Top 5 Countries For Teaching English Abroad (That Aren’t in Asia)

Monday, January 23, 2012


When it comes to jobs teaching English abroad, South Korea and Taiwan are the headliners. Teaching English jobs are easy to find, and high salaries and free housing are some great incentives to head east, but it’s not enough to lure everyone. There are a lot of motives behind your move: curiosity about a certain culture, the chance to learn a new language and the opportunity to experience the local community as an insider.

Asia won’t cut it for everyone. Whether you have your heart set on living in a Spanish-speaking town, or want to immerse in an Arabic community, here are five popular countries for teaching English abroad.

topfiveplacesforteachingenglishabroad21) Turkey

This Muslim nation is literally the meeting of two worlds. Stand on the west side of Istanbul’s Bosphorus bridge and you’re in the “old city” of Middle East streets and squares. Cross the river and you’re on the European continent. Istanbul, which is Turkey’s largest city but not its capital, is a sprawling collage of street markets, mosques and modern boulevards.

While the country is still developing, especially in its rural areas, Istanbul is as metropolitan as Brussels or Rome. Ankara, the country’s capital and second-largest city, has many English language academies and big chain schools, such as Wall Street Institute, which are also found in Istanbul. Other cities like Adana and Izmir and are other popular places to finding teaching jobs. The bottom line is to make sure to have a TEFL/CELTA certificate, as most teaching jobs in Turkey require one along with bachelor’s degree. (For more information check out teaching  jobs in Turkey via

2) Russia

There are a lot of opportunities to teach in Russia, and the opportunity to learn the language can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Russian can be challenging, but it’s one of world’s most influential languages, from classic literature to current world politics.

Due to Russia’s strong role on the world stage, there is a strong desire to learn English here. Adults and children (for the most part) take extra efforts to learn the language, and there are a lot of private language schools offering classes as a supplement to their education. If you’re new to Russia or teaching abroad, it might be a good idea to work with one of the big chain schools, which sometimes offer housing assistance or teacher training.

Venture outside the large cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and you’ll still find teaching opportunities throughout Siberia and along the borders of Central Asia. Check out towns like Vladivostok, Krasnodar and Novosibirsk to find local language schools. If you have a TEFL/CELTA certificate, a college degree and a bit of teaching experience, you should be able to find jobs easily. (For more information check out teaching  jobs in Russia via

topfiveplacesforteachingenglishabroad33) Chile

Known for its excellent wine, epic coastline and some of the most untouched wildlife on Earth, this country draws nature lovers from all over. Like most of South America, it’s difficult to arrange a job before arriving. The schools want to meet you face-to-face before hiring, so plan on going door-to-door, handing out resumes and networking once you’re on the ground.

This might sound daunting, but most people are able to find a job within several weeks. Since over 2/3 of Chileans live in urban areas, the capital, Santiago, might be your best bet for getting started, because of the high concentration of English language schools in this area.

The best jobs require TEFL/CELTA certificate and a college degree. If you prefer to go through a program, check out the English Open Doors, a joint initiative between the Chilean Ministry of Education and the United Nations Development Organization. As a volunteer, you can be placed anywhere in the country, from the mountainous Patagonia to the seaside suburbs of Valparaiso. You don’t need a TEFL certificate, and housing is provided with a host family. Don’t expect to build your savings in Chile, but it’s definitely possible to live comfortably with most teaching jobs.

4) Spain

Thoughts of sangria, siesta and sun make Spain a highly desired landing spot for foreign teachers. However, if you’re not from the EU, there’s one hurdle you’re going to have to clear before it all begins: the work visa. In order to legally work in one of the European Union’s 27 countries, you need this important piece of paper. But in order to get one, you need a formal job offer. And now the Catch-22: In order to get a job offer, the employer needs to prove that there isn’t an EU citizen that can do the job better than you. But there’s a loophole. For a monthly stipend, you can teach English through the Spanish government’s North American Language and Culture program, which automatically sponsors the visa for you.

If you want to be adventurous and just show up in Spain without a program, try looking for jobs in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao or Seville, which have a lot of language schools and academies. Nowadays, jobs are a bit tougher to find in Spain than they were before the financial crisis, but it’s still possible. You won’t walk away with much savings, but the memories from living the Spanish lifestyle are forever.

5) United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Want a tax-free salary? Get a job in Dubai. This city is a rapidly growing international business and tourism hub, and the demand to learn English is extremely high. Since most of the country’s wealth comes from its booming oil industry, most teaching jobs are at international corporations or universities. The vast majority of jobs require master’s degree, and usually several years of teaching experience. Compared to neighboring Saudi Arabia, women are gaining more equality and opportunities in the UAE, but the different cultural and social attitudes towards them is something that foreign women should be aware of if they are considering teaching here.

[Dubai Skyline by Ross Hawkes/Flickr; Süleymaniye Mosque by laszlo-photo/Flickr; Valparaiso by Dave_B/Flickr]


About the Author


Andrea Moran is the Director for Teach Abroad at, a community-driven website of like-minded people who are all passionate about teaching, studying and volunteering abroad. She can be followed on Twitter @Go_TeachAbroad.

© 2022