The list of potential teaching destinations for 2022/23 is long and exciting, with something to suit all preferences. The most important factor when choosing where to teach will vary from one person to the next as we all have different priorities. The most important factor for some is the salary on offer, while others are drawn by cultural attractions or even nightlife. We should also acknowledge the ever increasing popularity of teaching English online that has become even more prominent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the possible options have pros and cons, so take a minute to read through this brief guide to the most common TESOL destinations.
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The simple answer to this common question is Asia. The Asian continent is vast in size and diversity and it is also home to the largest number of ESL teaching jobs worldwide. The region has many great cities where vacant positions can be found in abundance. Some of the most popular include Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. Outside the big cities you will also find job options in thousands of towns and villages where culture and adventure are on hand on a daily basis.
If your main goal is to save money while teaching, the best option is to head for one of the more developed nations such as Japan, China, South Korea, or Taiwan. Potential jobs are widespread and easy to find and the salaries on offer are generally very favorable in comparison to the local cost of living. The other major benefit of this region is that many jobs can be organized before you leave home, which is great for anyone who is new to foreign teaching and travel.
Despite the huge number of jobs available in Asia, the vast majority are located in major towns and cities which might not be exactly what you had in mind. For some people the idea of walking on a tropical beach or swimming in the sea between lessons is a large part of the dream. If this sounds like you, you will probably need to look towards lesser known options. TESOL qualified teachers have been heading to Thailand for years as it offers a fascinating cultural experience, as well as a laid back lifestyle and pleasant climate. The downside of this option is that saving money during your stay will be difficult as the average salary is significantly less than the more popular countries in the region. Another country to consider if you want to stay off the beaten track is Vietnam. The demand for teachers has grown considerably in recent years and the salaries are also slowly rising.
Despite being small in size compared to other regions, the Middle East has a large market for TESOL qualified teachers and some of the biggest salaries to be found anywhere in the teaching world. It is common for salaries to be tax free and for contracts to include extensive benefits such as free accommodation and airfares. The downside is that these great packages attract a lot of competition which means that employers will generally expect you to have some previous experience and a high-level teaching qualification. The biggest teaching markets in this region can be found in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, although Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are also well worth a look.
Although salaries are high and extra benefits are common, not everyone is comfortable living and working in the Middle East region. Many countries have strict social rules that can be a deal breaker for some teachers. If you are unused to this type of culture it can be a shock to the system, particularly for female teachers. However, while some teachers will decide that their best option is to look elsewhere, others will come to the conclusion that they just need to adapt to a new environment and the inconveniences involved are outweighed by the financial rewards on offer.
Thousands of foreign teachers flock to Europe every year due to a convenient mix of modern amenities and exceptional culture and entertainment options. Jobs are available in most countries in the region, from the sun and sand of Mediterranean beach resorts to major world cities such as Madrid, Paris and Rome. However, before you jump on a plane to Europe there are a few things to think about.
The high cost of living in many countries is the number one issue facing foreign TESOL graduates. Jobs are plentiful in most major cities, but the problem is that your monthly income is unlikely to afford you the comfortable lifestyle you probably have in mind. Another issue to consider is that many employers have a clear preference for British English rather than American English. However, even with these concerns, the number of people heading to Europe to teach English continues to rise year on year.
A common solution for many teachers is to look for jobs in Central and Eastern Europe, rather than the more expensive countries to the west. These areas typically have a lower cost of living making it possible to live a comfortable lifestyle and even save a small amount of money every month. Another bonus of this approach is that work permits and visas are often easier to come by outside of the western region. The Czech Republic has long been the most popular destination in this part of Europe as it offers a large market for qualified teachers and an easy going lifestyle. Other popular destinations include Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.
Latin America is a popular region for TESOL that covers a vast area from Mexico in the north, all the way down to the rugged beauty of Cape Horn in the south. This massive region covers 20 countries, all of which have some amount of teaching jobs. However, these markets are mostly quite small and the potential salaries are not as good as you will find elsewhere around the world. Despite the lower wages and smaller number of jobs, those who choose this region will get to enjoy some of the most beautiful natural environments on Earth and the potential for some amazing adventures.
Mexico and Chile typically offer the biggest markets for TESOL qualified teachers. Jobs are widespread in both countries and the wages are amongst the best in the region. On the downside, the better paid jobs will often attract plenty of interest, which might rule out those without any previous experience. We also recommend you take a look at Colombia and Ecuador as they are both up and coming destinations with plenty to offer. Two other long term favorites in Latin America are Argentina and Costa Rica, both of which have traditionally provided plenty of teaching opportunities. In recent times the competition for jobs in these countries has increased and the cost of living has risen, meaning that they might not be as attractive as they once were.
Due to recent world events many TESOL qualified teachers have moved to online English teaching. Online teaching is a great option for many as you can work from home without having to think about government requirements or other travel concerns. Whatever happens in the future, online ESL teaching is set to thrive long after the current travel restrictions and health concerns are over. The number of online platforms where you can provide your services seems to grow by the day which means there are plenty of options out there for everyone, regardless of their experience level.