If you’re seeking the international adventure of a lifetime and opportunities to work and get paid (well!) to live overseas in one of the world’s most dynamic, historic and beautiful regions, it’s hard to beat teaching English abroad in Asia. Here are eight reasons why:
Jobs are Plentiful & You Can Line Up a Job From Home
In an economy where jobs are hard to come by - especially for recent and soon-to-be college graduates - the job market for English teachers in Asia is a welcome exception to the rule in that there are more jobs than there are qualified people to fill them. According to the former Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, 300 million people are studying English in China alone and tens of millions of others enroll in English classes annually throughout the region from South Korea to Thailand. This translates into a nearly insatiable demand for native-speaking teachers, so for most recent college graduates (and even those without a degree), it isn’t a matter of whether you can get a job teaching English in Asia, but rather, which job in which country do you want.
One other advantage of teaching English in Asia is that you can interview and apply for most jobs from your own country so that you can have a job lined up in advance of your departure overseas. This is not nearly as common in Europe and Latin America, where many schools interview and hire foreign English teachers locally.
Excellent salaries for teaching English in Asia coupled with lower costs of living (in most cases) enables most first-time English teachers in Asia to potentially save 30%-50% of their income after expenses. Typical monthly savings could range from $200-$500 in countries like Thailand and Indonesia, to $400-$600 a month in Taiwan and Vietnam and up to $800 a month in Japan. In China, where salaries vary widely, teachers could potentially save anywhere from $400-$1200 a month and in South Korea, first-time English teachers usually save at least $800-$1000 a month.
This makes Asia a great destination if you want to teach English abroad and potentially make extra money for student loan payments or to save $5000 or more for extra travel after your contract ends.
Free Housing & Airfare
Many English teaching jobs in Asia, particularly in South Korea and China, provide free furnished housing (or a housing allowance) and/or cover airfare costs. This means your start-up costs will be lower than teaching in Europe or Latin America, where such costs are not covered; it enables you to save more of your monthly paycheck and it just makes the whole process of moving and settling in more convenient.
Fantastic History & Culture
From the exquisite Khmer ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia to the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Shogun castles of Japan, Asia is home to some of the world’s most fantastic cultural and historical treasures. Of course, the cuisine in the region is second to none.
Ultra-modern High-tech & Cosmopolitan Cities
From 250-mile an hour bullet trains to state-of-the-art skyscrapers and heated toilet seats that play the radio, cities like Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo are among the most modern and technologically advanced in the world. They are also extremely cosmopolitan, offering world-class shopping, international cuisine and all of the amenities and conveniences of 21st-century life.
Have Fun & Make Friends!
Think you learned about having a good time drinking light beer out of plastic cups at keg parties in college? Ha! Wait until your colleagues in Seoul or Busan take you out for soju and Korean barbecue, or you hit the town for karaoke and drinks in Tokyo, Bangkok or Saigon. As an English teacher in Asia, you will likely not only be able to form lifelong friendships with local citizens who are your students, colleagues and neighbors, but with other foreign English teachers and expatriates from the U.S. Canada, the U.K., Australia and elsewhere.
Gain Professional Experience in the Future Economic Center of the Universe
While the United States may still be the world’s largest economy, it is no secret that the primary engine and center of the world economy in the 21st century is East Asia. From China and South Korea to Vietnam and Indonesia, many of the world’s fastest growing and most advanced economies are located in East Asia, so if you seek a career in international finance or business, this is a part of the world where you want to gain experience and become familiar with.
Great Travel Opportunities
A weekend in Tokyo? Backpacking in Vietnam? Scuba diving in the Philippines? Living and working in Asia provides the opportunities of a lifetime to explore one of the world’s most diverse and exciting regions. Travel in Asia is convenient and quite inexpensive, especially for English teachers in the region who make good salaries and receive paid vacation.