Popular Programmes For Teaching English Abroad

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As a teacher of English as a foreign language, there are a number of different job opportunities available to you. You can choose to teach English as a foreign language in the country you are currently living in, either in a face-to-face school or online, or you can decide to spread your wings and set off for another country. If this is the case, you will then need to look online to try to find the job of your dreams. 

How to find a TEFL job abroad in 10 easy steps:

1. Look on online jobs boards, such as The TEFL Academy jobs board

2. Apply online with a spectacular CV and cover letter

3. Ace your interview

4. Do a kickass demo lesson

5. Get the job (congrats)!

6. Sign a contract

7. Organise a visa

8. Pack your bags

9. Kiss your mom goodbye (and promise to call every Sunday)

10. Get on the plane!

Read more: Common EFL/ESL Interview Questions

That’s it! Sound easy? It is!

female traveler at airport

Okay, if we’re totally honest, it can take some time. It’s the same as looking for any other job so you can’t expect the process to happen overnight. There is a lot of competition for jobs teaching English abroad right now, but – luckily for us – there are plenty of jobs available. 

And of course before you even start at Step 1, you need to decide what kind of a TEFL job you would like. Would you like to teach young learners? Maybe you’d prefer adult learners? Are you thinking about teaching at a university? Maybe a summer camp?  An internship?

There are a lot of options, and there’s one you may not have thought of: a government programme. In certain countries there are programmes for teaching Englisah abroad, set up by the government to place English as a foreign language teachers in schools. Applying for these programmes takes a lot of guesswork out of the job search. You know what you are getting, so you know what to expect. Your mom can rest easy knowing that you aren’t being taken for a ride and you can be happy that you’re signing up for a tried and tested programme – and the correct visa is guaranteed. 


Here are a few of the most popular programmes for teaching English abroad:

tefl teaching 2

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET)

The JET programme is a very popular programme for teaching English in Japan. In order to be an Assistant Language Teacher on the JET programme you need to have a Bachelor’s degree, and a language teaching qualification or experience is preferred. Teachers are placed in government or private schools and will assist local teachers in foreign language lessons. This is a cultural exchange so teachers are expected to take part in various cultural activities as well as teach. You will teach 35 hours a week for a year and receive approximately 3.36 million yen ($32 000).

How to apply

To start the process, you need to complete an online application form; the form will ask you for background information such as educational history and employment history, but also any coaching or teaching roles and any intercultural experiences. JET will be looking at how you can apply what you have learnt to their programme, but also to make sure that you are open to new cultures and experiences.

The final part of the application, which is the most important, is the personal statement. Unlike EPIK, you do not have to complete a lesson plan here, but you must convey why you think you are suitable for JET. Dependent on the role that you are applying for, you may need to complete a slightly different personal statement.

Japan: a top TEFL destination


English Pogramme in Korea (EPIK)

To be considered for the EPIK programme, you need to be a citizen of a country where English is the primary language, i.e. Australia, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States or South Africa. You may need to provide proof of schooling in an English-medium school and university. You also need a Bachelor’s degree and a high level of English. You will earn from 1.8 million KRW to 2.7 million KRW ($1 600 to $2 400) a month, while accommodation and a flight allowance are provided. 

How to apply

You can apply either directly to the Ministry of Education or through a recruiter. If you decide to apply through a recruiter, there is a list of recruiters approved by the Korean Ministry of Education on the EPIK website, and you should only apply through these recruiters. At no point should you pay a recruiter as they get paid by the Ministry of Education for their services.

To begin your application, you need to go onto the EPIK web portal and register. The application is split into several sections: Background Information, Health Self Declaration, Personal Essays, and Lesson Plan. The background information and health self-declaration are self-explanatory, but personal essays and lesson plans may take a bit more time to complete.


Foreign English Teachers in Taiwan

The FET government teaching programme is probably not as well-known as JET and EPIK but has amazing benefits to match. The only hurdle that you may encounter is that FET requires you to have a teaching license from your own country to work with them.

