These Great Places Will Make You Want to Teach English Abroad

Top Articles on Studying Abroad from Students and Experts

story by Trixie Cordova

For those of us with wanderlust, the dream job is one that allows us to continue spending as much time abroad as possible.  For many native English speakers, that dream is easily realized  with the abundance of ESL jobs abroad. Consider teaching abroad if you’d like to be sharing a portion of your expertise to a diverse audience while enjoying the leisure of travel and adventure at the same time. If that isn’t the perfect life, what is?

With over 1.7 billion people worldwide interested in learning the English language, the market for ESL teaching is growing by the minute. Even without any teaching experience, native speakers can join the market as long as they have a TEFL certification, the ultimate ticket to an enriched adventure. Because of this, tens of thousands of native English speakers explore the international market every year to experience the opportunity of a lifetime. If you want your own share of the fun, check out these awesome places that fully embrace ESL teachers.

  1. Land of the Morning Calm (South Korea)

Photo courtesy of Hon Kim via Unsplash.

In the heart of Asia lies a modern country that is home to around 25,000 young expats who make a fortune teaching English to a foreign but friendly audience. South Korea, dubbed as the “Land of the Morning Calm,” is loved by many ESL teachers for a reason. Not only does it extend competitive salaries and benefits, it also offers a rich history that never fails to inspire. From a battle-scarred, third-world nation, South Korea has emerged as an economically progressive country that is considered today as one of the world’s pioneers in technological advancement. South Korea can make your ESL job seem like a holiday.

  1. The Red Fury (Spain)

vacation, picture, photo

Photo courtesy of Adrianna Calvo via Pexels.

In spite of the economic recession that recently hit it, Spain remains a strong market for those who want to teach English abroad. The Spanish government is actively seeking for teachers who wish to travel around Europe while doing a job that pays enough. Though the rates in Spain are not as attractive as those offered in Asia or in the Middle East, staying in Spain is still a catch because of its rich heritage. The food alone is one reason.  Combine that with a vibrant club scene and a unique, robust culture and you have the recipe for an awesome teaching experience in Europe.

  1. Land of the Rising Sun (Japan)

architecture, palace, asia

Photo courtesy of via Pexels.

Japan is called the “Land of the Rising Sun” because it is where the future of Asia shines brightly. Known internationally as a hub for education, Japan is stepping up its game by opening its doors to more English teachers who are interested in living in a place where the traditional meets the contemporary. Though the cost of living in this advanced Asian country is high in urban cities, the compensation packages offered by the government and by private sectors are highly likely to exceed general living standards. What’s more, this country houses truly unique dishes and tea ceremonies in the world—an important detail that the 4,000 expats whom it entertains on an annual basis will be glad to know.

  1. Land of Poets (Chile)

Photo courtesy of Oaula Porto via Unsplash.

South America is migrating to the global communication platform. This is why Chile, a South American country with a good reputation for being among the best to live in, is entertaining young English teachers who are excited to be immersed in a new culture. Chile is a country rich in resources, so there is always plenty of room for adventure. Its breathtaking natural wonders will grant any traveler, let alone any young immigrant, the best overseas job experience ever.

  1. The Red Dragon (China)

man, person, village

Photo courtesy of via Pexels.

If you think that as a young professional you cannot score an entry-level job abroad, then you’re gravely mistaken. With almost 300 million Chinese trying to master the English language, China is proactively looking for professionals, regardless of age and background, to join in its pursuit for global learning. Free housing and airfare are only two of the numerous benefits that ESL teachers receive every year. With high market demands and competitive salaries and benefits, it seems as though ESL teachers in China couldn’t possibly ask for more. Still, they can’t refuse an added bonus: the opportunity to experience one of the oldest and greatest civilizations in the world firsthand. Who would want to miss that?

  1. Land of the Palms (Brazil)

people, crowd, sport

Photo courtesy of Caio via Pexels.

The 2016 Summer Olympics is not the only reason to visit Brazil this year. As an emerging global player, Brazil is now a key participant in teach abroad programs. ESL teachers can look forward to teaching in popular spots like Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and São Paulo. Wouldn’t that be a treat for anyone who loves tropical adventures? Indeed, Brazil is a new teaching destination that ESL teachers can be excited about.

  1. Land of Smiles (Thailand)

Photo courtesy of Jonny Clow via Unsplash.

What’s not to love about the “Land of Smiles?” Thailand may not be a futuristic country like Japan or South Korea, but it surely has its own treasures to boast. First, there’s the warm climate that summer-loving foreigners from colder regions will surely appreciate. Next, there are the tropical beaches, the perfect getaway for English teachers who want to unwind. And of course, there’s the exceptional food selection that paints an accurate taste of Asia. If you want to teach abroad, Thailand should definitely be on your list.

  1. Happiest Country in the World (Costa Rica)

Sea, Ocean, Beach, Waves, Costa, Rica, Nature, Sun

Photo courtesy of milivanily via Pixabay.]

If there’s a place that matches the Land of Smiles, it’s the Happiest Country in the World. That moniker alone should make you want to extend your job search to Costa Rica, a booming market for teaching English abroad. Costa Rica is such a popular destination for ESL teachers because it embraces young expats unreservedly. Just make sure that you have your TESL certification ready so you will be set to work in one of the most amazing places on earth.

  1. Anatolia (Turkey)

landscape, freedom, aerial

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Turkey is a country of distinction. As the ultimate intersection of history and culture, the great Anatolia has always been and always will be an interesting destination for all kinds of travelers. If you want to work abroad, make sure to give Turkey a chance because this country will never disappoint you. Not only is it a large, fast-growing market for teaching English abroad, it is also a tourist spot known above all else for its beautiful cosmopolitan architecture and tantalizing Mediterranean beaches. When you’re in Turkey, you won’t even feel like you’re working at all.

  1. The Coffee Growers (Colombia)

Salento, Quindío, People, Colombia, Alley, Colors

Photo courtesy of marcelot87 via Pixabay.

Colombia is intensifying its efforts to erase its past reputation marred with drug violence and political turmoil by migrating more aggressively into the global space. Today, it is known as one of the top destinations for ESL teachers who want to experience something new. If you give Colombia a try, you’ll see that this vibrant country is home to colorful markets, splendid beaches, and lush tropical forests. You’ll find that the country’s climate is very inviting since it’s practically spring and summer all year round.

  1. City of Gold (Dubai)

Photo courtesy of Christoph Schulz via Unsplash.

Many ESL teachers increasingly discover why Dubai is called the “City of Gold.” Imagine teaching English in that country for one year, then walking out with no less than $50,000. If that’s not a profitable exchange, what is? The salary is just one small part of the bargain. Put the free airfare, free furnished housing, paid vacation, and health insurance together and you’ll get a clearer image of how prosperous the Dubai economy is. All that and we haven’t even mentioned the camels and the indoor skiing. Surely, the City of Gold will suit any ESL teacher who has a knack for modern living in a Middle Eastern oasis.

Trixie Cordova


Trixie is the Student Outreach Coordinator at Diversity Abroad. She studied abroad in Italy as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, then went on to be an Assistant Language Teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program for 2 years. She has her MA in International Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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