Best Countries to Teach English and Save Money: Top Picks

Meet David De’ Ath, founder, editor, and writer at Wonderful World English. With his extensive background as an English teacher, David provides valuable insights and practical tips on ESL for students and teachers alike.

Choosing the best countries to teach English and save money is a strategic move that combines international experience with financial pragmatism.

Teachers are drawn to ESL (English as a Second Language) roles across the globe, not only for the enriching experience of living in a new culture but also for the opportunity to accumulate savings.

With varying costs of living and salaries, some destinations stand out more than others for their potential to add to a teacher’s bank account while providing a fulfilling professional and personal life.

The Middle East, for example, is renowned for its lucrative teaching positions, although these jobs often come with stringent requirements.

Meanwhile, places like China and South Korea offer excellent perks like paid airfare and housing, creating an attractive package for aspiring English teachers.

Understanding the factors that contribute to a favorable teaching abroad experience, such as competitive salaries, manageable living expenses, and additional benefits, is essential for educators looking to make the most of their time overseas.

Key Takeaways

  • ESL teaching destinations vary in their financial and cultural offerings.
  • Careful consideration of costs and benefits is crucial for maximizing savings.
  • Benefits such as housing and flights can significantly enhance savings potential.
7 Most AFFORDABLE Countries for Teaching English Abroad

Understanding the English Teaching Landscape

The landscape of teaching ESL abroad is dynamic.

Certain countries emerge as ideal destinations for teachers aiming to maximize savings while engaging in a rewarding profession.

Navigating this field requires an understanding of popular locations and the qualifications necessary for the job.

Popular Countries for ESL Teachers

Certain countries consistently rank as top destinations for ESL teachers looking to save money.

Vietnam is lauded for its low cost of living, allowing teachers to save between $400-800 per month.

The Middle East, although having stricter job requirements, offers lucrative salaries of up to $2,000 to $5,000 monthly.

China and South Korea are both highly recommended due to their generous salaries complemented by a low cost of living, creating the potential for significant savings.

Qualifications for Teaching English Abroad

To teach English abroad, individuals generally need a bachelor’s degree in any field and a TEFL certification, with some countries preferring a CELTA qualification or a teaching license.

A TEFL certification can be obtained by completing a TEFL course from accredited institutions.

For highly competitive positions, a master’s degree may offer an added advantage.

It’s important to have at least a 120-hour TEFL certificate for better job opportunities and to meet visa requirements in some countries.

RankCountryEstimated Monthly SavingsNotable Benefits
1UAE$1,000 – $3,000High salaries, housing allowance, travel benefits
2Saudi Arabia$1,000 – $3,000High salaries, housing, travel benefits
3South Korea$1,000 – $1,500Paid airfare, housing, competitive salaries
4China$1,000 – $1,500High salaries, low cost of living, housing benefits
5Vietnam$500 – $800Low cost of living, reasonable salaries
6Japan$500 – $1,000Strong infrastructure, cultural experiences
7Taiwan$500 – $1,000Competitive salaries, lower cost of living
8Qatar$800 – $2,000High salaries, housing allowance
9Kuwait$800 – $2,000High salaries, low taxes, travel opportunities
10Oman$700 – $2,000Competitive salaries, housing allowance
List of estimated monthly savings for English teachers around the world.

Maximizing Savings in High-Demand Locations

Teaching English abroad offers unique financial benefits for educators, particularly in regions with high demand for teachers.

This section explores how to maximize savings by understanding the cost of living, salary, and benefits and identifying countries with the highest savings potential.

Evaluating the Cost of Living

Understanding the cost of living in a potential host country is paramount. It affects the ability to save money, regardless of the salary offered.

Low-cost living areas enable teachers to spend less on essentials, while places with a high cost of living may require higher salaries to maintain a similar lifestyle.

For instance, teaching in Vietnam may provide a balance between a reasonable cost of living and a competitive salary.

Salary and Benefits Overview

When considering teaching opportunities abroad, not just the salary but also the benefits package is crucial.

Typical benefits may include a housing allowance or provided accommodation, which significantly reduces living expenses.

Strategic contract negotiations can also lead to a contract completion bonus and airfare reimbursement, greatly enhancing savings.

South Korea is known for offering excellent salaries and benefits, including paid airfare and housing.

Countries with High Savings Potential

Several countries stand out when it comes to saving money while teaching English:

  • Middle East: Countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE offer some of the highest salaries for English teachers alongside substantial benefits packages.
  • South Korea: With its comprehensive benefits, including airfare and accommodation, teachers can save a considerable portion of their salary.
  • China: Despite the low cost of living, teachers often receive high salaries and benefits, allowing them to save extensively.
  • Vietnam: Presents a balance with reasonable living expenses and the opportunity to save money from a decent salary.
Teaching English abroad can be an adventure of a lifetime as well as a sound financial decision!

Visas and Legal Requirements

Understanding visa types and pertinent legal requirements is essential when considering teaching English abroad.

Potential teachers should be informed about the application processes and the specific government teaching programs that may facilitate a smoother transition.

Visa Types and Application Processes

Different countries offer various visa types pertinent to teaching English, each with a unique set of requirements and application processes.

