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new tefl teacher teaching abroad in 2023

Teaching abroad is an incredibly rewarding experience. 

Immersing yourself in a new culture brings a wave of adventure into your life, and beyond having fun, you will thoroughly grow and develop as a person. 

English is the most learned foreign language, and being able to communicate in English can open up many doors in business and education. 

And so, ESL teachers continue to be needed in many places around the world. With so many countries to choose from, it’s simply a matter of selecting the destination that excites you the most. 

In order to help you make this decision, we put together the top five destinations to teach abroad in 2023.

  1. United Arab Emirates
  2. Spain
  3. South Korea
  4. Japan
  5. China

Each of these countries offers unique opportunities to learn and explore, so you’re sure to find the perfect spot for your teaching adventure.

Whether you’re teaching ESL or K-12 classrooms, these destinations are currently hiring teachers!

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates offers high salaries, warm beaches and a great quality of life. 

Most ESL teachers end up teaching in Dubai, a truly world-class city located in the Arabian Gulf. Arabic is the official language in the UAE, although English is widely spoken and desired for communication in business. 

The growing and modern cities of UAE have attracted many expats over the years, making it easy  to settle in as a foreigner. 

The great news is that international schools are looking to fill positions year-round. 

A few benefits of teaching jobs in Dubai include:

Salary: 14,000 – 21,000 AED 

Working Hours: 35-40 hours/week, 5 days a week (Sunday-Thursday)

Accommodation: Provided or housing allowance

Health Insurance: Covered by employer

Duration of Contracts: 2-3 years


Whether you teach in Madrid or Barcelona, Spain is an incredibly beautiful and sought-after destination by those looking to travel abroad. 

The relaxed lifestyle and friendly residents of Spain are renowned, making it a favorable spot to settle into for work.

In fact, Spain is home to 44 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and its geographically diverse landscape is a wonder to be explored. 

Details for working in Spain include: 

Salary: €1000-€1500 per month 

Working Hours:  15-30 hours a week (4 days a week)

Accommodation: Personally responsible 

Health Insurance: Usually included

Duration of Contracts: 1 year

Discover Spain’s culture, food and individuality while working as an ESL teacher! 

South Korea

English is taught in South Korean elementary schools from the age of 10! 

South Korea has some of the best ESL teaching jobs, but there will be some differences to make note of, and that comes from teaching in a public or a private school. 

Public schools offer a favorable work environment for those looking to have an authentic Korean experience. You work for the Korean ministry of Education and are structured in such a way that your evenings and weekends are off. 

Private schools, on the other hand, offer incredibly attractive employment packages, but do have longer working hours given that they are private businesses. For those that are looking to save more money, this could be the better option. 

Public School 

Salary: 1.8-2.0 million KRW – first year teachers

2.0-2.7 million KRW – experienced teachers

Working Hours:  22-24 hours/week

Accommodation: Furnished single occupancy apartment

Health Insurance:  50% Health Insurance

Duration of Contracts: 1 year

Private School

Salary: 2.0-2.1 million KRW – first year teachers

2.1-3.0 million KRW – experienced teachers

Working Hours: 30 hours/week

Accommodation:  Furnished single occupancy apartment

Health Insurance: 50% Health Insurance

Duration of Contracts: 1 year 

Apart from the Middle East, South Korea offers incredibly competitive and comprehensive benefits for ESL teachers. This destination will offer you the opportunity to save a good chunk of your earnings. 

And for a fun fact: the roof on a traditional Korean home curves up like a smile.


Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. 

Geographically, more than 70% of Japan consists of mountains, including more than 200 volcanoes. 

It is a beautiful country and destination where English teachers continue to be in high demand, leaving no trouble for anyone looking to get hired and land a teaching job. 

What remains is to decide whether you will work in a public or private school setting. 

Public School 

Salary: ¥260,000 (approx. $2,200 USD)

Working Hours: 29.5 hrs/week

Accommodation: Teacher pays

Health Insurance: Usually included

Duration of Contracts: 6 months- 1 Year

Private School

Salary: ¥60,000 – ¥300,000 (approx. $2,400 – $2,625 USD) for full-time English teaching positions

¥125,000 (approx. $1,500 USD) for part-time English teaching position

Working Hours: 26.6 hrs/week full-time

13.3 hrs/week part-time

Accommodation: School can act as guarantor. Assistance in finding accommodations provided

Health Insurance:  Health insurance provided

Duration of Contracts: 1 Year


China is home to one of the world’s largest economies.

It is an incredibly popular destination for ESL teachers that are looking to be in the heart of transformation. 

China has more than 1.35 billion people and boasts an ancient history and rich culture that goes back millenia. 

This economic superpower has some of the most high-tech cities in the world, attracting many expats from all over the world.

Salary: Salary ranges for teachers in China vary depending on qualifications and experience. Teacher salaries are also adjusted to account for the significantly lower cost of living in certain locations in China.

Working Hours: Up to 40 hours/week, 5 days a week

Accommodation: Furnished apartment/housing allowance often included

Health Insurance: Provided

Duration of Contracts: 1 Year

Experience different ways of life & living

Teaching abroad brings you out of your comfort zone, allowing you to experience the different language, culture and food that this international world has to offer. 

As much as immersing yourself in new ways of life can be challenging, it is also a rewarding opportunity that will allow you to stretch your worldview. 

If you are interested in this lifestyle, you can learn more about Teach Away’s TEFL course. This certification will qualify you to start teaching abroad and embark on your new adventure!

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