Teaching is a rewarding experience, but teaching English abroad adds a new spin, providing additional excitement and opportunities. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) positions are currently in high demand due to the expanding economies of non-English speaking countries and the status of English as the global language.
TESOL instructors are needed in nearly every level of education, from primary school to large corporations that would like their employees to learn or brush up on their English skills for correspondence with clients and business partners. TESOL positions are offered in various countries around the world; however, the following ten countries are the most popular TESOL destinations for a variety of reasons, like pay, sightseeing opportunities and demand for TESOL instructors.
10 Most Popular TESOL Destinations - Which One Will You Choose?
Mexico is one of the most popular TESOL destinations for many reasons, including its close proximity to the United States. Mexico also offers many beautiful beaches and beach-related activities, including snorkeling, for adventurous TESOL instructors. Those interested in the rich history and culture of Mexico can visit the ruins of the Mayan civilization, as well as participate in festivals and cultural activities. Monthly salaries typically range from $500 - $1,000, which may not sound like much, but the cost of living in Mexico is much lower than in the U.S. and employers usually cover the instructors accommodations. Many TESOL positions in Mexico require TESOL / TESL / TEFL certification.
The Netherlands offers a truly incomparable experience for TESOL instructors. In addition to the tourist attraction of Amsterdam, the aesthetic appeal of canals and windmills in the countryside, and the country’s unique bicycling culture make The Netherlands an unforgettable, fun-filled place to teach. The monthly salary for the country typically ranges from $2,000 - $3,700, with the peak hiring season being in January and August of each year. Most positions require instructors to have a Bachelor’s degree and TESOL / TESL / TEFL certification, as well as some prior teaching experience.
Japan offers TESOL instructors an experience that is unique from any other opportunity. If you are in search of a TESOL opportunity that takes you to a place to enjoy nature, Japan probably is not the best choice. While there are still countryside portions of Japan, most TESOL opportunities are offered within Japan’s thriving city limits, where cutting-edge technology abounds and the fashion scene is serious. Outside of city life, TESOL instructors can also visit Japan’s ancient temples during downtime. With an average monthly salary between $2,800 - $3,700, Japan is one of the highest-paying countries for TESOL positions. Also, accommodations are sometimes included with these positions. Most TESOL positions require a Bachelor’s degree and a TESOL / TESL / TEFL certification.
Due to China’s rapidly expanding economy, TESOL jobs are in very high demand there. China offers TESOL instructors amazing sightseeing opportunities, including the Sichuan volcanic dish and the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. The thriving cities of Beijing and Shanghai are also major attractions. Monthly salaries typically range from $600 - $1,700. Depending on the contract, accommodations are sometimes included. Requirements vary for TESOL positions. While most require TESOL / TESL / TEFL certification, some positions require teachers to have a Bachelor’s degree, while others only require a high school diploma.
Thailand has a reputation for great food, beautiful beaches, an interesting cultural experience and friendly people. The climate is extremely hot and sticky weather, so this destination may not be ideal for those who prefer a cooler, less humid climate. Thailand’s cost of living is low, which can help make up for a lower monthly salary of $825 - $1,800. Accommodations are also sometimes included in salaries, as is health care. Most positions require a Bachelor’s degree and TESOL / TESL / TEFL certification.
Costa Rica is a popular TESOL destination for English teachers who are looking for adventure in a relaxed, laid-back environment. While teaching in Costa Rica, teachers can enjoy the natural beauty and sandy beaches of the small country. Costa Rica is also known for its large protected wilderness, which makes the opportunity to view exotic wildlife an added bonus. Monthly salaries for TESOL positions in Costa Rica typically range from $400 - $700. The peak hiring season for this destination is between September and December. Most positions require a bachelor’s degree and TESOL / TESL / TEFL certification.
Brazil is one of the best countries to find a TESOL position. Brazil offers a wide array of TESOL opportunities, including small schools in secluded villages and big metropolitan corporations. Additionally, Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest, dolphin watching at Praia da Pipa Beach and Carnival are some of the main attractions for TESOL instructors when they are not teaching. Monthly salaries for TESOL positions in Brazil range anywhere from $600 - $1,600. Hiring season for these positions stretch from February to March, and in November of each year.
France offers a unique TESOL teaching experience. While accommodations are typically not included with these positions, monthly salaries range from $1,400 - $3,500, which is a little higher than comparable positions around the world. France offers amazing experiences for TESOL instructors outside of the classroom. The French Riviera is a main attraction for this popular TESOL destination, along with the castles of the Loire Valley, the coasts of Normandy and, of course, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. One downside to France is that it can be difficult to obtain a visa for non-European citizens. The TESOL instructor must obtain a work visa from his or her employer. The peak hiring season in France is from January and September of each year. Most TESOL positions there require a Bachelor’s degree and TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification, as well as some prior teaching experience.
When most people think of Egypt, the Great Pyramids come to mind. However, in addition to pyramids, Egypt offers a cultural experience that is unique to this country with fine cuisine and music. Egypt also offers some of the highest-paid TESOL teaching positions in Northern Africa, with a monthly salary ranging between $500 - $1,300. Most positions usually include a housing allowance as well. Peak hiring season is year-round, and most TESOL positions require instructors to have at least a Bachelor’s degree and a TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification.
India offers a TESOL experience that is unlike any other. Instructors can visit bazaars in the busy streets of India, have a more mellow experience hiking through the Himalayas or go on an exciting excursion to see Bengal tigers in the wild. While India offers an exotic teaching experience and exciting culture, most TESOL positions do not offer high salaries, so it is a trade off of sorts. Pay is usually maxed at $1,100. Most TESOL positions in India require instructors to have a Bachelor’s degree and TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification.
This post was submitted by Sarah Fudin who currently works in community relations for the University of Southern California's Masters in Teaching online program, which provides the opportunity to earn a Masters in TESOL online. Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.