Posted by: cgratton | April 2, 2009

Trying to Escape the Economy? Teaching Abroad May Provide an Out

As a soon-to-be- college graduate, the perspective job market makes me a little queasy, and I’m sure many others in my current state are sulkily nodding their heads along with me.

But maybe this departure from the cocoon of college life should really be considered as a prime opportunity to take a year and do something interesting—something that gets you out of mom and dad’s house (and the country), lets you make some money and allows you to see the world. Sound tempting?

Well with the world rapidly making efforts to internationalize language, teaching English abroad is a career that is in high demand.  Not exactly the most highly paid or glamorous position out there, but undoubtedly a gratifying stint abroad that will look good on your resume when you come back stateside. And the growing number of 20-somethings taking the plunge are making teaching abroad a new “rite of passage” for those unsure of life-long career goals.

Obviously some programs are better than others.  Some offer insurance, housing, higher pay and better locations, while others do not.  A newcomer myself to the in’s and out’s of teaching abroad,‘s Kelly Lalonde breaks down the highest-paid, best-located and easiest-to-get jobs to teach English:

10. Brazil

Brazil’s effort to internationalize yields many opportunities to teach English, in both business and traditional school settings. However, you must have a lot of patience to legally obtain a work visa. CEL LEP and Alumni School are good places to start looking.

The beautiful views may just be enough persuasion

The beautiful views may just be enough persuasion

9. Saudi Arabia

The Middle East is where you will find some of the highest paying jobs offered for native English speaking teachers. This is not for the faint of heart; you must be interested in life in the Middle East and well versed in cultural differences to appreciate the experience. Bayt Recruiting is a good job reference.

8. Italy

Cheap travel and fantastically inexpensive gourmet food are just some of the benefits of living in Italy. There is, however, an annoying amount of red tape. It is recommended to go through a TESOL online certification program in which the school you are paying guarantees you job placement.

For a list of recommended programs, visit Transitions Abroad .

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

7. Thailand

Thailand is as close as you get to paradise. The American University Alumni (AUA) Language Center, the oldest and largest language school in Thailand with almost 400,000 graduates, is a nonprofit school with an excellent reputation in the country. The AUA is always looking for TESOL teachers.

6. Japan

Asian nations are practically begging for English teachers and you can find work via the Internet quickly. Most recruit year round, and provide successful applicants with visa sponsorship, apartment, partially-paid national insurance, etc.

The largest schools in Japan are with AEON. You can also find work with JET or The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.

5. Russia

Old stereotypes of an economic system fueled by vodka and general lawlessness have made native English teachers scarce in Russia. The demand for teachers far exceeds the supply, making it easy to gain employment with the benefits of visa support, accommodations and often airfare reimbursement.

The largest schools in the area are BKC International and English First are by far the best places to find employment.

4. China

With great compensation packages including salary, apartment, visa sponsorship and sometimes airfare, China is becoming a popular choice for English teachers. Journey East offers links to internships, paid positions and other information.

China at night

Beijing at night

3. Mexico

If you’re looking for sun and comfort, Mexico is the place to be. In general, the minimum academic requirement for English teaching positions in Mexico is a university degree and a TESOL certificate.

Jobs are difficult to find pre-entry, but are plentiful upon arrival. One option is to look for work in a University. If you have any teaching experience, this is the way to go. Visit ESL Employment for more details.

A crowded street in Seoul, South Korea

A crowded street in Seoul, South Korea

2. South Korea

Offering many perks such as airfare, housing, insurance benefits, decent salaries and a low cost of living, South Korea offers the ability to travel and make good money.

A good place to start is the job board at Dave’s ESL Cafe. Contracts are usually for 1 year and a bachelor’s degree is required.

1. Czech Republic

Chosen for its idyllic location, amazing scenery, high demand and relative ease of entry, the Czech Republic—specifically Prague—is the traveler’s dream come true. The Prague Post, a weekly English language newspaper, is the best place to look for possibilities from home.

Prague at Night

Prague at Night

Teaching abroad is gaining notoriety and opportunity, and a growing college graduate following every year.  Especially in this economic meltdown, fleeing for a little to get a crash course in culture and make some money may not be such a crazy idea.


  1. This is great information. I’m very impressed on how well you’ve grown your travel blog!

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