Some of the best places to teach English abroad are the destinations that fly under the radar. Native English speakers interested in teaching English abroad usually focus on destinations like China, Japan, Germany, or South Korea. There are many other options that people overlook. With some of them offering a better quality of life, or a higher teaching salary than these major English teaching destinations. Here is our list of underrated destinations to teach English abroad.

Russia

Griboyedov Canal overlooking Savior on the Spilled Blood church in St. Petersburg, Russia
Griboyedov Canal overlooking Savior on the Spilled Blood church in St. Petersburg, Russia

Russia is the world’s largest country by land area, and also one of the largest countries by population. So it’s surprising that Russia isn’t on many of the best places to teach English abroad lists. It has a low level of English proficiency and over 140 million people. This means that there is near limitless opportunities for those interested in teaching English in Russia. Saying that the market is underserved is an understatement.

For most Russians, knowledge of English is the ticket to a high-paying job in Moscow. All of the best companies in Moscow expect employees to speak some level of English. This increases the demand for English teachers all over Russia. In Moscow alone, there are over 100 English language schools. Many of them do not have a native speaking teacher.

Moscow is the economic and business hub of Russia while the second-largest city, St. Petersburg is the cultural hub. Both cities offer a wealth of opportunities for prospective English teachers. There are also opportunities across the giant country and most larger cities have a number of English schools. 

Pay in Russia is good when compared to the local cost of living. Teaching English in Russia won’t allow you to live luxuriously, but you can expect to earn roughly $1500 if you’re at a reputable school. This will allow you to live a comfortable middle class life.

As for the cost of living in Russia, apartments are cheap by Western standards and cost around $700 for a one-room apartment. Groceries and eating out are also affordable in Russia. Expect to spend about $75 a week for groceries with a few splurges. Check out our post on the cost of living in Moscow for a more detailed look at the cost of living in Moscow.

Most English teachers in Russia supplement their income with additional lessons in their spare time. If you are willing to teach private lessons, you can expect to earn about $20-30 an hour for your time. 

If you’re interested in learning more about teaching english in Russia, check out our Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Russia. You can also check out open english teaching job posts on our job board, Expatriant Jobs

Ukraine

St. Andrew's Church from the lower part of Kyiv, Ukraine
St. Andrew’s Church from the lower part of Kyiv, Ukraine

Ukraine is one best places to teach English abroad. Its capital, Kyiv is one of the most underrated cities in all of Europe. Over the past decade, the city has developed into a vibrant European capital with fantastic food culture, nightlife, architecture, and old-world charm. The entire country is currently undergoing a significant transformation from a post-Soviet country to a vibrant European cultural hub.

Though there is still significant room for improvement, Ukraine is moving in the right direction. As Ukraine seeks to move closer to Europe politically, the need for young Ukrainians to learn English is growing. 

Most English teaching positions are in Kyiv, the largest city and cultural and business hub of Ukraine. There are also opportunities all over Ukraine in any major city, but the salaries are significantly higher in Kyiv. For other cities, you can check out our post on the best places to live in Ukraine.

Salaries in Ukraine for teaching English are lower when to other European cities. Currently the average salary is between $800-1200. This of course depends largely on your qualification, experience, and type of role.

However the cost of living is so low that it doesn’t matter. It is possible to find a one-room apartment in the center of Kyiv for about $400 and meals out rarely cost over $10. A number of budget airlines also serve Kyiv so you are never far from the rest of Europe. 

Check out our Ukraine Country Guide for more information on finding a job in Ukraine. 

Kazakhstan

Downtown Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
Downtown Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

One of the least known countries in the world is Kazakhstan. Did you know that it is a great place to teach English abroad?

Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia and while it is a large country, it’s relatively sparsely populated. The two largest cities, Nur-Sultan and Almaty offer some of the best opportunities to teach English in the world. This is largely due to the fact that the country is less traveled than many in Asia. There is a lack of qualified English teachers for the 18 million people living in Kazakhstan. 

