Home Travel Articles Top five places to teach English as foreign language (TEFL)

Top five places to teach English as foreign language (TEFL)

by David Hellowell
International school children

With another year on the horizon, people are starting to look for the best places to teach English as a foreign language around the world, but where are the best places to teach in 2014?


Dubai Burj Al Arab

Dubai Burj Al Arab (c) pixabay/PublicDomainPictures

For those who want to earn just that little bit more, then Dubai is almost certainly the place to do it in 2014.

With a salary between £2000 and £3000 a month, plus free flights and free furnished accommodation, Dubai is probably the place to be if you want to make (and save) large amounts of money while teaching abroad.

Be prepared however, as pay is heavily dependent on experience and competition for positions is fierce, with interviews reportedly arduous. It may also be worth checking out the laws before you go too, as the country has many conservative laws that may be unfamiliar and could possibly trip up an unaware westerner.


Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam (c) wikimedia/Arianos

If you like to party at weekends, then Vietnam may well be the ideal place to scratch that particular itch. The country is great for those who haven’t had the chance to build up a portfolio of experience, as positions for fresh teachers that are new to the job are often advertised and available.

Though the salary you can expect is likely less than some other countries (often coming at around £1000-£2000 a month), the cost of living is relatively cheap and people can look to save around £400 a month. Like South Korea, however, the country carries out rigorous background checks first, so be prepared to prove any and all of your records.

South Korea

Bongeunsa Temple, Seoul

Bongeunsa Temple, Seoul (c) wikimedia/Rheo1905

Currently there are over 25,000 English-speaking teachers in South Korea, and with the country building a reputation as one of the most modern countries in Asia and a hotbed of high tech design and technology, this diaspora can only grow. So, if technology is your bag, there’s probably no better place to immerse yourself.

Most first-time teachers can enjoy free airfare, furnished housing and high salaries that can enable them to potentially save up to £1000 a month. Those with a criminal record might encounter an issue with getting into the country as checks are rigorous and such a record can quickly disqualify you from attaining any work visa.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica: volcano

Costa Rica: volcano (c) pixabay/Skitterphoto

Perhaps not usually the first destination for English teachers, it is a country that is rising in popularity and one that’s becoming very popular for expats too. In addition to this, if the idea of Latin culture in one of the best climates in the world excites you, then there’s probably no better place to teach than the beautiful country of Costa Rica.

Although the average wage tends to be on the lower end compared to some destinations, you could find yourself paying less than £200 rent a month, which as you might imagine, is a great bonus.

World Teach, Projects Abroad and EVOLC all have programmes for teaching foreign languages in the country.


Shinjuku by night, Tokyo, Japan

Shinjuku by night, Tokyo, Japan (c) flickr/Kevin Poh

No great surprises here but teaching in Japan is a venture that is highly popular among UK and US residents, with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) recruiting tens of thousands of English speaking teachers every year.

If you are interested in the history and culture of Japan and East Asia, then giving it a go here is a strong recommendation.

Although the interview process can be longer than most, many teachers are known to save roughly £500 per month, with wages averaging around £1200 a month. As an extra incentive, do your research and you might be able to find a package with flights and even rent provided.

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