Want to Teach English Abroad? These Are the Top 5 Countries for South Africans to Head to

This TEFL guide is comprehensive AF.

Working abroad seems like the perfect cure to feeling bored AF at your job and suffering from a severe case of FOMO every time you see a #wanderlust post pop up on your feed. But for those of us whose parents didn’t spoil us with a British passport, getting a work visa let alone an actual *job* overseas seems kind of impossible. Thanks to the TEFL certificate, now pretty much anyone with a functioning brain and an interest in education can teach English abroad, and it’s a lot more doable than you might think.

The TEFL Academy, South Africa’s go-to for getting your TEFL qualification, knows how daunting it is to do this whole uprooting-your-entire-life-to-move-to-a-foreign-country thing and have put together a really thorough and helpful guide for anyone considering it. Their Factbook covers all the key facts you would want to know before moving all of your belongings across the globe, such as average pay, cost of living, types of learners, working environment and weather conditions. The guide also outlines the average price of a beer and what local foods to try to give you a better feel for the country’s vibe.

Read: 6 Jobs You Can Do If You Want To Travel The World (Without Going Broke)

The list of countries is long, and you might feel overwhelmed trying to to choose between New Zealand and Nicaragua. Luckily The TEFL Academy has got your back and wants to make your choices easier. ‘We want to equip young professionals with all the information they need before setting off,’ says Rhyan O’Sullivan, Managing Director of The TEFL Academy. These are the top five countries South Africans choose to move to when embarking on their mission to teach English abroad:

1 China


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After a year in China, you will have only just begun to scratch the surface of the country’s cultural and historical landscape. From the ultra-modern cities of Beijing and Shanghai to the striking hills of Gualin, Chinese students are interested in learning English for business, academic and general conversation. China boasts one of the highest paying teaching positions internationally, averaging between R18 000 and R40 000.

2 Vietnam


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From the rice field terraces to the breath-taking coastlines, Vietnam is for teachers seeking inspiration and exceptional beauty. The country’s growing tourism industry has encouraged locals to learn business English to keep up with the growing economy. The cost of living is relatively cheap, so earning a teacher’s salary still means you can live comfortably and do some travelling.

3 South Korea


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As one of the most exciting countries in Asia, South Korea offers both bustling cities, peaceful mountains and national parks. Historical sites, such as palaces and museums, live alongside contemporary attractions such as massive shopping malls and busy restaurants. Teachers looking to save money or pay back student loans should consider taking up positions on this island nation – most schools will reimburse flights and offer accommodation, paid holidays and an annual bonus.

4 Thailand


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The land of sunshine and smiles, boasts both a warm climate and friendly locals. Thailand is an excellent place for newly qualified teachers to learn and hone their teaching skills, due to the slower pace of life. It also has many places to explore, including the nightlife of Bangkok, the beaches of Phuket and the floating markets of Hua Hin.

5 Spain


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Home to Pablo Picasso and Flamenco dancers, the country has a passionate and vibrant soul. The demand for English in Spain is high, with a variety of opportunities to choose from. With superb beaches, such as Malaga and Huelva and distinctive architecture of Barcelona, teachers can explore the country while working in summer camps, as language assistants and through private school teaching. Spain is particularly suitable for travellers who do not have a university degree and are looking for a shorter time abroad.

Featured image: Instagram @ooo_lin_ooo

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