Teach English Abroad

Teach English Abroad

Teaching English abroad involves travelling and living in a foreign country while teaching English as a foreign language to non-native speakers. Teaching English this way is not just reserved for teachers but anyone that meets the following requirements can qualify. 

  • Valid passport/visa
  • Fluent in English
  • Bachelor’s degree (for some countries)
  • TEFL certificate

According to Statista, English is the most widely spoken language in the world – spoken by 1.5 billion people. As many speakers as there are, there are just as many, if not more, learners – 1 in every 4 people in the world are currently learning English. 

20% of the Earth’s population are English language learners. English is the most spoken language in the world (1.5 billion people).

Opportunities to teach English abroad is an exciting way to combine your love of travel with your passion for education while making a positive impact on the lives of others.

In this beginner’s guide to teaching English abroad, we’ll look at everything you need to know, including how to get started on this journey!

Why teach English abroad? 

The fact that you’re here means this question is already on your mind. Now, allow us to answer your question with a couple of questions of ours:

  1. Would you like a fresh start and the chance to challenge yourself in new and exciting ways to get out of your comfort zone?
  2. How about making a difference in the lives of others while making memories that will last a lifetime?
  3. Any chance you’d like to earn a stable income while fulfilling your wanderlust?

If you’ve answered yes to the above questions, then you know why teaching abroad is an opportunity you don’t want to pass. 

Will it be easy? Heck no. Will it be worth it? You bet!

Where to teach English abroad?

Popular destinations to teach English abroad include South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Chile, and Thailand. Each country offers unique experiences, varying salaries, and benefits, catering to different preferences and lifestyles.

South Korea

– Good benefits

– $1,100 – $4,400

South Korea is an oldie but a goodie in this business. It’s certainly one of the best places to teach hands down.


– Teaching opportunities

– $1,200 – $3,500

With a population of 1.2 billion people, teaching opportunities in China abound. In addition, many jobs offer perks such as free mandarin lessons and visa fees.


– High salaries

– $1,700 – $5,000

High salaries ($1700 – $5000), free housing and flight reimbursements – what more can you ask for?


Incredible experiences

– $1,000 – $1,500

From picturesque beaches to the pulsating streets of Bangkok, Thailand’s low cost of living offers incredible travel experiences for every nomad.


– Good work-life balance

– $1,300 – $1,600

Experience food, fiestas, and flamenco in Spain while doing what you love and getting paid for it.


– Saving opportunities

– $1,000 – $2,000

Enjoy bubble tea and save up to $500-$700 a month with a high standard of living in one of the most bustling parts of Asia. 

Costa Rica

– Welcoming hospitality

– $700 – $1,000

Unmatched tropical beauty and a friendly welcome from its Tico population, Costa Rica is one of the newest markets for English teachers – and its popularity is only growing. 

United Arab Emirates

– Affluent lifestyle

– $1,800 – $5,000

Tax-free salaries, the opportunity to experience its multicultural society and warm climates – the UAE is one of the fastest-growing TEFL destinations!


– Laid-back atmosphere

– $750 – $1,000

The world’s longest country, Chile is a geographically-diverse land known for its breathtaking beauty and laid-back culture.


– Relaxed island-style lifestyle

– $1,000 – $1200 

With its low cost of living, tantalising cuisine, warm and hospitable locals, Vietnam is a tropical paradise.


– Bustling city

 $400 – $1,000

Mexico is filled with rich Aztec and Mayan history. Living in Mexico is cheaper than almost 80% of countries worldwide. 


– Lively, passionate and culturally diverse

$500 – $1,000

Colombia is a special place because of the vibrant people, culture, nature and food. The city- Cali- is the salsa capital of the world!

The more you know about a particular country, the easier it’ll be to decide whether you’d like to teach there or not. 

Get yourself a copy of our country comparison chart below and make the right first move!

