Which Teach Abroad Destination is Right for You?

on December 5, 2016

So you’ve set your sights on a teach English abroad adventure, but you’re baffled by choice when it comes to destinations to choose from. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there so let’s break it down by our top programs to help make the decision a little easier for you.

Thailand

This South East Asian country is without a doubt the most popular program in the list. Why? Well let’s take a look:

Classroom training in Thailand

Choose teaching English in Thailand program if:

  • You don’t have any teaching experience (it’s okay if you do)
  • You want a life-changing immersive cultural experience
  • You have at least 4 months to spare
  • You enjoy the backpacker style of travel
  • You love kids (age groups range from Kindergarten to High School)
  • You don’t have a TESOL certification (it’s okay if you do too)
  • You’d prefer a placement where someone is always on call to help you out
  • You don’t mind working hard
  • You don’t have a bachelors degree (just be aware that degree holders are preferred and have a much easier time being accepted onto the program)
  • You want long vacation breaks
  • You love a tropical climate
  • You don’t mind going with the flow

Don’t choose Thailand if:

  • You want a massive salary (Thailand pays up to ±$1125 per month – more than enought to live and travel on, on a budget)
  • You could only handle living in a big city (placement locations range from big cities to small villages)
  • You want a full 12 months of paid work (you only work during the Thai school terms and not their holidays, a maximum of 9 months a year)

Best time of year to go over to Thailand:

  • April & October are the biggest intakes
  • Programs do run throughout the year if you can’t make these start dates

 

Interested in Teaching English in Thailand? We’ll send you more info!

INQUIRE NOW ›

Or learn more about our Teach English in Thailand program

 

Vietnam

An up and coming program, Vietnam is becoming increasingly popular not least because there’s a lot to love about this beautiful and historic country. So why might this or might this not be the program for you?

On Ha Long Bay Vietnam

Choose teaching English in Vietnam if:

  • You don’t have any teaching experience (it’s okay if you do)
  • You want an immersive and unusual cultural experience
  • You enjoy the backpacker style of travel
  • You don’t have a TESOL certification (it’s okay if you do too)
  • You’d prefer a placement where someone is always on call to help you out
  • You don’t mind working hard
  • You want to earn a bit more money than the Thai program (salaries are higher, cost of living is low and you get an end-of-contract bonus)
  • You have a bachelors degree
  • You love a tropical climate
  • You don’t mind working weekends with a slightly different schedule

Don’t choose Vietnam if:

  • You want a massive salary (Vietnam pays up to ±$1700 per month)
  • You could only handle living in a big city (you may end up in the city but you may end up in a rural location too)
  • You don’t like kids
  • You don’t have a bachelors degree
  • You want long vacation breaks during your contract
  • You can’t commit to 12 months of work

Best time of year to go over to Vietnam:

  • Starting in March to May is usually best
  • Other intakes throughout the year may be available to those who can’t make these dates

 

Interested in Teaching English in Vietnam? We’ll send you more info!

INQUIRE NOW ›

Or learn more about our Teach English in Vietnam program

 

South Korea

Another wildly popular program but for much more grown up reasons, South Korea appeals to graduates and those who are already working but want to escape the corporate 9-5 back home while not foregoing the salary. So let’s take a peek and see if it’s for you…

English teachers in South Korea at Geognbokgung Palace

Choose teaching English in South Korea if:

  • You don’t have any teaching experience (it’s okay if you do)
  • You want an immersive and unique cultural experience
  • You enjoy more comfortable travel
  • You don’t mind living in small towns or rural locations
  • You love kids
  • You don’t have a TESOL certification (it’s okay if you do too)
  • You’d prefer a placement where someone is always on call to help you out
  • You don’t mind working hard
  • You’re after a great salary (up to $2300 per month)
  • Benefits are important to you (bonus pay, free medical insurance, free housing etc)
  • You have a bachelors degree
  • You need to pay someone back for the costs of your trip (you get your flights reimbursed after you’ve started working in Korea)
  • You’re happy with completing your TESOL teaching course online
  • You need to pay off student debt (South Korea’s pay and benefits mean you get to save up cash really quickly)

Don’t choose South Korea if:

  • You could only handle living in a big city (you may end up in the city but you may end up in a rural location too)
  • You don’t have a bachelors degree
  • You want long vacation breaks during your contract (you get paid leave but less time off during a 12 month placement than Thailand for example)
  • You don’t like cooler weather
  • You can’t commit to 12 months work contract

Best time of year to go over to Korea:

  • October and February are the biggest intakes for public schools
  • Private language centre placements available throughout the year on a more limited basis

 

Interested in Teaching English in South Korea? We’ll send you more info!

