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When I graduated from college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a job, but I did have one clear goal: I wanted to travel the world.
To make this happen, I applied to Spain’s Language and Culture Assistant program. This program hires English speakers to work as assistant teachers in public schools around the country. I ended up in Seville for a year, where I taught English in an elementary school and traveled around Europe during breaks.
As it turns out, there are several governments around the world that offer English-teaching jobs abroad. Not only do they promise a steady salary, but they also help you get a visa for a year or more. If you’re looking to teach English abroad, check out these seven government programs in countries around the world.
7 government programs that offer English teaching jobs abroad
Going with a government-sponsored ESL program, by the way, can be a great way to test the waters of teaching English abroad. These programs typically don’t require you to have teaching experience or a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, as long as you’re a native English speaker.
So even if you’re not experienced, you could get hired and try out teaching for year. Whether or not you go on to work in education, you’ll have an unforgettable experience helping others and immersing yourself in a new culture.
1. Spain’s Language and Culture Assistant Program
Spain’s Language and Culture Assistant Program (Auxiliares de Conversación, in Spanish) hires English teaching assistants to work part-time in public schools around the country. You’ll work a few days per week and can expect to get paid somewhere around 700 euros (about $815) per month.
While the salary isn’t much, it can be enough to get by if you’re frugal. Alternatively, you could find part-time work teaching English in a private school or giving private lessons. Or you could make money online with a part-time work from home job.
When you apply to the auxiliares program, you can indicate where you’d like to live and what kind of school you’d like to teach in (elementary or secondary). Ultimately, though, the program decides where to place you, so you’ll need to be somewhat flexible.
Rumor has it that placements are first come, first-served, so apply early if you know where you want to live. I made sure to get my materials in ASAP and got assigned to Seville, just as I requested.
This program also asks that you have some knowledge of Spanish, though it’s not a strict requirement. Knowing some Spanish can certainly be helpful, though, as you navigate your new job.
Plus, you’ll be responsible for finding a place to live, though there are plenty of Facebook groups with new and returning language assistants making connections and helping each other get settled.
2. France’s Teaching Assistant Program
If you have some knowledge of French, you might instead apply to France’s Teaching Assistant Program. More than 1,100 Americans teach through this program every year. Most go to France, but you can also request to work in French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, or other French overseas departments.
Through this program, you’ll get a seven-month contract to teach in an elementary or secondary school for 12 hours per week. You’ll receive health insurance and a monthly net stipend of €790 (about $920). If you work outside of France, you’ll make even more to make up for the higher cost of living.
Although you will be responsible for finding your own housing, this program, as well as your assigned school, offers a number of resources to help you find accommodations.
3. Japan’s Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program
Japan’s JET Program offers English teaching jobs abroad to English speakers. You could get hired in one of three positions: an assistant English teacher, a coordinator for international relations, or a sports exchange advisor.
Although you don’t have to know Japanese to get a job through JET, the program says it hopes you’ll make an effort to study the language once you arrive, as well as deepen your knowledge and appreciation of Japan.
The application process is fairly long for the JET program. You’ll apply sometime between October and early December and be notified in late March or April whether you were selected. Applicants are also expected to interview at an embassy or consulate in February.
If your application is successful, you’ll get hired for a year-long contract teaching English in Japan.
4. Korea’s English Program in Korea (EPIK)
While some of these English teaching jobs abroad are part-time, Korea’s EPIK Program hires teachers to work eight hours per day, five days per week. In exchange for this full-time schedule, the EPIK program offers free, furnished housing and a 52-week contract.
You’ll also get a settlement allowance of about $270 upon arrival, as well as an entrance and exit allowance of about $1,170. You can also expect an additional $1,800 or so when you finish your contract.
EPIK is one of the highest paying programs for English teaching jobs abroad (and ESL jobs in Korea tend to be more lucrative than in other countries in general), but it’s also requires a bigger time commitment than some of the others. So while you’ll probably be able to save a good amount of money, you might not have as much free time to travel around.
5. Georgia’s Teach and Learn Program
Georgia’s Ministry of Education hires English speakers to work in its Teach and Learn Program, which looks for co-teachers to work alongside local teachers in public schools around the country.
Although the program doesn’t pay much — just about $300 per month — it does cover your flights there and back, arranges pick-up from the airport, and provides free medical insurance. Plus, it connects you with housing, typically with a local host family.
