Can you imagine waking up every day to a job you love, in a place you chose to live, getting paid well – and basically living your best life? Well, with teaching English as a foreign language that’s exactly what your reality can be – whether you’re abroad or at home. But the question is: what is the best country to teach English abroad in 2022?
That could depend on whether you’d rather be devouring banana pancakes in Thailand or working on your suntan in Spain. But we can give you a general idea of the most popular countries to teach English abroad in 2022 – and you might see why they make the list of best places to teach English abroad.
The best countries to teach English abroad in 2022
To help you out, here are our seven best places to teach English abroad in 2022 (in no particular order).
China has been a popular TEFL destination since the beginning of TEFL, and this is not going to change anytime soon. China is a breath-takingly beautiful country, with a fascinating culture and traditions – and mouth-watering food. But the real reason China draws so many TEFL teachers to its shores every year is quite simply because there are tens of thousands of jobs available. Whether you want to work in a public school, language school or university, there are opportunities all over this wonderful country.
In order to teach in China you need to have a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate from a reputable provider. You can expect to earn between ¥ 10,000 and ¥ 20,000 a month.
Shannon Lawler is one of our graduates from Belfast. She has now taught in a kindergarten in Beijing for over four years. She says: “Obviously, teaching can be tiring at times, but not a day goes by when I don’t get a good laugh or a smile. I feel that I have developed a lot as a person since coming to China to teach English: I have become more social, more confident, I have learnt a new language (yes I can speak Mandarin!), met great friends from all over the world, travelled far and wide and fallen in love with a new culture.” In fact, she’s even met her husband in China!
In terms of TEFL, South Korea is old but gold. High demand for TEFL teachers, attractive salaries, and added benefits such as flights, accommodation and health insurance makes it easy to understand why. Add that to modern cities, fascinating history and gorgeous natural scenery (and K-pop!) and it’s no wonder South Korea remains one of the most popular TEFL destinations.
In order to teach in South Korea, you need a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate from an internationally recognised service provider. Jobs can be found in public schools through the EPIK or GoKorea government programmes or privately in the hagwons. The average teaching salary in South Korea is between ₩1.5 million and ₩4 million.
Be warned, South Korea has a tough work ethic so you will probably finding yourself working long hours. Luckily, the package makes it all worthwhile. Besides, you know what they say: work hard, play hard!
Taiwan is a new powerhouse destination for TEFL teachers. With an increasing focus on English education within schools, there are loads of jobs for TEFL teachers, especially with younger learners. Salaries are good and you will have the added benefits of flight reimbursement and contributions to accommodation. With most TEFL jobs being in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung, it’s easy enough to find like-minded TEFLers to hang out with in your free time.
In order to teach in Taiwan you need a Bachelor’s degree, and a TEFL certificate is preferred. The average teaching salary in Taiwan is between NT$ 45,000 and NT$ 65,000 .
Japan is a popular choice but maybe not for the reasons you think. While many TEFL teachers choose where to go based on how much money they can make, Japan attracts a different sort of TEFL teacher. Japan is an outrageously beautiful country, with beautifully modern cities and interesting traditional villages, and astounding natural beauty. Not to mention the unbelievable food!
There are many very good TEFL jobs too. You can teach in a public school (one option being through the JET programme), in-house in a company or in a university. Your salary is good but the cost of living in Japan is very high. This means that though you will have an unforgettable experience living and working in Japan, don’t expect to pay off your debts while you’re there. You can expect to earn between ¥250,000 and ¥300,000 a month.
Having said that, Japan is an ideal destination for the developing teacher. If you are interested in teaching English as a foreign language as a career or honing your teaching skills, Japan has become known as a TEFL destination that is friendly to training their teachers.
Spain is aEuropean country that has consolidated its popularity with TEFL teachers. It has always featured on any lists of top travel destinations and now TEFL teachers are realising that they can live there too. Gorgeous weather, gorgeous beaches and gorgeous humans make being a TEFL teacher in Spain an easy decision. While you won’t earn enough to live in the lap of luxury, you’ll still be able to enjoy all the food, fiesta and flamenco that Spain has to offer.
