a job within 24 hours. Good food, great sights & less touristy than Thailand. Just remember to get a 3 month B3 visa (which you can get extended), don’t fall for the work permit that costs over a thousand dollars (it’s not needed). Good luck!

  45. I was thinking about going overseas to teach. I am researching South Korea, Abu Dhabi, Brunei, and the United Kingdom. I am just concerned about how I would be treated and about my safety. I am a single 25 year old African American woman. I have a MS in Education and about 3 years of teaching experience. What can I expect? Thank you in advance for your helpful replies.

  46. Wow, very concise information here. I’ve been a teacher in Canada for seven years and it’s time to take off for a year. I have NO IDEA where I should go. I have heard that it can be hard being female in Korea, in terms equality. I have spent enough time in Paris, so I’d like some where a bit different. I have a house in Canada I will have to rent out, so although I would like to come back with money, I’m not looking for coin as my primary objective, but rather a life experience. There are a lot of organizations and researching has become very overwhelming. If anyone could point me in the right direction, I would be grateful.

  47. I’m based in Chiang Mai and the level of English in northern Thailand is abysmal. While I love Thailand and the Thai people and culture dearly, I now firmly believe that a lack of English will hold Thailand back in this age of global competitiveness.

    So, please, any English teachers out there, DO come to Thailand. Chiang Mai is a fabulously interesting city, and a gateway to so much interesting stuff in northern Thailand and IndoChina (which you can check out on my Thailand Jing Jing blog)

  48. I would love to teach english overseas, i have done tons of research, but i was hoping you could help broaden my research with any websites to help find jobs, or tefl course that are reliable?

  49. This comment is for D…I am also African American, and wonder how much preference is given to applicants who are of European decent (Caucasian). I am hoping for an opprotunity to teach in a different country, regardless of my ethnic background. I have a friend who has a co worker who is currently teaching in the middle east, and she loves it. She was teaching in the Atlanta Public School System, and seems to be enjoying the change. I’m looking into the program she is currently doing, so if you want so info about that, or just someone to go through this process with free to e mail me at

    Also anyone else who has any advice or recommendations for me feel free to respond as well. I am interested in going somewhere in Europe, Spain would be nice because I would like to learn Spanish also….or I would also like to teach maybe in Africa…but there is not a lot of information about teaching there that I have come across.

    I dont have the TESL certification, but I am a certified teacher, have taught for 10 years, and have a Montessori and reading endorsement. does anyone know if I need the special certification or will I be ok with what I have.

    Thanks :)

  50. I was sorry not to see Italy posted above. There are many positions for teachers who would like to teach English in Italy, especially in its southern regions. They are government /EU funded, temporary contracts, so teachers who love to work and travel are not “locked in” to a job in one country. It’s a good destination for ESL teachers abroad.

  51. Hi, I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction, I would love to go and teach english abroad but have no idea how to go about it. I am a 24 y.o female and have a BSc … I would also like advice on where the best places to go are, so far from reading above it seems Taiwan sounds pretty nice.

  52. Hello all,

    I am also looking to teach English abroad with my boyfriend, and am wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction as far as getting into a program together? Also, I was thinking about Taiwan and China as the main two options. We are both in college in the USA and are about to graduate. I also have never taught before, but really want this opportunity. Anyone please email me with any help, it would be greatly appreciated!

  53. hanoi2010, I am thinking about taking a CELTA course in Vietnam and then looking for work in the country? Could you please let me know the name of the website that you logged your details on? I have read several forums recently (mostly on Dave’s ESL Cafe) that indicate tefl jobs in Vietnam are rapidly declining due to rising inflation and saturation of english teachers. Have you experienced this? Also, I am a 32 year old female and I have read that many language schools prefer to hire young backpackers because their pay expectations are considerably less. Am I too old to tefl in Vietnam? Thanks, Ellen

  54. I have been working in S. Korea for 2 years and have found it as a wonderful experience. I don’t know price wise the difference between here and other Asian countries (I’ve heard good and bad things about Taiwan). Korea is a completely different culture. I don’t take their gestures as ‘rude’ as it’s part of their culture. Just as certain things that we do, that they don’t like are just apart of ours. I’ve managed to save a lot of money here and spend it freely and travel SE Asia at the same time. Really, the best situation you can ask for.

    However, I will be heading to Italy in a few months. Definitely hoping to teach there. Any recommendations as to websites, schools, cities, etc I can look into? I will have a 12 month student visa while there (though they’re only part time night classes so lots of free time to teach during the day).

