Teaching English abroad is one of the best ways to explore the world. Not only do you not need to worry about shoestring budgets, you do away with the looming thought of returning to reality.
Your new normal is immersing yourself in new cultures and maybe even picking up the local language along the way.
Thanks to affordable short-haul flights, train connections, and even coaches, teaching in Europe in particular, makes adventuring on your days off even easier. Knowing where to start, though, can be tough so let’s take a look at some of the most popular teaching destinations.
Yes, there’s sea, sun, sand, and sangria, but Spain has so much more to offer English teachers who want to develop their careers while exploring Europe. Here, you can have your pick of fast-paced life in the bigger cities like Madrid or a more laidback lifestyle on one of the many islands or coastal seaports such as Palma de Mallorca.
As an English teacher, you can find work in a variety of places. Private language schools, teaching various ages and levels, are a popular option thanks to how many there are scattered across the country.
Alternatively, private primary schools boast benefits alongside the monthly salary, though knowledge of Spanish is generally expected.
If you’ve never been to Spain, prepare yourself for some minor culture shocks. Dinner times are considerably later, and most restaurants serve food from 8 pm to 1 am, so be ready to snack during the day as you adjust. Many places are cashless now too, but small change is generally welcome on public transport.
In terms of where to explore, avoid visiting cities in the summer. This is not only because of the heat and crowds, but the fact that many locals choose to escape the heat themselves by heading to the beach.
So, all of those wonderful hidden gems you read about online before your arrival may very well be closed in July and August.
From the imposing Dolomites to rolling Tuscan hills, to volcanic Sicilian islands, there’s so much to be explored in Italy – not to mention the food. Thankfully, the Italians know this, and everything is well-connected by train, with lots of high-speed services. Remember to validate your tickets on regional services, though, otherwise you could face a fine.
Aim for springtime or autumn if you’ve got your sights set on passing through to avoid the high summer temperatures and crowds, especially in tourist hot spots like Venice. Bear in mind too that there will be a new tourist tax introduced in spring 2024 for visitors that want to see this Unesco World Heritage site.
If you’re a prospective English teacher looking for work opportunities, there are plenty of private language schools that you can apply to but be prepared for potential split shifts or the need to work around your students’ working hours. For more information on what to expect as a teacher in Italy, The TEFL Org has loads of great information.
There’s no doubt that the excellent education system and high quality of life are a large part of Germany’s appeal as a teaching destination in Europe. Despite English being widely spoken, it has a population of over 80 million people, making it a country that is brimming with job opportunities.
In general, experience can go a long way when it comes to landing a teaching job, as well as a decent knowledge of the German language. Cities like Berlin, Munich, Freiburg and Frankfurt are all popular teaching locations and positions can range from adult language schools to summer camps or teaching assistant positions at public schools.
Blend in with the locals during your time in Germany by commuting to work by bike. This is a trendy way to get around and is facilitated by the numerous bike lanes in cities and bike-sharing schemes. You should also try to learn some basic German phrases as the locals will appreciate you making an effort in their language.
The Czech Republic promises the chance to explore its cosmopolitan capital, Prague, as well as the escape of its countryside and mountains when you tire of city life. This is a country perfect for winter lovers. Indulge in its hearty traditional dishes like Guláš when you’re not shredding slopes during ski season.
When it comes to teaching English, you will need a TEFL qualification and typically a degree. Unfortunately, preference for positions is usually given to residents and competition is very high in Prague.
This does not mean it’s impossible to find a job, however, and you can still send out emails to inquire about opportunities to try and line something up before you arrive.
Expect to earn anywhere from approximately €550 to €1500 a month. Also, consider dipping your toe in the culture first by working at a summer camp before deciding to commit to a longer contract with a school.
Known as the home to the world’s most romantic city, why not fall in love with the country through the eyes of a local? The French are extremely proud of their national language, and knowledge of English is not as widely diffused as it is in other countries, meaning there are more than enough job opportunities for you to take your time and explore every corner of France.
Like most countries, the majority of English teaching jobs can be found in large cities. In France, that means heading to Paris, Nice, Lyon or Toulouse. If you’re hoping to work for a school, hiring takes place between June to August as school terms run from September to June or July, and salaries range from €1000 to €2000 a month.
When you’re not teaching the ins and outs of English grammar, you can spend your time enjoying the cafe culture like a local and tasting typical dishes. 2024 is also the 150th anniversary of the impressionist movement, so if you’re an art lover there will be numerous events you can attend across the country from March onwards.
Overall, where you decide to teach and explore first will depend entirely on you and your interests. Perhaps you already know a language and want an easy transition into your new life in Europe or maybe you’ve always wanted to eat your way around Italy.
Moreover, if you’re drawn to discovering Italy’s hidden gems, teaching English could open doors to remote villages and lesser-known towns, providing an authentic cultural immersion beyond the typical tourist routes.
Regardless of your reasons, teaching English is a profession that can help you take the next steps toward what had previously only been a dream. Your research doesn’t have to finish here though before you make your decision.