‘Where to teach English in Asia’ is a popular search phrase on search engines, like Google, and this is no surprise. Teaching in one of the many English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) countries in East Asia is a great experience – you can learn more about your chosen EFL country (and the region as a whole), learn a new language and culture, and you can travel and go on adventures. Who wouldn’t want that?
Considering all the Asian country options can leave you feeling overwhelmed and that is why we have put together the top 3 picks. We look at reasons for why that country could be for you, which cities in each country to consider, your expected teaching English salary, any benefits, and more.
Top Pick #1: Japan
While Japan boasts a very competitive English teaching environment and the cost of living is higher than in other East Asian countries, Japan is still a sought-after EFL destination. The country has a lot to offer: great cuisine, modern cities where old meets the new, Mt. Fuji, and cherry blossoms.
Some cities that you could consider for teaching positions:
- Tokyo, because it exhibits trendy architecture, fashion, museums, and other intriguing landscapes.
- Osaka, known as Kansai’s most vibrant city, is also a modern option and a lot more affordable than the country’s capital. It is also known as the ‘nation’s kitchen’ – if that isn’t telling enough, it means that you can find delicious food here.
- Kyoto is the option if you prefer smaller cities; if you are into the history of Japan, then this city should be on your list.
Furthermore, opportunities abound for either teaching young learners or adults. Salaries for teaching English as a foreign language are also better than what schools in other countries offer; an expected yearly salary ranges between US$1 5000 and US$2 7000.
You might be wondering what requirements are needed to secure a job teaching English in Japan. You would need a Bachelor’s degree (which is generally a requirement no matter where you teach), a TEFL certificate, as well as some experience.
Learn more about Teaching in Japan here.
Top Pick #2: Taiwan
Taiwan, an island country off the coast of China, is an excellent teaching EFL destination. The country is known for its beautiful landscapes – think hot springs, Taipei 101, and Taroko Gorge – its cuisine and night markets, and beaches.
There are a lot of Taiwanese cities from which to choose:
- Taipei, the country’s capital city, is a good option if you are looking for Westernised, modern city with a large expat community. There are plenty of schools and activities to choose from in your downtime.
- Kaohsiung, the second largest city, is located in the south. It offers great weather all year round and a lower cost of living than you would be able to find in Taipei.
- Chiayi is historically rich and known as the City of Paintings. Mount Ali (or locally known as Alishan), great for hiking and exploring, is nearby. Cultural festivals, such as the annual Wind Music Festival and annual Stone Carving Festival, are a must.
- Changhua also offers distinctive historic sites. The city is surrounded by mountains and is a definite choice for outdoor enthusiast.
With the low cost of living, you should live more than comfortably on a teaching EFL salary that ranges from US$ 1 500 to US$ 2 500. A requirement to secure a teaching job in this country is a Bachelor’s degree.
Check out teaching in Taiwan here.
Top Pick #3: Vietnam
Vietnam is another top pick for ‘where to teach in Asia’ if you are looking for more insight into local life – while the cities are big and have some Western comforts, Hanoi, for example, is less Westernised and touristy than other East Asian cities, like those in Thailand. Pretty French-style architecture, markets, great cuisine, and beaches can be found in this country.
EFL teaching city options range from the capital to smaller ones:
- Hanoi, the second largest city and capital of Vietnam, is the choice if you are looking for skyscrapers, boulevards that are lined with trees, and colonial architecture.
- Haiphong, the third biggest city as well as a coastal port, is popular for its rugged Cat Ba Island, beaches, ancient temples and shrines, and a national park.
- Halong City is a popular teaching English destination with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, kayaking and many boating excursions, and pinnacle-shaped, forested islands.
- Hue, the ancient capital city, has more history than some of the other, more developed cities in Vietnam. The Perfume River runs through the city and Hue is the perfect blend of new and old.
Your expected salary would range from US$ 900 to US$ 1 800 per month; while this is lower than what you can earn in Japan or Taiwan for example, keep in mind that the cost of living is low, meaning that you can save more. A requirement for teaching EFL in Vietnam is a Bachelor’s degree.
We have only examined three top picks for teaching EFL destination countries in Asia: Japan, Taiwan, and Vietnam. A summary of each country can be found below.
|Top Reasons||· Beautiful landscapes
· Cuisine & night markets
· Relatively low cost of living
· Modern cities
· Great culture
|· Low cost of living
· Great architecture & markets
· Immersion in local culture
|Cities to Consider||Taipei, Kaohsiung, Chiayi City & Changua City||Tokyo, Osaka & Kyoto||Hanoi, Haiphong, Halong City & Hue|
|Expected Salary||US$1 500 – 2 500||US$1 500 – 2 700||US$900 – 1 800|
|Experience Needed||A Bachelor’s degree||A Bachelor’s degree, TEFL certificate and some experience||A Bachelor’s degree|
Bonus Location: China
The author of this post did not have a chance to teach in China during her teaching tour, but the Saxoncourt team feels it would be remiss to ignore arguably the best teaching market in Asia. Due to rapid economic and cultural expansion, there are incredible opportunities to teach in China. Salaries are competitive with other countries, while costs of living are often much lower. And being an enormous country of over a billion people, there is a rich cultural, historical, and geographical experience to explore. From rugged mountains straight from a watercolour to the endless plains of the northern steppes, there is a terrain to suit any taste.
Each city likewise offers its own charms to EFL teachers looking for opportunity and adventure overseas. Here are a few cities you should definitely consider in your teaching career.
- Beijing is the capital and seat of political power in China. It’s home to countless historical treasure, as well as being within only a short distance of the Great Wall and other incredible sites.
- Shanghai is arguably the commercial heart of China, with a long merchant history and a huge international business community, this is commerce on a global leve.
- Nanjing is a historical capital with rich history, but it’s especially important as a travel hub for all of China. It’s the perfect location for explorers.
- Yangzhou is a city of wealth and distinction with a reputation for artistic expression. Today it is a unique blend of modern and traditional Chinese culture.
About the Author
Denine Walters currently works in the events industry and freelances as an EFL teacher, writer, and proofread/editor. Previously, she taught online English lessons to students from all around the world, and before that, she lived and taught English to young learners in Taiwan. In what free time she has, she likes to travel, watch Netflix, read, and do scrapbooking and grammar quizzes.