  55. Very cool, everybodys responses! I plan on teaching for a long time in a variety of countries. I do have to say though that people glorify Taiwan in this article, and it’s a little different talking to teachers here on the ground. People do quite OFTEN have problems with their management, and the whole “respect” factor (people note about Japan and Korea) is practically non-existent. Yes every school is different, but my bosses refuse to even talk to the foreigners, have thrown things at employees, threatened my passport once, my pay twice, and quite frankly have all 15 employees utterly terrified to make a mistake. I’ve heard worse stories from other schools believe it or not.
    I don’t want to encourage people to goto other places, but people should know Taiwan has its downsides as well. The North has been very cold and rainy since i got here (October), and its not a nice snowy winter, but just drabby and depressing. And while the people are AMAZINGLY friendly and nice they are also VERY shy, especially around foreigners (I noticed more so in the North). Taipei is a bit of a drabby city, and apart from the mountains is not very aestetically appealing… actually its one of the uglier cities I’ve ever been to to be honest (my opinion). Also in recent months people have said its not nearly as easy to find a job, especially for those with no experience. I’ve only taught in Spain and the Dominican Republic before so I can’t really compare Taiwan to Japan and Korea (the other two $$makers), but I can say I’ve heard great things and bad things about both. I honestly think it depends on the type of person. Didn’t wana be negative but somebody had to be.
    To be positive!! Nobody mentioned the BEAUTIFUL beaches, out of this world hiking, and DUH! HOT SPRINGS! The nightlife is pretty fun and a happenin international crowd makes it easy to make friends even if you dont speak Chinese. Not to mention it is pretty easy to save alot of money if your careful.
    I’m VERY interested in Brazil for next year, anybody wana trade info?

  56. Hi all!
    I’m a soon-to-be college graduate with a BA in English (and Philosophy minor). I have NO idea what to do with the rest of my life in terms of career, but I’ve always been deeply interested in traveling abroad. Initially, I was quite intrigued by the Peace Corps, however safety concerns have put a damper on that notion… (I’m a young white female). Taking safety and the piggy bank into consideration, can anyone suggest some locations that do NOT require additional certification? Where might one look to find position openings?

    Leigh Ann

  57. After my NQT (teacher training) year, I knew I had to try teaching somewhere other than the UK. The endless paperwork and disciplinary issues were overwhelming. I’m now enjoying teaching in Thailand – better quality of life, interested students, and I actually have enough time to create my own lessons. But, when I’m short on time, I also have the flexibility as a teacher to draw my resources from anywhere I like, often online (e.g., Really happy here and would highly recommend it that people consider Thailand.

  58. I am a board certified physician assistant who loves to travel. I have a master’s degree in medicine, and during my college years I did exchanges in Australia and England, so I know I can happily live abroad. I spent a month in China a few years ago just as a tourst and loved it completely, and that is when I forst got the idea that it would be fun to teach in Asia.

    My question is – are there other institutions, or personal clients – who would benefit from having an English teacher with 18 years oi medical experience? For example, teaching English to a doctor, nurse, or medical student? Just curious.

    I currently earn a salary of just under $100K, which is typical for PA’s at my point in their career. I know I would be taking an enormous pay cut, but I would not be in this for the money anyway.

    Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts or information, feel free to email me at

    Thanks for the great article!

  59. Hello I am interested in teaching overseas. I am thinking of Italy. I have my bachelors degree in education and taught two years in Arizona. I am taking the TEFL certification next month. What important steps should I take before signing a contract? thanks

  60. Hello everyone!

    I was looking into teaching English in Japan; does anyone have an opinion on if this is still a good idea due to all the radiation hype?

  61. Hello everyone!

    I am a recent graduate with a B.A. in Anthropology, B.A. in History, and B.A. in International Relations. My post graduation plan is to teach English abroad in Asia. However, as I have been applying to programs people have been informing me about the racism I will encounter. My country of birth is India but I came to America at the age of 3; English is my first language. Would someone please give me advise on what Asian country would be best for teaching English abroad? What kind of racism can I expect? China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are the four main countries I plan on applying to.

    Please feel free to email me on any suggestions, opinions, and stories you may have.

    Thank you!

  62. Just a word of advice to the African American posters, ive just spent 9 months in Shanghai and found theta most people are either bemused or dislike black people for some reason. The Chinese ae not shy about voicing there dislike etc as well! I asked a Chinese guy once why he didn’t like black people and he just said he didn’t like the skin color! So beware of not overt racism but certainly a lot of ignorance about world cultures which is understandable given Chinas history. My ex gf is black and she’s been in SH for 3 yrs and loves it so I guess it cant be so bad. But there is an issue there.
    Good luck!

  63. I recently graduated with a BA in English with an emphasis in Creative writing(and a Spanish Minor) and am seriously considering teaching English abroad. However, I worry that the only hang-up in finding work abroad will be the same as it is in the states, namely, my drug-related felony(was arrested 4 years ago, formally convicted 3 years ago, and was released from supervision 2 years ago). Does anyone know how/if this will affect my prospects of teaching English in any/all of these countries? Follow-up, does anyone have any advice on countries where this will be less of an issue/ ways to convince employers the crime was in my past? Thank you!

