When people look for the best places to teach English, Asia is often the go-to spot and for good reason. The continent covers a vast swath of land which ensures there is a bit of flavor for everyone. Whether it is the gold sanded beaches of Thailand that call to you or the bustling neon-filled city of Hong Kong or other jungle and city in between, Asia certainly does not lack places to call your own.
However, this wide spread of choices bring a common dilemma: which country should you choose to settle down in?
This post seeks to answer just that by listing the top countries in Asia for an English teacher. Without further ado, let us dive into it!
Japan has long been one of the top places for teaching and it is easy to see why. The country is nothing short of breathtaking, is known for its very hospitable locals, clean cities and a vivid fascinating history that stretches back thousands of years.
Teaching in the country is a great way to live in Japan for an extended time and allows you to afford the high cost of living.
Japan is hardly one of the best paying countries on the continent – an English teacher can expect to make anywhere between $1,700 – $5,000 per month – but it has a well established system in place for foreign teachers which is why it is very popular for teaching. Some of the benefits included in the package are flight tickets, accommodation as well as training for the job.
Apart from that, Japan has expats from all industries so you are likely to bump into many expats who are not teachers. Rest assured, you will not feel out of place wherever you go.
Pro tip: The most common way to secure a teaching job in Japan is through the JET program.
Vietnam has been rising in popularity over the years, both as a tourist country and for English teaching. One of the key reasons to consider working as a teacher in Vietnam is that you are afforded more flexibility than countries in the East of the continent.
A lot of the positions in the country do not require office hours and will allow you to take longer paid or unpaid time off if you wish to go back home or travel elsewhere.
Starting teachers can make between $1,500 to $2,000 (dependent on the education and experience) in language centers which places Vietnam in the mid-range to lower end on the salary scale. However, Vietnam has a very low cost of living which makes it possible to save a large portion of your salary.
To boot, Vietnam also has a great (and laidback) quality of life. You could spend your weekends lounging by the beaches of Danang, hiking through the gorgeous trails in Sapa or take a kayak trip along the serene Halong Bay. Topped off with tantalizing cuisine and strong coffee that never fails to delight, Vietnam promises an epic adventure to anybody who moves there.
Travelers will also like the fact that Vietnam’s central location allows you to visit most of Southeast Asia easily. Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Laos are all a hop away.
South Korea has been a popular teaching destination for a very long time now. It has served as a starting point to the continent for many teachers and is widely considered the best place in Asia to make money while teaching.
South Korea is not popular just because of their great pay – the salary for an English teacher is $1,600 – $3,500 per month. The country has an excellent culinary scene, vibrant nightlife, scores of shopping areas, and a modern public transportation system that makes it a breeze to travel. Moreover, medical insurance, accommodation and the visa are generally provided by the school.
However, South Korea does have a work hard, play hard culture and you will be expected to work long, sometimes exceeding your designated hours.
Many don’t think of India when they are looking for teaching jobs in Asia which is quite a shame if you ask me. It is true there is fierce local competition and the pay is not as great as other countries on this list. The average salary of an English teacher hovers at around 500 USD.
However, India has a lot of programs and opportunities that make it easier to secure a teaching role and if you have ever wished you could experience India first hand, this is an excellent chance to do so while making a difference in the lives of many.
Furthermore, India has incredible volunteer teaching programs so if money is not really a motivation for you and you just want to spend time and travel the country, volunteering as a teacher could be just what you are looking for.
Why Singapore? It has an unbelievably low crime rate, fantastic cuisine, all year-round tropical climate and is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities along with a sizeable population of expats; it is hardly a surprise that the country often ranks high in many polls.
On average, a qualified English teacher can earn a salary in the range of 2,700 to 3,500 USD.
The reason that Singapore does not rank higher on this list is that most citizens of Singapore are well versed in English. This means there is not as great a demand for English as there is in other countries on the continent. The bulk of English teaching jobs are at International Schools that require teaching certificates or at public schools where there is immense competition. Teaching at private academies or as a private tutor are other options you can consider but it is important to note that there is very little job security with these two options.
If you have the necessary certifications or wish to apply for a high level education related role, Singapore is highly recommended but if you are just out of university with no experience in the education industry, you should look elsewhere.