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  • This article will review the best countries to teach English abroad for different types of teachers. 
  • This article will share relevant information on countries to teach English abroad in 2023. 
  • This article will review the financial, cultural, and lifestyle aspects of popular TEFL countries.

Your qualifications and expectations will determine the best country to teach English in. Some English teachers want to save money while teaching English in another country, while others want a good work-life balance and the ability to travel. Some ESL jobs abroad require a bachelor’s degree, while others are willing to hire non-native English teachers. To assist you in selecting a suitable country, BeyondTEFL has compiled a list of some of the best countries to teach English as a foreign language in 2023.

What are the best countries to teach English in?

Before moving on to the best countries to teach English overseas, you should review the requirements for becoming an English teacher abroad in your preferred countries. Once you’ve decided which country to teach English in, you must get an accredited TEFL certificate, or decide whether a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA is the best certification for you. After completing a TEFL certification course online or in person, you can begin your search for ESL jobs abroad.

1. Teach in South Korea

The main advantage of teaching English in South Korea is that housing is usually included, allowing you to keep your entire salary. Unlike most TEFL countries, all English teachers should be provided with free housing or a housing allowance, as well as health insurance. Those who want to teach English in South Korea at a public school can apply to the government program EPIK (English Program in Korea). Private after-school English academies, also known as “hagwons,” are an alternative to the EPIK program that is less competitive and allows you to teach students of all ages, from preschoolers to adults.

The decision to teach at EPIK or hagwon schools is influenced by the teacher’s salary, working hours, and vacation time. EPIK teachers work fewer hours and have 16-18 days off per year, but are paid less. Hagwon teachers are paid a higher salary, but work longer hours with fewer vacation days.  Teachers who prefer EPIK value the security of the government program over private language academies. Choosing a hagwon over EPIK gives you more control over where you teach. Regardless of whether you teach with EPIK or a hagwon, South Korea is the best country to teach English because of its exciting nightlife, high-paying salaries, and large foreign communities.

South Korea Best Countries To Teach English
Average salary teaching English in South Korea: $1,500 - $2,500/month

2. Teach in China

Despite China’s strict COVID-19 quarantines and stricter TEFL regulations, it is still possible to teach English in China in 2023. China remains one of the world’s highest-paying ESL countries with the most demand for English teachers. English teachers in China also appreciate the lesser working hours compared to South Korea. Public schools, private schools, international schools, and after-school academies are hiring English teachers in China year-round, so teachers can afford to be choosy when looking for an English teaching job in China. For those up for living in a country with a completely different cultural difference and intriguing lifestyle than what you’re used to, China is definitely one of the best countries to teach English abroad.

Best Countries to Teach English China
Average salary teaching English in China: $1,600 - $3,000/month

3. Teach in Japan

Japan is yet another of Asia’s best countries for saving money while teaching English. English teachers can find work in both public and private schools in Japan. If you want to teach English in Japan, the JET program (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program) is the best option in terms of pay; however, private schools in Japan are great for teachers who want to choose their location and can be hired at any time of year. Teaching English in Japan, like South Korea, is known for its longer workdays, but for a nice salary, Japan is still a top ESL country.

Best Countries to Teach English Japan
Average salary teaching English in Japan: $1,500 - 3,000/month

4. Teach in Taiwan

Island nation Tawain pays relatively higher than its nearby southeastern neighbors. Experience a unique blend of Tawainanese and Chinese culture in a tropical setting while saving money as an English teacher, with lower costs of living compared to South Korea and Japan. If you’re keen on living a unique island life, experiencing a mixture of Tawainese and Chinese culture, while saving money, Taiwan is an excellent choice for those wanting a higher salary with the ability to find a job year-round.

Best Countries to Teach English Taiwan
Average salary teaching English in Taiwan: $1,500-$2,500/month

5. Teach in United Arab Emirates

Becoming an English teacher in the United Arab Emirates is one of the most attractive, but difficult countries to get hired in. In general, teachers will make the most money teaching English in the United Arab Emirates due to its high demand and even higher national wages. Requirements for teaching English in UAE, or any of the other surrounding gulf countries, go beyond having a TEFL and college degree. Teachers who in addition have a teaching license or CELTA certification, solid references, and a couple of years of experience will benefit from receiving some of the high salaries teaching English in the world. Expect a high salary as an English teacher in addition to pocketing the extra money for more travel, fine dining, and overall access to the world’s most luxurious countries.

Best Countries to Teach English United Arab Emirates
Average salary teaching English in United Arab Emirates: $2,500 - $5,000/month

6. Teach in Thailand

The year-round warm weather, pristine beaches, and world-renowned food make teaching in Thailand one of the best countries to teach abroad in. Touristic cities like Phuket and Bangkok are used to seeing different of different sexualities and cultures, meaning outward discrimination is low. Thailand also pays an above-average salary for native English teachers with a degree. Travel opportunities in your free time are plenty, and the lifestyle and welcoming locals make it easy to not want to leave Thailand.