For instance, in China, foreign teachers often secure a Z visa, which mandates a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL certification, or previous teaching experience.

In South Korea, the E-2 visa is the standard for foreign English teachers, requiring similar qualifications and a contractual job offer with a school.

Applying for these visas generally involves submitting the appropriate documentation, which typically includes academic certificates, TEFL certifications, and health clearances.

Each country may have additional stipulations, and the processing time can vary from a few weeks to several months.

Government Teaching Programs

Many nations have established government-sponsored teaching programs to streamline the hiring of foreign educators.

South Korea’s EPIK program is one of the most well-known, providing placements in public schools across the country.

Applicants must pass a competitive application process that often includes an interview and a formal demonstration of teaching skills.

The JET Programme in Japan operates similarly, offering positions primarily as Assistant Language Teachers.

This program values cultural exchange and professional development alongside teaching.

Both the EPIK and JET Programs provide assistance with visas and housing and often include comprehensive orientation and support throughout the teacher’s placement.

If you’re considering an adventure teaching English abroad, check out the insightful guide below!

Related: Should I Teach English Abroad: Top Reasons to Take the Leap

Passport and Visa
Most destinations will require a visa in order to live and work in the country legally.

Lifestyle and Cultural Considerations

When deciding to teach English abroad, prospective educators should evaluate how accommodation options and cultural immersion will affect their daily life and job satisfaction.

These two aspects are pivotal in shaping the overall experience in a foreign country.

Accommodation and Living Standards

Accommodation varies greatly between countries, affecting both savings potential and quality of life.

In the United Arab Emirates, teachers can often find modern, furnished housing as part of their employment package, which can lead to significant savings.

Meanwhile, educators in countries like Vietnam may rent affordable apartments but might need to adjust to different living standards, such as simpler furnishings or communal living situations.

  • Quality of Life: Housing quality is closely linked to quality of life, and those adapting to a new country should consider factors like proximity to amenities, public transportation, and local safety.

Experiencing Local Cultures

Teachers have unique travel opportunities to experience local cultures deeply.

In countries like South Korea, the vibrant street life and rich traditions offer educators a lively cultural scene to explore.

Furthermore, the ease of international travel from a central hub like Japan grants access to various cultural experiences across Asia.

  • Cultures: Immersion in local customs and festivities offers a richer, more fulfilling experience. Engaging with the community is essential for those looking to embrace their host country’s lifestyle and traditions.
Teaching English abroad offers incredible chances to travel and explore.

Strategies for Finding the Best Opportunities

Securing teaching positions in regions of high demand often requires strategic planning.

For educators looking to find a job and maximize their earnings, especially for English teaching jobs, it’s essential to understand the job market and alternative teaching modalities, such as online platforms and private tutoring.

Assessing Job Availability

Educators should regularly check specialized job boards dedicated to ESL teaching to gauge the availability of jobs.

They must look for schools and countries known for high demand for native English teachers or those with native-level proficiency.

Regions like South Korea are recognized for offering enticing packages to educators, which often include benefits such as paid airfare and housing, with monthly salaries ranging from $1,600-$2,000 USD (Teaching English in South Korea).

Similarly, teaching English in the Middle East can yield a salary of $2,000 to $5,000 per month, with some countries allowing savings of $800-$1,000+ per month (Teaching English in the Middle East).

Given the competitive nature of the job market, candidates should prepare a strong CV that highlights their English fluency and any relevant teaching experience.

They should also be ready to showcase certifications such as TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA, which are often preferred or required.

Considerations for Online and Private Tutoring

Private tutoring and teaching English online present viable alternatives to traditional classroom teaching.

Due to the flexibility and potential for a global clientele, online ESL teachers can often set competitive rates and work with students in multiple time zones.

Meanwhile, private tutoring allows educators to tailor lessons to individual student needs and can often command higher hourly rates than school-based positions.

Prospective tutors should create profiles on reputable online teaching platforms where demand for English education is high.

Factors such as the inexpensive cost of living can significantly affect savings potential, making certain locations more advantageous for those who wish to tutor privately while living abroad.

English educators can strategically find lucrative opportunities in a competitive market by carefully assessing job availability and considering the benefits of online and private tutoring.

China continues to be one of the largest employers of English teachers in the world.

This huge Asian country offers incredible opportunities to explore, develop, and save!

For a complete guide on teaching English in China, check out the link below!

Related: How to Teach English in China: Your Ultimate Guide

Teach in China
Contact us for more information to get started on your journey!


In conclusion, for educators considering teaching English abroad, choosing the right country is critical for enhancing both financial savings and professional experiences.

Regions like the Middle East, China, South Korea, and Vietnam offer significant advantages due to their competitive salaries and lower living costs.

Key factors such as accommodation benefits, flight reimbursements, and cultural immersion opportunities can greatly influence an educator’s ability to save while enjoying a rich, fulfilling experience abroad.

By meticulously analyzing each destination’s financial and cultural offerings, teachers can strategically plan their careers to maximize both savings and professional growth, turning the teaching journey into an enriching life chapter.

We hope you find value in this information; you can contact us if you require any support.

Have a wonderful day!

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