Best Places to Teach English Abroad

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With the economy as it is, working abroad is a very attractive proposal. One profession that any native or near-native speaker can do with some training is to become an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. Once you have a certificate, the world is literally your oyster. The best places to teach English abroad will vary depending on your personal preferences, but there are some commonalities that everyone will need to know while making their decision.

  • Salary
  • Culture
  • Living Accommodation
  • Food & Drink
  • Language

Each of these will play a role in which place you choose. Some will be of more importance than others depending on your lifestyle and free time interests. So let’s get to the best places.


One of the most popular places in the world to teach English due to the low cost of living and relatively high level of facilities. Salaries vary from around 30,000-40,000 Baht per month ($1000-1300) depending where you are in the country. They tend to be higher around Bangkok, though there is a paradox here as in some of the rural provinces they pay higher as less people want to go there compared to Chiang Mai or Bangkok, so they need to tempt teachers with higher salaries.. The cost of living is cheaper and the salaries are higher in places like Isaan and the central provinces.

Thai culture is very welcoming and the people are very friendly which makes it very easy to adapt to. The language can be a difficulty for some as it’s tonal. Food and drink are another highlight. The spicy Thai food is a favorite around the world and there’s no Thai food like Thai food in Thailand!

Accommodation is fairly inexpensive and can range from 3,000 Baht ($100) a month up to almost any price, especially in Bangkok.

South Korea

koreaSouth Korea offers a very hi-tech society with some of the fastest Internet in the world. It is much stricter in its scrutiny of English teachers and requires criminal record checks to find teaching positions and receive a work ¬†permit. The salaries are much higher than in Thailand and teachers there can often save up to $10,000 a year as accommodation is usually provided with the job position. The cost of living is very high though and it’s easy to burn through your money on food, drink and the nightlife. But be warned, the Korean people are also known to be less welcoming of foreigners than other Asian countries

Czech Republic

In the heart of Europe, this relatively small country is one of the best places to teach English abroad. The picturesque towns and magnificent architecture of cities like Prague will leave you speechless. The cost of living is cheaper than Charles Bridge, Pragueother countries nearby, like Switzerland and Germany and salaries for ESL teachers tend to be around 20,000-25,000 Crowns ($800-1000) a month. Though housing is fairly inexpensive at around 8,000 Crowns a month for a 1 bedroom apartment. Czech food definitely has a central European feel to it with a lot pork and beef dumplings and heavy potato dishes. They go great with beer though! The Czech language being a West Slavic language is quite a difficult language to master and isn’t something that most people can do well within, say, a year. However, the lifestyle in the Czech Republic will probably make you want to stay longer which will give you time to get to grips with the language.


China is so vast and with so many up and coming middle-class citizens that want to travel abroad, the possibilities of teaching in China are endless. Salaries tend to range from around 6,000 RMB to 10,000 RMB ($950 -$1600) per Great wallmonth with a lot of jobs offering free accommodation. Mandarin as a language is easier to pick up than you might imagine, though much like Thai the tones catch a lot of western people out. Learning to read is a whole different ball game and will require a large amount of study on your part. English is not widely spoken even in big cities, so learning the language is fairly crucial if you want to live here and be independent. Chinese culture goes back thousands of years and is very interesting to delve into, though you may find some areas to be quite off-putting; people spitting everywhere and queue jumping spring to mind. Overall China is a land of opportunity for an ESL teacher with no shortage of students and a relatively decent salary to cost of living. It is somewhere every would be  ESL teacher should consider.

Wherever you decide to go no self-respecting school will hire you without a TEFL certificate. So getting TEFL qualified is your first priority.

March 23, 2015

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