Top 5 Countries to Teach English Abroad

Friday, 7 May 2021

Top 5 Countries to Teach English Abroad

Travelling the world is great but travelling the world and getting paid at the same time is even better. One way to do so is by putting your expert English-speaking skills to good use and teaching English abroad.

Every inhabited continent of the world is a market for those who wish to follow this exciting path. According to the International TEFL Academy (ITA) more than 300 million people in China were learning English in 2015, a number that has likely grown since. Meanwhile, major European cities like Madrid and Rome host approximately 3,000-5,000 English teachers at any one time.

Due to Covid-19 and international travel restrictions, those who would usually venture abroad to teach English in schools have had to do so online for most of the past 18 months. Communities and entire countries remain in various stages of lockdown, and many schools remain shut. 

However, as of April 2021, some language institutes are reopening and hiring teachers from all corners of the world to provide in-person classes once again. In most cases, new English teachers need to complete a coronavirus test and self-isolate before beginning their role and engaging with the community.

The exact situation will depend on the country you plan to teach in and in some nations, even different regions have different protocols. With the pandemic being gradually brought under control however, the demand for in-person teachers across the globe is likely to skyrocket.

With this article, we aim to help you select the best destinations for teaching English abroad, some of which don’t even require you to have prior teaching experience.

South Korea

Teaching in South Korea is a fantastic opportunity to grow not only professionally but also as a person. Being so geographically isolated and culturally different from what many native English speakers are custom to, a teaching job in South Korea will be challenging but we only grow by rising to challenges.

In return you’ll be extremely well paid with a salary that will allow you to lead a stress-free lifestyle, travel around South Korea and Asia, and build up a nice stack of savings.

The vibrant nightlife and trendy restaurants that line the streets of capital city Seoul provide perhaps the most compelling and attractive environment for prospective teachers, but Busan is also a popular option for those seeking a more low-key atmosphere. 

To teach English in South Korea, most teachers require a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certification.

United Arab Emirates

Having emerged as a vital hub for international business over the past twenty years, the foreign population of the United Arab Emirates far outnumber the locals. In fact, expatriates, and immigrants account for 88.52% of the total population with 59.48% originating from South Asian nations like Bangladesh and Pakistan, according to Global Media Insight.

With English being the language of choice for business deals in Dubai and other parts of the nation, a lucrative market has appeared for English language instruction.

Due to its modern multicultural society, high tax-free salaries (between $3,500 - $5,500 per month), and warm climate, the UAE is an excellent choice for those wishing to teach abroad.

With many international institutions, especially in Dubai, there are plenty of teaching-opportunities available and not just for teaching English as a foreign language. Teachers tend to be needed across a range of subjects including Math and Science. 

Teaching jobs in the UAE are very competitive and more demanding than your average teaching abroad placement. Employers typically require candidates to have prior experience with educational instruction, a bachelor’s degree, and a TEFL or other teaching certification.


Long been one of the most popular destinations for teaching English abroad, China has an ever-growing demand for teachers due to its vast population.

With the ample amount of opportunity only mirrored by the countries distinct and intriguing culture, it’s not hard to see why approximately 1,000 new English teachers are appointed each month.

In free time, you could challenge yourself to learn Mandarin or Cantonese; two languages often cited as the most difficult to learn in the world. Though with plenty of sights to explore on your time away from the classroom, we wouldn’t blame you for putting the books down. 

It’s important to choose your teaching location wisely. Living in metropolitan areas like Shanghai and Beijing will be a culture shock but you may also feel a sense of comfort from imported products, fast-food chains, international cuisine, and translation assistance. 

According to Go Overseas, the average salary for teaching in China ranges from $1,400 - $2,200 per month but some international schools offer as much as $4,300. Candidates typically require a bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification, or at least two years of professional experience.


Spain is often listed as the number one teaching English abroad destination in Europe by TEFL, and it’s also near the top of the list globally.

In 2008, the country was hit by one of its worst ever financial crises and youth unemployment hit 55%. Since then, a large percent of under 25s say they would be happy to move abroad to land a job. It’s compulsory for university students to acquire a certificate in English before graduating and many choose extracurricular classes to ace their skills. 

With it also being compulsory to learn English from the first year of primary school, the need for TEFL teachers in Spain has grew exponentially.

Aside from the siestas, sunshine, and sangria, there are a whole host of reasons that Spain has become such a popular destination for English language teachers. The main reason is that it’s easy to find work. Even teachers without prior classroom, or online, teaching experience can land roles in schools if they have a TEFL (or similar) certification.

The most popular locations for teaching English as a foreign language jobs in Spain include Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, and Seville. Those who land a full-time role are likely to earn between €1,200 and €1,500 but this varies depending on the standard of institution.


With a population of more than 125 million and an economy that recognised the importance of English education early-on, Japan has been popular with young adults looking to teach abroad for decades.

Travellers often head to Japan expecting state-of-the-art technology and futuristic experiences at every turn. However, while it’s certainly true that the nation does show off its ultra-modern technologies, the country is far more than a techie haven. Go outside the big cities and you’ll be astounded by the natural beauty on display, and the humble living quarters of the locals. 

This mixture of the old and new makes Japan a compelling experience for all individuals and those wishing to teach English have plenty of opportunity with jobs all over the country. Positions vary greatly with children’s classes experiencing a boom in popularity over recent years. Even lessons for babies are surging. 

If you’re keen to work with an older demographic, there is also a large demand for teaching business English to adults.

Due to their shy and quiet nature, Japanese students tend to be a bit of a challenge for those coming from western cultures so bear this in mind and think if this would be a good fit for you.

Full-time positions have an average monthly salary of between $2,100 and $2,675 per month and most employers want candidates with a TEFL certification and a previous university degree.

Once you secure a teaching job in one of the above destinations, remember you can use Send My Bag to ship your belongings

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