How to teach English abroad and the best places to teach it

Have you always dreamt about living abroad? Imagine meeting people from all over the world, strolling through colorful markets and streets, admiring breathtaking landscapes, savoring new flavors and discovering a new culture — Every single day.

If that sounds amazing to you, but you’re not sure how to make it happen financially, did you know that you can teach English abroad?

From bustling capitals to charming coastal villages, the possibilities are as vast as the horizons you'll explore.

But it's not just about the adventure. Teaching English abroad is about building bridges across cultures and fostering understanding. Whether you're inspiring a young child's first words or helping a professional excel in their career, every lesson you teach becomes a stepping stone on their path to success.

In this article, we’ll explore:

So, if you’re ready to change the life of others and your own, keep reading!

Teach English abroad and discover a new culture.

How to teach English abroad

Of course, living abroad is not all glitter and “pains au chocolat”. It comes with its array of challenges. However, stepping out of your comfort zone is what makes you grow. And trust me: it’s so worth it.

Below are the main steps and requirements to become an English teacher abroad.

Requirements and certifications to teach English abroad

While the specific requirements and certifications can vary depending on the country and the institution you plan to work with, below are some common qualifications and certifications that are often sought after:

  • Bachelor's Degree or equivalent: Many countries and institutions require a bachelor's degree in any field as a minimum educational requirement.
  • TEFL/TESOL certification: TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certifications are highly valued and often required by employers. These certifications provide you with the essential tools and methodologies to effectively teach English as a second language.
  • Native or proficient English speaker: Fluency in English is usually a prerequisite for teaching English abroad. While being a native English speaker is preferred in many countries, being a proficient non-native speaker with a strong command of the language can also be advantageous.
  • Experience: While not always mandatory, having teaching experience can give you a competitive edge in the job market. Having lived and/or worked abroad, or in an international environment, is also a big plus.
  • Work visa and legal requirements: Each country has its own regulations regarding work visas and legal requirements for teaching English. You'll need to research and comply with the specific visa requirements of the country you plan to work in.

What kind of personality is best suited to teaching English abroad?

While almost anyone can teach English in another country, provided they meet the requirements above, some people will be more fulfilled by it than others.

Many of the best and happiest English teachers abroad have the following personality traits:

To be a great English teacher you need the ability to adapt to new environments, cultures, and teaching methods.


The ability to adapt to new environments, cultures, and teaching methods is crucial.

Cultural sensitivity/open-mindedness:

Teaching abroad means working with students from various cultural backgrounds. Awareness of cultural norms, customs, and traditions can help you better understand your students' perspectives and adapt your teaching approach accordingly.


Patience is a virtue in any teaching role, but it is especially important when teaching English as a second language. Students may face challenges, get frustrated and progress at different rates.

Enthusiasm and energy:

A vibrant and enthusiastic approach can be contagious and create a positive classroom atmosphere. Showing genuine excitement — ok, maybe not THAT much — for the English language and the learning process can motivate and inspire your students.

Communication skills:

Effective communication is at the core of teaching. The ability to convey ideas clearly, listen attentively, and adapt your communication style to meet the needs of different learners is essential.


Teaching in general often involves finding innovative ways to engage students and make learning enjoyable. Creativity allows you to develop interactive lesson plans, incorporate games and activities, and tailor your teaching methods to the unique needs and interests of your students.


Being an English teacher in another country can be both rewarding and challenging. Resilience enables you to navigate any difficulties or setbacks that may arise. It helps you persevere through language barriers, cultural differences, and occasional classroom management issues.

What are the steps to becoming an English teacher abroad?

Below is a general outline of the steps involved. Please note, once again, that there might be some differences depending on your destination and the school or institution you’ll work for.

Follow these easy steps to becoming an English teacher abroad.

Step 1: Research and choose a destination

  • Begin by researching countries that interest you as potential teaching destinations. Consider factors such as job opportunities, culture, language, weather — it’s important! — job market, cost of living, and visa requirements.

Step 2: Obtain the necessary qualifications (if applicable)

  • Ensure that you meet the educational and certification requirements of your desired teaching destination.

Step 3: Gain teaching experience (if applicable)

  • While not always mandatory, having teaching experience can strengthen your resume and increase your chances of finding a teaching position abroad. Consider volunteering, tutoring, working as a group leader for junior language programs abroad or taking up teaching-related roles to gain relevant experience.

Step 4: Research job opportunities

  • Start searching for teaching opportunities in your desired destination. Look for job postings online — including Berlitz current job openings — contact international schools, language institutes, or recruitment agencies that specialize in placing English teachers abroad. Networking with fellow teachers or joining teaching forums can also provide valuable insights and job leads.

