The Best Countries To Teach English Abroad

Teaching English abroad can be both personally and professionally rewarding. This is especially true for those who are really passionate about teaching. Countries like Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia and Mexico offer great jobs for those who want to teach English abroad.

In the past few decades, teaching English as a second language abroad has become a great option for many Americans. This is because it offers them the opportunity to earn money, see the world and explore different customs and cultures. Typically, ESL teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. However, they may also be allowed to teach even without one in some places as long as they are able to obtain an accredited TEFL or TESOL certifications.

The following are countries that Americans often go to teach English along with their pros and cons.

South Korea

South Korea has one of the largest English teaching markets in the world. This is mainly because of the South Korean government’s effort to improve English skills in children and adults. About 2,000 to 3,000 jobs open almost every month for ESL teachers. Today, big companies in the country prefer applicants who have good written and verbal English skills.

What is great about working as an ESL teacher in South Korea is that jobs are available the whole year round. Salaries are generous at around $1,800 to $2,200 every month depending on the exchange rate. Tax is only 5 percent. Applicants in the United States may be offered free airfare if they qualify for the chance to live a comfortable lifestyle in South Korea. ESL teachers may have to work from 25 to 30 hours a week. They receive paid vacations and holiday benefits.

When it comes to salary and work environment, nothing beats South Korea. Most companies in the country will pay for the teacher’s accommodation, airfare and other benefits. This is why many American instructors prefer to work in South Korea. South Koreans are prompt with payments, and instructors can stretch their income a lot compared to other countries.


Japan has one of the longest traditions when it comes to hiring English teachers. This is because the government demands that English is taught in public schools from age five until high school. ESL teaching jobs are also available in Japan the whole year round. English teachers receive an average monthly pay of $2,500 to $2,800.

Depending on the school or program, housing benefits and accommodation may be paid or subsidized. ESL teachers in Japan may teach in private language schools, public schools and even large companies.


China’s English teaching market is also flourishing. It has become one of the most preferred destinations for native English speakers who wish to work as ESL instructors. The biggest advantage of working in China is that the pay is relatively high while the cost of living is low. With this, ESL teachers are able to enjoy a comfortable life.

English instructors who wish to work in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing should definitely have a bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification. In smaller towns and cities, even those who have not completed a degree may be qualified as long as they have a TEFL certification.

ESL teachers earn an average salary of $950 to $1,900 with a potential savings of $250 to $450 every month. Chinese English schools sometimes offer a one month bonus for teachers who completed their 12-month contract. The typical hiring process includes a phone or in-person interview.

The only problem that many ESL teachers face while working in China is that the majority of Chinese people can’t speak English. With this, it can be difficult for foreigners to communicate with people outside of school.


Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Pattaya are just some of the major cities in Thailand that demand a large number of English instructors. ESL teachers should have TEFL certification to work in Thailand. They can also find jobs all year. Unfortunately, Thailand offers less pay than the other Asian countries. American teachers only earn an average of $750 to $1000 monthly. Additionally, there is a high cost of living in areas like Phuket.

ESL teachers from the U.S. come to Thailand primarily to experience the culture and explore the country’s wonders. They usually teach English to extend their holiday in the country. One problem that ESL instructors are concerned about is the 90-day report. Immigration demands all foreigners to report to them every 90 days. Many teachers find this tedious and annoying.

Nevertheless, many ESL instructors find Thailand to be an interesting place to teach. Aside from the fact that Thailand is home to many famous beaches, Thais are also very friendly. Many Thais in tourist areas speak English, and this makes staying in the country a lot easier for foreign teachers.

Czech Republic

Recently, the demands for English teachers in Czech Republic has significantly increased. This is especially true in Prague during the months of September and January. ESL instructors may teach in private schools, foreign language schools and summer camps.

Czech Republic is an interesting country to teach English in. This is because of the many jobs available along with the flexible contracts offered. Among the drawbacks of working in Czech are the pay and the visas. ESL teachers who opt to work there have to go through a tedious process before they can work in the country. They have to present documents like bank statements to prove that they have money to support themselves.

Additionally, the pay is not enough for a comfortable lifestyle. Typically, teachers earn about $1,000 to $1,300. This is why many foreigners go to the country with exploring as their primary goal. Nevertheless, the Czech Republic is easy to acclimatize to for many American teachers.

Saudi Arabia

Qualified English teachers in Saudi Arabia can earn as much as $1,500 to $3,000 or more tax free every month. In addition, they get free health insurance, airfare and accommodation. However, expectations and qualifications for ESL instructors are relatively high. A lot of young Americans have been attracted to these offerings. Unfortunately, the country’s culture is particularly difficult to get accustomed to. There are stringent laws that prohibit people of opposite genders from talking and meeting both in public and private. In addition, alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and foreigners must live on compounds where they will have very little interaction with the local population outside of work.

Saudi culture is very conservative, and foreigners are not excused. Nevertheless, pay and compensation is better than in other countries. ESL teachers in Saudi Arabia have to go through a lengthy application and visa process that may take one to three months. English teaching jobs are available in large cities like Jeddah, Riyadh, Mecca, Dammam and Medina.


Mexico also has high demand for ESL instructors. Many Americans come to Mexico to experience teaching English and the local culture. This is because Mexico is very close to the United States, and it is relatively easy to get there. There are a lot of teaching jobs available in the country. Unfortunately, they are often not attractive for American ESL instructors because of the very low pay. Nevertheless, it is very easy to get accustomed to the country.

Americans who want to go and teach English in Mexico often choose to work in local and international schools. This is because they usually provide better pay and benefits than working in language institutes and teaching private classes.