Teaching English in Cambodia

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How to Begin Teaching in Cambodia

Sandwiched between Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is a place to visit for those who want to experience a slower pace of life.

Sandwiched between Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is a place to visit for those who want to experience a slower pace of life. Home to the centre of the ancient Khmer empire, which ruled these three neighbours, the ancient city Angkor Wat is a reminder of Cambodia’s former importance in the region. Cambodia is still one of those rare places with beaches stretching along the southern coast, along with tropical islands and the jungle rainforest still intact, despite more rapid industrialisation. Rice paddies abound and waterfalls dazzle. This might explain why Cambodia is known as the Kingdom of Wonder. Phnom Penh is the capital city, and indigenous and French architectural influences can still be seen throughout the city. Over two million people live here.

Enjoying tropical weather, which translates to warmth all year round, Cambodia has a raw and honest edge to it. Home to about 14 million people, Cambodia is starting to leave behind its troubled past of the Khmer Rouge era and the 1997 coup. The country’s recent economic boom is largely responsible for this. Emerging from great hardship, the people of Cambodia will amaze you with their determination, optimism and friendliness, as well as their work ethic. Poverty is still visible in many areas, which means that education, especially English courses, is a luxury. The cost of living is also extremely cheap making this an ideal location if you want to start out teaching EFL. The language of Cambodia is Khmer and its principal religion is Buddhism.

You can find some extremely rare and endangered animal species in Cambodia, for example on the Mekong River, the Irrawaddy dolphin and Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle are to be found. Breathtaking fauna and flora are to be found in The Cardamom mountains, the Tonle Sap lake has an incredible array of marine and birdlife. Cambodia’s natural landscapes are also significantly under-researched, meaning that many species that roam there have not even been identified yet!

An interesting point of conversation in Cambodia is birthdays. When you ask how old Cambodians are, you are likely to get many different answers. This is their Khmer age and their international age. Cambodians are born at the age of one rather than zero like other parts of the world. It is also customary that on Khmer New Year, which falls in April, all Cambodians age another year.

 

Teaching Opportunities

This new emerging economy means that there is a demand and need for English. Cambodia in the last couple of years has also attracted attention from some of the larger EFL publishers and players, who are now sponsoring conferences in the country and investing in the EFL market. In the past, TEFL was a volunteer industry. However, the current investment climate highlights a more commercial turn in EFL provision. This means that while volunteer positions still exist, it is also possible to find paid work.

In Cambodia, having a degree is not a requirement to secure employment, but a 120-hour TEFL certificate is becoming more of a necessity for good jobs both in state and local private institutions. If you plan to work in a large international language school, then your TEFL certificate is highly recommended. This becomes important because international institutions are more highly paid than local ones. Teaching hours, generally, range from approximately 25 to 35 hours per week depending on the institution. You are usually only paid for teaching hours and not for preparation time. The majority of TEFL jobs are still in Phnom Penh, where a large ex-pat community resides. It is also possible to find work in the surrounding areas.

Teaching Requirements

  • Degree Requirement
    Not required
  • Typical Contract Length
    6-12 months
  • Peak Hiring Seasons
    All year round
  • Visa Info
    Tourist visa convert to work visa
  • Typical Students
    Business professionals, children
  • Average Monthly Cost of Living in Local Currency
    1,836,854-3,673,709 KHR
  • Average Monthly Salary in Local Currency
    1,572,431-5,253,642 KHR

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