  64. Taught in Prague for a year – loved it but bear in mind it’s not a high paying job. And yes, you need a visa but it’s probably easier to get than anywhere in western Europe.

    If you are looking for money go to South Korea or Taiwan.

  65. Hi,

    I’m looking for ESL teacher to teach in my instuitite for short term or long term, as i have own backpacker hostel so i can accomodate my teacher in hostel and he/she will get an oppertunities to travel / treak and rest of the other things what tourist can do in my country, so i hope you will enjoy working with our company.

    If any one interested please write us at


  66. Hi! Well I just stumbled upon this blog and well I wanna get the 101 on how to start teacning abroad! I am currentla senior in hs and great gradex extra curicular activities and such. My carreer goal was to be a health care manager but traveling is really my passion. What should I study in school where do I start? Any other info would help if you can email me at it would be greatly appreciated :)

  67. I am moving to Cortona, Italy next year and was hoping to do some teaching in the local schools. I have 30 years experience teaching in New South Wales system in Australia with students from 5 years to 13 years. I was an executive before I left with much responsibility for school organisation. Does anyone have advise as to how best to go about getting work and obtaining a work visa for an Australian? I am applying to become an Italian resident.

  68. I am 36 years old, divorced & mother of 2 daughters (ages 11 & 17 yrs) and I have a BA in Criminal Justice. I would love to teach English abroad, but there has not been a lot out there for someone my age w/ kids. What countries or programs are best for people in my situation? My children & I have been raised “internationally” and feel we could fit right in to any country. If anyone has some ideas, please em me at Thank you so much!

  69. I am married with two children, 8 and 4, and I want to teach abroad. My husband and I are both teachers here in the US. I want to show my children what the world has to offer along with giving back. anyone out there teach abroad with their family in tow?

  70. Hey really interesting or what eh.

    the plan is to move overseas next year and travel/teach – which countries would y’all reccommend going to without previousely setting up a job?

  71. Wow! Thank you for this website! You have no idea how much I have been pondering this lifestyle recently…it is all consuming!

    I gotta say you have all helped me so much with all of the comments. I guess I will explain a little about myself. I was bit by the travel bug, 3 years ago, when I studied abroad in Australia (why did I leave?). Well, I have this ache to go abroad again. I have been out of college for a year, I am now working as a chemist in a lab, however I have no idea how much money to bring before I would do this. I am currently paying students loans that are alone, 500 a month (not even my living expenses), so could anyone give me a realistic number? I am seriously thinking either Turkey, Italy, or Bali? I have always wanted to live in Rome, so anyone with any advice that may have gone to Italy, would be greatly appreciated. Please email me at!

    Cheers! :) Hope everything works out for everyone!

  72. Hello Everyone,
    I’m a reasonably avid traveller, and I’m trying at the moment to decide if I should do a TEFL certification in Prague, and actually attempt to live over there, or if there is just too much red tape. I’ve found it difficult to find unbiased information on this subject. I’m not quite sure how interested I am in teaching English ( I’ve never tried it though ), but I’m looking for a way to live and work in Europe…And that seems to be the only way, from what I’ve been able to figure out. My main goal is to get into travel and documentary photography and possibly some writing. But I know that’s a tough job to get. It would also be great if my DJ or bartending skills might come in handy.

    A couple of questions if anyone has a moment –

    A: Does anyone know first hand if Americans are having success finding work in Prague or other European cities these days?

    B: Is it actually necessary to take the well trodden TEFL path, and does that still provide reasonably certain results, or can an American such as myself find other means of work? I’m a college grad, and I’m currently working as a wedding DJ, club DJ and part time bartender. I’m also a pretty good writer and photographer, as these were my majors in college. I’m just very concerened about the work visa situation, etc.

    Thanks for any advice! I just want to live in Europe…But I’ll have to find a job to do that!

  73. The comments here are so lovely and so helpful. I have enjoyed reading them.I would love to work in Taiwan after what I read here.
    I love the beach and swimming so which would be the best areas for that and what are the beaches like please?

    Also agree with many people here, I also love Italy.Does anyone know what qualifications one needs to teach in Italy and to earn a good salary eg at a university? I would love to teach in some beautiful city there and enjoy the sunny days and the culture.The holidays I have had in Italy have always been so relaxing and lovely and I enjoy the lifestyle too.

    Any useful and great suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you to all for the lovely comments here as it was so nice to read these comments which every one took time to write.

  74. I’m currently living in the U.S., but I want to teach in South Korea. Thanks so much for the information!

  75. does one have to have university to teach ESL – I am in early retirement & have years of experience in the health field industry working in the government but would like to teach ESL say in Italy-I see a web site Learn More & it lists a number of jobs in a number of industries including nannies etc – sounds too good to be true – of course you have to sign up first which I’m concerned about my personal information being sent – I would like a Toronto, Canadian based company to start with who would have this information I’m looking for – if anyone can share info that would be great.

