Teach Abroad

How to Teach Abroad with a Friend or Partner

If you and your partner or friend share a dream of teaching abroad, read this guide to find out how to do it together. Learn about the top tips for applying as a twosome and finding teaching jobs overseas.

Two women with their arms around each other smile on a beach.

Teaching abroad on your own may be a daunting prospect for some. But what if you could get a job teaching English overseas with a friend or partner who could make the whole experience a lot less scary? You can!

Teaching abroad with a friend or partner not only provides you with social and emotional support but it is a great way to split costs and have an instant travel buddy over long weekends and holidays. Imagine meeting up with your better half or best friend after a long day of teaching for soju in Seoul or some lovely tapas in Madrid. It doesn't get much better than that!

To kick off your career as a teaching twosome, check out our tips and resources for finding ESL jobs abroad with a friend or partner.

Top tips for finding teaching jobs with a friend or partner

A couple holds hands standing on a rock overlooking the city of Athens, Greece.

Finding two teaching jobs at the same school or in the same area can take a bit of skill and patience. We've gathered some helpful tips that will shed a little light on simplifying the process.

Get qualified 🎓

It's important to remember that when teaching abroad with a friend or partner, you'll need to look for jobs in countries where both of you hold the necessary qualifications. Hiring requirements for teaching English abroad vary around the world so research is key. For example, if you and your partner or friend want to teach English in Asia and only one of you holds a four-year degree, countries like South Korea which require a bachelor's will be off the table.

Read more: How to Teach English Abroad Without a Degree

If neither of you are TEFL certified, you'll want to read up on the locations offering the best opportunities for teaching abroad without a TEFL certification. Or, consider getting TEFL certified together, either online or in person in the country where you plan to teach.

Unless you hold a degree in teaching English as a foreign language and/or considerable experience, gaining a TEFL certification will provide you with training to teach English on a professional level. Having certification will drastically enhance your chances of getting hired for a great position teaching English abroad. Studying for your TEFL certification could also be a great bonding experience as you both prep for your upcoming adventure of teaching English overseas!

Read more: The 11 Best Online TEFL Courses

Apply early 📝

Knowing the hiring seasons and application deadlines for your target country is key to ensuring your materials are turned in on time. Many programs can only give preference to couples or friends if they apply as soon as the hiring season or application window opens.

Unless you already hold a visa or have work permission in the country where you want to teach (ex. EU citizens), do not plan to show up and look for a job. Having a visa or work permit is necessary to make sure you're protected legally -- getting paid under the table may sound fine but it has the potential to get you into serious trouble with the authorities and/or your employer.

Read more: How to Get a Work Visa for Teaching English Abroad

Focus your job search 🔍

Consider choosing to work in a country that has a strong job market for English teachers, like China. Additionally, focusing your job search in major metropolitan areas will increase your chances of finding English teaching jobs quickly.

Alternatively, if you choose to apply through a government language teacher program (check out some options below!), noting a preference for less popular regions can help you and your partner or friend secure a spot together. Many people applying to teach on their own choose large towns and cities so competition in those areas is fiercer. If you are already going abroad with someone you know, why not explore some off-the-beaten-track corners together?

Read more: How to Find a Paid Job Teaching English in Latin America

Be flexible 🤸

While many language schools and institutes routinely hire couples, and some even prefer to, it’s not an outcome you should count on. In major cities and metropolitan areas, there may be hundreds of teaching opportunities within a 20-mile radius, so if one of you finds a great gig at one school, chances are that the friend or partner will be able to get their own job within close proximity.

Even if it's not what you hoped, working at different schools does offer advantages. For example, you can get a break from each other during the day (which can be healthy in any relationship or friendship). Just make sure that you pick housing in an area that's a fair commute for both parties.

Above all, be patient and flexible when making decisions with your friend or partner. Whether it’s a friendship, marriage, or relationship, living abroad and exploring the world can be one of the great experiences to share with another human being. At the same time, like any major life-changing experience that involves a partnership, there will be stressful moments and probably some disagreements, so remember to be understanding and patient with each other, especially if one or both of you are experiencing culture shock.

Read more: The Beginner’s Guide to Teaching English Abroad: 12 Crucial Tips & Pointers

Popular countries for teaching abroad with a friend or partner

If you're not sure where to get started in your search for two teaching jobs abroad, take a look at some of these popular countries.

A graphic showing the top countries for teaching abroad with a partner which includes China, Vietnam, Thailand, Spain, South Korea.

These destinations are known for their flexibility in accommodating friends, partners, and married couples. Give one or all of them a try!

