The 5 Best TEFL Locations for New English Teachers

Fresh out of your TEFL course, the English teaching world is your oyster. We look at some of the best locations to start your career as a new English teacher.

Fresh out of your TEFL course, the English teaching world is your oyster. We look at some of the best locations to start your career as a new English teacher.

When most new English teachers begin their TEFL careers, they have a pretty good idea of where they want to be: but a cloudier one of what it’ll take to get there. Working your way up the academy ladder, to a more sought-after destination or to a school with a higher wage takes hard work and patience – and the right starting point.

Whether it’s your dream to teach in Asia, direct a school in Europe or just get the edge at the start of hiring season, we’ve picked out some of the best TEFL locations for new English teachers.


Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is a hidden gem: an often overlooked destination by many first time English teachers, perfectly positioned for a teaching career in Asia or the Pacific. The coastal city is New Zealand’s biggest, and one of the world’s most diverse; 40 per cent of the population were born overseas.

What makes it best for new English teachers:

  • It’s on the doorstep of Asia and the Pacific, making it the perfect place to start a TEFL career in the region
  • It’s extraordinarily diverse, meaning you get all the cultural immersion you want without any of the shock (which often affects many first-time teachers in Asia)
  • It’s a great place to save money for future adventures, with high teaching salaries and a lower cost of living compared to neighbouring cities in the region (such as Sydney and Melbourne)
  • TEFL jobs are booming, with statistics showing a huge increase in students from China and Latin America travelling to New Zealand to learn English

Valencia, Spain

An arguably secondary city, Valencia is often hidden in the shadows of its bigger or more famous Spanish counterparts, such as Seville, Madrid and Barcelona. But, there’s a lot to love in the coastal, Catalan-speaking city with a population of 800,000.

What makes it best for new English teachers:

  • Spain’s sluggish economy has sparked a boom in English teaching jobs over the past few years, and Valencia, as a technologically advanced port city, is right in the middle of it
  • The demand for English teachers means that the hiring process is like a well-oiled machine, and first-time teachers won’t be put off by mountains of confusing paperwork
  • The city is home to a large university and expat population, meaning it’s not hard to find new friends
  • Valencia is home to famous festivals, such as Las Fallas and La Tomatina (in nearby Buñol), for that authentic Spanish experience

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This South-East Asian city is the perfect starting point for newly qualified English teachers for its range of jobs, low cost of living, and large expat population. With a population of eight million (and even more motorbikes!), the buzzing, crowded city isn’t for the faint of heart, however if you’re the kind of person who likes to jump in the deep end without first dipping in a little toe, Saigon is your ultimate diving board.

What makes it best for new English teachers:

  • If you’re well qualified with a CELTA certificate and university degree (or some sort of further education), getting a work visa in Vietnam isn’t a hard task
  • While the standard salaries are small, the cost of living is even lower. Most teachers can easily save enough to afford trips across the South-East Asian region, with cash to spare
  • There are a lot of jobs available, with some larger school chains filling up to a hundred vacancies at the start of each school year

Southern England, UK

Now this was unexpected – but hear me out; there are so many reasons why England’s southern cities are the perfect place to begin your TEFL career. Looking past just London, there are a wealth of opportunities along the coast; in Canterbury, Bournemouth, and Brighton. But why? Summer, that’s why. Foreign students flock to these cities over the warmer months for intensive classes and holiday camps, meaning that from June to August there’s a huge and sudden demand.

What makes it best for new English teachers:

  • Hiring period in most of the northern hemisphere is from August to September. So, rather than going in with a certificate and zero experience, get ahead of the game by teaching over the summer
  • If you’re already from the UK, or another English-speaking country, you can focus solely on your teaching without having to worry about negotiating life in another language on top
  • There’s a lot of student variety: from young kids on school holidays, to business professional doing summer intensives. It’s easy to quickly build up your repertoire.
  • The pay is higher than most other European countries, so you can save up if you plan on a big relocation at the start of the school year

Budapest, Hungary

The jewel of Eastern Europe is quickly becoming a hotspot for expats, with a trendy nightlife, diverse restaurant scene and obscenely low cost of living. While it’s hard to find contracted teaching work (most schools require teachers to work ‘freelance’), there’s no shortage of private classes to make up a good wage.

What makes it best for new English teachers:

  • There’s a large foreign community, making it easy to settle in, meet new people, and negotiate Hungarian bureaucracy
  • The cost of living is low enough that even the most poorly paid teacher can afford to save a little
  • It’s a cheap city to get trained as a teacher, with one of the lowest CELTA prices in the world
  • It’s well positioned in Europe, with several budget flights both East and West

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