Teaching English as a foreign language overseas is popular both buy those on a career break and as a career in itself. What countries in the world are best for teaching English in right now?

Demand for English language skills remains high around the world. What makes a country good for teaching English as a foreign language in depends on the objectives of the teacher. For some the ability to save money may be key, for others living in another culture or working on their own language skills may be more important.

Japan and Korea

There are many countries in Asia that have high demand for English teachers. Of these the best paid are Japan and Korea.

Both Korea and Japan have very high standards for potential teachers. A degree and teaching qualifications are a must for those hoping to teach in these countries. Compensation is exceptionally good in these countries, making them a popular choice.

The cost of living in Japanese cities is very high, though wages for English teachers are high enough to save in many places. In Korea not only is the cost of living very low relative to the wages of English teachers, but it is normal for a flight allowance, and perhaps housing, to come with the contract.


In China the passing exams in the English language is essential for those looking to get ahead. The best universities all require English, and it is a part of the civil service entrance exams. Because of this (and China’s size) there is a huge market for English teachers, with native speakers being at something of a premium.

It is still possible to get English teaching jobs in China with lower levels of qualifications, but this is changing. Wages are subject to quite a degree of variation – but there is still fair potential for saving. Experienced teachers can often get a flight allowance as part of their contract.

Middle East

If you are a properly qualified native English speaker then there are some very attractive packages available in countries such as Saudi Arabia. Along with Saudi Arabia there are often well paid jobs in the UAE.

There are significant cultural differences between the Arab world and the west. While for some this can be off-putting, for others it can make the experience all the more rewarding.


It is not just the salary that makes a place good for teaching in (though of course that is important). If you are living and working in a place it has to suit you and your lifestyle. What would be good for you may not be the same for the next person.

In a number of countries, particularly in rural parts of China, there are few English speakers. This can be a little isolating, especially if you find the local language difficult to pick up. This is far from always being the case however.

The whole package being offered is something that you need to consider. For instance whether the language school has international health insurance for business or whether you will need to arrange your own.

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Simon Grant is well travelled and appears to be getting more spherical as the years go by.