10 Best Countries to Teach English and Save Money

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From immersing yourself in a new culture to gaining valuable professional expertise, teaching English abroad allows you to grow rich in experience. 

But as incredible as living abroad is, considering your finances is also crucial before beginning your new adventure. While many factors determine your ability to save money teaching abroad, where you teach is one of the most influential. 

This list shares the best countries to teach English and save money abroad. 

Choosing Where to Teach English to Save Money

Before determining the best place to teach English and save money, it's important to consider these factors:

ESL salary and benefits: 

Your ESL salary and benefits depend on where you teach and your teaching qualifications. The highest-paid teaching jobs abroad are typically reserved for those with a college degree and a TEFL certificate. Choosing a teaching job with fantastic benefits like subsidized housing or reimbursed airfare can help you save significantly too.

Read More: How to Teach English Abroad Without a Degree 

Cost of living:

It's essential to also consider your projected living expenses. Some countries are naturally more expensive, especially in big cities. You won't be able to save money if most of it goes towards essentials like rent and food!

Start-up costs:

Moving abroad is very expensive and determining how much it costs to teach abroad is an essential part of planning. You'll need to budget for your flight, the apartment deposit, and starting your life. This number varies dramatically depending on the country and your job's benefits. 

Read more: 9 Ways to Save Money to Teach English Abroad


How often you shop, spend nights out, go on weekend trips, and other extras can affect how much you're able to save as an English teacher. But what's life without a bit of fun? Just remember everything in moderation.

10 Best Countries to Teach English and Save Money

How Much Can You Earn Teaching English in Asia?

Teaching jobs in Asia also offer some of the highest ESL teaching wages. Better yet, many teaching positions provide added benefits like free housing and reimbursed airfare. 

When teaching English in Asia, you can expect to earn between $2,000-$3,000+ per month. 

1. South Korea: Save $1,000-$1,500+/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, valid passport from approved native-speaking country

South Korea is a small yet bustling country filled with rolling mountains and incredible history. It’s one of the highest paying countries to teach English in the world. The two standard routes for teaching English in South Korea are public schools and private language academies. 

The average ESL teaching wage is $1,500-$2,500/month, but teaching for the public school system via the EPIK program earns teachers better benefits. In addition, many positions offer contract renewal bonuses, free furnished housing, and airfare. CIEE TEFL offers free EPIK application assistance to help CIEE TEFL alumni successfully secure public school teaching positions.

Learn more about teaching English with the CIEE Teach Abroad Program in South Korea.

2. China: Save $600-$1,500+/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, two years professional teaching experience, valid passport from approved native-speaking countries

New rules enacted in 2021 to improve the quality of English education in the country have brought stricter regulations for teaching English in China. However, the salary and benefits are still quite excellent, allowing teachers to save as much as $1,500 per month. 

Teachers in China earn between $1,500-$2,900 per month, often including free housing and reimbursed airfare. Many places in China also have a low cost of living.

Learn more about teaching English with the CIEE Teach Abroad Program in China.

3. Japan: Save $500-$700/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, valid passport from approved native-speaking country

Japan boasts a remarkable ancient history, diverse landscapes, and modern metropolises, making it a popular place to teach English in Asia. English teachers can earn between $1,500-$2,500/month, sometimes with a portion of housing paid. 

Japan has a higher cost of living than other Asian nations but still provides teachers with an opportunity to save money. The most popular ways to teach in Japan are through the JET Programme, private language academies, or public schools.

Read more: 8 Reputable Government Programs to Teach English Abroad

4. Taiwan: Save $500+/month

Typical Job Requirements: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s preferred, TEFL certificate

Taiwan attracts many aspiring ESL teachers because the job requirements are lower, and the country is famous for its warm subtropical climate. There are opportunities to teach English in both public and private schools, where teachers can earn between $1,400-$2,400/month. 

In Taiwan, the public school system provides the best potential for savings thanks to additional benefits such as performance bonuses and a housing allowance.

5. Vietnam: Save $400-$600+/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, native-level proficiency 

If sandy beaches and a tropical climate sounds appealing, consider teaching English in Vietnam! It's one of the best countries to teach English and save money in Southeast Asia because of the reasonably high wages and affordable cost of living.

English teachers in Vietnam often receive a $1,000-$2,000/month salary. Housing allowances aren't typically provided, but rent costs are relatively low. Plus, food costs average just $12/day, allowing for max savings.

6. Thailand: Save $200-$400+/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor's degree, TEFL certificate preferred, valid passport from approved native-speaking country

Teaching English in Thailand offers an exciting opportunity to experience the beautiful landscapes and culture found within the Land of Smiles. While Thailand doesn't offer the highest opportunity to save money, it's low cost of living balanced with money-saving perks like free housing, allows English teachers to stretch their money further.

English teachers in Thailand typically earn between $850-$1,000.

Learn more about teaching English with the CIEE Teach Abroad Program in Thailand.

How Much Can You Earn Teaching English in Europe?

Europe is one of the most challenging places to land a job and squirrel away savings. While it's possible for non-EU, TEFL-certified teachers to find work in countries like Spain, Italy, and France, the salaries are often only enough to cover the cost of living. 

English teachers in Europe typically earn $1,000-$1,800 per month. 

7. Turkey: Save $300-$500+/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate, native-level proficiency 

Turkey is in a prime location between Europe and the Middle East and is famous for striking mosques and tasty eats. English teachers only earn about $1,000-$1,800/month, but the country offers some of the highest paid TEFL jobs in Europe. 

Additionally, the cost of living in the country is low averaging only $600-$900/month. Teachers may receive a partial housing subsidy to offset expenses, allowing teachers to save more money.

8. Czech Republic: Save $200-$500/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate

The Czech Republic is a fairytale destination brimming with romantic castles and one of the world's oldest beer traditions. It's not one of the highest paying countries for English teachers, but it is possible to earn between $1,000-$1,500/month teaching English. After covering the average living expenses in the country, many walk away with savings of $500 per month.

How Much Can you Earn Teaching English in the Middle East?

The Middle East is well-known for offering the highest paid teaching jobs abroad, but they also have the strictest job requirements. 

Teachers can earn upwards of $2,000 to $5,000 per month teaching English in the Middle East.

9. The United Arab Emirates: Save $800-$1,000+/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor degree required, Master’s preferred, TEFL or CELTA certificate, teaching experience, native-level proficiency

The UAE is often considered one of the highest-paying countries to teach English. Qualified teachers can earn up to $5,000 per month, tax-free! On top of the excellent salary, teachers often receive airfare reimbursement and a housing allowance.

However, the UAE has a high cost of living and strict job requirements. Regardless, teachers can save up to $1,000 or more per month because of the additional perks. Some of the best jobs can be found on the UAE Ministry of Education website.

10. Saudi Arabia: Save $800 - $1,000+/month

Typical Job Requirements: Bachelor or Masters degree, TEFL certificate, native-level proficiency 

Saudi Arabia offers a unique cultural experience and is best for those who are open-minded and adaptable. The best English teaching jobs in Saudi Arabia are usually at private language schools and international schools. 

An ESL teacher's monthly salary averages $2,000-$4,000/month, with the added benefit of a housing subsidy and reimbursed airfare. The country also lacks common western entertainment spots like bars and clubs, which equals more money in your pocket. 

Get Started with the CIEE TEFL 150-Hour Course 

Before applying to one of the best paying countries to teach English, prospective teachers need to earn their TEFL certificate! The 150-hour TEFL course at CIEE is an internationally recognized course that helps ESL teachers secure their dream jobs abroad.

The CIEE TEFL 150-hour course includes:

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