The 5 Best Cities to Teach English Abroad in 2011

By Jon Duckett
Experienced TEFL teacher and director at TEFL Jobs World

The 5 Best Cities to Teach English Abroad

By Georgio (originally posted to Flickr as Hong Kong) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Continuing our countdown of the 10 best cities to teach English abroad, TEFL Jobs World brings you the 5 best cities to teach English abroad in 2011.

5. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Why Ho Chi Minh City: Exciting, booming city. Lots of jobs, over 200 language schools in the city.

Qualifications: A B.A. in any discipline, plus many schools are now asking for TEFL certificates.

Main Employers: Private language schools in the city, international schools, private tutoring.

Highlights: Abundant healthy and cheap dining options, exploring the historic pagodas.

Drawbacks: Many language schools don’t give teachers enough hours so they have to work at two different schools to make ends meet.

4. Taipei, Taiwan

Why Taipei: Lots of demand for English teachers, good salaries and the chance to save money.

Qualifications: A degree in any discipline.

Main Employers: Private language schools, plus some secondary schools.

Highlights: Shopping in the Taipei 101, exploring the National Palace museum, eating delicious treats at the Shilin night market.

Drawbacks: Commutes to work can be quite long and frustrating due to poor transport infrastructure.

3. Madrid, Spain

Why Madrid: Fun party town, lots of easy to find work opportunities, great food and culture.

Qualifications: Being a native speaker of English, a TEFL certificate and/or degree can also help.

Main Employers: Private language schools, teaching ‘in-house’ at private businesses, teaching 1-1 classes privately.

Highlights: The nightlife, art galleries, friendly locals and absorbing lifestyle.

Drawbacks: Not easy to save money, not much work in the summer as most people leave the city for holidays.

2. Prague, Czech Republic

Why Prague: Gorgeous, romantic and historic city. A good base for exploring Eastern Europe.

Qualifications: A degree in any discipline plus CELTA/Trinity TESOL certificate.

Main Employers: Private language schools.

Highlights: Good, cheap beer. Exploring the plentiful medieval sights.

Drawbacks: Many teachers are not employed legally and have to leave the country every 90 days to renew their work visa. High tax rate for those employed legally.

1. Hong Kong, China

Why Hong Kong: Good salaries for teachers. Vibrant and buzzing city. So much to see and do; numerous islands, beaches and mountains all lie within greater Hong Kong.

Qualifications: A degree, TEFL certificate and qualified teacher status in some cases.

Main Employers: Private language schools, primary and secondary schools, international schools and the NET scheme.

Highlights: Wan Chai nightlife, great seafood restaurants, hiking in Lantau Island, taking a day trip by ferry to one of the smaller islands.

Drawbacks: Accommodation is expensive, TEFL jobs can be hard to come by and the standard of competition is high.


I am an experienced TEFL teacher who has worked in London, Japan and Spain. I am also the director here at TEFL Jobs World.



  1. What about Kaohsiung? Same salary as Taipei but much cheaper. The people are more friendly and laid back and the weather is much better than Taipei.

  2. I have been overseas for more than 10 years and all the other statements are true. Ex. non-EU can NOT teach on a tourist visa, and 90 days in allll EU for each 180 day period…Pay in most non-Asia/Arab places only enough to live on–no extra travel, etc. And so on. You must have recognized CELTA or other certificate, many places a degree (I have Masters in ESL), etc. Few places provide accomodations, etc, Non-EU for language schools, degrees and experience for international school…be prepared.

  3. I’d say a huge drawback to Praha and Madrid (or any European city) for a great number of teachers would be that only EU citizens are legally permitted to work.

  4. Some things not mentioned –
    Taiwan does not usually include accommodation in salary packages, culture shock is huge. Standard of living is not comparable to Korea and Japan. Staff not always friendly to foreigners.

    Ho Chi Minh is a very hot city, and city life is busy and megastressful.

    Prague is expensive so you probably will not save money – last I checked.

    Hong Kong has had a pollution problem (a famous billionaire hedge fund manager, China pioneer, refuses to live there)

    Madrid – seemed not as authentic (at least to me) as other parts of the Med.

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