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The 5 Best Places For An American To Teach English Abroad

by Tracy Finke

Americans are sought out by language schools all over the world. Since American English is what is needed to do business just about everywhere, there is far less demand for English speakers from the UK.

This is good news for those that are looking to get out of their hometown and see the world. With some training and certificates, Americans can end up making great money and seeing an exotic part of the world.

Young or old, teaching English in another country is a life-changing experience. But, not every country makes it easy for Americans to live and teach there. And, some of the countries that do actively look for Americans don’t have a great healthcare system. This means you would need to buy insurance like Cigna Global. In this article, we will go over what countries are best for Americans looking to teach abroad.

1.  South Korea

Source: bbc.com

South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. The citizens there have a very high standard of living and are always looking to improve it. They are eager to master English to be able to work more effectively with American businesses.

Because of these factors, it is a prime destination for Americans. The language schools there pay exceptionally well and take great care of their teachers. Americans are in such high demand there that often the school will pay for the airfare of the teacher and even offer many bonuses, sometimes including free housing.

Experience is not necessary to land a job teaching there. They gladly accept recent graduates as long as they have the right certifications. A TEFL teaching certificate is needed as is a degree.

South Korea is an in-demand destination also because of the living experience there. It has a decently low cost of living with a very high standard of living. Things work very efficiently with little bureaucracy. The food is excellent and fresh with many options for eating out or cooking at home.

It also makes an excellent base for exploring the rest of Asia with many connections to destinations all over the continent.

2. The Middle East

Source: expatica.com

Business is booming in places like Dubai, Qatar, and the UAE. As a result, they need experienced English teachers to help them learn the business language of the world. The language schools there are willing to pay far more than those in other countries. A teacher there can expect to make over $70,000 per year.

And that salary is tax-free, with many bonuses included making it even more attractive. The caveat is that they are very discerning regarding who they want to come to teach. Recent grads are not likely to be hired. And the requirements are quite rigorous. In other words, if you are not able to teach at a public school where you are from, it is unlikely that you would be hired to work in the Middle East.

It takes a degree, in some cases a master’s, and a few years of teaching experience to have a chance at being hired by a school there. If you do qualify then you would be highly sought out.

Many of the American teachers there are older and have families and stick around for quite a few years. It is a good place to go for a while to save up lots of money.

3. Thailand

Source: traveldailymedia.com

Thailand has long been a destination for Americans looking to drop out of their routine in the West. It’s always warm, the food is fantastic, the people wonderful and the very low cost of living is an irresistible draw.

For digital nomads and English teachers, it doesn’t get much better than that. The one downside is that the pay is not that great. This means that most American English teachers are not there for very long. It’s a great way to make some money to pay for travels around Thailand and other Asian countries.

The reason that Thailand is popular amongst English teachers has little to do with the money and everything to do with the experience. The young and adventurous revel in the party atmosphere in Thailand.

4. Taiwan

Source: international-horizons.com

Taiwan doesn’t usually factor in many people’s bucket list travel destinations. This is a shame as the country offers a lot of wonderful experiences. It is highly technologically advanced and the people there enjoy a very high living standard. In many ways, it is similar to South Korea in that the schools offer good pay with bonuses and treat their teachers with respect.

The cost of living is also similar so lots of money can be saved by teaching in Taiwan. The food is also very good and travels around Asia and even Australia is easy.

5. Chile

Source: airliquide.com

Chile flies under the radar on many travelers’ radar when thinking about South America. It is often overshadowed by its larger neighbors Argentina and Brazil. The country is stable politically and the economy is growing steadily in recent years. This has made English a priority for many businesses since they are poised to start growing on the world stage.

This presents an excellent opportunity to go there to teach English. Often, a TEFL certificate is enough to secure a job and there is not usually a requisite for past experience. However, the pay varies considerably depending on your experience and if you have a degree.

Teachers with experience and with the right certificates would do well by going there. The low cost of living does balance out the lower pay if you are looking for the right place to start your overseas teaching adventures.


One of the things to make sure to look for is how easy it is to secure a visa. This is why European countries were left off of the list. Americans would have a hard time getting sponsored by a European school as it is expensive and time-consuming. Look for countries with a generous visa process for Americans and start the search there.