Kazakhstan is far from Europe and Asia. For many, this might be a turnoff. Don’t let this influence your decision. Kazakhstan is a rewarding place to live with a wonderful culture and warm people who enjoy meeting foreigners. The language barrier can be an issue though as very few people in Kazakhstan speak English. 

The salaries in Kazakhstan are also good by global standards. Typically, you need a college degree, a TEFL certificate, and some work experience to teach English in Kazakhstan. Due to these these requirements, the average salary is quite high at around $3000. Pair this with a low cost of living and you can save quite a bit of money teaching in Kazakhstan! As a matter of fact, Kazakhstan was rated one of the best places to save money while teaching English abroad. 

The opportunities for English speakers in Kazakhstan are attractive if you aren’t scared off by the remote location and potential language barrier.

Georgia

Overlooking Tbilisi, Georgia
Overlooking Tbilisi, Georgia

Another country that we think deserves a spot ‘best places to teach English abroad’ lists is Georgia. Most people don’t know where Georgia is located. That is unfortunate because it is a very unique country with a rich history and fascinating culture. In addition, the natural beauty of Georgia is unlike any other country of its size. It is about the same size as the Czech Republic, but it has beaches, ski resorts.

The people and culture are the main highlights of living in Georgia. For any Georgian, food is an integral part of the culture and the cuisine of Georgia is simply fantastic! Experiencing the food culture of Georgia is one of the best parts of the country. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Georgia has a world-renowned winemaking culture as well. Georgian wine isn’t so popular in the West, but it is gaining popularity. 

Georgia has the least developed network of international English schools out of the countries featured here. That isn’t to say that there isn’t work in Georgia. It just means that it may take more time to find it. International English centers are moving into Georgia, but as an English teaching destination it is far from the beaten path. 

English teaching salaries in Georgia are among the lowest out of the countries mentioned in this article. You can expect to make between $800-1000 per month at a language school.

Fortunately, the cost of living in Georgia is also quite low. You can expect to find a one-bedroom apartment in Tbilisi for around $350-400. Groceries are also very cheap by Western standards. Eating out at Georgian restaurants can also be done very cheaply.

It is certainly possible to save some money teaching in Georgia especially if you are willing to teach private lessons on the side. For more information on teaching English in Tbilisi, check out this article detailing what it’s like to teach English in Tbilisi.

Poland

A view down Dlugi Targ in Gdańsk, Poland
A view down Dlugi Targ in Gdańsk, Poland

Poland is rarely mentioned as one of the best places to teach English abroad, but I am here to tell you that it is one of the most overlooked destinations in Central and Eastern Europe. Most people who consider this part of the world are checking out the Czech Republic.

However, I am here to say that you should definitely consider Poland as a place to teach English abroad. If you are looking for a European destination that offers real opportunities to English teachers, then you must check out Warsaw and Krakow. The two largest cities in Poland have developed over the last ten years as major tourism hubs. However the Native English teaching crowd is still small in comparison to Western Europe. 

People in Poland are typically very friendly to foreigners and many people in Poland speak English quite well, especially younger Poles. Unfortunately, many expats still complain that it can be difficult to do things in Poland at times in English. Polish is a notoriously difficult language to learn as well, so keep this in mind when considering teaching English in Poland. 

Salaries for English teachers in Poland are usually around $1000 a month, but it does depend on the city where you live. In Warsaw or Krakow, you can make $1500 at an international English school.

Of course, in addition to teaching during the day, you can teach private lessons to earn some extra money. The cost of living isn’t that bad in Poland, and it is much less than in most of Western Europe. For more information on the cost of living in Poland and how it compares to other cheaper countries, check out our European Countries with Low Cost of Living.

Conclusion

If you are thinking of destinations to teach English abroad, we think all five of these countries deserve more attention. All of them offer culture and lifestyle that is quite different from Anglophone countries.   

If you are looking for a more unique experience teaching English abroad, you cannot go wrong with one of these countries. Good luck! 

I lived in Russia for 5 years. Over those 5 years, I started a few companies, worked as an English teacher, worked at a large Russian tech company, and worked at an international law firm. I want to share my experience living and working abroad so you can do the same!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here