Teach Abroad

The 10 Best Countries to Teach Abroad in 2022

We've chosen the 10 best places to teach abroad in 2022 broken down by salary expectations, quality of life, and cultural immersion. All countries are safe and open to teachers despite ongoing worldwide Covid restrictions. Read on to find out where you can advance your career overseas!

Key Takeaways 🔑

  • Teaching English abroad opens the door to an international career and many travel opportunities.
  • Requirements and salaries vary by country but there is something for nearly everyone, from the bustling cities in Japan to the relaxing beaches of Costa Rica.
  • Teach abroad for a year or make the move overseas permanent! This field offers a lot of flexibility.
  • Can't make it overseas this year? Gain some experience by teaching English online first.

Teaching English abroad is an amazing opportunity to explore the world and to have a life-changing experience overseas. However, the most difficult part about ESL teaching is deciding where in the world to go! There are so many unique countries out there, making the decision about where to go extremely difficult.

The following countries were categorized by what makes them stand out as great options for teaching abroad. While everyone's perfect fit will depend on their goals and interests, we hope to provide insight into what makes each of these destinations unique and appealing. After all, it can be hard to choose with so many opportunities out there.

A note on teaching abroad and Covid-19: Currently, most countries allow entry to those with valid visas and the following destinations are no different. While each country has different regulations surrounding masks and social distancing, students across the globe are returning to the classroom to resume language learning.

How did we pick these locations?

At Go Overseas, we want our community members to have the knowledge and resources they need to find the destination that best fits their travel goals! 

To determine the locations for this article, we looked at various factors, such as the location’s history, cost of living/average salaries, things to do, and the number of programs offered in the location.

Lastly, we used our own industry knowledge to ensure we're recommending locations that are vetted both by you, the community members, and us, the experts, so that we feel confident the locations included are the best of the best!

Chart of top wish listed countries for teaching abroad

Above is a chart of the top countries with the most teaching programs wish listed by our Go Overseas community members. However, not every location from this chart was added to our overall list, as we also took into account salary, cost of living, teaching qualifications, and whether the destination is currently open for travel.

Best for job availability: China

A man sitting on a rock with mountains in the background.
  • Average monthly salary range: $1,200 to $3,500
  • Average monthly cost of living: $380 to $1,000
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, native speaker from English-speaking country, TEFL certification, under the age of 60 for men and 55 for women
  • Common perks: housing, flights, health insurance

China is by far the most popular destination for ESL teachers. With over a billion citizens, it is clear to see why China has the largest demand for English language education. Teaching English in China likely won’t provide you with a salary equivalent to what you could make at home, however teaching English is a fool-proof way to earn a great wage and still be able to save some money. The cost of living in most cities is quite low compared to countries in the West.

Many teaching jobs in China also offer benefits, such as free accommodation, or paid flights. It's possible to live quite comfortably and still have money left over to travel (when that’s allowed again).

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Despite recent events, China is still an amazing place to live and work as an expat. There are endless facets of Chinese culture to explore and experience as well as a multitude of different regions and cities to travel to. China is truly one of the best places to teach abroad!

View teaching opportunities in China:

Best for job benefits: South Korea

Bright neon signs at night in Seoul, Korea.
  • Average salary range: $1,100 to $4,400
  • Average cost of living: $1,000 to $1,400
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, native speaker from English-speaking country, TEFL certificate for public school positions
  • Common perks: housing, flights, health insurance, contract completion bonus

South Korea tends to rank high on these sorts of lists and for good reason. Not only is there an incredible demand for foreign English teachers, but the ESL market continues to grow each year in Korea. There are plenty of jobs available - especially now - so it is easier than ever for you to find the ideal teach abroad job.

Having lived in Korea as an English teacher myself, I can assure you it has earned its spot on this list. The typical benefits offered by both public and private school placements make Korea one of the most attractive places to be an English teacher abroad. The benefits in Korea are more comprehensive than most other Asian countries, with accommodation and flights paid for and a severance bonus! It is entirely possible to save the majority of your salary while teaching abroad in Korea.

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However, many expats can find Korea a difficult place to live due to the working culture. Be prepared to work longer hours than you are probably used to in your home country – Korea has the longest working hours of any developed nation!

Despite a less than ideal work-life balance, Korea has a lot to offer. Exploring the metropolis of Seoul or hiking through the stunning mountainous regions, or relaxing on the famous beaches in Busan, there is something for every type of English teacher to enjoy.

