How You Can Live Abroad For A Year And Get Paid For It

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Travelling abroad is a dream for many of us. Where can I go? How can I make money? What about Fluffy? Yes, you probably have questions – but having the freedom to live wherever you want shouldn’t be just a dream! You can make it happen (with our help!).

Best jobs for living and working abroad

The first obstacle to travelling abroad is often finances. The idea of sailing on the seas of Croatia is tempting – but expensive! Who can afford extravagant holidays these days?

Well, we want to let you in on a little secret: Living abroad is cheaper than travelling abroad. 

Sound crazy? Okay yes, but it’s true! You can work and live abroad, and earn money while having the experiences you’ve always dreamed of. And, it doesn’t have to be a life decision. You can stay away from home as long as you want – and as far away as you want!

So let’s look at your options for working abroad. 

Teaching English 

The obvious choice!

Teaching English as a foreign language allows you to live and work in the majority of countries around the world. A TEFL course qualifies you to live and teach abroad. You can spend a summer teaching on a summer camp in Spain, or a year teaching at a primary school in South Korea, or a decade teaching university students in the UK. A TEFL certification gives you the flexibility to teach wherever you want, as much as you want, for as long as you want.

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How can you live abroad and get paid for it? Teach English!

Internships abroad

Another option to live and work abroad is to do an internship. There are a range of internships available to you, depending on your interests and your skills. Internships allow you to gain valuable work experience, while at the same time enjoying the community as a local rather than a tourist.

If you’re a bit nervous about travelling abroad, an internship is a safe way to do it. Your internship programme organises everything for you, which makes everything a lot easier. Visas, flights, accommodation, and a job – all you need to do is pack your bags and jump on a plane.

The TEFL Academy offers various internships teaching English abroad, from Japan to Argentina. If you’re interested in teaching English abroad on an internship, keep an eye on our Internships page for all the latest programmes.

Au Pair

If you enjoy working with children, being an au pair could be the best way to travel the world. Families all around the world make use of au pairs to look after their children. This can mean doing the school run, helping with homework, doing extra murals and even going on holiday. 

Being an au pair for a non-English speaking family is a great collaboration between TEFL and childcare, giving you experience in both!

Work holiday programs

A number of countries around the world offer Working Holiday Visas to different nationalities. Usually a Working Holiday Visa visa allows a person of a certain age to work in a country for up to a year.

The jobs you can do with a Working Holiday Visa vary from bartending to farming to food delivery.

Can I teach English while living abroad?

Absolutely! Teaching English abroad is one of the easiest ways to make money while living abroad. Teaching jobs are so variable they can suit any type of person, in any country.

TEFL teachers can find a job based on which country they want to live in and what kind of teaching they prefer. This could be teaching kindergarten in South Korea, teens in Thailand, or business-people in Bulgaria. 

A TEFL certification is one of the shortest and most affordable qualifications you can get. It won’t take as long as a degree, so you won’t have to spend as much time away from your family. And it’s much cheaper. Even better, you can do a TEFL course while you’re working – sp you don’t have to give up your income to upskill yourself. Then, when you’re ready you can apply for the TEFL job of your dreams.

Most popular destinations for living abroad for a year 

Whether you prefer remote villages, sun-drenched beaches, or thriving cities, you can make a plan to live abroad wherever your  heart desires.  

The Far East

Countries in the Far East have held an appeal to travellers for decades, if not hundreds of years. A low cost of living with an easy lifestyle contrasts with a generous job package and an opportunity for saving means there’s a destination for all types.

Teaching English, working in a hostel, bartending or waitering are all good options for the Far East.

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Teach English in Hong Kong


It can be difficult for non-EU citizens to find work in Europe, which is where gap years come in. If you’re not from the EU, Working Holiday Visas are the way to go if you want to experience Europe. 

Popular options in Europe include:

  • Teaching on summer camps in Spain and Italy
  • Au pairing in France, Germany or Holland, and
  • Working on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean.

The Middle East

The Middle East can seem an odd choice for some, but for others it’s a whole new adventure. Teaching is a popular choice in Middle Eastern countries, with the bonus being generous salaries.

How to plan for a year of living abroad

Yes, paperwork can be a drag but it’s a necessary evil in your quest for adventure! Don’t forget to consider these things when planning for a year of living abroad. Bonus: mom will appreciate it!


When it comes to moving abroad, you do need some capital to help you get started. After all, even if you walk straight into a job you’ll need to cover your living expenses for a couple weeks (or even a month) before your first paycheque. 

When you are making plans to jump on a plane to exotic destinations, remember to consider both the start-up costs and the cost of living of where you are going. Flights and a visa are obvious expenses but don’t forget about accommodation, transport, accommodation, groceries and entertainment.


Health and travel insurance is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. If you are living in a foreign country, you need to be comfortable that you’ll be okay even in times of emergency. 

The worst situation we can think of is losing all our luggage or having our laptop stolen or, even worse, having a medical emergency, and having to worry about finances instead of worrying about yourself.

Travel and medical insurance always seems a bit excessive – until you really need it!


Accommodation costs vary from place to place but, generally speaking, you’ll pay more to stay in a city centre than in the suburbs or on the outskirts of town. 

Bear in mind, you may need to pay one or two months’ deposit in your first month.

Many positions teaching English offer accommodation or an accommodation allowance which is a great help towards your savings. 

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Teach English in Amsterdam

Salary vs cost of living 

A big consideration no matter where you are is your salary in comparison to the cost of living. After all, it doesn’t matter how much you earn if it can’t buy much. 

When you are considering a job, it’s natural to use a currency converter to see how much you are earning in dollars or pounds or whatever your local currency is. But this is only half the picture! 

$1 in Thailand goes a lot further than $1 in the US, so don’t forget to factor that into your calculations.

Benefits of gap year jobs

Let’s face it: packing up your life and relocating for a year is a  big deal. It takes time and effort to organise such an experience, and a fair amount of courage. There’s always the chance you’ll experience culture shock and homesickness, and of course you’re going to miss your bestie!

The good news is – it’s totally worth it!

Bolstering a CV with experience

The most obvious benefit of taking a gap year abroad is the skills and experience you can add to your CV. Even if you are working in a field totally unrelated to your (future) career, you are sure to upskill yourself in some way.

Look at teaching English. By training to become a TEFL teacher and clocking time in the classroom you’ll learn a host of skills which are transferable to other careers. From time management to problem-solving to organisation – and maybe even a foreign language – these all help to make your CV shine.

Read more: Transferable Skills For TEFL Teachers

Discovering a new career path

Working abroad on a gap year might feel like a temporary solution at the time, but you never know, you might fall in love with your job!

Many TEFL teachers who start out teaching on a gap year or summer camp realise they enjoy being in the classroom. They either decide to go back to their home country and get involved in education there, or they continue to live and teach abroad until they retire!

Earning while travelling

Travelling is a dream for many of us, but it’s often the finances which hold us back. Working abroad is one way to finance your travels while you are living in a foreign country – a win-win situation.

get job as couple

No matter which way you look at it, living abroad for a year is a win-win situation. If you’re keen to find out more, chat to us about our TEFL course options which allow you to travel the world on your own terms. 

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The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.

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