  76. Just to say that I worked in South Korea for 14 months and loved it. It is a safe and interesting country and the people are friendly. The food is delicious and the culture fascinating. The best few months of my life and I managed to save loads of money and still explore the country each weekend. Also had a long weekend in Japan which was amazing. The only downside is the lack of holidays. Also be careful and research acadamies that you apply to as some are better than others.

  77. Can an Africa with a degree , but n TEFL certificate get a teaching job in any of these Countries?. And where can he start from?

  78. Hello all, great posts. I’m in need of some advice. I’m in my 3rd yr doing a degree in Special Education and I’m considering working abroad. Where is the best place to migrate upon my completion? I live in the Caribbean. Also, I’m interested in the English programme however I am young and would like to save money as I travel, where will be the best place to earn enough money to live moderately, save, cost of living cheap and friendly environment? Any additional info would be helpful. Feel free to email

  79. i am an professional English teacher in my school. i teach some little french too.i am a Ghanaian of the age 33. link me to teach in any of the above countries for teaching.your reply may enable to disclose detail of my profile

  80. Thanks for this. I’ve been researching places to teach abroad over the past month and this is honestly the most helpful post I’ve read. Great write up on where to go and what to expect! I’m thinking Prague in the Summer!

  81. I am wanting to start working towards teaching abroad. Could anyone happen to e-mail me some answers to the following questions?

    -A good place to go through for teaching abroad?
    -Afforable TEFL online course?
    -I am wanting to teach in Malaysia, and wanted to know the requirments or were to read about them.
    -How much money should I save up before I go to somewere like Malaysia, including round trip airfair, rent, food, activites, and souvineers?
    -I just started college. I am wanting to get my bachlors but am I able to travel/teach prior to getting it?
    -Would taking off for one year pose a threat to me getting a Radio tech job when I come back if I went through the schooling for it? (Random question, just wanted to know if anyone in the medical field would know about this, since I know you have to re-take courses if you dont work within a timeframe)

    my e-mail:

  82. I am teaching in Cambodia now. The pay isn’t great compared to other countries, but it is far above what the locals make so you can live quite well. The schools are very unorganized, but it is a developing country so I somewhat expected that. The people are very kind and extremely friendly. The traffic is something that takes getting used to, as is the weather if you are not used to extremely warm climates.

  83. HI


  84. I’m currently teaching in southwest France as part of the program mentioned in the article (an agreement between the US and French governments). Comments about the quality of life here are spot-on, but I just wanted to note that contrary to what’s stated above, TEFL certification is NOT required for admission to the program (I don’t have it), although–duh–it would of course be a plus, and other teaching jobs here do sometimes require/expect it.

  85. My name is Blessing am very fond in teaching english abroad.My worries are:Am a Zimbabwean though my girlfriend is South african and we do have a kid together.2 I don’t have any teaching experience but l posess excellent results on my ‘O’ level certificate.3 l never did any tertiary education.4 Am currently residing in South Africa therefore l don’t know were to go or who to aproach.thank you…please do mailto

  86. Now in Japan waiting for my visa to be processed. Do anyone know how long it will take? I left China because life their was much too difficult, salaries normally are low, but if you are lucky you can find a decent job. I found myself traveling from one side of China to another on bus, people would smoke and I would tell them to stop, with some insistance they did stop but they never understood that I could not breathe with the smoke. I was offered a job in Japan but was unaware the school had not open, during the phone conversation only told they were starting a school. I have sent my documents to the government and now wait! Any suggestions.?

  87. Hi,
    I am about to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. I had not considered teaching before, but I have a professor who taught in South Korea and loved it. I am really intrigued by the idea and believe it could be a great experience. I am just really nervous about getting screwed over by schools because I have read so many bad things. I have also read great things, but there are too many contradictions to make it an easy decision. My professor could help me apply to the school he taught at in Seoul, but I am still concerned that might not mean the situation will be good for me or work for me. I would hope so, but I just hate how many bad reviews I’ve read about teaching in Seoul, South Korea.
    Also, I am a female in her early 20’s. I do not know if my age and gender adds any extra concern. I would really appreciate any advice or suggestions from anyone who has experience teaching.
    I would like to be able to save some money, but mostly I want to go somewhere where I will be treated with respect.

  88. I’m not sure how old this blog is, but anyway….

    I’ve been living in Prague for the past 1.5 years, and spent some of that time teaching. There are a lot of English teachers in Prague. Every tom, dick and harry from the Anglophone world is here trying to big themselves up as an English teacher. Most of them are awful. I wasn’t particularly good, but I was alright and made classes interesting for the students. There’s a lot of competition for any jobs going and private lessons as well, so it may take a while to establish yourself. The school year is a standard September – June. With that in mind, all teaching work takes a nosedive in July & August, even private lessons.

