Published 12th October 2015
If you’re looking for a TEFL job, the world really is your oyster. Barring visa issues, if you have a TEFL qualification you can pick and choose were you want to spend your days. Deciding which country to go to can be a matter of throwing a dart at a world map, or you can spend some time thinking about your priorities and doing some research. Doing your homework will make sure you know what to expect and what to prepare yourself for.
Making a list of the best countries for TEFL is a bit like arguing about which is better: tea or coffee? They all have advantages and disadvantages and they all appeal to different people. Looking for money? Go to the UAE or South Korea. Looking for fun? Stick to South-East Asia. A feel-good do-good opportunity? Try somewhere in Africa. Some summer fun? The UK, Spain or Italy. Something a little different? Think Oman or Qatar.
Of course, having said that, there are definite TEFL hotspots around the world where teachers are in high demand year-round. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, China, South Korea, Thailand and the UK are all countries which do not depend on summer seasons and so are able to offer job opportunities no matter the time of year.
These countries also have their own definite bonuses which should be considered on top of their geography and living conditions. Saudi Arabia and the UAE offer a tax-free salary. China is a great starting point for travelling. South Korea will give you flights and accommodation. Thailand boasts a great lifestyle. The UK allows you to teach a wide range of nationalities and gain a lot of experience in different TEFL areas. A TEFL job is never just a job, it’s an experience, and it’s always necessary to not only think about the job specs but also to think about the other conditions which will affect your time in that school, or in that country.
Basically, when deciding where to go, think of your priorities and consider which countries suit those. Have a look at any of the millions of websites and blogs and forums dedicated to TEFL and find out what it’s really like from people who are there. Remember, wherever you want to go, there is another person who has been there or taught there or is still there. Find them and ask them the question the travel guide won’t answer: what’s it really like?