When choosing a destination for teaching English abroad there are a wide variety of options available to suit all tastes. For some this choice is based on where the best salaries and benefits are offered, whilst others may be more focused on cultural aspects or simply where to find the best nightlife. Each region and individual country has its own pros and cons, so here we give a brief overview of the most popular options to help you make the right decision to suit your plans.
Table of Contents
The huge continent of Asia continues to be the most popular destination for teachers in terms of numbers. Across the region there are a wide variety of diverse destinations to suit everyone, from the high-tech modernity of Tokyo to the peace and tranquility of a Cambodian village, Asia has it all.
If you are hoping to save money while you teach overseas then more developed countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and China are definitely worth a look. Job opportunities are widespread in towns and cities throughout these countries and the salaries are generally good compared to the cost of living. Due to the high demand for teachers, it is also quite straightforward to secure a job before you leave your home country which provides significant peace of mind for those who are new to teaching and traveling.
Although Asia's booming economies offer plenty of well paid teaching jobs, most of these will be found in large towns and cities that may not be to everyone's taste. If you dream of relaxing in a hammock amongst swaying palm trees between lessons, you may want to look elsewhere. Thailand has long been a favorite destination due to the culture, lifestyle and climate. You may struggle to save any of your hard earned cash, but you are sure to create many memories that will last a lifetime. Another country worth considering is Vietnam where the demand for English language teachers is growing rapidly and salaries are rising accordingly.
Although considerably smaller in size than Asia, the Middle East is still one of the biggest draws in the teaching industry. Tax-free salaries and superb benefits await most teachers who manage to secure a position here. However, due to stiff competition for the best jobs you will probably need some experience behind you and many employers will also demand advanced level qualifications. The most numerous job prospects can be found in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, whilst Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are also worth checking out.
Although you can expect a high salary and great benefits such as paid flights and free housing, you also need to consider the conservative nature of society in most countries in this region. The strict social rules do not appeal to everyone, and female teachers may find it particularly difficult if they are not used to the local culture. However, many teachers quickly adapt to this new environment and many feel that a few inconveniences along the way are more than compensated for financially.
With a wonderful mix of modern attractions and centuries of fascinating history, it is no surprise that Europe attracts large numbers of English teachers. Right across the continent there are plenty of job opportunities to be found in diverse locations stretching from the sunny shores of the Mediterranean in the south, to the cooler climes of beautiful Scandinavia in the north. However, there are a few things to consider before you start packing your bags.
One major drawback of teaching in Europe is the high cost of living. You may be dreaming of life in Rome, Paris or London, but the reality is that a teacher's salary is unlikely to be enough to support a comfortable lifestyle. Another issue is that many countries prefer British English to American English so it can be hard for non-British teachers to land the better paid positions. It is also more complicated for non-Brits to acquire the necessary work permits and visas for popular destinations such as Spain, Italy and France. But don't despair; there are still opportunities for anyone who is determined to hunt them down.
For many teachers the best solution is to look towards Central and Eastern Europe. Compared to their western neighbors, many countries in this region make it far easier for non-Europeans to obtain visas and work permits. The cost of living is also considerably lower making it possible to live comfortably and even save some cash while you work. The most popular destination is the Czech Republic which has plenty of job opportunities plus a fun and laidback lifestyle. Other countries with a growing market for English teachers include Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.
This vast region stretches from the USA/Mexico border in the north, all the way down to the wilds of Cape Horn in the south. Although large in area, Latin America does not offer the huge job markets and high salaries that can be found in other parts of the world. However, what it does offer is an abundance of natural beauty and endless opportunities for adventure.
Chile has long been one of the hottest destinations for English teachers in South America. Here you will find plenty of jobs on offer and some of the best salaries in the region. Due to its popularity you can also expect stiff competition when applying for the best paid jobs so you may need to look towards lesser known markets. Countries such as Colombia and Ecuador have a steadily growing demand and are well worth a look. Traditional favorites such as Argentina and Costa Rica are also still popular, although the competition for jobs is very high and the balance between salaries and the cost of living can make it hard to live comfortably. There are many other beautiful countries to explore across Latin America but most only have a small market for English teachers. The bottom line is that teachers don't come to this region to earn their fortune; they come to enjoy the experience of a lifetime.