The 10 Happiest Countries In The World To Teach In

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Are you happy right now? Like, really happy?

Have you ever thought about what the happiest country in the world is? Where in the world do the happiest people live? Why are they so happy? And – most importantly – can I teach there?

If, like us, you’ve thought wondered about teaching English as a foreign language in one of the happiest countries in the world, then read on!

What do we mean by “the happiest country in the world”?

Every year – since 2012 – the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network publishes a report. This report is titled the World Happiness Report. The World Happiness Report uses six key factors to determine the happiness level of over 150 countries:

  • social support
  • income
  • health
  • freedom
  • generosity
  • absence of corruption

This survey asks questions along the lines of:

If you imagine a ladder whose rungs are numbered zero to 10, and zero represents your worst possible life and 10 represents your best, which rung would you be on?

In other words, people rate their quality of life on a scale from 0 to 10.

What is the happiest country in the world?


Finland is, in fact, the happiest country in the world. It has been for the last SIX years.

The countries which were found to be the top ten happiest countries of the world in 2023, are:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Israel
  5. Netherlands
  6. Sweden
  7. Norway
  8. Switzerland
  9. Luxembourg
  10. New Zealand

The US placed 15th and the UK placed 19th – and South Africa a miserable but perhaps not surprising 85th.

Why is Finland the happiest country in the world?

What the report has shown is that people are satisfied with their lives when they have:

  • a comfortable standard of living,
  • trust in their government,
  • good health,
  • a sense of control, and
  • a supportive social network.

What’s more, so-called happy countries generally have universal health care, affordable childcare and plenty of paid leave.

Interestingly, America has never made it into the top ten, which shows you that happiness levels are not dependent on the wealth of a nation. But we knew that already, didn’t we?

Can I teach in one of the happiest countries in the world?

This is the question we’re all asking. After all, why wouldn’t we want to live there? As teachers of English as a foreign language, the question then becomes: can I teach English there?

Let’s look at the different options.

Teaching English in Finland

Finland is the land of the Arctic night and the midnight sun. Consistently ranked in the top education systems in the world, being a teacher is a highly respected profession in Finland. As a result, teachers with high qualifications and experience are preferred.

TEFL teachers in Finland can expect to be freelance teachers working in private language schools or as private tutors.

Read more: 7 Destinations for Solo Travellers

Finland is the happiest country in the world in 2023

Teaching English in Denmark

Education is a high priority in Denmark. TEFL teachers won’t be able to find a job in mainstream public schools unless they have further teaching qualifications, but there are plenty of international schools and language schools that will accept TEFL-qualified teachers.

Denmark consistently ranks in the top countries globally for English language proficiency, so there is stiff competition for jobs, but Denmark is definitely a worthwhile choice for highly qualified and experienced teachers.

Teaching English in Switzerland

Switzerland is a country of snow-capped peaks, chocolate and cuckoo clocks – and a high cost of living! English is valued highly here so there are plenty of jobs in language schools, finishing schools and hotel schools.

Most TEFL teachers in Switzerland are freelance, but it’s necessary to secure a job in order to get a work visa, which can make things a bit tricky.

Switzerland 1920x1280 1


Teaching English in Iceland

Teaching jobs in Iceland are mostly at the high school or university level, so a degree is usually required, as well as a teaching qualification or a TEFL certificate.

You will be especially attractive if you have a higher degree, like a Master’s, or multiple qualifications and experience.

Teaching English in the Netherlands

If you’re a fan of bicycles, canals, tulips and clogs, then the Netherlands is the place for you. One of the friendliest places to teach, TEFL teachers in the Netherlands can try to find work in one of the language schools in the main cities of the country.

However, only teachers with an EU passport or eligibility to work in the Netherlands will be able to get a working visa.

netherlands 1485879288 1

Teaching English in Norway

Norway is a winter wonderland, with dramatic fjords, snow-capped peaks and glaciers. The level of English in Norway is relatively high, meaning TEFL jobs are available but they are few and far between.

Experienced and highly qualified TEFL teachers can apply for jobs in kindergartens, private schools and language schools. A knowledge of Norwegian is preferred.

Teaching English in Sweden

Sweden is the place to go for outdoor enthusiasts. Much warmer than other countries at this altitude, outdoor activities are popular here. As with the other Scandinavian countries, Sweden has a high level of English. This is why teachers with experience are preferred.

These teachers can look for jobs in the Folkuniversitetet system (the community college) which provides English lessons to Swedes.

sweden 1485879426 1


Teaching English in Luxembourg

For such a tiny country, there is so much to see and do in Luxembourg, from castles to museums to restaurants in the most idyllic settings. If you are qualified as a teacher as well as a TEFL teacher, it’s possible to find a (lucrative!) job in one of the international schools.

TEFL teachers are likely to find work teaching Business English to adults in a language school. EU passports are preferred.

Read more: What You Should Know About Teaching Business English VS Teaching General English

Teaching English in New Zealand

There might be more sheep than people in New Zealand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach English there! New Zealand is a naturally stunning country with plenty on offer for the outdoor and adventure enthusiasts.

TEFL teachers in New Zealand can find work in language schools or on summer camps.

new zealand 1485879473

So yes, it is totally possible to live and teach in one of the happiest countries in the world.

But remember, even if you can’t find your perfect job teaching in one of these countries, you can still work as a digital nomad – and work and live wherever you want!

Read more: The Digital Nomad Visa: A Ticket To Your Best Life

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