Greece has everything you could want in a home base for teaching abroad: stunning scenery, fabulous food, welcoming locals, a mild climate all year long, and plenty of sun. Spend your weekends trolling historical sites like Delos, Delphi, or the Acropolis, lounging on Mediterranean beaches, or partying on the island of Mykonos. If you contemplating teaching in Greece, just do it.
You can’t go wrong teaching anywhere in Greece, but there are some more popular options. The big cities like Athens will allow for a wider range of teaching opportunities, but the islands or small towns could provide a more authentically Greek experience.
Athens is the center for culture and excitement in Greece, and it is a great jumping off point for travel within the mainland and out to islands like Mykonos and Santorini.
Thessaloniki, this is the second largest city in Greece and sits in the northern part of the country. It is known as city full of artists and musicians so you will be surrounded by artistic culture while teaching abroad here.
Crete is the largest island in Greece and has a little bit for everyone: an expansive coastline, cities with nightlife that rivals any mainland city, and of course, historical sites.
The Islands are perfect if village life is something you want to experience while teaching in Greece. The pace of life is much slower, and there are big payoffs in terms of scenery and relaxation. If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, The Islands are for you.
Teaching in Greece
There are a couple of ways that you can begin teaching abroad in Greece. In most cases, you will be working in a Frontistiria, or English school, if you are a native English speaker and have a bachelor’s degree and TEFL certificate. Taking a TEFL course in Greece, however, gives you an advantage because you will be able to interview for jobs in person and make connections while obtaining your TEFL certificate. Upon course completion, the TEFL organization will also assist you with securing a teaching job in Greece.
Subjects & Schedules. Teaching English as a second language is the main subject teachers will focus on teaching in Greece, unless you are working as a certified teacher at an international school, where you might teach within your area of certification. The amount of classes teachers lead will depend on the school, but English teachers in Greece usually work an average of 20 to 30 hours per week. Most of classes occur in the afternoons or in evenings after regular school hours. Hiring for teaching jobs in Greece typically happens in August and January, as many of the schools are closed during the summer.
Knowledge of Greek isn’t required at all, and you’ll find that it is a very easy country to navigate just knowing English, but it never hurts to learn a little of the language while teaching abroad in Greece.
Salaries & Costs
Salaries are as varied as the types of teaching placements available, how much you make can depend on your qualifications and how many hours you work per week. Most English teaching positions will pay enough to cover your basic bills but not much more. Many individuals who teach in Greece decide to do some private tutoring on the side to supplement their income. Be prepared to break even overall. Another amount to budget is start up cost; having between $2,000 and $3,000 to cover airfare and initial rental costs is a good amount to cover your start-up costs for teaching English abroad in Greece.
If you land a job at an international school, however, you will make enough to live and probably be able to save or travel a bit as well. Some schools will even provide your airfare and a relocation bonus to get you started.
Accommodation & Visas
Apartments in Athens will start at around 400 Euros per month for a small one bedroom unfurnished efficiency and prices will increase from there. Utilities are rarely included in the rent, and you probably won’t have air conditioning. The Islands’ housing prices can vary greatly depending on the season, and it is best to get assistance from your school or a local contact.
As with most countries in Europe, you will have to find your own accommodation before you begin teaching in Greece, and it can be a difficult place to do so from abroad because listings aren’t usually posted online. Most schools, however, will provide you with contacts to get you started. You may even be able to take over the apartment of a leaving teacher or find a roommate through your employer. Make sure you find out if this is possible before accepting a teaching job in Greece.
Visas are the necessary first step in obtaining a work/residence permit to teach in Greece, and these are required for all non E.U. citizens. In order to obtain a permit, you first need to secure a visa prior to arrival. The permit application is completed once you arrive and have a teaching job in Greece secured. Many schools in Greece require you to have an E.U. passport or already have a permit to work in Greece before offering you a job. This makes it a bit tricky for Americans but it’s not impossible when you use a recruiter or TEFL organization to find jobs in Greece.
Benefits & Challenges
- Salaries. Since Greece is experiencing a low time in their economy, higher paying teaching jobs can be difficult to find. It is easy to find tutoring gigs to supplement your income though.
- Vacation Means VACATION: Greece is a beautiful country filled with beautiful weather and both the locals and visitors take advantage of it. Be sure to get your teaching applications in during hiring season (the spring) for jobs that start the following fall because it will be difficult to communicate with anyone or get anything done once vacation season hits.
What are you waiting for? Teaching anywhere has its ups and downs, and Greece is no exception. But when you combine a beautiful location, friendly people and no end to all you can discover, the challenges of teaching English abroad just melt away. For many, Greece tops the list of places to visit and by teaching there, you will be living the dream and have plenty of time to see what the islands have to offer.