Requirements and qualifications

Are your feet itching to go yet? Has the travel bug bitten? Before you pack your bags, let’s look at the basic requirements for teaching English abroad.

What are the basic requirements for teaching English abroad?

  • Be fluent in English 

Being fluent doesn’t mean you have to be a native speaker. Countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Turkey and even China allow qualified non-native teachers to teach English in their countries.

  • Get TEFL certified

Getting TEFL certified demonstrates to potential employers that you have received training in teaching English as a foreign language, which can give you an edge over other candidates who don’t have such certification.

  • Bachelor’s degree

 Not all countries require a degree, but having one can significantly increase your chances of finding a teaching job abroad. Some of the countries that require no degree include Costa Rica, Spain, Argentina and Mexico to mention a few.  

Once you get over these hurdles, the rest is fairly easy to navigate. From researching teaching programs to applying for a visa, there are many resources available online to guide you through the process.

Do you need a visa to teach English abroad?

Yes, a visa is typically needed to teach English abroad. In certain Asian and Latin American countries (e.g. Taiwan), you can enter on a tourist visa and apply for a work permit in-country. However, in other regions, like Western Europe, obtaining sponsorship from the school is necessary before applying for a visa.

Some countries may require additional documents, like a background check, health certificate or even drug test, before granting a work visa.


Visa costs: $25 – $150

In some Asian countries, like China and South Korea, you’ll have to arrange your work visa pre-departure while in others, like Taiwan, it’s possible to enter on a tourist visa and apply for a work permit while there. 

For Thailand and Vietnam you’ll need a work permit sponsored by an employer. You can still enter on a tourist visa and apply for a work permit. 


It’s easy to obtain a work visa in the EU if you’re from a EU member country. Obtaining a work visa in the EU typically requires sponsorship from the hiring school and this process can be timely and costly. 

But, there are workarounds!  You can get a student visa which allows you to work part-time while you are enrolled in a study programme.. 

If Europe is your preferred destination but you’re not a fan of the stringent visa requirements for EU member countries, another option is to obtain a work visa in a non-EU country (Russia) which is a whole lot easier to obtain. 

South America

Latin America is known for relaxed visa requirements. For many western countries, you can request a tourist visa on arrival and these are typically valid for up to six months. and easily be renewed and extended with a border run strategy.

Middle East

Teaching English in the Middle East usually requires a work visa, though different countries have different requirements for obtaining them. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) requires sponsored work visas, which require background checks, proof of employment and an Emirates ID. 

Other countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait require background checks including a HIV test. The visa process can take up to three months to complete, and will need to be done prior to leaving and with the support of an employer. 


For volunteer programs or short-term contracts, working on a tourist or temporary visa is allowed. Why? Official work visas are quite difficult to get.

Longer contracts of a year or more will require your employer to sponsor you for a work visa. Here you will be required to provide proof of your university degree, TEFL certification, teaching experience or English fluency level (if you aren’t a native English speaker).

Do I need teaching experience to teach abroad?

While teaching experience can help secure a job more quickly, it’s not always required. Having teaching experience is almost certainly gonna help you land a job faster, but many schools and programs are willing to consider candidates without prior teaching experience, as long as they have the necessary qualifications and skills.

There are other ways you can jumpstart your TEFL career and gain teaching experience:

Volunteer teaching

Volunteer teacher positions are often a great way of bulking up a TEFL resume. Most employers ask for a 120-hour TEFL certificate and a fluency in English from their applicants to be considered. Remember, there’s also the option of volunteer teaching English online!

Combined TEFL Course 

Our 168-hour combined TEFL course includes a 10 hour in-person classroom experience. On this course you teach an EFL lesson in an authentic TEFL environment. This a great way of showing an employer you have the ability to conduct lessons and manage a classroom. In TEFL, experience is king!

Internship programmes

Internship programmes are a great way of kickstarting a TEFL career. These positions involve continuous in-country support for everything from your flights to your SIM card, and give you an opportunity to socialise with other TEFL teachers abroad!

