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People generally end up teaching overseas for one of 3 reasons.
One strong motivation for teaching English abroad is to replenish the bank account. The purse usually empties faster than you think and many want to extend their trip.
Even if the trip was only supposed to last 6 months after completing the ESL teacher training Course!, people get the travel bug and it's a killer.
The second reason is to get some mandatory experience teaching English overseas as a prerequisite for courses like the PCGE in England.
The third reason to teach English abroad often includes those that went and fell in love with a local Girl / Guy.
There is a fourth type of English teacher found in the Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand area. They are the Vietnam War Veterans that don't talk to anyone, never seem joyous and jump at sudden loud noises.
The only way to get them to talk is to get them drunk and most of them won't stop until you wake up the next day. They were in the Vietnam war and never left.
The stories they told me were some of the most unbelievable I've ever heard. One guy told me he had abandoned his Company and went missing in Action to avoid fighting. He said he could never return home and had been the sin '71.
America still considers them deserters and will prosecute them harshly if they returned.
Maybe lies but maybe not. I can't even imagine the pain they keep hidden away everyday. What a strange life. We won't talk about number 4 anymore.
You can always say anything you like. We are not biased and it's good fun to hear what others think.
The Nicer the Country, the Lower the Pay
Teaching English abroad has one very distinct rule. The nicer the country you choose to work in is directly related to how much money you will make.
The nicer the country for you to live, the lower the pay. Saudi Arabia is not considered a desirable place to spend a 1 year contract teaching English Abroad, but you'll walk away from it with a fortune in cash.
Some people who teach English abroad put $3,500USD in the bank every 30 days. That is 42,000USD cash when you leave. Most hate living in the Middle East because of the heat, restrictions and boredom but the money is great.
Choose Thailand for some ESL teacher training and you'll be paid in coconuts. You can live well on the average salary for a foreign teacher in Thailand but you will never save enough money if anything at all.
Learn more about teaching English in Thailand.
If you did a year in Saudi, you could fund 8-10 months of travel throughout South America or do just about anything you want. Maybe even get as close to that elusive freedom as possible during your travels.
Nice goal is that 'freedom'.
But a year in Saudi Arabia might be too heavy a price for many. Just Google "Teacher turnaround in Saudi Arabia". People get to the Middle East, lured by the cash but are screaming to get out of there a few months after they arrive.
It is tough. If you choose the highest paying country to teach English abroad then you might get stuck in a year-long nightmare just for an extra $5,000.
Others may love those rich countries in the middle East. People are different. We'll talk more about the best countries to teach English abroad later.
Will My School Help Me to Get Settled?
Yes ... and Heck No Way!
The rule is that the more a school does for you in getting you there and settled, the larger the gap between you and the other teachers in that same school.
Gap in salary, gaps in hours worked and I won't be shocked when you are paying double for your 'Pre-Arranged' accommodation. As that of the teachers who came in on their own, negotiated a good rate of pay and a well suited schedule.
Maybe I am being a bit harsh but the point is in there.
You can get online and maybe find a school that will pick you up at the airport, drive you to your furnished apartment and pick you up for your first day of work. It's only then that you realize everyone is making double what you are and you are the only one working weekends.
I might say that some schools in Korea are different and even the middle east. Many of the Kindergardens in Korea are very good to their teachers, especially if you are from Canada.
The Korean Primary schools are very good at recruiting teachers. You could very easily sign a legitimate contract while in Canada and you will have everything taken care of.
The schools demand that you have your university degree authorized by the Korean Embassy in your home town. This also means you can trust the school and the contract you signed.
That is the exception to the rule of Asia. Get there yourself, present yourself well, negotiate your salary and hours and you will always win over the guy who signed a contract online because he is making 10$ an hour and working weekends at 30 hours a week.
Don't be so worried about moving and working abroad that you sign a contract to work for half the pay most are already getting. The Middle East and Korea are the exceptions but you will do much better on your own in most other cases.
And let the networking begin. Good Luck, even though you won't need any of it.
What Kind of Money Can I Earn?
Most people think that getting the highest wage per hour is the best way to go. The problem is that you might get only 10 hours of work a week (which is not uncommon) and suddenly your 'well-paying job' just isn't anymore.
Teach English abroad with a balance of the 2 is the best advice I know.
Better to work at a school with a guaranteed 30 hours of work a week at $15USD an hour than 10 hours a week at $20USD an hour. The best scenario is a combination of guaranteed hours and high hourly wage.
You'll make $4000USD mth in the Middle East, $2300USD mth in Korea (Apartment included in both cases) Thailand would be about $1000USD a mth while Cambodia would be the same. Malaysia is the worst with full time jobs paying as little as $600USD mth (Erican). Vietnam would come in at about $1700USD mth and China (Large city) would go for $1000USD but Hong Kong could go as high as $2400USD mth.
Just my experience. If you get hired in your home country to teach English abroad with the British Council then you're in the money at $3000USD mth including the best apartment and benefits.
Above amounts are averages just to give you an idea of wages if hired in-country. Wanna argue? I'd love to hear where in the world you are working and what you're earning so, let us know.
What is The Best Country?
People can be Polor opposites of each other when deciding which is the best country to teach English abroad in. The only thing I can do is add my own experience and follow popular opinion as I find it posted on web boards and Twitter and Facebook and ....
It's hard for me to say what the best country is. I have not included Indonesia because I have not taught there or the Philippines because they speak so well there that there are few jobs.
Could you trade a year of your life for enough money to enjoy the following year in complete freedom? Maybe you are someone who saves easily and would rather save money and enjoy a beautiful location like Thailand or even Vietnam than live behind a wire fence in Sri Lanka for double the money.
Both are great places to teach English abroad. Vietnam will pay you double the salary you can earn in Thailand but a year in Vietnam is suffering compared to a year in Thailand.
Learn more about Teaching English in Thailand.
Learn more about Teaching English in Vietnam.
The best country to teach English abroad is not the same country you will save the most money. I am frightened to return to the Middle East because the money is so good and you can get into a routine where all you do is eat, sleep, work and build the bank account.
Before you know it, you've been there 3 years. You'll have a lot of money but you can't get life back once it has passed.
Korea is also a winner in my books for people who want to teach English Abroad. They supply the apartment and even a 1 mth bonus check at the completion of your contract. Your apartment will be across the road from the school and they take good care of you.
Vietnam is a good mix that worked best for me. I had a nice house for $200USD mth, earned $2000USD mth and managed to leave after a year with $16,000USD.
It was so good I went back 3 times to put a year in and make some life purchases that I couldn't have made working back home or in any country designed to have you earn just enough money to get by.
Have a good look at yourself and choose. Teach English Abroad and put a year in that sucks. You'll have more money to enjoy but have a worse time earning it.
The best country to save money and enjoy teaching English abroad is probably Korea. It isn't perfect but a good combo of cash and lifesyle. I could never choose just because of the money. A little happiness in that year teaching English for money to travel never hurt.
Is It Easy to Do This?
No. It's for people who crave adventure or are running away from a warrant of arrest back 'ome in Sheffield. It's also for people who have had a taste of travel and are not ready to go home.
Many people leave home on a vacation and end up staying a lot longer than they had ever planned. Teaching English overseas is a way for these people to refill their bank accounts so they can eventually continue the trip.
Very few people plan to teach English abroad in Laos when they board the plane in their home country to come to Asia. Asia, especially the South-East can change a person.
I don't regret a second of it.
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