INQUIRE NOW ›

Or learn more about our Teach English in South Korea program

 

China

A relative newcomer to our program lineup, China is awash with benefits and appeals mostly to experienced teachers though some passport holders like Americans, Canadians, British etc, can start teaching here without any experience. So let’s take a look at this one a bit more closely…

Shanghai's Skyline at night

Choose teaching English in China if:

  • You want an immersive Chinese cultural experience
  • You enjoy more comfortable travel
  • You’d prefer to teach adults
  • You DO have a TESOL qualification (don’t worry you can always arrange one if you don’t)
  • You don’t mind working hard
  • You’re after a great salary (up to $2993 per month)
  • Benefits are important to you (bonus pay, free medical insurance etc)
  • You have a bachelors degree
  • You don’t mind what climate you end up with (colder in northern cities, warmer in the south)
  • You’re after a part-time position (you can choose between part time or full time)
  • You like a more corporate working environment
  • You want ZERO program fees

Don’t choose China if:

  • You DON’T have any teaching experience (opting to be placed in Shanghai may be possible to those without teaching experience – sorry Saffas, no South Africans for Shanghai at present)
  • You’re after lots of free time
  • You don’t like city life
  • You’d prefer to teach kids
  • You can’t commit to a 12 month work contract

Best time of year to go over to China:

  • Year round placement options at private language centres

 

Interested in Teaching English in China? We’ll send you more info!

INQUIRE NOW ›

Or learn more about our Teach English in China program

 

Colombia

Colombia is a wonderful country to teach English in and completely different to all the others I’ve listed above. For one you’ll be experiencing a slightly more Western culture but in a tropical climate with a corporate working environment. Is it for you though?

bogota-cathedral

Choose teaching English in Colombia if:

  • You don’t have any teaching experience (it’s okay if you do)
  • You want an immersive Latin American cultural experience
  • You have at least 6 months to spare
  • You don’t have cash for flights (FREE flights are provided)
  • You don’t mind living in big cities
  • You DO have a TESOL certification (you can always arrange one if you don’t)
  • You’d prefer a placement where someone is always on call to help you out
  • You don’t mind working hard
  • You have a bachelors degree
  • You’re happy to go with the flow

Don’t choose Colombia if:

  • You want to earn a large salary (though the pay is more than enough to live on and travel with in Colombia)
  • You don’t like tropical weather
  • You’re after a predictable schedule (while you’ll have plenty of free time, classes are not often scheduled long in advance)
  • You’d prefer to teach kids (you could be teaching anything from kids to business people to military personnel)

The best time of year to go over to Colombia:

  • January, February, August and December are when demand for teachers is highest
  • It’s possible to get placed at other times of year if these months don’t fit your requirements

 

Interested in Teaching English in Colombia? We’ll send you more info!

INQUIRE NOW ›

Or learn more about our Teach English in Colombia program

 

You might also want to read:

About Nick Paul

Nick is the Marketing Manager for Travelbud and has had a long history in the travel industry working in student travel and even a big multinational online travel agency.

He regularly presents at travel conferences and has spent a great deal of time traveling the world from the US to Europe, Africa and most recently South East Asia.

Nick is super passionate about travel and his best travel memories include his recent trip to Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea to meet face-to-face with some of TravelBud’s teachers.

Read more about him and other TravelBud authors.

Filed under  Teacher Talk 

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4 Comments

  1. Tracy

    Hi I’m interested in funding out more about teaching in Columbia. I am currently teaching and have a B.ed.

    Reply
    • Nick Paul

      Hi Tracy! Pop us an enquiry here with your full details: https://travelbud.com/quick-inquiry/ We’ll be in touch to give you more info on how it all works 🙂

      Reply
  2. Helen Ballard McCreight

    I am interested in moving abroad for the summer. I have taught in Doha & Bahrain. Could you give me a direct route to finding an ESL position beginning June 1? Housing benefits are a must as well as health insurance. I am interested in flying out for interviews to various locations beginning March 24 – April 1.

    Best,
    Helen Ballard McCreight

    Reply
    • Nick Paul

      Hi Helen,

      I’m going to suggest that you chat to our program manager, Peter for a bit more info. Off the top of my head I would say that either working in our China or South Korea programs would work best – South Korea offers free housing and has the biggest range of benefits, though with your teaching experience you may be able to land one of the higher paying positions in China. The benefit to China is also that there are zero signup fees – with most of our programs we’re placing people who have never taught English before so there’s a great deal which goes into the package. China on the other hand is fairly straightforward on the most part meaning there’s not too much in the way of peripheral services (though we do still walk you through the visa application and interview processes). Our interviews are all conducted over the phone/skype so there’s no need to fly out for anything, at least not until you have a formal job offer or start date.

      The only concern I would have is that you mentioned that you only want to work for the summer, most of these positions require a minimum commitment of 12 months with the exception of our lower paying programs in Vietnam and Thailand – the benefit to these though is that there is comprehensive in-country support and cultural orientation and the cost of living is extremely low.

      That being said, Peter is the expert on these matters so I’m going to forward your email address and query to him so he can respond.

      All the best with your job search.

      – Nick

      Reply

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