Which TEFL certification is best for teaching abroad?

To put yourself in the best position to teach English abroad, it’s important to have a teaching qualification such as TEFL, which is required by most teaching positions. Confused by all the different options? No worries. Let’s break it down for you.

Different TEFL certificates have different uses:

Level 3 – 120 hours 

Most employers ask for a minimum of 120 hours of TEFL training. Our Level 3 course is the perfect course for nomads looking for casual, voluntary or online work. 

Level 5 – 168 hours

The TEFL Academy’s online Level 5 TEFL course is the perfect qualification for applying for formal English teaching work. Giving teachers a 168-hour diploma, the course is ideal for full-time teaching jobs and government programs.

Combined Level 5 – 168 hours

The TEFL Academy’s Combined Level 5 TEFL course is the perfect way of taking your accreditation further with a 10-hour teaching practicum. It equips you with the essential skills to teach English as a foreign language.

Can I teach abroad without a degree?

Yes, you can teach English abroad without a degree, but options may be limited. Some countries and programs have more flexible requirements, making it possible for individuals without degrees to secure teaching positions. 

Here are some countries where you can teach without a degree:


Spain allows teaching without a degree, but non-Europeans will need to navigate challenging visa requirements.


Native speakers only need a TEFL certification to find high-paying teaching jobs in Argentina.


In Mexico, you can get a work permit with a professional-level TEFL certification and fluency in English.

Costa Rica

The pay is lower in Costa Rica but so is the cost of living. Most teachers supplement their income with teaching online. 

If you’re passionate about teaching and willing to pursue opportunities abroad, the lack of a degree won’t stand in your way! 

Can I teach English as a non-native speaker?

Yes, you can teach English as a non-native speaker. However, you have to prove a high level of English proficiency first. Being a native speaker (i.e. coming from USA, UK, CA, ZA, NZ, AU, IE) is preferred by many schools and programs. If you’re not a native speaker, you can prove your English skills through an exam like IELTS.

Here are some popular places you can teach abroad as a non-native speaker:


While you’ll find it harder as a non-native speaker, it’s very much possible if you focus on less saturated markets like secondary or tertiary cities (e.g. Xi’an).


Turkey is another country where you can teach English without speaking English as a non-native. You’ll jump a few hoops but it is possible to land a job as a non-native speaker. 


It’s easily overlooked but one of the best places to teach for non-native speakers. Salaries range from US$800 – $1,200 a month for full-time positions.


There are different ways to prove your fluency. Having a degree in English medium University is such a way. You can take IELTS exams to prove your fluency in writing and reading.

To stand a better chance as a non-native speaker, you’ll need to be TEFL certified. With the right qualifications, experience, and passion for teaching, there is no stopping you from fulfilling your dreams of teaching abroad.

Do I need to purchase my own healthcare insurance?

Health insurance is mostly offered as part of your compensation package. That being said, you will most likely have to pay a portion of the cost, while your employer pays for the rest. You should also know that health insurance won’t cover GP visits or medication, you will have to cough that up yourself. For countries whose national healthcare programs are not that great, purchasing private health insurance is recommended, but it could prove costly. 

Public healthcare insurance

This is provided as a public service in some countries. It covers basic medical expenses such as doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription medication.

Private healthcare insurance

Although more expensive, it covers a wider range of medical expenses, including elective procedures. You may choose your own doctor or hospital.

Employer-provided insurance

This is a common benefit offered by many companies. It includes health, dental, & vision insurance. Coverage and employee contributions can vary.

Here is a brief break down of what to expect in some popular TEFL hotspots:

South Korea

Teaching contracts with a public school, private school, or university, offer a 50% medical insurance contribution and the other half (~ $50-60) will be automatically deducted from your salary. 


UAE healthcare is high-quality with most employers providing coverage. Expats with visas have low-cost access to basic public healthcare. A health card costs 320 AED or $87.


