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8 Countries to Teach ESL You May Not Have Considered

Travel Jobs
by Eben Diskin Oct 19, 2020

Going abroad to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) is one of the most popular ways to spend some time in another country. Not only do you get to move abroad for an extended period of time — and get paid to do it — but the school environment allows you to totally immerse yourself in the community and its culture. Prospective ESL teachers usually set their sights on South Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand, where there are well-established ESL programs. However, these are only a few of the countries around the world that need ESL teachers. There are many other lesser-known ESL destinations with stellar teaching programs, and a great quality of life for young teachers. Here are eight countries where to teach ESL that you may not have previously considered.

1. Morocco

koutubia mosque marakech

Photo: Jose Ignacio Soto/Shutterstock

Like many students around the world, young Moroccans want to travel and live abroad, so learning English is a skill that’s in high demand. In addition, as Morocco is a popular tourist destination, a good command of English is also important domestically. Morocco has several English teaching opportunities at large international schools and private language institutions, and private adult tutoring is also rising in popularity. The average salary for ESL teaching in Morocco is $1,000-$2,111 per month, and a TEFL or Bachelor’s degree is required. You can learn more about Morocco’s ESL teaching opportunities online.

2. Mexico

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Mexico’s economy is closely linked to that of the US, so the demand for ESL teachers is through the roof. Once you enter Mexico on a tourist visa and secure your teaching job, you’ll be able to apply for a work visa, which is called an FM3. This visa allows you both to teach in Mexico, as well as take advantage of the country’s national healthcare system. Given the expanding need for ESL teachers in Mexico, finding a job here shouldn’t prove too difficult. Pay for ESL teaching is proportional with Mexico’s relatively low cost of living, ranging between $500 and $1,000 per month. You will also be required to have a university degree and TEFL or TESOL certification. More information about the opportunity is available online.

3. Czech Republic

Scenic summer aerial view of the Old Town pier architecture and Charles Bridge over Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic

Photo: Oleksiy Mark/Shutterstock

The significance of the tourism sector in the Czech Republic means demand for English teachers is high. The country offers a six-month long-stay visa (to start) and has plenty of year-round job openings and one of the lowest costs of living in Europe. It’s a great alternative to France or Spain, where Americans find it extremely difficult to secure teaching placements. Most ESL opportunities in the Czech Republic are in private schools, and though the pay isn’t astronomical, this shouldn’t be a problem given the low cost of living. To get the most bang for your buck, check out teaching opportunities in smaller Czech towns, where your expenses will be much lower than somewhere like Prague. More information about the visa application process and ESL teaching opportunities can be found online.

4. Republic of Georgia

Tbilsi, Georgia

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With the exception of the month of August and the winter holiday season, ESL jobs in Georgia are available year-round. Typical contracts are between six and 12 months in length, with most schools recruiting in advance over the phone or Skype, and most opportunities being located in the capital of Tbilisi. Georgia uses the Teach and Learn with Georgia Program, which involves recruiting native English, French, and German speakers to co-teach with local teachers in public schools. Participants in this program are provided with housing, as well as round-trip airfare, making it an attractive option. A TEFL certification is required to teach in Georgia.

5. Saudi Arabia

Kingdom tower looming over Riyadh

Photo: Fedor Selivanov/Shutterstock

Saudi Arabia is far from being a top-of-mind ESL teaching destination, but prospective students should seriously consider it. Teaching and living in Saudi Arabia is a different experience as you’ll be living in a more restrictive environment with religious rules to be aware of, and you might not have the same freedom of movement you’re used to, including living on an expat-designated compound for safety purposes. However, choosing to teach in Saudi Arabia is one of the most unique and enriching teaching experiences in the world. You’ll be paid handsomely — about $3,000 to $4,000 a month — interact closely with a community vastly different from your own, and really benefit from the cultural exchange with students. More information about teaching in Saudi Arabia is available on the official TEFL website.

6. Russia

Saint Petersburg

Photo: dimbar76/Shutterstock

Russia is welcoming US citizens in the education sector. Teachers in Russia will have the option of teaching in a dedicated language school, private school, freelance tutoring, or tutoring businessmen. While the prospect of obtaining a Russian work visa may feel daunting, the opportunity to explore this vast country is very much worth the paperwork. Russia requires teachers to have a TEFL certification, and the average salary is between $1,000 and $1,500 per month. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider the cost of living it’s a reasonable wage. For more information about traveling in Russia, you can check out the opportunities online.

7. Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya

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Kenya represents a unique opportunity to teach English in a place many don’t typically consider. Kenya’s official language is Kiswahili, but English is considered a necessity for career development. Most teaching opportunities are in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Nakuru, in public schools or private language schools, or there are several volunteer jobs in more rural settings. Most programs require a BA/BS, as well as a TEFL certificate. The typical pay ranges from $700 to $1,070 per month, but given the low cost of living you’ll still be living comfortably.

8. Iceland


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You might think that pretty much everyone in Iceland already speaks English, but there’s a reason for that — really good English teachers. Iceland might be one of the most beautiful teaching environments in the world. A bachelor’s degree and TEFL is required, as well as any other relevant ESL teaching certifications. Since the cost of living in Iceland is rather steep, you can expect to make anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 per month. Most jobs are located in the capital of Reykjavik and Akureyri, and you’ll have to look a bit harder for opportunities in the more remote, rural towns. To qualify for work in Iceland, you’ll need a temporary work permit supported by documentation from both yourself and your employer. You can learn more about the Iceland teaching experience online.

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