Are you a recent empty nester looking to finally realize your dream of living and traveling overseas? Are you a senior traveler looking to teach abroad? Do you want to move abroad and discover a new pastime that enables you to interact with the local community?
Whether you seek a little adventure in Southeast Asia, to make a difference in a small village in Africa, or way to help pay the bills for retirement on a tropical beach in Latin America, teaching English offers an endless array of great international opportunities for folks of all ages, including those in their Golden Years.
Benefits of teaching English abroad if you’re 60+
No field offers more opportunities for English speakers to gain employment abroad than teaching English overseas.
In fact, given that hundreds of millions of people in nearly every country on the planet seek to learn English, no field offers more opportunities for English speakers to gain employment abroad than teaching English overseas.
From Costa Rica to Thailand, hundreds of thousands of English speakers from all walks of life are hired to teach English abroad each year. In the vast majority of cases, prior teaching experience, or even a college degree, is not required. Some teachers work on full-time contracts, but in most nations, working part-time as a private tutor is possible.
Benefits of older adults teaching English abroad
- Teaching abroad as an older adult, you’re sure to have years of experience in various industries and bring an extensive set of skills. Students will appreciate learning from teachers with plenty of life experience! You’re also likely to teach with more confidence than younger, less experienced teachers.
- You can experience affordable living abroad, with some schools even offering housing and other great perks to teachers
- There are opportunities for international travel, culture, and outdoor recreation.
- Teaching abroad is the chance to enjoy a fun and rewarding international experience!
With high demand for English teachers, you’ll find the following countries are eager to hire virtually any English speaker, especially those who earn a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. Some countries have more accommodating job markets than others, and look to hire mature travelers with plenty of experience! Keep reading to find out the best countries for older travelers looking to live and teach English abroad.
Best for laidback lifestyle: Costa Rica
- Great for: 40+, retirees
- Average monthly salary range: $800-$1,000 USD per month
- Minimum qualifications: TEFL/CELTA certificate, native English speaker
- Common perks: often includes accommodation or a housing allowance
Looking to live in a tropical paradise where the cost of living is low, and the people are known for an easy-going approach to life known as Pura Vida? The entire Western Hemisphere south of the United States is a gold mine for English teaching opportunities. In addition, the cost of living - including rent, food, and medical care - in most Latin American nations is low, and most schools are happy to hire more mature teachers. Boasting some of the most beautiful rainforests and beaches in the world, Costa Rica is hard to beat regarding the quality of life, outdoor recreation, living costs, and high demand for native English-speaking language instructors.
Costa Rica has a lot to offer those who want to teach English as a second language abroad. It's a beautiful and safe country with a rich culture and strong national identity, plus the cost of living is low, making it possible for you to live comfortably on your teaching salary.
Best for sunny weather: Mexico
- Great for: Any age!
- Average monthly salary range: $500 - $1,000 USD per month
- Minimum qualifications: native English speaker, a bachelor’s degree, or a TEFL certification
- Common perks: can include local transport, a housing allowance, or free accommodation
From the sun-kissed shores of Baja to the artists’ colonies of Oaxaca to the dynamic energy of Mexico City, Mexico offers a vast array of fascinating cultural experiences and spectacular natural beauty. It is also one of the largest job markets in the world for teaching English abroad, age discrimination is a non-factor, and those who teach professionally and receive a work visa are enrolled in the national care system, which is regarded as one of the best in the region, if not the world.
The cost of living in Mexico is also relatively low compared to other countries that offer TEFL positions. In addition, the weather in Mexico is sunny and warm year-round, making it an ideal location to take advantage of outdoor activities such as hiking and scuba diving while also enjoying more laidback pastimes like swimming at the beach or reading under an umbrella.
Read more: How to Get a Job Teaching English in Mexico
Best for minimal qualifications: Cambodia
- Great for: 65+
- Average monthly salary range:$1,000-$1,600 USD per month
- Minimum qualifications: bachelor’s degree for university positions
- Common perks: health insurance and retirement benefits
For those searching for adventure and the mystique of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is excellent for teaching English abroad. Known for the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, idyllic beaches, and the faded colonial charm of Phnom Penh. Cambodia isn’t as large or as prosperous as nations like Korea, Japan, or Korea. Still, the demand for English teachers is booming, and unlike in many other Asia countries, age is not a restricting factor. Those without a degree can gain employment as well.
Cambodia is a developing country with a large number of young people. While the nation has seen its share of strife, it is also a beautiful country with a rich culture and history. In addition, many older adults enjoy teaching English in Cambodia because it’s affordable, easy to get around, and offers an opportunity to help those in need while making friends.