Step 5: Prepare your application

  • Update your resume/CV to highlight relevant teaching experience, qualifications, and any special skills you possess. Prepare a well-crafted cover letter that demonstrates your passion for teaching and your suitability for the position. If you can, join a letter of recommendation.

Step 6: Apply and interview

  • Submit your application materials to prospective employers and follow their application process. If shortlisted, you may be invited for an interview, which could be conducted in person, via video conference, or through phone calls.

Step 7: Get a work visa (if applicable)

  • Once you have been offered a teaching position, you might need to apply for a work visa or permit to legally work in your chosen country. Research the visa requirements and gather the necessary documents, which may include a job contract, medical checks, criminal background checks, and proof of financial stability. Follow the guidelines provided by the country's embassy or consulate to apply for the appropriate visa.

Step 8: Plan your departure

  • Make necessary arrangements for your travel, accommodation, packing and any logistical details. Familiarize yourself with the local culture, customs, and language to help ease your transition into your new teaching environment.

Step 9: Enjoy, adapt and keep learning

  • Hurrah, you’re there! First, congrats! Settle into your new teaching role… and your new country! Attend any orientation sessions or training provided by your employer. Embrace the cultural experience, connect with colleagues and locals, and start making a positive impact in the lives of your students.

Remain open to opportunities and keep developing your skills!

Benefits of teaching English abroad

As someone who has lived, studied and worked abroad more half of her life, don’t even get me started on the benefits! I’ll try to sum up the main ones, but the list is never ending

There are so many benefits of teaching English abroad.

Full cultural and language immersion

Teaching English abroad allows you to immerse yourself in a different culture and language, as well as experience life from a new perspective. You have the opportunity to interact with locals, learn their customs, traditions, and language, and gain a deeper understanding of their way of life.

Personal development

As mentioned, living and working abroad challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and adapt to new situations. It helps you develop valuable skills like resilience, adaptability, problem-solving, and cross-cultural communication. You'll become more independent, confident, and open-minded as you navigate a different environment.

These skills and qualities are not only priceless for your personal development, but also highly sought after by many companies when recruiting.

Travel opportunities

Obviously, one of the more interesting perks of working abroad is a unique chance to travel and explore different countries and regions. You can visit famous landmarks, experience local attractions, taste diverse cuisines, and create unforgettable memories during your time off. It's an excellent way to satisfy your wanderlust while financing it.

For example, if you’re a teacher in Europe, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to visit dozens of countries, as they are so close to each other.

Professional growth and career opportunities

Teaching abroad can be a stepping stone for professional growth. It allows you to gain valuable teaching experience, develop classroom management skills, and enhance your ability to work with diverse groups of students. These skills can be transferable to other teaching positions or educational roles in the future.

Moreover, English is a global language, and the demand for English teachers worldwide is high. Teaching English abroad opens up various career opportunities, both in the international education sector and in your home country.

Building interpersonal connections

You will connect with people from different backgrounds and forge meaningful relationships. You'll have the opportunity to build friendships with colleagues, students, and locals, fostering cross-cultural understanding and expanding your global network, both personal and professional.

This, in turn, could lead to future professional and travel opportunities!

Making a difference

By teaching English abroad, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of your students. You can empower them with a valuable skill that opens doors to better job prospects and higher education opportunities. Helping others develop their language abilities and confidence can be incredibly rewarding.

The best places to teach English abroad

Top 10 countries to teach English abroad

Disclaimer: Please note that the figures, potential perks and qualifications below may vary depending on location, type of institution and teaching experience.

These are the best places to teach English abroad, but the ideal destination for you will of course depends on your personal preferences.

The list below is a guide only.

Tokyo is one of the best places to teach English abroad.

Middle East

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Minimum qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Free accommodation, health insurance, annual flights, end-of-contract bonus, professional development opportunities
Saudi Arabia
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Free accommodation, health insurance, annual flights, end-of-contract bonus, paid vacation


South Korea
  • Minimum qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Free accommodation, airfare reimbursement, health insurance, paid vacation, contract completion bonus
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Housing assistance, health insurance, paid vacation, professional development support, cultural immersion opportunities
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree or high school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Free accommodation or housing allowance, flight reimbursement, health insurance, paid vacation, end-of-contract bonus
  • Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Affordable cost of living, opportunities for travel, vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes
  • Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Low cost of living, vibrant street food culture, diverse landscapes, cultural experiences


  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Health insurance or social security, paid vacation, cultural immersion, opportunities to explore Europe
Czech Republic
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Cultural heritage, low cost of living, opportunities to explore Europe, vibrant expat community

Latin America

  • Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Affordable cost of living, friendly locals, beautiful landscapes, vibrant culture

Where can you teach English abroad without a degree?