    The pros: a generally-high standard of English amongst the under-30s, including the students you’d likely be teaching. If you get into a ‘Gymnazium’ then you’re laughing. Any state school will take care of taxes and various insurances for you. Your fellow (Czech national) English teachers will also be happy to help you out with various bits and bobs.
    The cons: PAPERWORK!!! It’s a ridiculously bureaucratic country, dating back to communism. You’ll spend a ludicrous amount of time in offices filling out forms. Make sure you bring EVERY DOCUMENT that you might possibly need – birth certs, proofs of previous address, copies of criminal records – everything like this will come in handy. Make sure you have everything in order – this will make things much easier when you get here.
    Most of the over-40s don’t speak much, if any, English, so it is strongly recommended to start learning the Czech language from the moment you arrive unless you want to live in an ‘expat bubble’. It is incredibly difficult, though, and you’d need to be here at least as long as me to get to even a ‘basic communication’ level. Be very, very happy if you don’t know what declination is! It is also hard to be taken seriously as a language teacher if you’re not prepared to put in some effort to learn the local tongue. Don’t be a monoglot!!!
    You need to know your articles (a/the) inside-out. Why is it wrong when a Czech says, “I have birthday”?

    I would definitely recommend the Czech Republic, as none of the obstacles I mentioned are really that significant. It would be better to avoid Prague if you really do want to TEACH, you’ll have more of a challenge (but a cornered-market) in smaller cities and towns.

  89. How old is this article?? The Czech Republic is in the EU now and their laws DO apply. A non-EU citizen can get a job if your school is willing to go through weeks/months of approval for hiring a non-Shengen Zone/EU citizen—and most can’t or won’t since they don’t need to.
    I worked for years before the EU and could have stayed and been “grandfathered” in, but didn’t….even with 10 years experience around the world and a Masters in ESL, schools prefer people they can get clearance for in the usual month.
    You cannot legally work on a 90-day tourist visa, and now it is 90 days in any part of the EU only out of every 180 days….so no more in and out visits to restart the clock.
    Non-EU can get international schools or Unis, but not so much language schools.

  90. “Prague is the Paris of the 90’s” suggest this article was written a LONG time ago; in Russia now, visas are a tremendous hassle and you will definitely need some qualifications.

  91. I’m working with a school in South Korea to teach English there early 2012, and I’m so glad to see that Korea is such a great place to teach. It simultaneously excites me even more and puts me at ease!

  92. China will hit all foreign teachers – in fact all foreign workers – with a new 11% tax (and a 37% employer tax) retroactive October 15, 2011. China just became too expensive for many foreign teachers.

  93. I am srinivas from educational qualifications are m.a b.ed .i have five years experiance in teaching. i wanna to work as a teacher in abroad

  94. Just a warning to everyone here. If you have any ideas about Vietnam, forget it. I have been all over S.E. Asia and the worst people by far are the Vietnamese. Stealing, lying and cheating are normal and there is a good chance that you will be a victim of theft at some point. Corruption is rampant from top to bottom. Friends, neighbors and relatives steal from each other regularly. They will smile at you but really hate foreigners. Try Thailand, Cambodia or Indonesia. These places are like heaven and Vietnam is like hell. Night and day. Malaysia and Singapore are very developed and modern and also hire ESL teachers.

  95. Very enlightening read, thank you so much.

    I am currently an ESL teacher in Taizhou China, coming up on two years shortly and am addicted to this life and job. I started it as a break before my masters but I can rapidly see me doing this for a few more years yet!

    Having lived in China it has been a great blast but I am definitely interested in going to another country perhaps SK being so close? I definitely plan on Thailand as my last stop before i return home. (Australian)

    I have a question, the article mentioned that Saudi Arabia has very high paying ESL jobs. Has anyone worked there before? Could they give their experiences if they have.

    Kind regards, Dan.

  96. I am a south east asian and had just got a 100 hours TEFL cert online with ITTT. Is this certificate recognized? Please advice, thanks.

  97. It is January 2012 (just to date my comment). I am 52 years old and currently teaching in Taiwan. I absolutely love it. It is true that the Taiwanese people are the friendliest. I have never worked in a place where I have been so welcomed and treated with so much respect and friendliness. I absolutely love it here and the pay is great compared to the low cost of living. I live in a two-bedroom apartment with kitchen and living room for about $200 USD per month. I am able to save and travel. I have also been to Korea and Japan. Both are beautiful and facinating countries in their own right. However, you get more bang for your buck in Taiwan. So if you are young, just getting started – it is a great place to get teaching experience, save money, be able to afford travel and pay down student loans. They also don’t stereotype foreigners like Korean and Japanese do. I was considered “too old” to be a good English teacher in Japan and Korea. Taiwan has no problem with my age. My school loves me and wants me to stay for a long time (which I probably will). If you have any questions about teaching in Taiwan feel free to email me at

  98. Hi Everyone,

    My name is Bruce Jones, president of International TEFL Academy based out of Chicago. . We train over 1,000 new teachers a year to become TEFL certified (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and our graduates go on to teach English professionally (get paid) in over 80 countries worldwide. Everyone has asked a lot of great questions and it will take a person months of sifting through dozens of websites gathering bits and pieces of information, some true, some false, some outdated, some very biased, some just wild guesses.

