Top 10 countries where you can teach English as a Second Language (ESL)

December 28, 2015 , In: Travel Tips , With: No Comments

If you’re looking to work and travel, to fund your adventure and give yourself a real sense of achievement at the same time, then teaching ESL could certainly be for you. Now, it depends on where you’re going, your qualifications, and how long you’re going to be around for, but you can teach ESL in countless countries the world over, including some of the most beautiful destinations on the planet.

Work and travel certainly go hand in hand to make adventures last a little longer money-wise, but the experience of engaging with locals and making a difference really does add an extra boost to your travel plans.

It’s worth mentioning that you’re never going to earn a fortune whilst teaching ESL, but there are some countries where you can earn a standard wage which will certainly help you make ends meet. Requirements for teaching ESL are changing all the time in many different countries, so always do a little up to date research ahead of time.


Saudi Arabia

Culturally diverse, full of amazing sights, and an experience you won’t forget, you can teach ESL whilst you work and travel here and earn a good amount of money too. Many jobs don’t require you to be qualified as a teacher, but experience will always give you a better starting block, as well as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.


Japan is a very popular destination for teaching ESL, and because of that the job market is quite competitive. Whilst previous experience of teaching isn’t strictly speaking necessary, anything which makes you stand out above the competition will give you an edge. Pay can be quite good in Japan, and the experience of living in a futuristic, yet still quite old, country is a real adventure. There is also the very popular JET programme for less experienced teachers.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are at the forefront of teaching ESL in this money-mad region of the world, and this is typically where the highest paid jobs are. Because of the handsome rewards, requirements are stricter, and that includes teaching qualifications and experience in your home country.


South Korea

The low cost of living makes work and travel in South Korea very attractive, and teaching ESL here is a good go-to for making some extra cash. As a general rule, you will require a TEFL certificate and a degree, although experience isn’t strictly speaking necessary.


Another country with a low cost of living and wonderful sights to see whilst you work and travel, Taiwan offers good salaries and wonderful weather to boot. A university degree is the minimum requirement for those wishing to teach ESL, although TEFL certification will give you the edge over competitors.


Kuwait City is a fantastic and modern city to visit, and jobs here are quite plentiful. In order to secure an ESL placement here you will need teaching qualifications and experience. There are many international schools in the main city, and overall a very modern vibe, which you might not have expected.



One of the most up and coming travel destinations, Vietnam offers great opportunities for work and travel, especially teaching ESL. You will need to hold a bachelor’s degree and TEFL, although previous experience isn’t required.


China is probably one of the best countries to teach ESL, because there are so many opportunities and demand is high. You could find a private international school or a public school to teach in, and teaching certification and TEFL are your requirements.


You don’t have to hike Machu Picchu to visit Peru, although it’s definitely recommended! Lima, the capital, offers plentiful opportunities for teaching ESL, provided you head there during the main hiring seasons, which are February/March and July/August. You will generally need TEFL certification and a university degree.


Oman is a growing country, and in terms of business it is growing fast. The cost of living here is low and the developments taking place are exciting. Again, teaching experience and TEFL are required, and you will find plentiful opportunities.




There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment.

Leave a Comment

The Shirt Off My Backpack Blog

This blog is designed to help you hack your travels, with handy tricks and tricks to keep prices low while still doing justice to the places you visit and the people that live there. We understand how life-changing travel can be, so we want to inspire you to get out there sooner and to simply live your dreams, whatever they might be.

Like Us on Facebook