6 Places with English Teacher Positions for Noodle Lovers

by Laura Jelich

Teaching abroad is without a doubt a life-changing experience. It will broaden your network, boost your resume, provide stories for years to come, and open your life up to new experiences and opportunities for growth like nothing else can. Noodles are also life-changing. Especially for someone who loves to travel by-way of stomach, they make your life better by eating them. Daily. Preferably as many times, and in as many forms, as possible.

a jar of dried pasta spilling out on a table
The pastabilities are endless for noodle-loving ESL teachers!

So if you are someone who is consistently, regularly reminded of just how much you LOVE noodles each time you taste a carb-a-licious plate of pasta and are simultaneously faced with the opportunity to find English teacher positions abroad… all responsibilities aside, why NOT base your destination decision off of the following six best places to teach abroad if you LOVE noodles? The pastabilities are endless!

Noodles vs. Pasta

First things first. Before being overwhelmed by the fact that this article exists specifically for you, the travel-loving, noodle-eating, teacher-to-be, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Ground rules need to be set and clarifications made. We may be basing future life decisions around variously-shaped, doughy carbs, but we aren’t barbarians. So what exactly is the difference between noodles and pasta?

Pasta. There is much discrepancy and debate about the exact and official requirements for, definitions of, and ingredients in, both noodles and pasta. There is, however, one seemingly agreed-upon requirement for pasta qualification, and it is only fitting that it comes from its country of origin. According to Italian law, pasta must be made with durum wheat. Pasta can be first broken into two types - dried or fresh - and then further into many different classifications and cuts, with each shape having it’s own name.

a man preparing noodles in a restaurant kitchen
Are you looking to slurp some spicy Asian noodles?

Noodles. Noodles are a subset of the broader category of pasta. While noodles are traditionally thought of as being a longer and more slender variety (generally in a ribbon-like form), the most important difference actually has to do more with how it’s made than how it looks. According to the National Pasta Association (yes, that’s a real thing), noodles must contain at least 5.5% egg solids by weight. This means that the remaining ‘pasta’-called pastas are typically lighter than it’s noodle variety.

Now that that is cleared up (kind of), it’s time to get down to business. So far we have learned that you most likely actually love all pasta, and were simply previously unaware of how intolerant and politically incorrect you were being by self-labeling yourself as a noodle-only lover. How insensitive of you. I’m sure there’s a craft pasta-making hipster somewhere who feels deeply offended.

The List

But, back to noodles, er pasta. As a basic and affordable dish that can be dressed up in endless ways, pasta has become a staple for countless countries across the globe. This means that noodle-lovers of all kinds are sure to settle in a dream-worthy teach abroad destination.

1. For the traditionalist - Italy. Purist pasta lovers won’t find a better place to teach abroad than in Italy itself. Your teaching English in Italy salary is sure to cover the cost of bottomless pasta bowls (don’t worry, they’ll be much better than Olive Garden). Expressive and ambitious expat teachers will enjoy carbing-up in the colorful cities of Italy, even if the process of securing a job does occasionally involve a few extra hoops to jump through.

freshly made ravioli squares
Do you rave over ravioli?

2. For the complex eater - China. Chinese dishes pride themselves on balancing the basic blend of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and hot. In addition to plenty of available food and flavors, China also offers a largest quantity and variety of teaching positions, so noodle lovers with various teaching qualifications and preferred class demographics are sure to find teaching jobs in China.

3. For the bottomless pit - Thailand. If you like coconut, curry, mango, rice, soup, and every flavorful and delicious ingredient imaginable, then Thai noodle dishes are for you. You may never want to return home, especially since that would mean cutting back on your Thai food intake. If you love smiling, giving back, saving a few baht, and going with the flow, you’re sure to also like your teaching english in Thailand salary!

4. For the indecisive one - Chile. Do you like pasta-based salads and penne-full hearty plates? Glaciers and deserts? Government sponsored volunteer stipends and private language school positions? Then you are one noodle-loving teacher who is destined to teach in Chile. Lucky for you, jobs in Santiago, Chile are easy to come by.

5. For the adventurer - Peru. Teachers in Peru should have an adventurous spirit and taste buds to match. A Peruvian pesto pasta dish called Tallarines Verdes will likely quickly become a staple, alongside some more eclectic spicy flavors and meats. Not only will teaching jobs in Lima, Peru satisfy those noodle cravings, but all those carbs will prove useful for school-free weekends spent hiking the Andes!

6. For the outta-the-box taster - Germany. Germany? Talk about a curve (meat)ball. Spatzle is technically a German ‘pasta’ by definition, though it’s soft egg-noodle texture is more comparable to a dumpling. Pasta boundary-pushers who want their noodles with a side of high German standards and efficiency will fare well when they find their perfect English teacher job in Germany, a centrally located, historically storied, intriguing European country.

wide noodles with shrimp being picked up with chopsticks
What is your utensil of choice? Chopsticks? Or a perfectly executed fork-twist?

Factors to consider

The amount and availability of noodles is not the only factor to consider when deciding to pursue English teacher positions — dough we may have lead you to believe otherwise. Other elements come into play that should likewise be taken into account as they will also affect the quality and essence of the noodles (and teaching experience) that you encounter.

Key Flavors

Do you like spicy, salty, or sweet? Is everything better with coconut milk or are you a die-hard supporter of garlic breath? Because the flavors typical of your teaching location will play a large role in the overall taste of your noodles, paying close attention to these small, but significant details will definitely pay off when picking your personal best pasta fit.

Supporting ingredients

Are you a peanut pad thai-loving noodle ‘nommer or will consuming nuts cause you to break out in allergy-reactive hives? Does red sauce make your worries disappear or ensure an evening of acid reflux? Because the supporting ingredients that will commonly accompany the noodles served in your country of choice will also greatly affect the dish as a whole, it is likewise a very important factor to consider.

farfalle pasta with pesto and tomatoes
No matter the sauce or side pairing, your love of noodles and local flavor will only grow as you become more immersed in your host culture.

Outside variables

Outside variables might involve things like the climate, cost of living, job requirements, work compensation, official language, etc., of the country-in-question. You know, things that maybe one should consider if all noodle factors warrant any ties for your first place pick. Luckily, there’s any easy way to compare and contrast those minor details using resources specifically designed for such times, like myGoAbroad.

Wrapping it up

Let’s wrap this article up tighter than a perfect spaghetti-fork spiral and neater than the tie of a farfalle bowtie. This list was created by cross-referencing a variety of pasta and teach-abroad lists involving total pasta consumption in metric tons per country, pasta consumption in kilograms per capita, and quantity of teach abroad programs. While they offer a great place to start for pasta-lovers looking to score English teaching positions, there are many incredible, noodle-filled countries to choose from.

No matter where you go, just be sure to eat, teach, and enjoy each noodle, student, and adventure (respectively) to the fullest!