  • China: one of the top destinations for teaching English abroad, China has numerous jobs across the country for all age ranges, from young children to adults.
  • Thailand: Thailand is popular among foreign English teachers for its low cost of living and friendly students.
  • South Korea: South Korea draws in ESL teachers with high salaries, great benefits, and top-notch amenties.
  • Vietnam: English teachers are in high demand in Vietnam and program providers welcome friends and couples hoping to teach together.
  • Spain: affordable Spain is a great home base for travel through Europe, and the low level of English compared with other EU countries means ESL teachers face a strong job market.

Where to find teaching jobs

A man and a woman sit on a porch and look at a tablet together.

Luckily, couples and friends planning to teach together abroad have a few places to look to when searching for jobs. Recruiters, government-run programs, and program providers with guaranteed placement are some of the options for finding great English teaching positions in the same school or area.

Recruiters

Recruiters are people within recruitment agencies who work with you, free of charge, to match you with ESL positions overseas. They are generally connected with a network of schools or academies that pay them to find teaching talent. Recruiters are especially big in Asian countries and some countries in the Middle East.

After submitting your application and supporting materials, you will generally go through an interview process with both the recruiter and the potential schools they believe will be a good match based on your qualifications and preferences. Once you secure a position and sign a contract, they usually help you through the visa process to make everything goes smoothly from start to finish.

Many major recruitment agencies are happy to place couples and friends together if at all possible.

Read more: Do I Need an ESL Recruiter to Land a Teach Abroad Job?

Government programs

Some countries have government-sponsored teaching and language assistant programs designed to raise the nationwide level of English. These programs can be great for first-time teachers -- the positions tend to be for language assistants who have the help of a licensed local teacher in the classroom. Teaching assistant programs may grant student visas to participants or visas catering specifically to English teachers.

  • France: the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) requires applicants to have a B1 level of French and be between 20 and 35 at the start of the program. Applications are evaluated based on merit so if both partners are accepted, they can be placed together. TAPIF recommends that couples choose less popular regions like Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Reims, and Rouen in order to have the highest chance of receiving placements together.
  • Georgia: couples interested in participating in Teach and Learn With Georgia should be aware that since teachers are placed with host families, it can be difficult to be placed with a partner. It may be possible to rent your own apartment together though with the 200 GEL (70 USD) usually allotted for the host family being added to your overall monthly pay. Friends who want to teach together can be placed in the same geographic area but in different host families.
  • Japan: if both partners or friends pass the application and interview processes, the JET Programme will do its best to assign placements in the same geographic area. This isn't guaranteed though!
  • South Korea: the English Program in Korea (EPIK) program in South Korea encourages couples and friends to apply early in order to maximize their chances of being placed in the same area.
  • Spain: the North American Language and Culture Assistants program places assistant English teachers in areas across Spain. Couples and friends can specify that they wish to be placed together on the NALCAP application though this is not always guaranteed. Unless placed in the same village together, partners or friends may face commutes of varying lengths to different schools in the same city or region.

Independent search

You and your friend and partner can take a hands-on approach by seeking out your own opportunities abroad. Whether you choose to apply to jobs with different companies or organizations in the same geographic area or at the same place, you have a good chance of landing jobs if you're both sufficiently qualified.

Whether you search for local language schools or international chains like EF English First, the two of you will have the flexibility to apply where you want. Apply to multiple organizations within a town or city and even if you aren't hired at the same place, you can both reasonably commute to your workplace from shared accommodation.

Programs with guaranteed partner placement

If you're flexible about location, there are program providers out there that guarantee to place you with your friend or partner abroad.

  • TravelBud: friends and partners can be placed together in Indonesia, Japan, Cambodia, South Korea, and Thailand, either in the same school or in the same area.
  • Teaching Nomad: placements for couples and friends can be found across Asia. Married couples can also add Middle Eastern countries like UAE and Qatar to their list.
  • TEFL Worldwide Prague: if you and your travel companion aren't TEFL certfied, consider doing a TEFL program together abroad with a job placement guarantee in this gorgeous European capital.

What if you've got more than one best friend? With The Fewer Things you and your whole gang can sign up to be placed together through their programs in Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, and China!

Teaching abroad is better together!

Two men sitting on rope netting cheers their glasses and laugh.

Are you and your partner or friend on board yet? We have no doubt that teaching abroad is your next great adventure together. With the right timing, patience, and planning, the two of you could be on the next plane to a home abroad and a year or more of incredible memories!

More teach abroad resources to explore: