Africa has probably the most diverse state of the ESL industry out of all of the regions in the world. In the North African nations there are relatively large opportunities for teachers, the same goes for the nations of Nigeria and South Africa, but in many Sub-Saharan African nations there are only volunteer opportunities available. In the Sub-Saharan African nations there are many opportunities for traveling for months or a year (or longer) to volunteer one’s time, and these positions often require the teacher to finance their travel to their place of employment and their living expenses during their stay.
Countries of Interest
Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt
These three North African nations are destinations for ESL teachers to consider. They offer the chance to live in the African continent, experience living in nations ruled by Islam, and do so in relative stability (excluding Egypt’s period flare ups). The ESL industries are relatively new, but have not faced the setbacks that some Middle Eastern nations or their neighbor Libya has faced. Because of this it is quite easy for a teacher to get a job in these nations with minimal experience, but in most cases a degree will be required. The pay is not substantially large, but due to low costs of living teachers should be able to live quite well, especially if they can find an employer that will provide them with accommodation.
Nigeria and South Africa
Nigeria and South Africa have English as their official languages, so the vast majority of ESL jobs will be taken by local native citizens. The situation is somewhat similar to that of western Europe. However, for those who are able to find a place of employment, the pay is typically good due to the low cost of living. As these nations expand economically in the world stage, there may be more opportunities coming in future years, but at this time the majority of positions will not be available to expats, except for those that operate in a volunteer capacity in more rural or impoverished nations, similar to the other Sub-Saharan nations.
The ESL industry in the Asia Pacific probably presents the most opportunities in the world. The industry itself is very stable, and is only growing as the years go by and the nations in the Asia Pacific grow in economic power and influence. There is a great disparity between economic advantages in the countries, depending on each country’s cost of living. However, in general the jobs are more stable, reliable, and pleasant than most other regions in the world.
Countries and Territories of Interest
In Mainland China alone there are more English language learners than there are people in the entire United States of America. In order to teach in the major cities such as Beijing or Shanghai a degree, certification, and some experience is required. However, if a teacher is willing to fully immerse themselves in native China and be in a smaller village or town one can find a job with just a bachelor'sl. The industry and jobs are very reliable for the most part, and many westerners have actually opened up their own institutes and schools for teaching English. There is an overwhelming need for ESL teachers in China, and jobs are plentiful. The salaries provided are somewhat lower than average, but they are still very high relative to the cost of living. Many state the China is the “hot spot” for teaching English.
Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea
These five countries and territories have very successful and robust ESL industries as well. However, since they offer more attractive salaries, they require higher qualifications. A degree is always required, and in some cases it is difficult to get a job without a certification and some experience. However, many teachers are able to save a lot of money while they are teaching because of the low cost of living that complements the high pay and benefits such as free accommodation.
Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos
These four countries are examples of the other type of jobs available in the Asia Pacific. They have substantially lower salaries and requirements for employment than the four named above, but they offer many opportunities to live in beautiful regions of the world for stable contracts with extremely low cost of living. Typically a degree is required in any subject as long as one is a native speaker in order to secure employment in these nations. Especially Indonesia is needing teachers being a nation almost to the same population as the United States, and also the largest Muslim nation in the world. However, unlike the nations in the Middle East, Indonesian law does not revolve around the Quran, so for the most part there is not a large change as far as rights go.
Central America & South America
In Central and South America the ESL industry is quite robust. Across the board there are opportunities for teachers to go and teach with a degree. However, for some places such as Brazil a teaching qualification will be required as well. In the stable nations there is a great need for ESL teachers, and many opportunities are available. The industries are reliable and established, and will often also involve teaching adults just as much as children, since the majority of the ESL industry exists in tandem with government schools instead of being part of them. In the Caribbean nations, the standard language of instruction is often English, so there is not much need for expat ESL teachers. The cost of living and salaries are lower, but many teachers desire to teach there for the high quality of life that teaching can afford them there.
Countries of Interest
Costa Rica has one of the largest ESL industries in the western hemisphere. It has long been a place that many teachers from the United States have desired to go to and teach. In the majo rcities there are great opportunities for teaching, and typically the schools are well run and reliable. However, in the more rural areas teaching opportunities still exist. The salaries are very low for teachers, but so is the cost of living. Teachers can expect to live quite well while teaching in Costa Rica, both economically and experientially.
Brazil, Chile, and Argentina
The above named three countries are the most economically and politically stable in South America. They provide great opportunities to get involved in the growing economies of the future. As they modernize and evolve their business sectors, there is a big demand for the teaching of English. Interestingly enough, in Brazil the main place that teachers can readily find work is in teaching business English to company employees or those who want to expand their resume. However, for these positions more than just a degree will be required, certification and prior experience are a must. Work can also be found in government run public schools and institutes for children. Although employment can mostly be found in the large cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, there are opportunities to volunteer and to teach in more rural areas as well. However, it must be noted that the pay and school quality differences between working in the large cities and rural communities will be substantially different, similar to China.
The ESL industry in Eastern Europe mirrors that of Central and South America. There are great opportunities, and many of the countries do not have high enough salaries to attract most of the EU native teachers. Therefore it is easier than in western Europe for a teacher to find employment. Excluding certain nations such as the Ukraine, these places typically have stable ESL markets. However, these markets are often times not very broadly developed, so they do not have the plethora of opportunities that the Asia Pacific does. The salaries are lower than in Western Europe, but the cost of living is significantly lower as well almost across the board.