Average salary teaching English in Thailand: $1,200 - $1,500/month

7. Teach in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country with a fascinating history, breathtaking mountains, and stunning beaches that can even rival those of Thailand. Though finding a teaching job in Vietnam as a non-native English speaker may be more difficult at first, the country’s high demand for English teachers will make teaching English in Vietnam worthwhile for a non-native as long as you have a TEFL certificate, bachelor’s degree, and previous teaching English experience. Teachers in Vietnam will earn a high enough salary to live comfortably, given the country’s low cost of living and affordable options to travel throughout the country.

Average salary teaching English in Vietnam: $1,100 - $1,500/month

8. Teach in Russia

Russia’s very large size is equivalent to its high demand for English teachers. With plenty of opportunities in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as the country’s many smaller towns, Russia is one of the best countries to teach English without a degree. English fluency and a TEFL are the main two requirements for finding an English teaching job in Russia. If glistening winter snow, an intriguing combination of eastern and western influences, and striking regal buildings fancy you, teaching English in Russia will be one of your grandest adventures.

Best Countries to Teach English Russia
Average salary teaching English in Russia: $600 - $1,400/month

9. Teach in Poland

With many opportunities for English-teaching jobs in Eastern Europe, Poland remains one of the best countries in Europe to teach English due to job availability and higher wages than most other European countries. With a plethora of language schools in the capital Warsaw and rural communities, teachers with EU passports can easily find an ESL job in Poland. A university degree is required, but most schools accept applications from fluent non-native English speakers. Teaching English in Poland is a great alternative to typical European countries if you want to experience an off-the-beaten-path travel destination in Europe.

Best Countries to Teach English Poland
Average salary teaching English in Poland: $700 - $1,100/month

10. Teach in Turkey

Turkey, the crossroad between Europe and Asia, is the best place for non-native speakers to teach English. The country is known for its stunning Ottman architecture and diverse landscapes that make traveling around the country one of the most unique experiences you’ll have. The demand for English teachers in Turkey is high, with many English teaching jobs in Istanbul available. A degree and a TEFL certificate are required, and teachers interested in teaching in Turkey can interview online and in person. Teachers do need a valid work permit, so it is wise to have all of your visa documents on hand when applying for English teaching jobs in Turkey.

Best Countries to Teach English Turkey
Average salary teaching English in Turkey: $500 - $1,200/month

11. Teach in Cambodia

Cambodia still remains a partly undiscovered gem of Southeast Asia compared to popular nearby TEFL countries Thailand and Vietnam. But, unlike many countries in Asia, Cambodia openly accepts non-native English teachers due to its high demand for English teachers to fill up schools and language academies across the country. Another benefit of teaching English in Cambodia is that the cost of living is relatively low, so you will be able to live comfortably. Cambodia’s tropical climate and access to beautiful beaches make it an attractive alternative for those who want to teach English in Asia.

Best Countries to Teach English Cambodia
Average salary teaching English in Cambodia: $700 - $1,000/month

12. Teach in Spain

The first country to legalize gay marriage, Spain attracts a diverse number of English teachers each year for its work-life balance, fun nightlife, and rich history, making it overall the best  Big cities like Barcelona and Madrid are the best cities in Spain for English teachers, and the huge demand of English teachers in Spain makes hiring discrimination almost non-existent. English teaching jobs in Spain are quick to find, and with the correct visa, you can have a job almost immediately upon arrival.

Best Countries to Teach English Spain
Average salary teaching English in Spain: $700 - $1,200/month

13. Teach in Mexico

It is no secret that many people of color (POC) teachers face discrimination in some countries and have difficulty getting hired. However, Latin America’s rich diversity makes teaching English as a POC less challenging, with Mexico being no exception. With friendly locals, delicious food, and a cheap cost of living, Mexico is one of the best countries to teach English in Latin America. English teaching jobs in Mexico are readily available, and the visa process is relatively simple. In your free time, enjoy Mexcio’s rich Mayan and Aztec culture, explore Mexico’s distinct regions, and marvel at the country’s colorful buildings.

Best Countries to Teach English Mexico
Average salary teaching English in Mexico: $500 - $1,000/month

14. Teach in Costa Rica

Another beautiful Latin American country, Costa Rica is a favorite for English teachers for its lush beaches, relaxed, “pura vida” lifestyle, and acceptance of people of different cultures. Teaching English in Costa Rica means your weekends will be busy exploring the country’s rich ecotourism, such as surfing, snorkeling, and hiking beautiful waterfalls in bountiful rainforests and jungles. Most of the teaching jobs in Costa Rica are at private schools and academies– a benefit for those wanting to teach English to adults. To compensate for the country’s high cost of living, many teachers pick up tutoring jobs to supplement their income.

Best Countries to Teach English Costa Rica
Average salary teaching English in Mexico: $600 - $1,000/month

15. Teach in Peru

Home of Macchu Piccho and fuzzy llamas, Peru is one of the most adventurous places to teach English without a college degree. Teaching jobs in Peru are mostly located in Lima and Cusco, where salaries are decent in terms of the country’s low cost of living. It is common for teachers to simply show up to the country and interview for jobs in person, but jobs can be found online as well.

Best Countries to Teach English Peru
Average salary teaching English in Peru: $500 - $1,000/month

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