Which country is the best to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL)?
Which country pays the most or has the lowest cost of living? Which country has the most pleasant weather and working conditions? What are the requirements and qualifications? Please give some reasons and examples.
I'm currently teaching in Thailand. Based on my experience in a government school you can expect some of the following; class sizes of 50, often no curriculum with difficult working conditions. Classes have no air-con etc. Having said that, I loved every minute! Students are very respectful (on the whole) and you do appreciate your efforts. Also so kind hearted and friendly.
I've heard S.Korea is one of the best, for working conditions, saving potential and benefit packages. Class sizes are small, a curriculum is provided and everything is in place ready for you to go. Much similar to Japan, however living expenses are more here.
I hope you find the job that suits you best! If you need any more advice, drop me an email.
Germany has great benefits, pleasant weather most of the year and good working conditions. The cost of living is a bit expensive, but there are always ways of living for less once you do some research. The requirements and qualifications are more stringent compared to other countries and if you achieve your TEFL qualifications outside of Germany, it may prove harder to get a position in the country. I have a friend who is teaching English in Germany and took her qualifications there. To obtain a qualification, you must also teach small classes as a part of your practical training which is required. From what I understand, it is a lot of hard work to obtain your qualifications, but well worth it.
I also know who used to teach English in Japan. She loved it. It is very similar to livingabroad's experience. She also tried to teach in Spain, but like Germany, they are very strict about who they accept in open positions and can cost up to thousands to meet all of their requirements.
Considering all factors, I would have to say that Thailand is the best place to teach English as a foreign language. If a westerner is willing to live like a Thai, the cost of living is not that high compared to other countries. By living like a Thai, I mean that you will have only one small A/C in your bedroom and one room apartment in a Thai neighborhood and make do without a hot water heater which you really don't need 90% of the time. Even if you don't cook for yourself, it is fairly cheap to eat on the street. If you hate cold weather, Thailand is the place for you. Thailand's "winter" is for about 2 weeks in December when the temp will maybe fall to 70 degrees and usually be in the 80s during the day. Most westerners work in either government or private schools. You don't need a teaching certificate from the west and only a college degree in any field. I know of many people teaching with only a high school diploma. If you work in Bangkok in a government school, you can expect to earn $1,000-1,500 per month. And if you don't spend your money on drinking and women, you should be able to save some each month.
I taught in Korea for 2 years and loved it! They offer housing, salary, and it was easy for me to save enough money in a year to pay off my student loans. Of course I adapted to the lifestyle, ate Korean food, and didn't party or drink every night. The other teachers who did not adapt were not able to save as much money. The requirements these days are a Bachelor's degree in any subject.
No matter where you go, do your research wisely to make sure the school is financially sound and the contract includes what you want (plane ticket, housing, salary). Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. I even spoke to other teachers in the school before I accepted contracts. Once you've made your decision, be flexible, open minded and enjoy the country fully! You'll have the time of your life!
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