Not all countries require a college degree to teach English. Below are 10 destinations that do not require one, along with the average salary and perks.

As for the list above, this is just a guideline, as salaries, benefits and qualifications may vary depending on the type of institution, the exact location and your experience.


Rural areas of China (see above)
Thailand (see above)
Vietnam (see above)
  • Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Affordable cost of living, cultural experiences, opportunities to explore temples and historical sites
  • Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Cultural immersion, beautiful landscapes, opportunities for island exploration

Latin America

  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree in any field
  • Perks: Rich cultural heritage, vibrant cuisine, beautiful landscapes, opportunities to learn Spanish
Colombia (see above)
  • Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Diverse natural landscapes, opportunities for adventure activities, affordable cost of living
  • Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Rich history and culture, stunning landscapes, opportunities for exploration
  • Minimum Qualifications: High school diploma, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Beautiful beaches, affordable cost of living, opportunities for outdoor activities

Other off-the-beaten track countries to teach English abroad

The same disclaimer applies regarding salaries and qualifications.

  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Serene natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, expat community, opportunity to make a meaningful impact on local communities
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Vast and beautiful landscapes, nomadic culture, opportunity to experience a unique way of life, potential for adventure activities
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Vibrant music and art scene, cultural diversity, opportunity to explore West Africa, warm climate and beautiful beaches
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Spectacular mountain scenery, nomadic traditions, unique cultural experiences, friendly locals
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree, TEFL/TESOL certification
  • Perks: Breathtaking Himalayan landscapes, preserved Buddhist culture, low crime rates, opportunity to teach in a serene and peaceful environment - a country that measures happiness with an official index!

Types of English teaching jobs abroad

You have your heart set on a destination? Awesome!

Teach English online with Berlitz.

Now, it’s time to look at potential teaching jobs. Before you dive into it, you’ll need to establish:

  • If you’re looking for a short term or long term job
  • Your level of experience
  • If you prefer to work with children, teens or adults
  • If you prefer to work with local students only, or students from all over the world
  • If you’d rather teach general English or business English

Check out the list below for the main types of English teaching positions abroad.

  • Language schools
  • International schools
  • University/College positions
  • Public or private schools
  • Business English training
  • Online teaching
  • Exam preparation
  • Private tutoring
  • Volunteer teaching
  • Government-sponsored programs (in some countries)

When to teach English abroad?

As for any major life-changing experience, it’s always a good time to take the leap.

Of course, you’ll need plenty of motivation, a well-prepared plan, no important personal commitments and some savings. And there are a few other elements to take into account:

  • Academic calendar: Many teaching positions align with the academic calendar of the country you wish to teach in.
  • Peak hiring seasons: Some countries have peak hiring seasons for English teaching positions. Research the specific country you're interested in to identify its peak hiring times and plan accordingly.
  • Visa and work permit considerations: Depending on the country, the process of obtaining a work visa or permit can vary in duration and complexity.
  • Weather and seasonal preferences: Your preference for weather and seasonal conditions may impact your decision on the best time to teach abroad.

Many people take advantage of a gap year or career break, for example after quitting a job, to embark on the teaching abroad adventure.

Are you ready?

You can find English teaching jobs abroad with Berlitz.

Where to find English teaching jobs abroad

Below are some popular avenues to explore when searching for teaching opportunities:

  • Online job boards, for example Dave’s ESL Cafe or
  • Berlitz English Jobs page
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Local language schools and institutions
  • Government programs
  • Social media and online communities
  • Personal networking
  • Language teaching fairs and conferences

Not ready to move abroad just yet? Try teaching English online

If you’re not sure teaching English abroad is for you, take advantage of technologies to give it a try — online!

Teaching online has a number of benefits, such as flexibility and a casual dress code. You can work from home or travel, as long as you have a solid Wi-Fi connection and a quiet environment.

Are you ready?

You’re now fully equipped to get ready to embark on one of the most exciting journey of your life — teaching English abroad!

You'll build friendships that transcend borders, share stories that bridge cultures, and create unforgettable memories. Teaching abroad is a journey of self-discovery, where you'll uncover strengths you never knew you had and unlock the boundless potential within each student.

Remember, you are not just teaching English; you are shaping lives, igniting passions, and inspiring a new generation of global citizens.

New horizons await, and the classroom is calling. Ready to change your life and the world, one lesson at a time?

Learn more about careers teaching English at Berlitz here.

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