If taking the leap to teach abroad is on your to-do list but you haven’t decided on a location yet, you have help! Choosing a location is not an easy task because let’s face it, the world is a mighty big place. So why not teach in a city that has world class charm and everything imaginably possible to offer right at your fingertips? If this sounds good then Kuala Lumpur is definitely the place. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is the country’s cultural, financial, and economic center, and THE place to spend your teaching stint abroad. Here is everything you need to know about teaching abroad in Kuala Lumpur.
Popular Ways to Teach in Kuala Lumpur
There are several teaching options in Kuala Lumpur, but know that most places will require a degree and a teaching certificate before they will consider you. Consider the following!
Public schools vs. universities vs. tutoring centers. Once you have the proper qualifications you can choose the type of school you want to apply for English teaching jobs in Kuala Lumpur. Private language schools will likely pay the most, but will have more stringent requirements and higher standards to get hired. Public schools and university positions will be easier to obtain but won’t pay as well. If you go that route, consider private lessons or tutoring to compensate your wages.
Short-term vs. long-term and job structure. Duration is another important factor to consider when teaching abroad. Short-term vs. long-term jobs each have their advantages and disadvantages. Long term (minimum of one year) will look impressive on your resume to future employers. It will also allow you time to develop meaningful relationships with your students. If you choose short-term (three to six months), you will have enough time to figure out if teaching abroad is right for your lifestyle. The downside is that it takes a while to adjust to a new culture and environment, so you might be returning home just about the time you are getting used to everything.
Teaching English vs. teaching other subjects is something else to consider. Most schools these days are looking for foreign teachers to teach English only. This was not the case in Malaysia between 2003 to 2012 when science and math were taught to Malay students primarily in English. The rule was not widely accepted or supported by the Malaysian people and grades in those subject plummeted. Plan to teach English unless you are interested in tutoring adults privately in other subjects.
Life in Kuala Lumpur for Teachers
Life for teachers in Kuala Lumpur is never boring. The fastest growing metropolitan region in Southeast Asia in population and economic development is the sixth most visited city in the world by tourists. The appeal to foreigners is Kuala Lumpur’s cultural diversity, relatively low costs, and wide shopping and gastronomic variety. Yes, food is HUGE there. And with food being a common interest for most people, you will definitely have something to talk about to most anyone you bump into.
The tropical rainforest climate is another perk of living and teaching in Kuala Lumpur. The city sits in the huge Klang Valley and is bordered by Titiwangsa mountains in the east, several minor ranges in the north and south, and the strait of malacca in the west. It feels hot forever, or at least until the end of the year when the rainy season hits.
If shop til you drop is your middle name you will enjoy living in Kuala Lumpur because shopping malls everywhere. Nothing is ever too far out of reach in this city. You will likely spend a lot of your time in Bukit Bintang entertainment and shopping district. Also visit the many tourist destinations including Petronas Twin Towers - the tallest twin buildings in the world and popular Petaling Street (Chinatown).
With a cost of living more than 55% lower than New York City, it is quite possible to find nice, affordable living accommodations while teaching in Kuala Lumpur. A one bedroom apartment in the city, for example, can average around 2,375 MYR or ~$550 USD. Want something a little more cozy? Do your Airbnb research and experience the city like a local. You can find daily or monthly deal to fit your price range and at the same time maximize your experience abroad.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
The GoAbroad website has plenty of good information right at your fingertips with the inside scoop on how to get paid teaching English abroad in Malaysia. Keep in mind that citizens of U.S., Canada, Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand can enter Malaysia for three months and will need to get an Employment Pass before legally teaching in Malaysia. To secure an Employment Pass, teachers must be 25 years old, hold a bachelor’s degree, have a TESOL certification, and have at least two years of teaching experience.
If amazing food, warm weather, endless shopping, and cultural diversity sound interesting to you, Kuala Lumpur is a good fit for you to teach abroad. Before you pack your bags, do your research! Obtain the proper passes, certifications, passport, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime teaching abroad in Kuala Lumpur!
Get more inspo with our comprehensive guide on teaching abroad in Malaysia here.