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Surviving Abroad With A TEFL Job – Is it Possible?
Admin - Sep 05 2015
Of course! With a TEFL course, making a living abroad has never been easier! Picking your own destination, travelling and making money? Perfect.
General rule of thumb – if you live like the locals you’ll earn enough money to live comfortably. However, whether you plan on saving whilst you’re out there or whether you’re happy enough to break even safe in the knowledge that you’re having the opportunity of a lifetime is up to you!
Below is a general account of what you’re likely to earn around the world, although these are of course relative to individual countries and cities. One of the best ways to find out up to date information on salaries and costs is to get chatting to people in your chosen destination.
Northern Asia is one of the most popular TEFL destinations but can vary significantly in pay.
Japan, Korea and Taiwan are known for their high wage (£2000/$3000 a month) and there are plenty of opportunities to teach privately too BUT the cost of living is very high – expect to pay around 1/3 of your wage on accommodation. On the other hand, in China, wages are low but so is the cost of living often with perks such as free accommodation and return airfare.
Salaries aren’t high, but of course neither is the cost of living, so you’ll earn enough to get by and have a fantastic experience at the same time. Expect a salary in Thailand and Vietnam of around £600/$900 a month. (The average Thai makes half of that, incidentally.) Many teachers take on additional classes out-of-hours for £10-16 /$15-25 an hour.
One thing to be aware of – foreigners may be expected to pay more than locals for many things, including accommodation.
Central and Eastern Europe
Some places (like Prague) are so popular with TEFLers that good jobs are a bit hard to come by. But just look further afield, as there’s a lot of demand and a lot of great positions. You can certainly make a decent salary (£1000/$1500 a month), pretty good when a pint of draught in Brno might set you back 50p/75 cents!
There are (limited) opportunities. Remember where English levels are high, there aren’t going to be many jobs! Positions in France and Germany may offer £1800/$2700 a month; in Italy or Spain they may be half that, but jobs are more plentiful. Many schools offer hourly rates only, so you may need to juggle jobs.
It’s hard to generalise about Latin America as economic conditions are so varied. The only thing you can say with certainty is it’s one of the most exciting regions to live in. In a large wealthy city like Buenos Aires or Santiago you can make a decent living, with an hourly rate of around £7/$10. At a small school in the countryside you might earn a third of that. However, the cost of living is low, and teachers are adept at juggling schools and students to get by quite comfortably.
Saudi Arabia is one of the top destinations if you’re searching for big salaries, and the demand for experienced teachers is only increasing! The Saudi government has pumped billions of dollars into internationalising the university sector so more and more people want to learn English! Expect to earn up to £2600/4000 a month plus airfares and accommodation but also be aware of potential challenges.
Most positions in Africa are for volunteers, so it’s quite likely you’ll need to pay for the opportunity. But if money’s not your aim – how can you better an experience that will be life-changing for you and your students?
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