Once your adventurous spirit draws your attention to Asia, there are many countries you could teach in. Whether you’re attracted to the beaches of Thailand or the rich history of China, your new home is waiting for you across the world. As you look into a TEFL course and plan your departure from the US, check out the top five countries for teaching English in Asia.
1) Teach English in Thailand
The Land of Smiles is a popular place for teaching English in Asia because of its fun and relaxing atmosphere. Unlike some Asian countries, there’s more focus on enjoying your life than on being the best or smartest. People live on “Thai time,” which is basically island time. Because so many 20-somethings choose to teach in Thailand, there’s an awesome atmosphere among expats that involves partying and adventuring around the country.
No matter what town you end up teaching in, beautiful nature is abundant. Enjoy pristine beaches along the Gulf of Thailand and the lower peninsula or trek through the jungle in more northern areas.
The pay for foreign teachers in Thailand is more than enough to cover your cost of living and school-break travels, but don’t count on saving as much extra cash as you can in other Asian countries. However, if you find a job in Bangkok or work as a private tutor, you can make significantly more money on top of your regular school salary.
2) Teach English in South Korea
If you’re looking to pay off your student loans or pad your savings account while you teach English abroad, South Korea may be the destination for you. Compared to the cost of living in South Korea, pay for foreign ESL teachers is quite high and will allow you to travel as much as you please during time off. There are lots of jobs for ESL teachers in South Korea and it’s not surprising that positions are being filled quickly. In addition to your cushy salary, your housing and airfare will be covered.
In South Korea, there’s a lot of emphasis on community and cooperation. Students are motivated to take care of their schools while they study hard and master the English language.
3) Teach English in China
When you consider the size of China, it’s no wonder that the ESL teacher job market is booming. With over one-billion citizens, there are tons of schools that need native English speakers to help the country maintain its stance as a world power. If you’re looking into teaching English in China, know that there’s also a diverse selection of locations. Whether you’re interested in a big city like Shanghai or Beijing, or a little village in the mountains, there are enough open positions for every taste. Salaries for foreign teachers in China are relatively high and often include accommodation and flight reimbursement so you can be confident that you will live a comfortable life there.
4) Teach English in Taiwan
Do you know anyone who has left the U.S. to teach English in Taiwan? Me neither, but I’m thinking about heading there next.
Taiwan is the perfect place to teach English in Asia if you’re interested in a country that’s less Westernized than the others on this list. There’s a blossoming job market for ESL teachers, especially in elementary schools, as the country develops into a leader in the tech industry.
The diverse landscape in Taiwan will keep you entertained on weekends and school vacations alike, whether you want to hit the beach or hike in the mountains. Like in South Korea, your employer in Taiwan will likely provide you with benefits such as housing, healthcare and airfare.
5) Teach English in Japan
Jobs aren’t as readily available in Japan because there’s more competition than in South Korea and China, but if you snag a coveted position, you’ll be privy to a culture full of kindness, convenience and delicious food.
Schools in Japan are quite structured and the students are very eager to learn English. They love to learn about American culture and will always call you “beautiful” or “handsome,” which doesn’t hurt the ol’ self-esteem.
Veteran ESL teacher Hilary Fuller cherishes her memories of Japanese elementary schools and says this of her students: “They serve themselves lunch in the classrooms and have a whole routine that will melt your heart.”
In general, Japan is easy to travel around because its transportation infrastructure is superior to countries such as Thailand. Plus, locals don’t harass or dupe foreigners, but rather relish the chance to practice their English skills.
Which one of these countries seems like the right place for you? We can help get you there with our TEFL courses and first-hand ESL experience. Come teach English in Asia!
Ask us for a FREE TEFL world job chart today!
Words by Christine Hayes.