Home bred Americans, Brits and Aussies have a skill that's high demand in many parts of the world: English. Your native language is pretty much the Man when it comes to business, education and foreign affairs, and the need for teachers is higher than the supply. Check out OTP’s list of best locales to teach your speech and cash in.
China’s been on the verge of taking over the world for a while now, and there’s no better way to screw Uncle Same than to help them along. The world’s fastest-growing economy wants native English speakers like MSG wants noodles, and the swelling market ensures competitive salaries and great perks. As could be expected, certification regulation isn’t terribly stringent; a Bachelor’s degree is usually enough. Respectful students and community-oriented people will help to temper the cultural shock and will send you home with some bones in your pocket. Check out the China Program and the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE).
Riding high on the Asiatic TEFL/ESL boom, teaching English at one of many South Korean gigs offers perks like free accommodation, insurance benefits and return airfare. Contracts usually last for a year and the low cost of living outside of ultra-modern Seoul affords plenty of time to save up on a respectable salary. Be warned: you’ll need to brush up on regional cultural norms before you go because Korean social etiquette can be a bit tricky. South Korea boasts the world’s highest-estimated national IQ and the most sophisticated IT infrastructure on the planet. These are the guys that brought us Snuppy and EveR-1. So bring out the smarts, hard. You can rest assured it’s legit: the Korean government has introduced English program initiatives such as English Program in Korea (EPIK) and Teach and Learn in Korea (TALK).
Though you’ll have to apply for a special work visa if you’re not one of those lucky EU passport-bastards, teaching in the Czech Republic is your ticket to history’s playground. There’s a super-tight expat community here and the beer is literally cheaper than water. If you’re looking for a place with plenty of weekend-trip opportunities, you've hit gold—the country is landlocked by Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria. Prague is where the party’s at, but if cultural immersion is what you’re after, consider teaching in a smaller town such as Plzeň or Brno. Weekly English language newspaper, The Prague Post, is a good bet while looking for jobs from home. Check out TEFL Worldwide Prague for additional information.
In the interest of being straight-up, you’re not going to make megabucks here. But the country’s ancient heritage and mix of international influence casts a spell on Westerners. We’re talkin’ ridiculous architecture, delicious grub and gorgeous people. The Turkish middle class is eager to speak our language, and even though the TEFL/ESL scene isn’t what it was here a couple of years ago, there are still plenty of opportunities. Istanbul is pricey, so scoping out smaller city gigs is your best bet. No matter where you go, you’ll be in the land of Turkish baths and the geographical wonders of Kapadokya and Ölüdeniz. For job postings, keep an eye on Turkey Daily News and Craigslist Istanbul. Try your luck with The English Center, a language institute in Istanbul and online resources such as My Merhaba and Expat in Turkey.
Stray from the typical teaching curriculum, and land on the roof of the world—Central Asia remains virtually untouched by the tourism boom. Kyrgyzstan is the easiest Central Asian country to enter with a Western passport, has a young capital (Bishkek) and is rich in nomadic culture. Though the city doesn’t have much to offer by way of history, there’s a bright nightlife and enough bars to pump you full of all the antifreeze you’ll need to get through a Kyrgyz winter. Nearly entirely blanketed by the mighty Tien Shan mountain range, the country offers some awesome trekking, horseback riding and camping adventures. The Kyrgyz are known for their hospitality, but be prepared: they also have a strange penchant for Chinese food and karaoke. The London School in Bishkek offers TEFL jobs. As a foreign teacher, you’ll get free accommodation and be paid fortnightly (a little foreign speak for you).
Before you start packing your bags, make sure you’ve done your research. Your contract should be transparent and you need to read it closely. You don’t want to be blindsided by a situation where you’re stuck longer than you want, or get into more than you signed up for. Teaching abroad isn’t just about making money or the ability to wander longer. You’re fueling the future by filling in-demand voids.