The 9 Best Places to teach English in 2023
Every year around November or December you see lists about the best places to go and teach in the next year. I always think two things when I see them. Firstly, these lists are somewhat silly, since there is no best place for everyone to teach English. It very much depends on what you are looking for. Some people may only be interested in high salaries, but others may be interested in having some kind of adventure, challenging themselves, growing as a professional or making a difference.
Secondly, these lists often say the same ten places again and again, and many are picked simply because there a lot of jobs there. So, I’ve decided to make my own list, which may include one or two of the usual places, but hopefully many more that you didn’t expect to see here.
Vietnam often appears on a lot of these lists as a good place to go and teach English. Although I have never been, I have to admit that it is certainly on my list of places that I would like to work someday.
Like many countries in Asia, salaries in Vietnam usually cover the cost of living quite generously, so it is definitely possible to save money every month. That isn’t going to make you rich, but it may well be enough to fund further travel around the neighbouring region.
While many teachers go to nearby Thailand, I rate Vietnam higher. This is because it doesn’t have quite as bad a reputation for backpacker teachers and seedy old men, although it is not completely free of this image. Also there are opportunities with both the British Council and International House schools which show there is definitely a serious teaching side to working in Vietnam.
Of course the country of Morocco are in high spirits at the moment thanks to their incredible performance at the World Cup in Qatar. Being in a country on the back of such a high is always a positive, even if you are not a football fan. An atmosphere of belief in a country can simply not be overrated.
In recent years English has become increasingly in demand in Morocco due to tourism and its proximity to Europe. While Morocco clearly has a lot to offer tourists itself, it could also be a good location for an adventurous teacher to visit more of North Africa.
I was determined to include a place in Europe on this list and in the end I picked Slovakia over the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.
Unfortunately, most of Europe pays TEFL teachers very poorly and Slovakia is unlikely to pay any better. However, the reason for considering a stint in Europe is the opportunities for professional development.
These seem far more abundant in Europe as teaching conferences are more frequent and the close proximity of European countries makes it easy to fly to other countries for a conference.
Not only this, but many of the well-known ELT coursebook and methodology book writers live in the UK or Europe and so by positioning yourself in a European country, there is every chance you will get to see them in action.
So why did I choose Slovakia? Well, having been there twice, including once to attend a conference, I simply preferred Bratislava over the likes of Prague or Budapest, which are famous for stag parties. Plus I’m also aware of the High Tatras, a mountainous region of the country that is on my bucket list.
If you want to visit South America, and who doesn’t, then Colombia could be an excellent staging post for travel in this region. There seem to be many opportunities for English teachers here and I even know one non-native teacher who managed to get several jobs there.
You don’t necessarily need to get a job offer before you go to Colombia as a work permit can be applied for once there.
5. United Arab Emirates
It’s difficult to leave the UAE out of this list since it’s one of the best places to earn money as an English teacher. Saudi Arabia may pay more, but in the UAE you have a bit more freedom and for that reason, the UAE gets into my list while Saudi does not.
Of course, to get into the UAE or any middle eastern country, it’s not going to be so easy. Generally you need a masters’ degree or a teaching degree, although you may find your way in with a CELTA. You may also have trouble if any of your qualifications were online.
If you can get in however, expect to earn at least $3,500-$4,000 a month.
Of course, the UAE will not be for everyone because of the heat and its strict laws.
If you want to feel like you are making a difference to people’s lives you need to go somewhere more off the beaten track. I have seen Senegal on a couple of “best countries to teach English in 2023” lists and I agree that it could be an exciting opportunity.
There are both paid and voluntary positions in the country, although it is really in the voluntary positions that you will be impacting on the poorest people. Paid positions are going to be easiest to find for qualified primary and secondary teachers in international schools.
Argentina is a country that I’ve heard of a few teachers moving to. While I’ve included another South American country in this list, Argentina is likely to be more difficult to find a position than in Colombia. In my view that only makes it more worthwhile.
Argentina is also a good shout if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree as it is not necessary although it is often preferred.
Argentina doesn’t pay a lot but the cost of living is very low and so the salary is likely to leave some to travel around the region.
I’ve included the UAE on my list, but Oman features more highly. Perhaps I am biased because I spent two years working there, but I did hear many people say that they preferred Oman to the UAE.
The reason for this is that Omani attitudes tend to be quite relaxed (for the middle east) towards foreigners. They are not going to be happy if you walk into a supermarket in your beach shorts, but you’d just get a few disapproving stares.
Oman also doesn’t have the excesses of the UAE as their oil money has been poured into developing their roads, schools and hospitals rather than building tall skyscrapers.
Salaries are perhaps not as high, but the quieter life means Oman wins over the UAE for me.
I taught in Uzbekistan as the first country in my teaching career. At the time, the country was under a very oppressive regime, though large companies were circling, looking for an opening into a country that had so much potential if it opened up.
Over the last few years, it has already started to open up as I discovered for myself just a few months ago. This means that there are opportunities for those can position themselves to grasp them. However, since English teaching is largely undeveloped in Uzbekistan, it is most likely experienced teachers who can really capitalise on these opportunities.
This is why Uzbekistan gets my number one pick. I believe that anyone getting into Uzbekistan now is likely to be well rewarded in the not too distant future.
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