    We have a staff of professional advisors who have lived abroad and are trained to answer every question you can think of accurately and honestly (give you the good news and bad news). We require all of our prospective TEFL students to speak with an advisor prior to registration. We also offer lifetime job guidance advice and all of our graduates find paid teaching jobs abroad.

    If you are interested in professional TEFL certification and being part of a school that will show you A-Z on how to do it right (there are many wrong ways to end up abroad), contact us for a brochure or call and speak to a live person.

    This was very sales pitchy but we give you the straight talk and help you make your dreams come true. We hope to be of service to you.

    Bruce Jones, President
    International TEFL Academy

  99. Hi,
    I would be interested if anyone would like to come Budapest, Hungary to teach english?
    I have an appartment available to be shared with a student (female) which means that accomodation is free! The appartment is close to city central with excellent travel conditions. Cost is living is quite low.
    Most EU big cities within couple of hours reach by plane with many low-fare airlines available.
    Good chance to expolre and learn about Hungary in the heart of Central-Europe!
    Hope someone is interested. If so, please also send your sallary requirements.

  100. An old teacher of English as a second language. Had been living in many places ; Bhutan, Indonesia, Fiji, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, had been helping teaching English to some of the parents, also had taught in International school. Living also in Denmark, Australia, NZ, and had a wonderful time in teaching children and even adults. will I still get a job to teach English. At the moment living in St Petersburg. Russia. Please give me ideas about this. My husband is working here now… but would like to use my time in teaching children or even adults.. Is this possible?

  101. Why Brazil its only knowing around the word by dancing or football. We have a lot of other things here. C’omon, go read a news paper or a book!

  102. Sandra Kennedy :

    I am looking for qualified teachers (preschool and kindergaren teachers) to start up a international school in Vietnam (Dalat Lam Dong). There are currenly, none at the moment.

    Are you interested in helping ?
    please email me at

  103. Hi, I’m currently finishing a contract in Northeast China and will have 3 semesters of experience teaching English to university students by July 2012.

    I’m trying to decide where to go from here. I’ve been interested in Japan but have been told that at my age, 48, it may be difficult to find work (JET cuts off at 40 yrs). However, here in China I’m told I look to still be in my 30’s (I know… everyone says that).

    I’ve also given some thought to South America since I’m fluent in Spanish. However, the low pay and the violence in some of the countries is a deterrent.

    Is Japan possible for a guy my age? Thailand is also interesting to me but I’m told that the pay is very low and it’s difficult to save money there. I’m a long way from retiring so I need to save money (nearly impossible where I am in China). I can make good money if I go back to my old profession at home but to be very honest, I don’t want to return to the USA.

    I saw a couple of posts here where people spoke highly of Taiwan and Vietnam. I intend to research both of those countries more and have to admit, until reading these posts, I wouldn’t have thought to look at either of those countries.

    If anyone has any advice for me, please feel free to get in touch on here or at

    Thanks in advance!

  104. Dear teachers, if somebody is interested in working in Russia, Vladivostok , contact me , we offer good contracts and great job !!!!

  105. Hi Sandra Kennedy,
    I was wondering if you can give more information. I would love for a summer position in Asia somewhere, but have backpacked around Portugal and have always wanted to move there and teach for a bit.

  106. Sandra Kennedy – I could not attach to your link to contact you directly…
    I have a free site for esl teachers I would love if you would post on there any experience your willing to share.

    I’d be interested in talking to you.
    From what I understand the “American Schools” which are backed by the US Department of State require teachers to have a Masters degree.
    And they do not want people with a BA or TESOL certificate.
    Did you find this to be true?
    What type of degree do you have?

    I’m very interested in trying to teach in France, Russia & Czech Republic. For all these places I heard you need a EU passport.
    How hard is it without an EU passport?
    Is anyone willing to drop names of schools willing to hire without an EU passport?
    Has anyone taught there who would share their passport & visa requirement issues?

    I myself have a CTESOL certificate
    a BA in studio art.
    early childhood development permit including FBI background clearance.
    I do freelance web design.
    I’m looking for a ESL job now.

  107. Sure, one can make and save pretty good money in So. Korea. But, many foreigners have had really bad experiences there! :( The country doesn’t have a good rep. :(

  108. Regarding a previous posting, S. Korea IS NOT no.1!!!!! That is B.S.!!!!!!! It is no. HORRID! Many Western and Eastern foreigners have had really bad experiences there as a previous poster noted! I also read a very negative comment today on by a fellow Westerner who had lived there. :( It is a very xenophobic,arrogant and ethnocentric country, and that’s JUST A FACT! The Chinese say the same thing.

