People often ask me where the best places are to teach English abroad. This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on how you define ‘the best place’ and who you ask. Based on my several years of teaching experience and traveling, HERE IS MY LIST OF THE BEST 15 PLACES TO TEACH ENGLISH. Although my choices are subjective,I have used four qualitative measures to come up with this list. Those are SALARY + ADVENTURE+ SECURITY + AVAILABILITY. Let’s clarify. Salary is usually the first concern that someone has when teaching abroad and most of the first ten countries on this list also offer the hottest job markets for teaching English. By availability, I mean the amount of jobs available to teach English in a particular country. I am sure a lot of Americans would love to teach in places, such as France. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to find a job teaching ESL in certain countries of Western Europe.
By adventure, I mean how fun it would be to teach in a particular country. There is a tradeoff in teaching English abroad between excitement and salary. There are certainly plenty of available jobs throughout the laid back and adventurous landscape of Latin America, but those same jobs will usually only pay enough to live on. The last variable, security, is something that one should consider before teaching abroad. Many Asian countries rank high on this list because they are safe destinations where one can make a good salary. With that being said, I spent four years Japan, but still experienced plenty of fun and adventure. In the end, it really depends on what you are looking for as an individual. If you want to teach in the hottest job market, but still experience the exotic, China, South Korea, or Vietnam is your best bet. If you just want to save a lot of cash in one year, then the oil wealthy countries of the Middle East are perfect. If you want to become fluent in Spanish and enjoy a more easy going lifestyle, then Latin America is an obvious choice. With that being said, here the top places to teach English for 2014.
For a more up to date list, check out The Best Countries for Teaching English in 2015
1. South Korea
South Korea is where Japan was 15 years ago, which means there are plenty of well paying jobs teaching English in a hot job market. While the economy has leveled out in the past few years, the amount of jobs teaching English continues to hold strong. Most jobs offer free housing, paid airfare and the chance to save between $10,000 to$25,000 thousand in one year.
There have been reports of the top teachers in South Korea making 5 or 6 thousand dollars a month. Like Japan, South Korea is also an exotic land where one can sing karaoke into the wee hours of the night and walk home with little threat of danger.
Vietnam could arguably be number one. This place has all the factors to make it a great destination for teaching English. Geographically speaking, Thailand and Cambodia are just a stone’s throw away. The real draw for Vietnam is the cost of living and strong salaries in a hot job market.
A dollar can still get you a beer or a cheap plate of food. Teachers are reportedly making $1500 to $2800 a month. You are not going to make as much in Vietnam as you would in South Korea, but you are definitely going to save and live comfortably considering the low cost of living for Western standards.
Not to mention the endless adventures that Southeast Asia can offer. As a teacher recruiter for schools in Vietnam, I can tell you that there remain plenty of jobs available. If you are interested in teaching in Vietnam,
Unfortunately, stereotypes of Colombia still persists. However, the reality is that Colombia has a burgeoning economy and the days of Pablo Escobar are long over. While it certainly isn’t safe like Japan or South Korea, a little common sense should keep the foreigner out of harm’s way.
I’ve spent four months in South America and everyone I met from Colombia was warm, friendly and eager to invite me to their country. If you are looking for adventure and nightlife, this is sure to be a great place. There are plenty of teaching jobs throughout the country and some that pay decent for South American standards.
China could easily be number one for several reasons. Most importantly, this is the hottest job market in the world with an endless amount of English teaching jobs and other economic opportunities. Anyone that is interested in using teaching English as a second language as a springboard to invest in foreign countries should consider China.
The downsides to China may be the fact that is too big, pollution and the lack of democracy. However, I have talked to several teachers and all of them reported that teaching English in China was a great experience. I recruit individuals to teach English in China. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at www.beyondbordersesl.com
This is probably a biased pick on my part since I lived in Japan for four years. However, this place is awesome in so many ways. In fact, I cannot recall meeting one person who either lived or visited Japan that had anything bad to say about it.
Unfortunately, the job market is not as hot as it once was, but there still are jobs, opportunities and adventure in this majestic land that remains somewhat sheltered from the rest of the world. I taught in both Sapporo in the far north and in Okinawa, which is in the far south.
This is a small country that is often overlooked for teaching English. Like Japan, Taiwan has been a great place to teach for many years. I have spoken with several instructors who taught there and they all said great things about teaching English in Taiwan.
