If you’re a native English speaker, you may not realize it, but you already have the number one qualification you need for a fun, portable income that can hand you a steady pay check from anywhere in the world.
English teachers are in huge demand! Did you know…
- There are more people on the planet who speak English as a second language than those who speak it as a first.
- More than two-thirds of the world’s scientists read English.
- 80% of the world’s electronically-stored information is in English.
- More than 1 billion people are learning English today.
All of that means huge opportunities for English teachers. Teaching English as a foreign language jobs are available in virtually all countries where English is not the first language. You’ll be surprised at how far your native language can take you.
Southeast Asia is the most popular choice for people wanting to teach English abroad. You can base yourself in a country such as Thailand, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about ancient cultures, delight in exquisite Thai cuisine, and enjoy inexpensive travel to neighboring countries and regions.
Those teaching English as a foreign language get paid well throughout the entire Southeast Asian region. Demand for native English teachers and those with experience and/or qualifications is as high as ever.
Roxanne Rockett left behind a successful career in the fashion industry in Los Angeles and headed to Thailand to teach as a way to feed her wanderlust. “I had visited ‘The Land of Smiles’ the year before,” she says. “I fell in love with the people and culture instantly, and wanted to return. Teaching gave me a way to do that.”
And she wasn’t worried about taking up what some see as a young person’s game. “I felt my age was actually an asset, because it earned me more respect in the community and with the adult students,” she says.
For a prospective teacher just starting out, salaries range from approximately $850 to $1,300 a month depending on a variety of factors. Wages are highest in Bangkok but lower in popular beach destinations such as Phuket and Ko Samui.
Vietnam is another destination with high demand for English teachers. As its economy strengthens, Vietnam is brimming with opportunity and citizens eager to learn English. The country is working hard to attract teachers, with wages and benefits that are giving other countries some stiff competition.
Salaries at private language schools average $1,700 a month, and benefits include four weeks’ vacation, training workshops, and help finding housing (although rent is not usually included). A college degree, preferably with an English major, is recommended and a teaching English-as-a-second-language certificate is required.
In 2010, Sharyn Nilsen and her husband, Tim, moved to Vietnam and began teaching English. Using Vietnam as, and the money they make from teaching, the couple have traveled throughout the world since moving. “We’ve now been to 130 countries and have no plans to stop anytime soon,” says Sharyn. “When we got back from our latest trip we had jobs waiting for us. Because we’ve done right by our school in the past, we can come back at any time, which means we can really kick back and relax while we’re on the road. Vietnam has been good to us and has played a big part in helping us achieve our dream lifestyle.”
But it’s not just Southeast Asian countries that are looking for English teachers. Steven Johnson has been teaching English in Loja, Ecuador for about 15 years. “Loja in Ecuador is a real treasure. The locals are very friendly but ever so conservative and shy so don’t be surprised if you become a novelty in that city,” explains Steven. “People will welcome you with open arms because they are not that used to seeing foreigners. It’s a great place to begin your new career as there are two universities and plenty of schools.”
When Libby Rush lost her job working for a real estate underwriter, she knew that she wanted to do something different with her life. ““I needed to reinvent myself,” says Libby. She wanted a career that was “fun, where I could be of service,” and allowed her travel abroad in search of the perfect retirement spot.
What she found was a small foreign language school in Campeche, Mexico. It’s been “a wonderful experience,” she says. Libby began her research online and eventually settled on the ITTO (International Teacher Training Organization) school in Guadalajara, Mexico. She liked ITTO’s mix of classroom instruction and hands-on experience teaching students. Plus ITTO is well known in Latin America, the region that most interests her. Libby’s job in Campeche also provides her with accommodation and half-pension (breakfast and lunch) in addition to a salary.
And there are plenty of opportunities for teaching English in Europe too. When Rosemarie Scavo arrived in Turin, Italy in 2009, she had only intended on staying a year, but has instead made a home. Teaching English as a second language in an international French school means that Rosemarie meets many expats. “I’ve been surrounded by expats since I came here. There is a big expat community here and there are many groups and associations such as the English Church of Turin, English Theatre Torino, and the International Women’s Club. In my experience, it’s very easy to make friends.”
For Bekka Burton, teaching English to private students in Barcelona, Spain has allowed her to create the perfect lifestyle for her. “I work around 20 hours teaching English,” says Bekka. “The lifestyle of a teacher can be absolutely wonderful with a lot of free time if you put effort into finding the right students with schedules compatible to yours.” And having free time isn’t the only perk that Bekka has found. “The wonderful thing about private students is that I have developed unique and rich relationships with them,” she explains. “Most of the time I feel like I learn more about the culture, history and landscape of Spain than they learn English.”
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