In Japan, if you are a full-time employee, 5% of your salary will be deducted for social health insurance, which is then matched by your employer. While medical care is not cheap, 70% is covered by social health insurance, requiring you to only pay 30%


Spain’s national healthcare system (SNS), offers comprehensive medical care to legal residents. As of 2023, citizens & residents registered with SNS receive free healthcare. Non-residents & visitors may have to pay for medical services (at a lower cost than in other countries).

Do I need to get travel insurance?

Travel insurance is not mandatory to have, but we highly recommend it. Why? Before your healthcare kicks in, you have no safety blanket to ensure your health and travel needs are met – if an emergency arises. 

Here are some examples of what may be covered by your travel insurance:

Emergency medical services

If you become ill or injured while travelling, travel insurance can help cover the costs of medical treatment.

Travel delays/cancellations

If your travel is delayed or cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, travel insurance may provide coverage for related expenses.

Lost or stolen luggage

If your luggage or personal belongings are lost, stolen, or damaged while travelling, travel insurance can help cover the cost of replacing them.

How much startup capital do I need to teach abroad?

TEFL Certification

A TEFL course can cost between $100 – $500, depending on the length and level of the course and the course provider. 

Document Fees

Costs will vary for each home country and will include certifying and notarising your degree, getting a criminal background check and application for your visa.

Flight Ticket 

Flight prices will be different depending on where you are flying from and to. 

Examples: (US to South Korea: $538, South Africa to China: R12000, UK to Japan: €1000, Canada to Spain: Canadian  $1100)

Living Expenses

Let’s take a look at the average monthly cost of living for a few top TEFL locations:

Examples: (South Korea: $800 -$2000, China: $600 -$1000, Japan: $1,100 – $2,200, Spain: $1300 – $1500, UAE: $1200 – $1500, Thailand: $435 – $750)

Jobs and Programs

This section covers the various requirements you will expect to see when applying for specific TEFL jobs and programs.

What are the requirements to apply for English teaching positions?

English Proficiency

The higher paying jobs, in any location, will prefer a native English speaker. 

Locations that are not sticklers for native English speakers include: Chile, Argentina, Spain, Cambodia and Mongolia to name a few. Being fluent in English will suffice.

Work Visa

While some countries may turn a blind eye, and allow TEFL teachers to teach on a tourist visa, it is highly recommended to work legally and secure yourself a work permit or visa in any country you teach in.

TEFL Certification

99.99 % of TEFL jobs will require you to have a minimum of a Level 3 (120 hour) TEFL certificate. If not, signing up for a TEFL program in the country you are wanting to work in, is a great way to secure employment and complete your course in one go!

Bachelor’s Degree

The top paying TEFL teaching jobs are usually in private schools, universities, and are government funded programs. They will ask for a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in any subject. Here are a list of countries that don’t require you to have a degree: Cambodia, Costa Rica, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Myanmar

Criminal Record Check

These countries require you to pass a background to receive a visa: 

South Korea, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong.

Teaching Experience

You can find a job in any location without having any teaching experience. All you will need is to have completed a TEFL course that includes at least 10 hours of teaching practice. This will suffice. 

What types of English teaching jobs are available abroad?

Private Language Schools

These are the most common types of English teaching jobs available abroad. They cater to students of all ages and levels, and teachers typically work after school hours and on weekends.

Popular locations for public school positions:  South Korea, Japan

International Schools

International schools are private schools that offer a curriculum based on an international education system such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). These schools often require you to have teaching qualifications and experience. 

Popular locations for international school positions: China, UAE, South Korea, Saudi Arabia

Public Schools

Public schools in some countries hire native English speakers to teach English as a foreign language. These positions are usually found in primary or secondary schools and require teachers to have a degree and a teaching qualification.

Popular locations for public school positions: South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, UAE


Many universities around the world offer English language courses and hire teachers to teach these courses. These positions often require a master’s degree or a PhD in a related field. They are quite difficult to get.