View teaching opportunities in South Korea:

Best for professional development: Japan

A view of Mount Fuji in Japan.
  • Average monthly salary range: $1,700 to $5,000
  • Average cost of living: $1,300 to $2,200
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, native or fluent speaker
  • Common perks: housing, flights, health insurance, contract completion bonus

Japan has long been one of the most popular countries to teach English abroad. It's a country full of natural beauty, dramatic landscapes, and most notably, its bustling cities. It also has one of the most unique traditional cultures in Asia which attracts many expats and English teachers alike. You’ll never get bored living in Japan, whether you live in the heart of Tokyo or in a rural village in the shadow of Mt. Fuji.

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The working culture is similar to China and Korea, but with large expat communities in most major cities it would be easy to adjust to life in Japan. English teachers in Japan enjoy great benefits alongside competitive salaries. Despite the overall high cost of living in Japan, perks like housing and flight reimbursement mean you'll be able to save while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.

View teaching opportunities in Japan:

Best for teaching and traveling: Vietnam

The Best Places to Teach Abroad in 2019: Vietnam
  • Average monthly salary range: $1,200 to $2,200
  • Average monthly cost of living: $900 to $1,400
  • Minimum requirements: native speaker, bachelor's degree, 120-hour TEFL certificate, under the age of 60
  • Common perks: health insurance

Vietnam is well-known for its lush and dramatic landscapes and its generally relaxed culture. In a normal year, Vietnam attracts millions of tourists and expats alike. Vietnam is one of the best places to work as an ESL teacher in the world’s current climate; there is a great work-life balance and you’ll likely be working much less than the typical nine-to-five!

Recently, it has been difficult for any foreigners to enter the country because of Vietnam's aggressive response to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, ESL teachers are now being allowed to enter the country as "expert" workers - myself included! The government has been inconsistent about policies regarding ESL teachers, but people are finding their way into the country regardless.

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Because of the response to the pandemic, life is normal in Vietnam--well as close to normal as it can be! Though many teachers are put off by the lower salaries in Vietnam, and Southeast Asia in general, it is not difficult to live comfortably, save money, and enjoy yourself while teaching abroad.

Teaching English abroad in Vietnam was definitely the best decision I made this year!

View teaching opportunities in Vietnam:

Best for non-native English teachers: Thailand

An outdoor courtyard of a temple in Thailand.
  • Average monthly salary range: $850 to $2,500
  • Average monthly cost of living: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, TEFL certification, no age limit but teachers under 60 preferred
  • Common perks: housing, health insurance

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations to teach English overseas for many reasons. Normally, millions of tourists would flock to Thailand each year to experience the diverse culture, dramatic landscapes, and a rich culture of food. Recently the Thai government has announced it will open its borders to visitors, which means it is one of the more open countries in Asia at the moment.

Thailand is an attractive location for teaching for a simple reason -- the inexpensive cost of living. Just like in Vietnam, English teachers in Thailand take home a lower salary compared to other countries in Asia, and elsewhere, but the money goes a lot farther!

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Thailand is also well-known for its more relaxed working culture, compared to East Asian countries, which allows you more time to explore your interests outside of English teaching.

View teaching opportunities in Thailand:

Best for country infrastructure: Taiwan

The skyline of Tapei City, Taiwan at night.
  • Average monthly salary range: $2,000 to $2,400
  • Average monthly cost of living: $1,000 to $1,600
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, native speaker from English-speaking country, no age limit but teachers under 60 preferred
  • Common perks: housing, flights, health insurance, contract completion bonus

With all Taiwan has been becoming more popular among English teachers over the years. With a similar working culture to that in China, Korea, and Japan - Taiwan can be a bit more difficult to adapt to from a Western mindset, but it can be incredibly rewarding to work as an English teacher in Taiwan.

The country has a relatively low cost of living, so an ESL teacher’s salary can go a long way. Most teaching options will include severance pay, housing, and flights which increases your savings potential - or spending potential.

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When you’re not working you can spend all that extra cash you’ll have saved experiencing the beauty of Taiwan. You can trek through the jungles, relax by the pristine beaches, and summit the mountains of Taiwan all while eating delicious tropical fruits and enjoying local specialties like pineapple cakes.

Taiwan is also popular among expats for being one of the most progressive countries in Asia. The country became the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage just a few years ago!

View teaching opportunities in Taiwan:

Best for work-life balance: Spain

Woman standing in front of a blue lake.
  • Average monthly salary range: $835 to $1,900
  • Average monthly cost of living: $800 to $1,200
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree for the teaching assistant program, teaching license for private schools, teaching assistants must under age 60
  • Common perks: health insurance

Spain is by far one of the most popular destinations to teach English in Europe. Compared to the rest of Europe, Spain is notoriously relaxed and boasts a better work-life balance than many other countries in the West, making it ideal for English teachers abroad.

