10 unusual TEFL destinations for 2017

We’ve busted TEFL myths before about how it’s not all about teaching across Southeast Asia and Spain. And it’s true, the world is filled with interesting and unusual TEFL destinations, from the depths of South America to the dusty wilds of the African plains, all just waiting for the more intrepid English buff to settle down and start that new adventure. Check them out…

Unusual TEFL destinstions
Calvinia – South africa | © South African Tourism/Flickr

South Africa

Home to the so-called Big Five game and the legendary safari parks of Kruger and Sabi Sand, South Africa is certainly one of the wilder of these unusual TEFL destinations. It’s also a truly eclectic place to start in that new career direction, with everything from the artsy city of Cape Town to off-beat Durban and the fascinating barrios of Jo’burg on the menu! We’ve made it easy to get in the classroom here too, with this one-month teaching internship in sun-kissed Port Elizabeth

Unusual TEFL destinations
Medellin, Colombia | © Pedro Szekely/Flickr


Once upon a time Colombia was written off by travelers as the province of cartels and criminals a la Pablo Escobar. Today, things have changed immensely, and once-rough and gritty cities like Medellin and Bogota now beckon with their cobbled streets, handsome colonial centers, and gorgeous Baroque churches. Oh, and that’s not even mentioning colorful Cartagena, which pulses with Caribbean life. Sold yet?

Unusual TEFL destinations
Tierra del Fuego, Argentina | © Marina Balasini & Juan Montiel/Flickr


You might think Argentina is an unusual TEFL destination because not that many teachers make a beeline straight for this great slab of South America. However, there’s a thriving school scene here, offering graduates the chance to make their new home between the ice-topped peaks of Patagonia, the sleepless cantinas and gaucho bars of Buenos Aires, and the roaring waterfalls at Iguazu. Nice.

unusual TEFL destinations
Luang Prabang, Mekong, Laos | © Allie_Caulfield/Flickr


While its near neighbors of Vietnam and Thailand get all the press in the world of TEFL, the elongated nation of Laos remains pretty off-the-beaten-track for the budding teacher. In fact, it’s a pretty darn adventurous destination anyway, with misty jungles and packs of gibbons inhabiting most of its backcountry. Consider settling down in towns like UNESCO-attested Luang Prabang or bustling Vientiane for the best pick of the jobs.

unusual TEFL destinations
Myanmar Bagan | © Roderick Eime/Flickr


Another dark horse of Southeast Asia and a country that’s worked hard to position itself on the traveler’s map for 2017, erstwhile Burma is not the same hardline military junta it once was. Visa restrictions have softened, wondrous attractions like the temple towns of Bagan are now bucket-list destinations, mysterious Buddhist relics beckon culture buffs, and the Shan Hills are ripe for walking.

Unusual TEFL destinations
Alexander Column, Russia | © Dennis Jarvis/Flickr


Okay, okay, so relocating to Russia certainly ain’t for the faint-hearted. Not only are cities like Moscow traffic-choked and plagued by uber-high rents, but they are also darn cold in the winter (yea, we’re talking like 20 under!). Still, there are bonuses associated with teaching in the largest geographical nation on the planet, from the majestic art collections of Petersburg to the gorgeous backcountry of the steppe.

Unusual TEFL destinations
Tusheti (Georgian: თუშეთი) is a historic region in northeast Georgia | © Levan Gokadze/Flickr


Few countries pack such a punch for the lover of the great outdoors than Georgia. Depart the Byzantine-topped city of Tbilisi and make for the looming ranges of the Caucuses and you’ll discover fir-dressed valleys and UNESCO heritage sites in the hills, not to mention ski resorts at Gudauri and record-breaking summits at Svaneti.

unusual TEFL destinations
Rio Aguajitas, Costa Rica | © Trish Hartmann/Flickr

Costa Rica

Gone are the days when Costa Rica was just for the ecotourists. Today, this great section of Central America is an emerging spot for English teachers too, even if it remains one of the less popular and more unusual TEFL destinations going. You can opt for the rustic schools that lurk in the highlands, between the primeval rainforests and swinging sloths. Or, you can go to cities like San Jose, and enjoy the wild cantinas and samba sessions after dark.

Unusual TEFL destinations
Pastoral Albania | © godo godaj/Flickr


In Europe, but hardly European. On the Balkan Peninsula, but curiously eastern and oriental in character, Albania remains one of the great mysteries of the continent. Teaching here will never make you rich, but it does promise an adventure; one that includes sparkling Adriatic beaches and soaring Ottoman castles alike.

Stay at home

Alright, so staying at home might not be for the adventurous types, and it certainly won’t satisfy the wanderlust, but believe it or not TEFL teaching over the internet is on the rise. Skype lessons and online tutorials all need to be curated by qualified teachers, and that’s perfect if you’re eager to change your career, gain experience before you hit the road, or simply for earning a little extra cash on the side! Amidst all the adventurous spots, it’s also fair to list it among the more unusual TEFL destinations too, surely?

Can you think of any more unusual TEFL destinations that are perfect for the budding explorer in 2017? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Or, if you think it’s high time you got qualified and in the classroom abroad, take a look at myTEFL’s range of courses.


  • claudiaximena
    Posted January 26, 2017 10:32 pm 0Likes

    There are not Incan treasures in Colombia. Those treasures are in Peru. Please correct accordingly.

    • Tyler
      Posted April 21, 2017 10:48 am 0Likes

      Thanks for the headsup Claudia. Corrected :).

Leave a comment

7 + 14 =