Where to Teach Abroad: Top Destinations and Why

by Fae Esperas

Get paid to do your passion, while discovering new cultures by teaching abroad. This path requires you to leave a lot behind, but gain even more like an action-packed career! But where exactly should you teach abroad? Almost every country on Earth has vacancies for traveling teachers, but wouldn't it be better to be based in a place that you like and likes you back? Read about some of the top locations and what makes them so popular to help you decide where to teach abroad. 

Teaching in Thailand
Teaching in Thailand. Photo by Tom Gore

1. South Korea

South Korea is one country that is continuously looking for expat teachers, particularly those who teach English. ESL teaching is a hot industry in this Asian tiger, as many of its citizens are trying hard to establish themselves in the global business market. While English is becoming a part of school curriculum, many families and companies are looking for ESL teachers who can provide adequate lessons in formal, casual, and business communication. If you are a native English speaker and have the passion to teach the subject, then you can start submitting applications to ESL schools in the country and land a job quite easily. Koreans are, as students, very eager to learn. The country also offers a distinct culture which teachers can benefit and learn from full immersion in.

2. China

If you are interested in learning more about Asian culture, then the best place to teach English abroad is probably China. A lot of ESL schools are established in the country, from Beijing to Shanghai and many other urban cities. During your stay you can also pay visits to various historical sites, such as the Forbidden City, the Potala Palace, and of course, the Great Wall. Teachers also have the priceless opportunity to learn Mandarin while teaching in China and explore the ancient traditions of the country.

3. Russia

Russia is a great place to teach abroad, mainly because it is becoming a new frontier for the ESL industry. It is only during recent years, when learning English became a need in the country, that citizens also became eager to learn how to speak the language. Teaching requirements in Russia are easy to comply with for virtually anyone; there are ESL schools that require TEFL and TESOL certification, meanwhile other academic institutions look for only a college diploma from aspiring expat teachers. Russia offers teachers plenty of majestic architectural highlights, the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil's Cathedral, to explore in their free time too.

4. Thailand

Thailand is the biggest ESL market in Southeast Asia, as the locals are starting to be more involved with global business, the same way as South Korea. English is beginning to be included in elementary and secondary education curriculum as well. While there is a growing number of Thais’ who can speak English, the main challenge they face is the accent. They often seek the help of ESL teachers who are not only capable of improving their communication skills, but also their accent and diction. Becoming an ESL teacher in the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok, is more like a tropical vacation: you can live in a clean, peaceful city, tour around the Buddhist temples after your shift, and hit the nearby beaches of Pattaya and Phuket during your free time.

5. Brazil

Brazil has the highest demand for ESL teachers in South America and this alone is enough reason for teachers to flock there. Individuals can start teaching in Brazil as a volunteer to interact with the locals and get used to the teaching environment, and then land a teaching position afterwards. Although, it can be a bit hard to acquire a working visa in Brazil, you can get past the legal bottleneck as long as you comply with the country's teaching requirements and lots of consulate-related paperwork. While in Brazil, it's best not to miss out on the Rio Carnival, the fabulous beaches, and the party the country is world famous for.