Popular locations for university positions: Saudi Arabia, UAE, China, South Korea, Japan.

Business English

Many companies around the world require their employees to have a good command of English. Teachers who specialise in teaching business English can find employment in corporate training departments or at language schools that offer business English courses.

Popular locations for business English jobs: Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, UAE, Saudi Arabia

Online Teaching

Online teaching has become an increasingly popular option. You will need a TEFL certificate and degree in most cases. If you are from the US, Australia, the UK or New Zealand, your pay will be significantly higher.

Popular locations for online positions: South Korea, Japan, Russia, Brazil, 


Don’t want to commit to a full-time job? Volunteering offers short contracts, of anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Volunteer positions are in schools, orphanages, and community centres around the world. 

Popular locations for volunteering: Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador

What are government-sponsored teaching programs?

Government-sponsored English teaching programs are initiatives in which governments of various countries provide financial assistance to hire TEFL teachers to teach in schools, universities, and other educational institutions. These programs aim to improve the English language proficiency of the country’s citizens and promote cultural exchange between different countries.

Some examples of government-sponsored English teaching programs include:

Fulbright Program (USA)

The Fulbright Program is a prestigious scholarship program sponsored by the US government. It provides funding for students, scholars, and professionals to study, research, and teach in over 160 countries worldwide.

Best for – New teaching graduates and graduates across all majors

Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program

The JET Program is a government-sponsored initiative that brings English language teachers from around the world to teach in schools and communities across Japan.

Best for – Degree holders and experienced teachers.

EPIK Program (South Korea)

EPIK hires both experienced and inexperienced teachers from countries around the world. You are placed in public schools throughout Korea and teach English to students ranging from elementary to high school age. 

Best for – New graduates of all majors and native English speakers

Language and Culture Assistant Program in Spain

This program is a Spanish government-sponsored program that hires native English speakers to work as teaching assistants in Spanish schools. 

Best for – Native English speakers, Graduates & citizens of US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, or NZ.

English Language Fellow Program

This program is a US government-sponsored program that sends experienced TEFL teachers to various countries around the world to teach English and train local English language teachers.

Best for – Experienced teachers with a strong background in teaching and training.

British Council Assistantship Program: 

This program provides opportunities for recent graduates to teach English in schools and universities around the world, with a focus on promoting British culture and language.

Best for – Recent graduates who have some teaching experience.

Teaching Assistant Program in France: 

This program in France is sponsored by the French government and hires native English speakers to work as teaching assistants in French schools. 

Best for – Graduates who have some teaching experience and are interested in French language and culture.


How competitive is the job market for teaching English abroad?

The competitiveness of the job market for teaching English abroad can vary depending on several factors, including your location, qualifications and experience, and the demand for English language instruction in the country.

Here are the most popular TEFL markets:

1. Asia 

China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan

Asia has, by far, the biggest TEFL market, so tefl job standards are usually higher – requiring native english speakers and degree holders.

2. Middle East 

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar

Offering the highest salaries, countries in the UAE have even higher requirements – Degree, native english fluency and teaching experience.

3. Europe

Spain, Italy, and France

The job market can be quite competitive, particularly in Western European countries where English language proficiency is already high.

4. Latin America 

Mexico, Costa Rica, and Argentina

There is a high demand for English language instruction in urban areas, and competition for jobs can be moderate to high.

5. Africa 

Egypt and Morocco

The demand for TEFL teachers is high, particularly in urban areas. However, the job market can be competitive due to the number of qualified applicants.

6. North America 

Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic,

The job market can be moderately competitive. In Puerto Rico, it is relatively small, while in Mexico, competition for jobs can be quite high.

Which countries have high demand for English teachers?

China, South Korea, and Japan. These countries have large numbers of students who are eager to learn English and have a strong education system that values English proficiency. Other countries with high demand for ESL teachers include Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand.


