Want to get paid to live and teach
English in Europe
? If you’re looking to teach English in a European nation
with historic cities, beautiful palaces, grand museums and maybe a some great
nightlife and fantastic travel opportunities as well, countries like Poland, Russia,
Czech Republic and Ukraine will fit the bill every bit as much as France,
Germany or Spain. Seeking to teach English in a Mediterranean country with
thousands of years of history, fantastic beaches and exquisite cuisine?  Turkey can match anything that Greece or even
Italy has to offer. While Eastern European countries may not boast the cache of
Spain, Italy or France, they still offer a quintessential European experience
and boast several important advantages over their more popular western
counterparts.  Here are a few:

  1. Job
    markets are growing faster and competition is less stiff

    Bottom line:  it’s easier to get hired in
    these countries.  While virtually any
    native English speaker with a college degree and a TEFL certification can get a
    job teaching English in Western Europe if they follow the hiring seasons and
    make an effort to go to Europe to interview in person, there are simply more
    jobs in Eastern European nations and because they are not as popular and there
    is less competition.  Also, former
    communist countries like Poland, Russia and Czech Republic, where English was
    not commonly taught in the past, have experienced a surge in demand for English
    language instruction in recent years as their economies have grown rapidly
    while opening to increased investment, trade and tourism from the rest of the
  2. The cost
    of living and travel is lower

    While cities like St. Petersburg and Istanbul are not “cheap,” the costs of
    living in Eastern Europe or in a nation like Turkey are generally lower than in
    countries like Italy, France and Spain. 
    Rent, groceries, public transportation and other basic expenses just
    cost less.  That means that your start-up
    costs (supporting yourself until you receive your first paycheck) will be lower
    and whatever hard currency (dollars, British pounds, euros, etc.) that you
    bring with you will go farther.
  3. It’s
    easier to interview and line up a job in advance from your home country

    If you want to teach English in Europe and you seek the security of having a job
    lined up waiting for you when you get on the plane to go abroad, then countries
    like Russia, Turkey and the Ukraine are your best bet. There are thousands of
    job opportunities for first-time English teachers to get hired across Europe,
    but if you want to teach for a language school or institute in Italy, Spain or
    Germany, you typically need to go and interview in person. Schools in Russia
    and Turkey will recruit you directly from your home country, interview you by
    Skype and the phone and very often offer you contract before you ever leave the
  4. Language schools
    routinely sponsor work visas for foreign teachers

    Visas can be confusing and complicated, and regulations vary extensively from
    country to country.  That said, it is
    generally more common and easier for Americans and other non-Europeans to get
    work visas sponsored by their employers in countries like Russia and Turkey
    than it is in Spain or Italy, where Americans and other non-E.U. citizens often
    work “under the table” without a world visa (this is not technically legal, but
    it is common and routine).
  5. You are
    more likely to receive benefits like stipends for housing and/or airfare

    In Western Europe it is standard for English teachers to be paid by the hour
    and that’s it.  In countries like Russia,
    Turkey, and to a lesser extent in Poland and Ukraine, some schools provide an
    extra stipend to help you cover airfare and/or housing.  This can really help you lower your start-up
    costs and make your monthly paychecks go that much further.

One final piece of advice:  wherever you decide to teach English in Europe
or elsewhere, prepare yourself by taking a TEFL
certification course
that will provide you with the training and
qualification you need to get hired. You don’t need professional teaching
experience or a degree in education to teach English abroad, but schools won’t
hire you off the street simply because you speak English either.