This Just In! The Best Place to Teach Abroad in 2018

by Raquel Thoesen

Have you ever wished there were a way to get paid to travel the world? Even if you haven’t entered a sweepstakes with a one in a million chance of winning or don’t run a travel blog for a living, you did luck out in one respect. Being an English speaker opens the shiny doors of opportunity to teach English abroad in every inhabited continent of the world. 

Teaching abroad is your golden ticket to not only immerse yourself in a new culture, but to also bring English instruction to remote communities and cities that might not have much exposure to fluent speakers. English is by far the most learned foreign language with good reason, as it helps improve the lives of billions around the world. Just think of all the business deals, information on the internet, and international networking facilitated through English!

The Best Place to Teach Abroad in 2018

Those without a bachelor’s degree and non-native English speakers alike can also get in on the action. Don’t like kids? Try working with university students or adults instead. Not ready to quit your job and gallivant abroad for a year or two? Check out some shorter-term volunteer programs to teach abroad. If you’ve ever thought about traveling with a purpose and giving back at a global level, grab 2018 by the horns and make it your year to teach English abroad!

Hop on the Globalization Express, because we’re chugging full steam ahead to bring English to every nook and cranny of the world. Next stop: The best place to teach abroad in 2018 (plus, the nine other best countries to teach English abroad). 

10. South Korea

Shoppers on a busy street in Seoul, South Korea
There are tons of teaching positions to browse in South Korea.

A well-developed, modern economy, comfortable quality of life, and sensational pop culture that’s enraptured the world has made South Korea one of the best countries to teach abroad in recent years. Government and private teaching placement organizations alike successfully attract thousands of English teachers each year with generous compensation packages that feature a whole lot of everyone’s favorite buzzword—free. Included airfare and accommodations are hard to pass up, especially when you can teach in some pretty amazing cities.

Pros:

Foreign English teachers are extremely well paid, and receive salaries that not only allow a stress-free lifestyle, but also leave wiggle room for travel around South Korea and Asia. It’s not uncommon for teachers to return home with a nice bundle of savings as well.

Cons:

Because South Korea is a largely homogenous country and geographically isolated, foreign teachers might find it difficult to “blend in.” It’s especially challenging to find a community of locals without the Korean language skills necessary to communicate.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in South Korea:

9. Chile

Young boy riding a horse
Lasso in your future teaching career in Chile.

Asia seems to be all the rage these days for adventuring overseas to teach English, but this hot pepper-shaped strip of land puts South America back in the spotlight. With Chile’s government and private institutions looking to expand access to English education from the Patagonian ice fields to dry Atacama Deserts, the opportunities to teach English in Chile have been growing. Go penguin watching, hike up the majestic Andes, or learn Spanish in your free time while exploring this corner of the Southern Hemisphere!

Pros:

Chile is one of Latin America’s safest countries, boasting a stable economy and government, so you can get sufficient rest to lead grammar lessons with a group of energetic middle schoolers the next day.

Cons:

Before diving head first into this South American beauty, familiarize yourself with the various teaching opportunities and cultural differences you might encounter to avoid common pitfalls others have experienced.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in Chile:

8. Russia

Dusk in Russias Red Square in Moscow
Learn Russian while teaching to an older crowd in Russia

Teach English abroad off the beaten path in the world’s largest country that stretches across cross two continents, 11 time zones, and a diverse landscape of tundra and countless rivers! Apart from contributing some of the most influential ballet schools, matryoshkas, and gourmet caviar, Russia has played a massive role in shaping the world’s political climate over the past century. Private language schools are the most common placements options for foreign teachers in Russia, and students can range from primary school age to businessmen.

Pros:

With high barriers of entry for aspiring expats to Russia due to a lengthy visa process and shortage of employment opportunities for foreigners, teaching is an ideal choice for anyone looking to spend some time working in this frosty giant.

Cons:

As is the case in most countries, life in the larger cities is more expensive and Russia is no exception with its already generally higher cost of living when compared to its European neighbors.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in Russia:

7. Senegal

A young Senegalese boy smiling for the camera
Spread the joys of English in Senegal next year.

Tucked into the western coast of Africa, Senegal is a predominantly Muslim, Francophone nation, where you can expect to teach English at the higher education level or in private institutions. Although French is the official language, Wolof, a Senegalese native language is widely spoken and learning a few words and phrases will get you a nod of approval from the locals.

Pros:

In a country where many suffer from poverty, social issues, and limited access to education, teaching in Senegal is an extremely rewarding experience that will undoubtedly improve lives. 

Cons:

Because governmental support of English teaching and educational resources is limited, teaching positions in Senegal are more commonly short-term volunteer placements. For more permanent, salaried positions, teaching certifications and a bachelor’s degree may be required.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in Senegal:

6. United Arab Emirates

Man sitting alone in the desert
Live and teach in some of the world’s most international cities in the UAE.

The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, is a modern-day epitome of a global crossroad and hub for international business, with the foreign population far outnumbering the local Emirates. Due to all the international mingling, English has become the unofficial lingua-franca spoken around the country, creating a lucrative market for English language instruction. In such a tiny country, you can bet on securing a job in any one of the large cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Sharjah.

Pros:

With so many multinational corporations, tons of wealth, and a diverse mix of well-educated expats, you can rightly guess that life in the cities is cosmopolitan and glamorous. “How can I afford such a life with a measly teacher’s salary?”, you may ask. Excellent question. Competitive salaries and cushy compensation packages ensure you’ll want to renew your teaching contract for another go.

Cons:

With high salaries in a jet-set paradise, teaching jobs in the UAE are more competitive and demanding than your average teaching English abroad job. Employers may require ample previous teaching experience, teaching certifications, and a bachelor’s degree.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in the UAE:

5. China

Students working on laptops in class
China’s immense market for English teachers keeps on growing.

Housing about one-fifth of the world’s population, it’s no wonder that China has the largest appetite for English education and a resulting massive demand for foreign English teachers. Teaching placements in China range from K-12 to after school tutoring to a more individualized instruction with adults. The Middle Kingdom offers endless activities to dabble in and world heritage sites to take selfies at when you’re done with a rewarding day educating eager minds.

Pros:

Mandarin and Cantonese are both frequently cited as some of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers. What better way to directly pick up Chinese than by living immersed in it? 

Cons:

With a teaching culture focused on lecturing and cramming information for written exams, getting students motivated to speak in class can be a challenge that teachers with a Western teaching background might find hard to work around.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in China:

4. Colombia

Women preparing traditional Colombian food outside
Smell that? It’s the smell of teaching opportunities in Colombia.

Teaching in this colorful medley of rainforests, cloud covered mountains, and grassy plains has numerous perks beyond downing cups of premium Colombian coffee and shaking your hips to salsa music. Colombia has come a long way from its ill-famed reputation of narco crime and government corruption, and has since set out on a rocky path for human development progress and an improved economy. Education is of paramount importance as Colombia moves into the future, requiring a force of highly motivated and adventurous teachers.

Pros:

Colombia has the second largest population of Spanish speakers in the world, whose Spanish is renowned for its clarity and easiness to understand. If one of your goals is to learn Spanish, Colombia is a no-brainer.

Cons:

While drug-related crime like kidnapping and homicides have plummeted in the past decade, practicing common sense and keeping a wary eye out for any potential pickpockets or suspicious figures is not a bad idea.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in Colombia:

3. Morocco

Children laughing on the street side
Be the gateway to education in the gateway to Africa—Morocco.

Experience the colorful mountains of savory spices lining the bustling bazaars of Marrakech or trek through an endless ocean of sand dunes Berber style with a camel caravan. Largely in response to a booming tourism sector and in efforts to modernize its education, Morocco is promoting more English instruction in schools. Teaching in Morocco will give you an opportunity to live within a clash of European, northern African, and Arabic influences all in one place.

Pros:

Location, location, location! Morocco is blessed with prime geographic coordinates that not only make the weather heavenly year-round, but also give easy access to visit Europe or other countries in northern Africa for a weekend trip.

Cons:

With a strong Islamic influence in everyday society and the government, Morocco is much more conservative than western countries and some laws much more severe. For example, homosexuality and public consumption of alcohol is prohibited.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in Morocco:

2. Japan

Festival procession in Japan
Help carry the English language into the Land of the Rising Sun.

This mountainous California-sized island with a population of over 125 million has been on the English teaching radar for decades, thanks to one of the world’s largest economies that recognized the value in English education early-on. Mt. Fuji’s unmistakable silhouette, centuries of shogunate history, and the mysterious ninja have made Japan an alluring tourist destination and popular pick to teach English overseas.

Pros:

In such a densely inhabited country, transportation between towns and cities is a breeze with the Shinkansen and several airport connections. Of course, where else can you learn to eat ramen like a pro but in its birthplace? When in Rome!

Cons:

Big city living in Japan comes with the perks of large expat communities and 24-hour conveniences, but rent can be astronomical, your commute long, and your salary might not be any higher than if teach in a smaller city or rural area.

Fabulous teach abroad programs:

Those are just some of the best countries to teach abroad, but we know why you’re really here. You’re a discerning international program shopper and you want the best of the best, the cream of the crop. We know the suspense has been killing you, so here it goes! 

The best place to teach abroad is… (drumroll, please)

1. Spain

Human pyramid
Scale up to one of the top destinations to teach English abroad

If you’ve ever thought about teaching in Spain, there’s no doubt you’ve envisioned yourself sipping sangrias under the warm Spanish sun, lisping the “c” in gracias, and dozing off for a siesta as your students scurry home for their midday break. As a top pick for travel, study abroad, and international internships, it comes as no surprise that Spain also has heaps of English teachers flocking to its shores. So, naturally it is the best place to teach abroad in 2018.

Pros:

Because many teaching placements don’t require more than a bachelor’s degree in some cases, Spain is a great place for teaching beginners to gain some classroom hours and experience in TEFL.

Cons:

Most teaching wages for public schools and government programs in Spain only cover very basic living expenses, and many programs may not provide airfare or accommodations. It’s not uncommon to offer private tutoring on the side or bring along some savings to make ends meet.

Fabulous teach abroad programs in Spain:

As the world becomes an ever-smaller space and more tightly bound by a common language, English has become the vital glue to uniting people across political and linguistic borders. Teaching English or even other subjects as a foreign guest exposes students to more than just a fluent speaker’s voice. The rewarding interactions you’ll have teaching abroad with locals and fellow expats greases the wheels for cultural exchange to help increase understanding and tolerance.

Keep reading about the best place to teach abroad in 2018: