There are countless ways to earn money as you travel, but few beats teaching English. With over a billion speakers (counting native and secondary speakers), English has cemented itself as the lingua franca in the worlds of international business, diplomacy, and travel. This has resulted in a high demand for English lessons across the globe, which is good news for those with a solid grasp of the language and an itch to see the world.
An old guy once said, “All men are created equal”. Sadly, the same can’t be said for teaching destinations! While there are pros and cons to every country, region, and city, some places are able to offer a combination of culture, opportunity, and excitement that others just can’t compete with.
Not only is location important, but so is the accreditation of the course and training you complete. The more highly accredited a course is the better your chances of employment are, which is why it’s important to gain a qualification from providers like The TEFL Org. Their 120-hour online TEFL course is perfect to secure jobs and kickstart your TEFL career.
Below are our handpicked top five destinations for teaching English overseas in 2020 – take a look to see if there’s any that tickle your fancy.
Why is Thailand such a popular teaching destination? Its nickname ‘The Land of Smiles’ might provide some insight. With world-renowned beaches (think Leonardo Dicaprio, The Beach) and a cuisine to match, Thailand is unsurprisingly irresistible to travellers who flock to the country in their millions every year. Bangkok, the capital, is a huge, bustling city with a large expat community so you would never feel alone here. There are opportunities beyond the capital though, with many employers based in other cities and rural areas.
Like China, you will need a degree to legally obtain a visa and work as a teacher here. Schools are somewhat less stringent in terms of requirements, but a TEFL certificate of at least 100 hours of training is recommended. The salary here isn’t as high as can be found in other East Asian countries, but neither is the cost of living. Save up a bit before and you can live like royalty! Demand here is high, and there are always jobs to be found.
Bordering Thailand on the east is the tropical nation of Cambodia. Historically known for the vast and ancient Angkor Wat, a huge Hindu temple ranked as the top place to visit out of 500 by The Lonely Planet! And, in more recent tragic history, the killings by the brutal regime of Pol Pot are infamous around the world. Nowadays, however, the country has recovered tremendously and you can visit its bustling cities, French colonial architecture, and unspoilt rainforests.
You might be glad to hear that a degree is not necessary to teach abroad here! On top of that, employers generally won’t require advanced qualifications. A TEFL certificate, a lot of enthusiasm, and a good attitude will get you far. Pay here is around $10-$14 per hour, with an average of a 20-hour working week. This will be more than enough to cover the basics here and will leave you with extra income.
A country that needs little introduction. Famous for being the country with the largest population in the world, with its sprawling ultramodern megacities, and endless urban conurbations. What might be less known is that China is one of the most geographically and culturally diverse nations on the planet. With jungles, tropical beaches, the Himalayas, frozen plateaus, and sweeping desert all confined within its borders. There’s something for everyone here!
China has been, and likely long will be, the biggest market and source of employment in the teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) industry. This can be largely put down to its huge population combined with its growing economy. Chinese employers generally offer good benefits packages, usually consisting of a mixture of accommodation assistance, flight reimbursement, salary bonuses etc.. The huge demand means there is a lot to choose from so make sure to research what different schools and employers are willing to provide before making a final decision.
You should know that the Chinese government requires teachers to have a bachelor’s degree to obtain a visa and work legally. On top of that, most employers will require teachers to have a 120-hour TEFL certificate to prove they are qualified to teach.
Flamenco, sangria, and sandy beaches – these are just some of the stereotypes that the Spanish and their country have been given by the innumerable holidayers that make their way over every year. Yet, Spain is so much more; cosmopolitan cities, sun-soaked sierras, and great green forests make up a lot of what the beach-bums fail to see. Steadily recovering from an economic crash, Spain is ready for English teachers of all ages and backgrounds.
For EU citizens, travelling to Spain for work is relatively simple as it does not require a visa. However, employers will have different requirements. Some will demand degrees and advanced certificates, others may not be so concerned. It’s best to go over with at least some training and experience so a certificate of at least 120 hours is recommended. Pay can vary, but the average is around 12-16 euros per hour. Expect to earn more if you have better qualifications, though.
An archipelago of contrasts; Japan is where the old meets the new; where old Buddhist and Shinto monuments can be found side-by-side with towering skyscrapers. A country whose history has captured the imagination of many a Hollywood movie-maker and whose modern pop culture has infiltrated the West, Japan is as intriguing as it is a good place to teach English in.
A large demand for teachers coupled with good salaries and living conditions makes Japan easily one of the best places to teach English in. The country offers one of the highest average salaries in the industry at around $2,500 a month. Employers tend to provide benefits packages on top of that, too.
To work full-time legally you would need a degree. However, those seeking supplementary income can obtain a ‘working holiday visa’ to fund their travels!
And that’s our top five destinations to teach English abroad in. This just a very small selection so make sure to research more if you’re interested
Dreaming up the ideal teaching job at a far-away, exotic destination is all well and good until reality hits and you realise it will take a bit of work to make it that far. As you may have noticed, ‘TEFL certificates’ are mentioned a few times in this article. A certificate is proof that you are trained and qualified to teach English as a foreign language. A teaching job that doesn’t require any qualification whatsoever is as scarce as hen’s teeth. Therefore, it is crucial that you get trained up before heading out.
Another thing you should know: accreditation is king. When booking a course to learn and gain a qualification, it is vital that you do your research first. Does the provider have external accreditation? Since there is no standard way of regulating a provider and their courses’ quality, companies must get an endorsement from external, but relevant, organisations. With this, you can be sure of the quality of the course you want to take.
Happy course hunting!