English teachers are in high demand in China due to its economic growth and the abundance of Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.

South Korea

English proficiency is highly valued in SK and is seen as essential for international communication, education, and business. 


With low English proficiency, Japan has a high demand for English teachers throughout the country, making it a great destination for newcomers.


Taiwan’s emphasis on English education, along with parents’ investment in their children’s English education, has led to a high demand for TEFL teachers.


TEFL in Vietnam is a fairly new industry & has grown vastly in the last few years, due to the large number of language schools that have opened.


Thailand’s tourism industry, emphasis on English education, and parental investment in their children’s education create a high demand for English teachers.

Salaries and Benefits

Let’s take a look at the most common benefits you can expect to receive, as well as the average salary, as an English teacher abroad.

What is the average salary for English teachers abroad?

In the most competitive countries, English teachers abroad can earn anywhere between $2,000 – $5,000. Have a look at some common benefits and average salary for each region below:

South Korea

Average salary: $1,900-$2,200 per month. 

Benefits: May include free housing or a housing allowance, airfare reimbursement, and paid vacation time.


Average salary: $2,200-$2,700 per month. 

Benefits: May include paid vacation time, health insurance, and opportunities for professional development.


Average salary: $1,200-$2,400 per month

Benefits: May include free housing or a housing allowance, airfare reimbursement, and paid vacation time.


Average salary: $1,700-$2,500 per month. 

Benefits: May include health insurance, paid vacation time, and opportunities for professional development.


Average salary : $1,000-$1,300 per month. 

Benefits: May include free housing or a housing allowance, health insurance, and opportunities for travel and cultural exchange.


Average salary : $1,000-$1,700 per month. 

Benefit: May include health insurance, paid vacation time, and opportunities for travel and cultural exchange.

Saudi Arabia 

Average salary: $3,200-$5,300 per month. 

Benefits: May include free housing or a housing allowance, health insurance, and paid vacation time.

Which countries pay the highest salaries?

South Korea

With average salaries in public and private schools ranging from $1,100 – $4,400, South Korea remains one of the best TEFL destinations for making money. The country has an emphasis on hard work, but the long days are often rewarded with benefits such as free accommodation and air-fare.


The UAE has become another TEFL destination renowned for its competitive salaries. Teachers earn between $1,800 – $5,000, with earnings in the country being tax-free. Plus you will receive flights and accommodation. 

Saudi Arabia

Another desert hotspot is Saudi Arabia. They offer compensation packages which are just as attractive as the UAE without strict teaching requirements. Salaries are $2 500 – $5 000 a month, with flights & accommodation included.


Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are the hotspots for teaching English in Japan. You can expect to earn from $1,800 – $2,200 per month. Many packages include benefits such as flights, accommodation and transport. 


Believe it or not! Not many people think about teaching English in Kazakhstan, but it’s becoming a top TEFL destination! Salaries range from $4,000 – $ 5,000 and include flights, insurance and accommodation.


Another Asian gem for TEFL teachers is Taiwan. You will earn $3000 – $4000 a month. Unlike the other countries on this list, this usually won’t include accommodation though it may include a reimbursement of flights. 

Which countries have the lowest cost of living?


Vietnam is one of the most popular countries for teaching English abroad, and its low cost of living means it is possible for TEFL teachers to save up to $600 per month. 


You can expect to pay around $500-$800 per month for basic living expenses. Rent is one of the biggest expenses, with a one-bedroom apartment costing around $200-$300 per month.


Laos is a communist, land-locked country, so the cost of living is a little higher here (lots of imported goods) compared to Cambodia and Vietnam. Your monthly cost of living will still be low, at around $500-$800.


The cost of living in Thailand is remarkably lower than in other countries.

Generally speaking, your cost of living in Thailand will be approximately $435 – $750 a month.  A simple apartment will only cost you $100!


