You may have decided that teaching English abroad is the perfect job for you. You may be freshly graduated with your TEFL certificate in hand. But where should you go? Of course, there is literally a world of choice but sometimes opportunities can be limited by nationality or education. But, the great thing about teaching English abroad is that there are PLENTY of jobs to go around. So without further ado, let's run through some of the most popular options!
China. This humongous country pays teachers a much higher salary than the average cost of living. Some contracts also cover airfare and/or housing. China is modernising rapidly, especially cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu. It is considered to be one of the world’s most diverse countries and the cuisine is incredible. China's intriguing history and rich culture make it a must see destination.
South Korea. With a high tech, developed economy, Korea offers one of the most competitive remuneration packages anywhere for new teachers. A low cost of living will also allow you to make considerable savings. Most contracts include airfare and housing. Often, you receive a bonus if you complete the year-long contract. South Korea is safe, clean and surprisingly accessible due to the continued presence of the US military. Signage is usually written in both Korean and English so getting around is easy and convenient.
Japan. Another accessible East Asian country that pays teachers a decent salary compared to the general cost of living. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN save money for future travels or other expenses while teaching in Japan! The country is known for its delicious food, elegant formality, spectacular scenery, and sparkling neon cities. Japan also has a very low crime rate, meaning you can feel safe with your belongings and valuables even late at night on the crowded metro systems.
Gulf States. High, tax free salaries and sunshine draw teachers to countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Other perks often include health care, housing, and transportation to and from country. However, these countries may be a more challenging option for solo female travelers or Westerners in general because the local culture and customs are so different from our societal norms.
Vietnam. Those who choose to teach in Vietnam can save a reasonable amount of salary but flights and accommodation are not always covered. That being said, the low cost of living and gorgeous tropical landscapes make Vietnam a great place to spend some time.
Taiwan. Teaching in Taiwan allows you to experience an unsung and oft overlooked East Asian destination. This island paradise is off the beaten track but it's quiet beaches and bustling cities punch well above their weight. Super friendly locals and a strong currency make Taiwan a very pleasant place to teach and explore. Do try the hot spring resort towns where you can bathe in rejuvenating, mineral rich waters. Don't pour your own drink before pouring your guest's drink which is considered bad etiquette.
New governments bring with them new ideas and new policies on English education.
Countries such as Turkey, Russia, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia are starting to push English education. This should be great news for you the TEFL teacher and allow for a few interesting stamps in your passport in years to come.
Do your own research before making a commitment, good luck and happy travels!
Previously: More Q&A on Teaching English Abroad