  109. This was the most informative forum I came across on the internet, but know I’m even more confused! I was originally trying to decide between South Korea and Thailand, but now I’m also considering Taiwan, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Brazil, or Mexico. I have been teaching English in Barcelona for a year and although I love it, I can’t afford to be here in the summer when they all go on holiday and I need to go somewhere new and be able to save up some money. My ideal place would combine beautiful beaches but still an active city life. Can anyone tell me how the weather is any of those cities? Rain and Sun have a serious impact on my mood. I’m a young Asian American female and am also concerned about how I would be treated in the Asian countries? Also when do the teaching terms begin? Any knowledge would be helpful thank you!!! Email:

  110. Great post, and great to see so many comments! I’ve had great experiences teaching English in India and Mexico, but I also recommend teaching English in England — there are plenty of summer schools looking for teachers, and you have the exciting experience of teaching students from a huge range of nationalities at once, which means that you learn as much as your students do!


  111. hey guys everyone is telling their stories,but i wonder no-one told how to get the jobs,and where to get the jobs from,as there are loads of spam and fraudulent company to rob you. can anyone tell me the reliable sites to apply the jobs from,thanks.i will appreciate if someone helps me,my id is …

  112. This was quite an informative post… I’m still reading through the comments.

    I am currently a teacher in further education, and for several years now I have wanted to locate work abroad.

    The one thing I would like to know/ask, is to hear from anyone who has taken children abroad, and what the pro’s and cons were? I would also like to know of the most reputable companies that one should deal with when trying to locate employment abroad. Many thanks

  113. You don’t need a TEFL certificate in most places in Asia. You need a degree and to be a native speaker.

    I have written some guides and ebooks about how to avoid the horror stories and find a good job.

    My site also has 100+ how to videos for teaching English. There’s also video interviews with ESL teachers in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China.

  114. My son just graduated from college with a business degree and is interested in teaching English in South America. There are so many firms on-line that it’s pretty overwelming and it’s always good to get first-hand guidance from people such as yourself that have “been there”. How would you recommend my son proceed. He’s not looking to make big $, just break even as long as he can find suitable housing or a family to take him in. He’s young and wants to experience the beauty of another culture. Thank you in advance for any guidance.

  115. I interviewed with an employer over the phone about a job while in Korea and the woman asked what color my skin was.

    Racism/xenophobia exists in North East Asia. I video interviewed a couple of non-white skin having teachers in Fukuoka, Japan and asked them about this.

  116. Hi Everyone,

    Great comments. First of all I would recommend that anyone wishing to teach English should do either a TESOL or CELTA certificate (month long intensive). Any TEFL certificates are a waste of time because they are not recognised by employers. It’s true that in Asia you usually only need a BA but having a TESOL has been invaluable, especially for university positions.

    I taught in Japan for a year which was an incredible experience. It is culturally very rich. I would like to echo what someone else said that learning English is not taken that seriously. I felt like the Mum’s at my Kindergarten saw it more as a social status than their kids actually learning the language. With regards to money, I think it’s a great option. Yes, it’s expensive but after 6 months you learn ways of living cheaper and are able to save. I was treated with the utmost respect by the Japanese, being white. However, the language school I worked for, despite giving me a good schedule and paying well, was very unprofessional, so sitting through meetings, where lewd and racist jokes were made, was a bind.

    I have been teaching in Mexico for a year. For anyone thinking about work in Latin America, you’re best chance of getting a job is turning up at an language school. Even with no experience they will probably hire you. I wasted two months last year emailing various schools in Mexico and Columbia, getting no response. I love teaching in Mexico. I started off in a Language School which took advantage of me i.e. deducting ‘taxes’ without giving me the social security. Be aware. Fortunately, I now work for a University which is a lot more professional. The only downside about Mexico is the money. Sadly the peso is not a strong currency and I question whether I can continue working here on that basis.

    Happy teaching. People ask, how do I go about this? The answer is: apply for a job.

  117. Can you explain to me, how is it possible to teach English, if one is not fluent in…say, Portugese, Russian or Japanese? And how is it done? I would love to travel and teach before I retire….

    comments please :)

  118. I was wondering if you all have graduated from college? Or did you just get a TEFL / TESOL certificate? and what programs or websites you would recommend?

  119. The best place to teach English is actually in England, in the city of Newcastle!
    They children speak a strange unintelligible language called Geordie. but in the main are generally harmless. But your heart will go out them in their rags and stollen trainers. Do not give them money as they will only spend it on Drugs and alcohol. Teaching them to speak english is extremely difficult, but can be satisfying to know you have educated an illiterate Geordie.

    thats aw for noo canny lads. away the Magpies!!!

