5 Fun Places to Teach ESL

ESL Student

An ESL student at work!

One of the most difficult decisions to make after becoming ESL certified is deciding where to teach English as a second language. Given that ESL teachers are in demand all around the world (even in native English speaking countries) your possibilities to teach and travel are endless.

To help narrow down you choices, I recommend the thinking about the following questions before searching for an ESL job:

  • What climate makes you happy?
  • Would you consider teaching in an English speaking country or is learning another language important to you?
  • What is the cost of living you are looking for?
  • How far are you willing to be away from your home country?
  • Is the economic level of the country an important factor for you?
  • Is safety a big concern?
  • Would you prefer teaching in a big city or small town?
  • Are you looking for teaching benefits as well as a salary?
  • What types of travel are you looking to do while teaching ESL?
  • What are costs of airfare in your potential destinations?

These are only some of the many questions and topics you should think about before coming to a decision. After answering these questions, however, you should be able to narrow down your list!

Here are some of my personal recommendations for really fun places to teach ESL:

1. Spain

How could I not say Spain after teaching here for three years? The truth is, teaching English in Spain is pretty amazing. While the pay isn’t great and visas can be tricky for Americans, the warm Spanish sun and amazing gastronomy more than make up for it. While teaching in Spain you will be able to travel a lot– both within Spain and outside of the country. Ryanair is a company with cheap flights all around Europe and is the biggest airline operating in Spain, so budget flights are easy to find. Spain itself is also extremely diverse and each region has its own customs, foods, drinks, and (sometimes) even languages!

Spanish School Building

A Typical Spanish School

2. Hawaii

Maybe not the most obvious place to teach ESL, but there are definitely opportunities to teach and travel all around Hawaii. Pay at language centers is usually quite good, and when you have time off you can spend it traveling around the different islands, tasting amazing Hawaiian food, exploring gorgeous beaches and learning how to surf! Better yet, when relatives come visit (and they probably will!) you can convince them to include you at stay at a luxurious hotel like The Modern Honolulu (or at least you can dream…).

Kayaks on beach in Hawaii

Relax after work by kayaking in Hawaii!

3. Japan

Japan is known for their very good, very well-paid (about $45,000 USD per year plus benefits) JET program for aspiring ESL teachers. The program is highly competitive to get into, but once accepted you are sure to have an incredible experience teaching English not only to the locals, but to people from all over Asia. A lot of students from Singapore take advantage of the many options of hotels in Tokyo and the entertainment options of the city while learning English. If you are interested in exploring Japanese culture and living in a very different environment, I would consider this program without a doubt. It also makes more sense financially than any other option! Just be aware that you will have to at least efile your taxes back in the States, even if you don’t owe anything.

Japan girls in costume

Teaching ESL is an opportunity to experience Japanese culture.

4. Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

The UAE also treats their English teachers quite well, providing them with a high salary, roundtrip flights, paid time off and various other benefits. However, teachers do need a valid teaching certificate and two years of experience to be eligible for the job, which may eliminate it as a possible destination. If you are lucky enough to get a job there, you can look forward to some new experiences such as desert camping– even in January it is a common weekend plan!

Sand desert

Imagine camping out in this desert!

5. Brazil

If I hadn’t have moved to Spain to teach English, I likely would have gone to Brazil. Offering many different landscapes (big cities, countryside, beach, etc.) Brazil is an exciting mix of multicultural people and places. Teaching ESL there is possible, but most people recommend looking for your job upon arrival. With the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, English speakers are in demand, so I’m willing to bet there is plenty of work for a native speaker!

Bahia and cashew fruit

The beautiful beaches of Bahia, Brazil.

Where would you go if you could teach ESL anywhere?

Photo Credits: tabor-roeder, sackerman519marcveraartmisslishessjvc

Disclosure: These teach and travel opinions are brought to you in part by Aqua Hotels & Resorts.

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