As a bonus: Spain is a very LGBTQ+-friendly destination.
In order to teach in Spain, you need a TEFL certificate. You don’t need a Bachelor’s degree for many schools but you do need to have an EU passport or eligibility to work in the EU. You can earn approximately €1,200 in Spain – but with the low cost of living compared to other European countries, you’ll be able to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle.
United Arab Emirates
This one is for the more experienced TEFL teachers. Living and teaching in the UAE might be very different to what you are used to, but maybe that’s why you should come here! The obvious perk of working in the UAE is the very generous tax-free salary, but the culture and natural beauty are good incentives too. With a huge expat community, you are sure to find any creature comforts from home you might be missing.
In order to teach in the UAE, you need to have a Bachelor’s degree, a TEFL certificate and a few years of teaching experience. If you have a teaching qualification, this will stand you in good stead too. Without a doubt, if you are looking to save up some money, then the UAE is where you should be looking for a job.
Chile might not be top of your list of TEFL destinations – at least not yet! – but it’s definitely an up-and-comer.Chile is a fascinating country geographically, with it being the longest country measuring from North to South. Not only does Chile have breath-taking natural beauty but it is also well-known for its delicious wine. With a laidback atmosphere, Chile is a great option for those TEFL teachers who enjoy taking it easy.
In terms of TEFL, you can usually find jobs in language institutes, high schools, colleges or in-house teaching Business English. The average TEFL salary in Chile is between 400,000 and 600,000 CLP.
Another South American hotspot in 2022 is Colombia. With beautiful beaches, friendly people and mouth-watering food, Colombia is definitely a must-visit destination. Though there have been safety concerns regarding Colombia in recent years, the country has stabilised considerably and is no longer the country it once was.
TEFL teachers usually find work in bilingual high schools, supplementing their income with private lessons. The cost of living in Colombia is very low so the average salary of 2,500,000 to 3,500,000 COP is more than enough for a comfortable lifestyle.
Two more countries that deserve honourable mentions are Thailand and Vietnam. With their beauty and laidback lifestyles, these two countries have gained popularity over the last decade or two and their popularity doesn’t seem to be waning. You can’t expect to earn millions in either country, but you can expect to enjoy an amazing lifestyle while there.
Teaching English online in 2022
But you said: “I could teach English as a foreign language at home?”, we hear you say?! And yes you can! The great thing about teaching English as a foreign language is that you can choose where you want to live. So if you want to live and teach in Peru, you can do that. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your besties in your hometown, then you can live there and work online. Or you can have the best of both worlds: you can live wherever you want and work online.
If you work for an online company, chances are you’ll be earning in US dollars no matter where you are working. Say, for example, you live in Cape Town, you can earn around $20 an hour, which doesn’t sound like a lot but is actually R315 an hour!
The new digital nomad visas which are being rolled out around the world allow you to live and work legally in a country, as long as you work online – pretty convenient! This is especially helpful for those TEFL teachers who can’t sit still for very long and enjoy bouncing around the world on a regular basis. But it’s also a sneaky way to make the most of your earnings – by living in a country with a low cost of living, you can minimise your spendings and maximise your savings. Genius!
Sarah Keep from Nottingham, for example, works online and travels wherever and whenever she pleases: “[I have] taught online from my iPad whilst travelling around Vietnam, Cambodia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Turkey. Doing my TEFL course has given me the ability to live abroad and travel the world whilst earning comfortably for the past 2 years.”
If you need any more convincing, let’s look at the flexibility that teaching English abroad affords you. Did you know that you can teach English abroad without a degree? And if English is not your first language? You can also volunteer teach or do an internship if you’d like a short-term option. The most important qualification you need in order to teach English abroad is a good-quality TEFL certificate.
So look no further!
A TEFL qualification from The TEFL Academy is internationally recognised and accepted by TEFL employers all over the world. Our graduates have found jobs all over the world, which should be proof enough that we know what we’re talking about! Check out our alumni stories to see what our graduates have been up to, and our Jobs Board to see our latest vacancies.