  120. I have gone through the whole article. It’s a well-written document. I am a Bangladeshi citizen. I can share the English teaching and learning situation in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a vastly populated country of 160 million people with 143 thousand square km of land area. If we look 20 years back the situation was bad. People were not so interested in learning and teaching English. Now the situation is different. The British council is working here in full swing. They are running so many programs in English language teaching. Besides this there are so many Govt and private organizations who are actively involve in this. People are now fully aware of learning English. In most of the big cities people are well conversant in English. So many foreign teachers are teaching English here. But considering economic situation and in comparison to other countries the salary is a bit lower. Hence forth we are very much acquainted in English.

  121. This article will help to decide how to sort through all of the hundreds of TEFL / TESOL schools out there:
    7 Key Tips to Evaluating a TEFL / TESOL Training School

    Another article on Choosing a TEFL Country: Can I decide where I teach English Abroad?

  122. i taught in guatemala for six months in a medium sized town in the mountains (coban). i enjoyed the community and was able to immerse in it (played in soccer and basketball leagues, attended weddings, anniversaries, funerals) even as an outsider with merely “get by” spanish. although the teaching was not exactly as advertised, i must admit. it was difficult to get hours and was not able to fully support myself financially. i don’t regret anything about the experience and i met so many fabulous folks, i just feel as though i should share my thoughts about teaching abroad…

  123. Hey everyone. This is an amazing blog! I am looking into going back to teach abroad again and seem to be having most of the same issues as others on here (ie. where to go for money and lifestyle) and being a single 30 year old female, I wonder about meeting people too. I hope it’s not all young backpacker types again (Thailand back in the day!) How do you guys meet good friends in places like Taiwan and Vietnam? Those are the two places I am most interested in. I don’t want to rely solely on other teachers at the school I go to for making friends. Does anyone know whether other cities in Taiwan (outside Taipei) are pretty foreigner friendly and have lots to do after work? Excited but nervous to take the plunge again after all these years of being “settled” at home. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!

  124. I taught in Thailand and loved the time I spent in Bangkok. They treated teachers very well even just on the streets and out and about they treat teachers with much respect…nothing like how we are treated here in America. I can’t wait until the days I can go back to Thailand and once again call it home!

  125. I have been teaching English in Taiwan for a year and a half now. I can’t say that I love it, but that’s not because of the country or the people. Mostly just because I discovered that my passion is not in teaching. It’s seems glamorous from the outside, but once you’re in the 2-10pm grind (those are usually the hours) it gets a little exhausting, especially because I was also a full-time university student. Teaching English abroad is worth a try, though whether you consider yourself a teacher or not. You learn a lot about kids, a lot about yourself, and about the country you are in. Most schools in Taiwan require a bachelor’s degree because to get a work permit you need one. An associates degree can also work, but if you have neither, you just have to look a little harder, you can definitely still find something… just depends on how legal you like your work to be. Schools range from no curriculum, aka you do what you want, to full curriculum with text books and tests. There are pros and cons to both. Some companies such as ILP will pay for your airfare both ways and give you free housing. Larger companies like Joy or Hess often provide housing stipends, but I haven’t heard too many great things about working for such large corporations. It often looks great on paper but they call you in for a lot of extra hours and don’t pay for prep time which they usually expect to be at least 1-2 hours a day. I have plenty of English teacher friends who absolutely LOVE teaching English, so it really just depends on your opinion of children, teaching, and the system. Either way it’s a learning experience.

  126. I will like to teach English language in any country that will accept me, I don’t have a TESL but i have a post graduate degree in education and a BA in Linguistics, I will like to start up a part time TESL if I am considered for the job then run my masters degree. Thank you for your time.

  127. @Sandra Kennedy

    Please contact me at this email (, I would LOVE to hear more about your teaching experiences. I plan on teaching English overseas or in Latin America in the following year.
    Look forward to hearing from you :)

  128. search david mackay for spot on advice. ive been in asia (literally all over) for 15 yrs as a teacher and now in a large firm and he is bang on – though i have a lot of love for japan.
    korea? lol…

  129. I am currently sitting in my office in South Korea now!!! This really deserves to be number one! The people are fantastic and it wasn’t too difficult to transition and I am in a very rural spot here and couldn’t be happier! I travel every weekend and my school is amazing, I get to attend the field trips with the kids and they treat me just like one of their own, not to mention the kids are fantastic and so eager to learn!

  130. My son taught English in most of the countries on the list. Please note how recruiters (and the author) “sell” the idea as an adventure because that’s the best you can hope for. There is no future for anyone teaching overseas so if you want an adventure….that’s the extent of the job.

  131. Good article, the choices do go on and on depending on which adventure you are looking for, Love of Italian food, tropical paradise in Costa Rica, Tango dancing until dawn in Argentina.

    One of the top TEFL certification schools in the world trains over 1,200 new teachers a year and helps them figure out the best country for them and assist in finding jobs. Take a look at International TEFL Academy .

  132. I noticed that some people here are rather against taking a TEFL course. It’s quite surprising for me. I did one with TEFL International Prague and since then I’ve been traveling around Europe and Asia for almost six years. To do the course was the best decision of this decade :-)

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