6. Czech Republic’s Academic Information Agency
Another option for English teaching jobs abroad in Europe is through the Czech Republic’s Academic Information Agency. It helps you find jobs in primary and secondary state schools throughout the country.
The Academic Information Agency looks for candidates who studied English or a related field in college or have their TEFL certification. You’ll likely teach about 24 hours per week and can expect to make somewhere $900 and $1,360 per month.
You don’t need to know Czech to get hired through this program, and housing will typically be arranged through your school.
7. Chile’s English Open Doors Volunteer Program
Last on this list of English teaching jobs abroad is Chile’s English Open Doors Volunteer Program. This program is mostly volunteer-based, and you’ll only receive a stipend of about $100 per month.
But you don’t have to pay a fee to participate, unlike some other volunteer programs, and you’ll get health insurance, transportation to and from your placement and Santiago, and food and housing with a host family.
Placement schools are located all over the country. The program typically looks for volunteers between age 21 and 35, though older applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Pros of English-teaching jobs abroad through a government program
If you’ve looked for English teaching jobs abroad, you know there are lots of different ways to get hired. But there are a few pros of going with a government program, including,
- Most don’t require years of teaching experience or a TEFL certification. They can be a good way to test out ESL teaching before committing to it as a career.
- Most only hire you part-time. You’ll be able to work and make money while still having time to explore your surroundings.
- You’ll get a steady, long-term contract and guaranteed position. Since you know these government-sponsored programs are legitimate, you don’t have to worry about showing up in a foreign country only to find out you don’t have a job.
- These programs will hook you up with a visa, so you’ll be able to stay for a year or longer.
- You’ll get to connect with a community of others working in the same program. It can be great to navigate the challenges of moving to and working in another country with other people in the same boat.
- Some programs offer extra benefits, like round-trip flights and housing.
- You’ll likely get an immersive cultural experience, since you’ll be working in a local school or even potentially living with a host family.
Of course, along with these advantages, there might be some downsides to choosing a government-sponsored program to teach English abroad.
Cons of going with a government program to teach English abroad
Along with the perks, these programs also come with some potential cons, such as,
- Several only offer part-time positions, so you won’t make very much money.
- You don’t always have the freedom to choose your school and location, but instead will get placed somewhere. Although you can often indicate a preference, you won’t necessarily get your first choice.
- Some programs have a reputation for being disorganized. In Spain, for instance, we were told we would work two or three days per week, but some people I knew ended up in schools where the teachers expected them to come in every day. They felt taken advantage of, and it seemed like communication between the Ministry of Education and the individual school wasn’t very strong.
- Some of these programs look for English teaching assistants, so you probably won’t get the experience of being a primary classroom teacher. If you’re looking to develop your teaching career, you might prefer an independent full-time role.
If you’re worried the cons of a government-sponsored program outweigh the pros, know that there other places to find English teaching jobs abroad.
Other ways to find English teaching jobs abroad
Outside of programs through various ministries of education, there are also other ways to get an ESL job. For instance, organizations such as Greenheart Travel can help you find English teaching jobs abroad. Note that some private programs do charge a fee for their services.
Alternatively, you could apply to a job on your own. You can find openings on a school website or a job search board like Dave’s ESL Cafe. Often, these private jobs will pay even better than ones you find through a program.
That said, you might need a TEFL certificate to get hired. I took a one-month TEFL certification program in Boston, and it qualified me to teach English abroad all over the world. Plus, I learned a lot about working with international students, planning effective lessons, setting and meeting objectives, and managing a classroom.
If you’re serious about teaching English as a career, earning your TEFL certification is a great way to open up job opportunities, gain skills, and increase your earning potential.
Finally, you could also consider teaching English online, a job you can do from anywhere. Companies such as SayABC, VIPKID, and Cafetalk hire online English ESL teachers to work with students from all over the world. They pay fairly well, and you can work from anywhere with WiFi.
If you’re interested in teaching ESL, explore your various options so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Explore the world as an English teacher
After my year in Spain, I ended up teaching ESL for several more years at international schools in Boston. I met people of all ages from all over the world and learned as much from them as they (hopefully) did from me.
I also discovered there’s a whole world of opportunities in international education, even if you don’t want to teach forever. For instance, international schools hire English-speaking counselors and administrators to work with students or develop curriculum.
If you’re eager to travel the world and interact with people from other cultures, teaching ESL is a great way to start. And if you’re not sure teaching is for you but still want to develop your career abroad, check out these 27 popular jobs for digital nomads.