How to apply:

The application process takes a similar route to EPIK and JET, in which you would apply using an application form on the FET website. Applications close at the end of April, with interviews taking place in May. If you are accepted, you will be notified by June.

The application is a simple affair and requires you to fill out your education and background history, as well as writing a personal essay around the following: your reasoning for your application, the objectives you wish to complete during your time in Taiwan, and how you would use that experience when you return home.

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Teach and Learn in Korea

The Teach and Learn in Korea programme (TaLK) allows you to teach after-school classes in rural South Korea. You need to be a citizen of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK or the US and have a Bachelor’s degree. You work 15 hours a week and receive a stipend of 1.5 million KRW ($1 300) a month, plus accommodation and a contribution to your flights. 

Teaching Assistant Programme in France (TAPIF)

As a teaching assistant in France, you will work 12 hours a week in up to 3 schools for 7 months, from October to April. Assistants may teach a part of the lesson or the entire lesson, depending on the school. You will earn approximately €785 a month. Positions are available in France but also in French territories such as French Guiana, Guadaloupe, Martinique and Reunion.

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ConversaSpain is an organization that places teachers in over 300 schools in Madrid and Murcia. Teachers will be language assistants to local teachers in government schools. You don’t need to be able to speak Spanish but you must be a native English speaker or hold a C2 English certificate – check their website for a full list of nationalities they accept – as well as have a Bachelor’s degree. Placements are 8 or 9 months, you teach about 15 hours a week and you will get a stipend on €1 000 ($1 150) a month. 

Language and Culture Assistant Programme in Spain

This is a programme organised by the Spanish Ministry of Education for North American and Canadian teachers. You work as a teaching assistant for about 12 to 16 hours a week for the academic year (from October to June). The hours aren’t much so neither is the pay (approximately €1 000 tax-free) but it’s an easy way to get a working visa for Spain. You can also stay with a host family to really experience the culture.

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Teach and Learn with Georgia

Teach and Learn with Georgia is an initiative by the Georgian Ministry of Education. It recruits English teachers to volunteer teach alongside local teachers in government schools in Georgia (the country, not the state!). To qualify, you need to be a native speaker, hold a Bachelor’s degree and have a clear criminal check and medical check. You teach from September to June and receive a salary of between GEL 500 and GEL 600 ($150 – $180).

English Open Doors Volunteer Programme in Chile

The English Open Doors Volunteer Programme is another volunteer programme but this time in Chile. Volunteer teachers teach alongside local teachers in government schools to teach learners from 10 to 18 years. You teach 24 hours a week and are given a stipend of $100 000 CLP ($125) a month and you’ll live with a host family. It’s possible to sign up for just one semester, but you need to be able to speak Spanish and have a Bachelor’s degree.

Many of these programmes are volunteer placements but if you’re looking to get a bit of experience as a TEFL teacher, this is a great way to do it. Otherwise, these programmes are a good option if you are a bit nervous applying for jobs directly through schools and would like the safety of an established government-run programme.

If you want to find out more about programmes like these or internships, contact us and we can chat!


Hi there, are there any government programs to teach in China specifically in Shanghai. I’d also like to find out how soon should one apply for a teaching job if they’d like to begin in March of 2022 as I am currently still studying. Thank you.

Fedile, 24th January 2021

Do you have a base in Cape Town SA?

Lindsay Bell, 12th December 2020

Would love to relocate I’m from South Africa bt I don’t have a degree though if you can assist

Mbali, 8th December 2020

My son would like to enroll

Elsa Joubert, 6th December 2020


I am from India and i am a teacher certified in TEFL and TESOL and Montessori as well, i have a keen interest in teaching as English as a second language but do not have a bachelor’s degree. Please help me with the options i have to travel abroad.

Thank you!

Valanka Dcruz, 20th November 2020

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