When you’re not teaching you can experience the charm of Spain, with its rich culture, history, and of course, cuisine. An English teacher's salary isn't much in Spain, but I can tell you from experience the cost of living is much lower than in other European countries, which allows your euros to go further! If you’re low on cash you can always get by with free tapas, like those served in Granada!

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The Spanish government also encourages North American ESL teachers to live and work in Spain, making it one of the few European countries that doesn’t give preferential treatment to British or Irish native English speakers. This makes Spain ideal for those from America or Canada looking to find a teaching job abroad in Europe.

View teaching opportunities in Spain:

Best for language immersion: France

Two women face away from the camera looking at a snowy hill.
  • Average monthly salary range: $800 to $2,000
  • Average monthly cost of living: $1,600 to $2,100
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, CELTA certification or equivalent
  • Common perks: none

I think most people would struggle to find someone who does not have some romantic ideal of France. If you’re a lover of cafes, cheese, wine, or art - or all of the above - France could be right for you! France is an enchanting place to live in its own right but it is also a great place to find a teaching job abroad.

Though it is easier to get an ESL job if you are an EU citizen, it is still possible for citizens of other English-speaking countries to find work in France. For example, Americans between the ages of 20 and 35 can work as teaching assistants through the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) program. There are also many programs that not only assist you in finding a job but help you with the often arduous process of obtaining an EU visa.

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Many teaching programs offer atypical teaching jobs, such as au pair work, which allows people to teach English abroad in some less traditional ways, making it more flexible than other countries and a better fit for those not sold on classroom-based methods of ESL teaching.

View teaching opportunities in France:

Best for high salary: United Arab Emirates

Inside of a mosque in UAE.
  • Average salary range: $3,300 to $5,500
  • Average cost of living: $1,350 to $1,900
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, TEFL certification, teaching experience, native or fluent speaker
  • Common perks: housing, flights, health insurance

The United Arab Emirates has become one of the more desirable ESL teaching destinations in the world and is increasing in popularity every year. The requirements to teach in the U.A.E. are a bit more difficult to meet than in other destinations, but the rewards are undeniably worth it. It may be easier to find jobs with formal qualifications in teaching, but it is not impossible to find jobs if you only have a TEFL certification!

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With some of the highest ESL salaries in the world and a plethora of benefits, it's no wonder so many expats flock to the U.A.E. to teach English abroad. The cultural differences in the U.A.E. may require an adjustment for many ESL teachers, but it is a truly unique destination to teach English abroad. If you crave an experience off the beaten path the U.A.E. may be the destination for you.

View teaching opportunities in the UAE:

Best for minimalist living: Costa Rica

A beach and rocky shore in Costa Rica.
  • Average salary range: $600 to $1,000
  • Average cost of living: $850 to $1,200
  • Minimum qualifications: TEFL certification, teaching experience preferred, native or fluent speakers preferred
  • Common perks: depends on the school

Costa Rica is probably the most popular Central American country for English teacher hopefuls, and for good reason. Despite being small, Costa Rica seems to have it all—surf-friendly beaches, towering volcanoes, and thriving rainforests. It’s no wonder that lots of teachers would want to live and work here!

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Paid teaching jobs in Costa Rica are typically in private schools and academies and universities and with private clients. Positions in public elementary and high schools tend to be voluntary. Although the salaries will generally mean you break even, the pace of life and culture in Costa Rica will remind you there is more to life than chasing a paycheck. Costa Rica is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and you will have no shortage of outdoor activities to get involved with, many of which are free. If you're looking for a place to live a simple and less cluttered life, Costa Rica is the destination for you.

View teaching opportunities in the Costa Rica:

Bonus - Best for convenience: Online

Teach online
  • Average salary range: $16 to $26 an hour
  • Minimum qualifications: bachelor's degree, TEFL certification, native speaker from English-speaking country

With the way the world is right now, it may be difficult to find the ideal teaching job abroad. Never fear though, there are plenty of opportunities to teach English online! The majority of ESL companies focusing on providing lessons for children used to be based in China. However, the Chinese government recently cracked down on private tutoring for K-12 students in the country and as a result, many companies have had to shut down or shift their focus to adult students.

Despite this, it is possible to find opportunities in other countries and with a variety of age groups. Until the world is a bit more stable, teaching online may be the best way to dip your toe in the water and see if teaching English abroad is right for you!

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View online teaching opportunities:

Where will you teach abroad in 2022?

Seven teachers smile and pose for the camera.

Teaching English abroad is an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone. It may seem daunting to try to plan to teach abroad right now, with the way the world is, but it is not impossible. I recently moved halfway across the world to start a new teaching job in Vietnam, despite it all!

All you need to do now is decide where do you want to go to start your teaching abroad journey in 2022!

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