Want to get out there, see the world, and earn some cash at the same time? Why not think about making money teaching English abroad? Forget the stereotype of the boozy ESL teacher who plays with kids in the morning and drinks the night away in Bangkok, Barcelona, or Buenos Aires. Teaching English abroad can be quite lucrative if you play your cards right.
Let’s get one thing straight from the get go. Teaching is serious business, #nolie. It’s not a hobby but a real job, one that allows you to interact meaningfully with the people of a foreign country. Do it well and your students, co-teachers, and parents will love you and never want you to leave. That doesn’t mean you have to be all straight-laced in the classroom. Just learn how to strike the right balance between being hip/fun/cool and making sure your students are still learning something.
So where do you want to work abroad? What are the best countries for teaching English? Do you see yourself in a swanky business school in Shanghai or playing ESL games with young kids in Peru? What about doing conversation warm ups with Thai adults or teaching Spanish teenagers the lyrics of the latest Drake song? We’ve done the legwork for you so here are the 10 best places to teach English abroad in 2018 according to our community of meaningful travelers.
Spain is numero uno when it comes to the best places to teach overseas. ESL teachers love its established language schools, the sheer diversity of its food, architecture, and customs, and of course, its glorious sunshine. Get TEFL certified in the country and then find a job or jump right into a pool of the best ESL opportunities in Europe. The best places to teach English abroad in Spain are Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, and Valencia.
Recommended program: Teach abroad in Spain with International TEFL Academy
In Asia, Japan remains one of the best countries to teach abroad. Learn all there is to know about the land of the rising sun beyond Tokyo, cosplay, and sushi. ESL jobs are firmly established here so you can find yourself teaching almost anywhere on Japan’s four main and other smaller islands, including balmy Okinawa or snowy Hokkaido. Take the time to brush up on your Japanese, one of the most difficult but also rewarding languages to learn.
Recommended program: Teach abroad in Japan with Interac
Ah Thailand! The backpacker’s paradise and gateway to English teaching jobs in Southeast Asia. The land of smiles tempts many an ESL teacher with its incredible food (think beyond pad thai!), beaches, temples, and easy-breezy way of life. Thailand is also the best place to teach English abroad because the ESL industry is well developed and there’s a solid expat community so you’ll assimilate in no time.
Recommended program: Teach abroad in Thailand with ACT
When it comes to Southern Europe, look no further than Italy, the best country to teach English abroad. Italy is where you’ll learn la dolce vita while teaching adults how to order their favorite cappuccino in English or explaining the rules of Scrabble to teenagers. The best places to teach overseas in Italy include ancient Rome, romantic Venice, fashionable Milan, or the stunning Tuscany region. Teach at language schools, international schools, summer camps, or go it alone with private English lessons.
Recommended program: Teach abroad in Italy with API
Good news, peeps! Cuba has opened up for business and travel and is looking for English teachers pronto! This Spanish-speaking Caribbean country is one of the best countries to teach ESL. Say hello to charming cities, swaying palm trees, and neverending sugarcane fields! Teach in one of the region’s most vibrant cultures and also practica tu español in public schools or private classes in Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Camagüey.
Recommended program: Teach abroad in Cuba with GeoVisions
6. South Korea
Hands down, one of the best places to teach English overseas is South Korea. What makes this Asian country so popular with TEFL teachers across the board? First off, the salaries are pretty generous in this part of the world, with extra perks like housing allowances, performance bonuses, and free flights to and from your home country. That means you’ll have plenty left over to pay off those mountains of student debt and have fun in Seoul too!
Recommended program: Teach abroad in South Korea with i-to-i TEFL
Although it’s one of the most populous places on the planet, the Red Dragon still pulls in scores of ESL teachers and is the best place to teach English abroad. Why? Because of its high demand for English teachers, of course! Chinese people are eager to master the language for business, school, and pleasure. Think beyond the Great Wall and work in rural kindergartens in Kunming, business English language schools in Shanghai, and universities in Macau. Salaries this side of Asia are usually pretty generous so you’re bound to earn enough to live well while you’re in China.
Recommended program: Teach abroad in China with Premier TEFL
Want to parler en français like a local and earn some Euros too? Head to France, one of world’s most popular tourist destinations and one of the top countries to teach English! Find teaching jobs across France in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseilles, Toulouse, and Montpellier. After a hard day’s work, head to your local boulangerie and treat yo’self to fresh choux à la crème, macarons, chocolate éclairs, and profiteroles. Zut alors!
Recommended program: Teach abroad in France with Speaking-Agency
This South American giant is one of the top countries to teach English and with good reason too! First of all, it’s massive so think beyond teaching English in the ever popular Rio de Janeiro. Instead, head to São Paulo for the best pick of the lot of ESL jobs at escolas de idiomas (language schools) or to Salvador, the self-titled capital of happiness and home of the largest Carnaval in the world. Book your flight to one of the best countries to teach abroad today!
Recommended program: Teach abroad in Brazil with ITTT
Forget all those narco-trafficking movies you’ve seen. Although Colombia has a bad international rep when it comes to the global drug trade, things aren’t all bad there. Blessed with a unique Latin American culture, Caribbean coastline, Amazon rainforest, and Andes mountains, Colombia is also one of the top countries to teach English abroad. Mingle with the locals in a meaningful way by teaching in a much cleaned up Bogota, lovely Medellin, and sunny Barranquilla.
Recommended program: Teach abroad in Colombia with Teach English: ESL
A note from GoAbroad
We’d like to thank our community for not only inspiring us daily, but for also giving us enough insight to share accurate predictions for meaningful travel in 2018.
Learn more about our research methodology, recommended programs, and links here.
Browse more of our report on English teaching jobs abroad—broken down by region
- Best Countries to Teach English Abroad in Europe 2018
- Best Countries to Teach English Abroad in the Americas for 2018
- Best Countries to Teach English Abroad in Africa in 2018
- Best Countries to Teach English Abroad in the South Pacific & Asia for 2018
- See ALL top destinations for ALL travel