Teaching English In Asia

Teaching English in Asia

Asia is the most popular destination for newly-qualified TEFL teachers. It’s not surprising really; there is a plethora of jobs available and Asian hospitality is world-class. Many countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam offer a very low cost of living and an amazingly intoxicating array of cultural experiences to be remembered for as long as you live. Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore are more expensive to live in but the higher salaries tend to reflect this.

Most countries require a degree and a TEFL certificate although it is still very easy to find low-paid work without such qualifications in Thailand and Cambodia simply by knocking on doors and handing out copies of your CV. Needless to say, better-paying positions require 2 or 3 years of teaching experience. Privately-run language institutes advertise positions frequently and are the usual employers for first-year ESL teachers. Contracts with language institutes often include travel allowance for flights from/to the teacher’s country of origin.

The demand for teaching English in Korea and China is, quite simply, insatiable so there are a vast number of opportunities in those countries. In total contrast, it is incredibly difficult to find remotely well-paid positions in the Philippines unless you have a Master’s degree. This is because the locals speak wonderful English already!

Southeast Asian nations are wonderful places to teach, with eager and well-mannered students keen to learn and chat. However, bear in mind that corruption is common in certain countries in the region and sometimes it seems that the emphasis in the business of education is on the appearance of success and accomplishment rather than genuine progress! That said, it’s incredibly easy to just go with the flow and enjoy yourself surrounded by some of the warmest, most humble, polite, and gentle people in the world.

Locations and Salary

CountryMain Cities/AreasSalary Range (USD/month)
BangladeshDhaka$500 – $2000
BruneiBandar Seri Begawan$1500 – $3000
CambodiaPhnom Penh, Siem Reap$800 – $1500
ChinaAll Major Cities$1000 – $2500
Hong KongTerritory-wide$1500 – $5000
IndiaDelhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata$500 – $2,000
IndonesiaJakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan$1000 – $2500
JapanAll major cities and towns$2000 – $4000
KazakhstanAlmaty, Astana$1500 – $2200
KoreaAll Major Cities$1800 – $3000
KyrgyzstanBishkek$800 – $1300
LaosVientiane$800 – $1500
MalaysiaKuala Lumpur and the Malaysian peninsula$1000 – $3500
MongoliaUlaanbaatar$800 – $2000
Myanmar (Burma)Yangon (Rangoon), Mandalay$1200 – $1800
NepalKathmandu$500 – $1000
PakistanKarachi, Lahore$500 – $1000
PhilippinesManila, Baguio, Cebu$800 – $2500
SingaporeThroughout the island$1500 – $4000
Sri LankaColombo$500 – $2000
TaiwanAll Major Cities$1300 – $3000
TajikistanDushanbe$600 – $1000
ThailandBangkok, Surat Thani and throughout the country$750 – $2000
VietnamHanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Haiphong$1200 – $2500

Typical Job Requirements

CountryDegree?TEFL Certification?Experience?
BangladeshYesYes1-2 Years
BruneiYesYes2-3 Years
Hong KongNoYes1-2 Years
IndiaYesYes1-2 Years
IndonesiaYes (preferably in English or Education)YesNo
JapanYesYes1-2 Years
MalaysiaYesYes1-2 Years
Myanmar (Burma)YesYes1-2 Years
NepalYesYes1-2 Years
PakistanYesYes1-2 Years
PhilippinesMastersYes2-3 Years
SingaporeYesYes1-2 Years
Sri LankaYesYes1-2 Years
TaiwanYesYes1-2 Years
VietnamYesYes1-2 Years