The people are super friendly, food and rent is inexpensive, and English teaching salaries are just below Japan and South Korea. Because its a small island, one can easily escape the chaos of Taipei and relax on the tropical beaches in the south.
I once spent two weeks traveling through this geographically elongated and beautiful country. I decided at the time that if I ever need to hide out the rest of my life, I am going straight to Chile. From talking to English teachers while I was there, I got the impression that Chile is a great place for teaching English.
There are a fair amount of jobs, a stable economy and the pay is good for South American standards. As an added plus, the people are wonderful and the Andes are nothing less than the work of god. Chile is also the safest country in South America after Uruguay.
The UAE makes the top ten simply because the pay is so good. I have heard reports of people making upwards of $60,000 a year teaching English in Dubai.
Of course, this is in the right situation. It is also an ultra-modern place and there are plenty of interesting destinations nearby. Most of the teachers I’ve spoken with have said good things about the UAE, particularly the money aspect.
9. Saudi Arabia
Like Dubai, the money factor is the main reason for teaching English in Saudi Arabia. Teachers in the Kingdom can expect to make between $40,000 to $70,000 per year. Of course, there is the whole prohibition of alcohol and eating pork factor. This can also be a tough place to live if you are a Western woman.
Sorry, feminism hasn’t hit the Saudi mainstream yet. However, most people teaching in Saudi Arabia just hop across the border on the weekend to a magical land called ‘Bahrain’, which is kind of the Las Vegas + Thailand of the Middle East. Despite the image of Saudi Arabia in the minds of most, Saudis are quite friendly people, kind and hospitable. I recruit teachers to teach English in Saudi Arabia.
I once spent a month in Ecuador and I cannot say enough good things about this country. The people are wonderful, the food is cheap and delicious and the abundant nature is breathtaking. I had tears in my eyes when I departed from the airport.
There are quite a few teaching jobs throughout the country. The pay is not great, but its enough to save a few hundred dollars a month since the cost of living is cheap.
I spent a month in Thailand a few years ago and this place is f##king awesome. Pardon my French, but I don’t know how else to describe it. In fact, Thailand is such a cool place that it actually ranks lower in my book since I would be dead within three years of constant partying and life threatening trips through the jungles of the north.
With that being said, there jobs for teaching English in Thailand and one can land a great apartment for about 200 dollars a month. Don’t forget about the mouth watering, yet dirt-cheap food and wonderful people that populate the happiest place on earth.
In an ideal world, Brazil would be in the top three. There are plenty of opportunities for teaching English and lets not forget about its booming economy, which is the largest in South America. However, all the reports I’ve heard is that it can be quite difficult to obtain a working visa.
For some reason, the Brazilian government is fixated on the idea that actual Brazilians should be teaching other Brazilians English. When this changes, expect Brazil to become a hotspot for teaching English.
Turkey has become somewhat of a hotspot for teaching English in recent years. A growing economy and committment to befriend the West has resulted in plenty of jobs teaching English.
From reports I have heard, the pay for teaching English in Turkey is decent and the cost of living is relatively inexpensive. This also has to be a great place for culture and history. Please note that due to recent changes in immigration policy, teachers now have to secure a teaching contract while in their home country. It used to be much easier to fly in on a tourist visa and change the status to a work visa.
14. Costa Rica
Who wouldn’t want to teach in a tropical paradise? If you love the beach, surfing and breathtaking nature,then Costa Rica is probably a worthy destination. Since the economy was opened up some years ago, Costa Ricans have been eager to learn English in the the hopes of securing a well-paying job. While many dream of flying into Costa Rica and finding a job in a town near the beach, this unfortunately is not the reality of teaching there. Most jobs teaching English in Costa Rica are located in San Jose. Fortunately, it is a small enough country that one could easily escape the hustle and bustle of San Jose for a weekend chilling out on the beach.
This is a bit of a biased pick on my part since I will always cry a little bit for Argentina’ after once spending three months there. Although there are a good amount of English teaching Jobs in Argentina, the pay and hours kind of suck. However, teaching English in Argentina is about the adventure. This place might have a sluggish and dysfunctional economy, but the people are never short on passion, creativity and will protest anything at the drop of a hat.
I am sure that I left some deserving destinations off of my list. If you feel so, please do not hesitate to comment and add to the discussion of the best places to teach English abroad. While such a list will always be subjective, I think this article provides a general consensus of the best places to teach English abroad.