Best for tropical paradise: Thailand
- Great for: 55-65 years old
- Average monthly salary range: $945 - $1,481 USD
- Minimum qualifications: bachelor’s degree, prior teaching experience, TEFL certification
- Common perks: One-time allowance of $300, housing, and utilities paid by your employer
Known as the “Land of Smiles” for the warm disposition of its people, Thailand offers something for everybody, from the turquoise waters and white sandy beaches of the Andaman coast and the colorful street life of Bangkok to the lush highlands of the north. English teaching jobs are concentrated in major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but schools, language institutes, and universities employ English teachers throughout the country.
Thailand is an excellent country for older adults to teach English abroad. Thailand is a beautiful country with many world-class beaches, mountains, and other natural attractions. It's also popular among older adults because it's relatively cheap—a great place for retirees who want to travel the globe on their retirement income but still feel like they're living it up in paradise.
Read more: How to Get a Teaching Job in Thailand
Best for access to Europe: Czech Republic
- Great for: 60+
- Average monthly salary range: $600 - $1,000 per month
- Minimum qualifications: Bachelor’s degree, RSA TEFL certification. Some require a Czech business license.
- Common perks: Accommodation is usually provided by the school, the cost of rent is lower than in most European capitals, and there are plenty of places where you can live without having your car (most apartment buildings have public transportation nearby).
Due to visa requirements and high start-up costs, Europe can be a challenging job market for teaching English abroad, particularly in western European nations like France, Italy, and Spain. So, consider eastern European countries like Czech Republic if you are looking for a classic European lifestyle where you walk to work on cobblestone streets past grand opera houses and charming historic buildings.
In addition to a great international experience, such eastern European countries boast massive demand for English teachers, and Americans and Canadians do not face the sort of challenges met in European Union countries regarding matters like difficulties procuring a work visa.
Located in the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic has developed into an important location for business, investment, and tourism in recent years, increasing the demand for English teachers. Your best bet is to look in the capital city of Prague, where you will find work in a public school or as a private tutor. Schools are willing to help with living arrangements as well.
Most expats who move here after their retirement choose to live in Prague because it’s close to other major European cities like Vienna or Budapest and provides access to nature at any time during the year (especially if you love hiking).
Best for benefits: Saudi Arabia
- Great for: 55-65 years old
- Average monthly salary range: $2,500 and $5,000 per month
- Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, a master's degree (teaching at a college or university), native English speaker, TEFL certificate
- Common perks: flights, housing, and tax-free income
This exciting country needs more teachers, sparked by an initiative of the government to introduce the English language to university students looking at the international job market. Riyadh (the capital) and Jeddah are the most prominent cities known to be very safe and relatively crime-free. No TEFL is required, but it is recommended, and teaching experience is highly sought after.
Saudi Arabia has plenty of opportunities for older adults who want to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Saudi Arabian employers are generally willing to hire people over 50 because they know that older workers usually have more experience than their younger counterparts, making them better teachers!
Best for high salary: United Arab Emirates
- Great for: 55-60 years old
- Average monthly salary range: $3,500 - $5,500 per month
- Minimum qualifications: 2+ years experience, a degree in the subject of teaching, teaching qualifications, sometimes masters degrees are required
- Common perks: Salaries are (UAE) tax-free, housing allowance, health care benefits, return flights to your home country, and end-of-year or end-of-contract bonuses.
The UAE is one of the most rapidly progressing countries in the Middle East and the perfect location for teachers looking for a rewarding experience and a high salary . Teaching English here will immerse you in a blend of traditional Arabic culture combined with modern Dubai, with its futuristic feel.
Many older adults who want to teach English abroad are drawn to the United Arab Emirates because of its reputation as a modern and progressive society. The UAE is one of the richest countries in the world, but it's an extremely safe place to live, with a low crime rate.
To teach English in the UAE, you'll need either a bachelor’s degree or TEFL certification from an accredited program. Some employers also require that you have a teaching certificate from your own country or another approved program (such as Trinity TESOL). If your qualifications aren't recognized by a government agency, then an equivalency certificate may be required by some employers before they will hire you as well!
Prepare to teach abroad
To increase your opportunities to teach English abroad and to enjoy the most rewarding international experience possible, here are some additional tips to help you with the application process:
- Research as much as possible about potential destinations for teaching English abroad and the challenges that older travelers may encounter while seeking opportunities to teach English in a foreign country, including the question of age restrictions for teaching English in some nations.
- Take an accredited TEFL certification course. It will provide the training you need to become an effective instructor, and most schools and language institutes worldwide require it when hiring foreign English teachers.
- Plan to interview locally in the country where you plan to teach. While you can interview for positions and sign a contract before going abroad in limited instances, most schools in most countries hire locally, particularly in Latin America.
- Be flexible, broaden your horizons and approach your international adventures with an open mind and free spirit!
Where will you teach abroad?
Remember that no matter what your age is, there’s a place for you in this industry! With plenty of research, the right tools, and a passion for education, you’re sure to find the best country for you to teach English abroad.