Outside of Asia, Ecuador is also known for its exceptionally low cost of living. TEFL salaries for teaching university and business students can range between $500-$800, but when a 900 sq ft apartment only costs $425 a month, there is ample room for saving. 


Compared to EU, the US or Australia, the cost of living in Mexico is really low. In the cities you can expect to pay around $185 for a shared 2 or 3 bed apartment. Your average utility bill, excluding internet, will be around £20/$30. The average salary is around $600.

What are typical expenses when teaching abroad?

Living costs for teaching abroad tend to include the costs for accommodation, food, leisure, healthcare, cell phone/internet and transport.


Costs vary widely depending on the country & location. In some countries, a basic 1 bedroom apartment outside of the city centre can cost around $300 per month. This will naturally go up, for apartments in city centres.


Typical expenses for utilities vary depending on the country and the specific living situation. In some cases, utilities such as water, gas, and electricity

Utilities such as electricity & water can add an additional $50-100 per month.


Basic groceries such as rice, vegetables, and meat can cost around $100 per month for one person. In some countries, it may be more affordable to eat out than to cook at home, but this can vary depending on the location.

Gym membership

In some countries, a basic gym membership can cost around $20-30 per month. Some gyms may require a contract or membership fee, so it’s important to research options before committing.

Personal care

Toiletries, haircuts, and beauty products can vary widely depending on the country and location. In some countries, basic toiletries such as shampoo and soap can cost around $10 per month, while a haircut may cost around $5-10. 

Cell phone & internet

Setting up your cell phone & internet are on the top of the list. You will need a new sim card & choose between prepaid or taking out a contract, which will prove to be cheaper if you are planning on staying for more than a year. 


Another costly expense you can expect is medical care. GP visits and medication are not covered by most health insurances, so this will come out of your own pocket. So try and stay fit and healthy!


Transport is not a huge expense, getting a public transport monthly pass is a good idea if you plan on travelling a lot within and outside the city you are based -for short local trips, however one-way tickets won’t be too costly.

Is accommodation included in the benefits?

Benefits of teaching abroad vary depending on the country, employer and position on offer. ​​Government programs, private schools, universities, volunteer and internship opportunities usually include accommodation as a part of the benefits offered.

Roughly 10-20% of TEFL jobs include accommodation included, and average salaries usually leave enough room to cover a month’s rent for those who don’t. 

Here are countries that include housing as a benefit:


China (Public schools, universities & some language schools) Free Housing or Housing Subsidy

Japan (JET program and universities): Some free housing or housing subsidy

South Korea (EPIK, SMOE programs, some hagwons and universities): Free Housing or Housing Subsidy


Qatar : Free Housing or Housing Subsidy

Saudi Arabia: Free Housing or Housing Subsidy

UAE (including Dubai & Abu Dhabi): Free Housing or Housing Subsidy

Can I save money while teaching English abroad?

Depending on the cost of living and the choice of lifestyle they have living abroad, it is possible for TEFL teachers to save between $300 – $1,000 per month. 

Summer camps

If you have a TEFL job that runs year-round, you may be able to take time off during the summer to work at a summer camp. Be sure to check with your employer to make sure that taking time off is possible and does not violate your contract.

Alternatively, you may be able to find a summer camp job that allows you to work on weekends or during your days off from your regular job.

Private tutoring

Many TEFL teachers supplement their income by teaching private lessons – as a side hustle. Finding students depends on networking with current students and parents and perusing Facebook groups. You can set your own hourly rate, but don’t go lower than $10 an hour- as a rule of thumb.

Online teaching

The online teaching gig is the most convenient way to make some extra cash and save. That being said, pay is quite low ($9 and less) for those who are not citizens of the US, UK, Australia, New zealand, Canada and Ireland.

Teach Abroad By Country


















South Africa









Hong Kong










South Korea

Sri Lanka







Czech Republic
















Middle East







Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates

South America










North America


Costa Rica

Dominican Republic

El Salvador




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