Are you looking to see more of the world? Immerse yourself in more cultures and embark on a truly nomadic journey of enrichment and adventure? And are looking to actually make money rather than worry about losing it?
Teaching English abroad has become one of the most popular career paths for travel lovers, with destinations ranging from Barcelona to Busan now offering opportunities that boast big salaries and flexible schedules.
In this guide, we’re going to be taking you through all there is to know about the best destinations for kickstarting your Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) abroad career, running through the salaries and other benefits on offer!
China has consistently shown high demand for TEFL teachers for nearly a decade. A combination of job opportunities, competitive salaries, authentic culture, and stunning natural vibrancy makes it an alluring destination for those teaching English abroad.
First-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen offer numerous opportunities, while second and third-tier alternatives such as Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Nanjing are also witnessing the opening up of ESL (English as a Second Language) prospects.
To legally work in the country, a Bachelor’s degree is required to obtain a work visa (known as a ‘Z visa’). Most employers prefer native English speakers with at least two years of teaching experience, but the attractive salaries and benefits make these demands worthwhile.
Salaries range between ¥9,000 – 35,000 ($1,200 – $5,000), with additional benefits such as airfare reimbursement, housing, accommodation, and health insurance being common.
Already one of the world’s most popular tourist and nomad destinations, teaching English in Spain offers sun worshippers an opportunity to earn extra money while soaking in the rays. From the culture of Barcelona to the customs of Sevilla, Spain has some of the best language programs designed to attract TEFL teachers.
Government-funded programs like NALCAP, BEDA, Meddeas, or UCETAM are part-time, providing teachers with the perfect opportunity to grow their experience while immersing themselves in Spanish culture.
These programs typically offer a salary range of €700 – €1,000 ($770 – $1,100) per month. However, working privately often proves to be more lucrative, with many academies offering somewhere in the region of €1,000 – €2,000 ($1,100 – $2,200) per month, depending on hours worked and classes taught.
Known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand has long been considered one of the original TEFL destinations With warm and friendly locals, beautiful natural landscapes, and a competitive cost of living, it’s a destination many teachers want to explore, and is still one of the best countries to teach English.
Thailand is also one of the most accessible locations for those looking to kickstart their TEFL careers. An accredited TEFL course of around 120 hours is usually all that is required to be accepted for positions, along with a Non-Immigrant B visa.
TEFL salaries in Thailand are competitive. Newly qualified TEFL teachers may expect to earn ฿30,000 ($870) as a base wage, while more experienced teachers in private schools and institutions can earn up to ฿100,000 ($3,000).
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Gulf State cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi have become renowned as popular destinations for tourists. The United Arab Emirates, while a newcomer in the TEFL market, offers lucrative opportunities for those looking to make money.
Salaries in the UAE are some of the highest for English teachers abroad, ranging from AED 12,000 ($3,300) to AED 20,000 ($5,500) for teaching business English to adult learners. However, certain caveats exist, such as the requirement for a Bachelor’s degree, native speaker status, and ESL teaching experience. The cost of living in the UAE is higher, and the mix of harsh weather conditions and strict cultural practices may result in culture shock.
Whether it’s sampling delicious bulgogi on Jeju Island, exploring the neon-lit streets of Seoul, or trekking through the 20,000 Buddhist temples scattered around the country, South Korea has become a popular TEFL destination for Western tourists.
High-paying job opportunities, friendly and engaged classes, and an array of work-life benefits maintain South Korea’s status as one of the top TEFL destinations. Teachers in major cities like Seoul, Busan, or Daegu can expect to earn anywhere from $1,700 to $3,100. Employers are known for treating their employees exceptionally well, offering benefits such as flight reimbursement, health insurance coverage, settlement bonuses, and furnished accommodation. Many employers also provide a completion bonus at the end of a teacher’s contract, usually equivalent to a full month’s salary.