Countries of Interest
The most significant country in Eastern Europe by population, influence, power, economics, and really any other factor is Russia. Russia has a large ESL industry and is always on the lookout for new teachers. The majority of positions do not require any experience to get started, but they will require a degree and some type of ESL certification. The industry itself is quite stable, as is the nation itself. It is also one of the only places teachers can go to experience living in a society that is primarily influenced by Orthodox Christianity. The salaries in Russia in general are lower than in western Europe, but the cost of living is lower as well.
The ESL industry in Western Europe is an interesting one. While the only native English speaking nations are England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the vast majority of the populations of the surrounding nations speak English already to one level or another. Because of this, many of the nations are able to hire EU citizens to teach English in their schools. Also, it is very difficult for a non-EU citizen to get a work visa in an EU country when competing against EU natives for the same job. Most of the ESL industry revolves around the education of children in elementary and secondary schools.
Countries of Interest
Spain, France, and Germany
The states of the ESL industry in Spain, France, and Germany are all very similar. They have many opportunities, but as stated above, access to their ESL industries is an affair that will take some work. Spain is the only nation that offers opportunities for teachers with very little experience, but the rest of the nations offer opportunities for those with the proper credentials and experience. There will be massive competition for jobs with citizens from the native English speaking nations to the north. The salaries in these countries are high numerically, but the cost of living balances out to where teachers will typically be living in a similar situation as they would teaching in the United States, Canada, or Australia.
The ESL industry in the Middle Eastern nations is one that has two distinctly separate manifestations. On one end of the spectrum, there are nations such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. On the other, the Gulf Coast nations such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. The former are countries that are in states of turmoil, with times of high danger and low pay available for ESL teachers, and the latter are nations largely of stability and some of the most economically beneficial salaries any ESL teacher can receive. The heavy influence of Islam in this region makes it have some specific challenges for any ESL teacher that will not be found in many other places.
Countries of Interest
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman
These nations are stable Islamic states that over high pay, no taxes, and a great need for qualified teachers. Saudi Arabia and Oman are the only nations where a teacher can start with little to no experience. There is a great need for ESL teachers in these nations because of the vast amounts of wealth that their oil producing has created for the local populace. An issue that they all face, however, is convincing western teachers to make the massive cultural change that is required to live within their borders. They are conservative societies with substantially less freedom for women, an Islamic calendar and week structure, and no indulgences such as alcohol. Additionally, many teachers worry that they will constantly be targets for violent crimes in these nations, although reports from teachers who have been there show that this is not true at all. These nations have some of the highest salaries for teachers that are available and no income taxes.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates
Bahrain and the U.A.E. have very similar situations for teachers as the four countries named above, but with one major difference. Especially in Bahrain, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, the rules of Islamic law are loosened greatly, especially for westerners. Although restricted, alcohol is permitted, women’s rights approach closer to those of men, and codes of dress and conduct are based on laws instead of the Quran. These two nations have a much easier time attracting western expats, and because of that they are able to require more qualifications from their teachers.
Israel, Iraq, and Syria
These three nations are all in varying levels of turmoil because of revolution, civil war, or constant unrest. While they all used to be destinations for ESL teachers in the past, now they typically are not. This is especially true for Syria and Iraq. The pay is low, the danger is high, and the state of a contract month to month may be uncertain. In the government protected areas of these nations where the more prosperous citizens live, there are occasionally positions that will become available that may seem more attractive to teachers, but for the most part these nations make up a region that most teachers will see need to be avoided until some type of stability is more assured.
The ESL industry in North America is substantially smaller than in other regions around the world. This is because the two largest countries (The United States and Canada) are already native English speaking nations. However, in both of these countries (and their outlying territories) the ESL industry does have a presence in order to teach English to immigrants and migrant workers so that they will more easily acclimate themselves into their respective societies. Mexico has the largest population of non-native English speakers in North America and therefore has the largest amount of opportunities for ESL teachers.
Countries of interest
The nation with the largest ESL industry presence is Mexico. In Mexico there are many opportunities for English language teachers. The jobs primarily will be located in and around the larger cities, especially Mexico City, which is the largest city by population in North America. The cost of living in Mexico is substantially lower than in the United States and Canada, and teaching will provide teachers with the ability to save some money if they live frugally. The qualifications required are in general a bachelor’s degree, with experience and an ESL certification being optional. In some regions there is a safety concern to be observed.
The ESL in Oceania is also quite small. This is primarily because of two factors. First, the largest nations by population in the region are Australia, Papa New Guinea and New Zealand, which are English speaking nations. Second, the populations of the nations in general in this region are quite small. The three nations listed above are the only ones with populations over one million people. In native speaking nations it is quite difficult for non-citizens to find a job teaching English, as the schools and institutions of the host country would prefer to hire local citizens.
Countries of interest
The most popular destination for ESL teachers in Oceania is the nation of Fiji. Most teaching opportunities in Fiji are in government run institutions at the elementary school level. This is very nice because citizens of most western nations are able to get a visitor’s visa for four months upon entry, and are able to easily get a work visa if they plan to be there longer than six months. The cost of living in Fiji is also quite low, and because of this teachers are able to live comfortable lives and even save some money if they live frugally. In Fiji the requirements for teaching are in general a bachelor’s degree, with experience and a TEFL certification being optional, but preferred.