The best places to teach abroad in 2021

It’s that time again, the end of the year when we look forward to the next 365 days of teaching around the globe. 2020’s been a strange one. For lots of TEFL graduates, it’s been about holding off on that adventure of a lifetime until the nightmare of the pandemic shifts on. For others, it’s been about adapting to a new way of life in somewhere far away. Lockdowns hit from China to Peru. Schools were shut. It was the year of Zoom teaching. Let’s take a quick look at some of the best places to teach abroad in 2021…

The best places to teach abroad in 2021

China

The pace at which China was growing as a TEFL destination was pretty immense back at last New Year. Since then, there’s been some pretty big events occurring in this corner of the Far East. But the country that found itself at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic has actually worked its proverbial socks off to get back to normal. Uber-strict lockdowns, mass testing, and efficient public health measures have ensured that China scrambled back to life a lot faster than its compadres in Europe and North America.

At the time of writing, bars, restaurants, schools, and shops – they’re all open. That’s even true in the city of Wuhan, where all this began sometime in late 2019. We also think China offers a fantastic experience for would-be teachers. Salaries are moderate but positions are plentiful. The cities and towns are sprawling and electrifying. The nature is spellbinding, from Yunnan’s tea fields to the tropical beaches of Hainan. There might be some trouble sourcing visas in the early part of the year, as COVID restrictions remain in place for travelers. After that, expect to see China riding high as one of the best places to teach abroad again.

The best places to teach abroad in 2021

Hong Kong

This city state and special administrative region of China is worth a mention on its own. We won’t lie that it’s been a tricky few years for HKG. Even before the coronavirus pandemic came and shut everything down, it was in the throws of a pretty big social and political upheaval, with protestors taking to the streets en mass. For better or for worse, public health restrictions and decrees from the central government in China have since quelled those movements. That means there’s likely to be another upswell in interest in this metropolis on the Pacific Ocean from travelers and international workers.

We can understand why. Hong Kong boasts some pretty impressive TEFL salaries. You can earn in the region of $2,500-2,9000 USD/month in these parts. That’s pretty good even for a well-off city. What’s more, it’s a downright fun place to be. You’ll share weekends between the beaches of Lantau and Lamma, and nights between the night bazaars of Kowloon and the lookout bars of Victoria Peak. Again, with current restrictions, we think it’s one to watch for the second half of 2021.

The best places to teach abroad in 2021

Taiwan

Taiwan has so much going for it as a TEFL destination. For starters, it’s uber-modern and life rolls to a distinctly island vibe. Hi-tech cityscapes like Taipei start you off, but you’ve also got a backcountry that’s covered in jagged mountains and dotted with rustic villages. The culture is a mix of European and Far Eastern, with hints of colonialism mixed with the mysticism of the orient.

But enough of the wonders of Taiwan. What about TEFL jobs? Well…let’s just say that the pay is pretty darn good in this corner of the world. Average salaries sit at the $1,800-$,2,400 USD/month mark, which is way above what you’d normally expect to receive in nearby China, for example. Taiwan has also dealt fantastically well with the coronavirus pandemic. There hasn’t been a day with more than 30 recorded cases at the time of writing, although there are some strict border controls in place. When they disappear, expect this to be big once again!

The best places to teach abroad in 2021

South Korea 

Completing our quad of high-flying Asian countries is the enticing land of South Korea. Again, this one makes the list of the top TEFL destinations for 2021 on account of its impressive handling of the COVID pandemic. As we write, the second wave is proving trickier than the first, but numbers are nowhere near what they are in Europe. What’s more, public health measures and mass testing seem to have been all-round more effective here, so there’s greater levels of confidence in the ability of SK to get things under control.

On top of all that, you’ll get the megacity of Seoul and the modern high-rises of Daejeon, the gritty port town of Busan and the lively industrial hub of Ulsan to explore. And that’s not even mentioning a backcountry filled with ski resorts, pine forests, hiking destinations, and carved gorges. TEFL salaries in South Korea hit the $2,200 USD/month mark for some, which is above average for this part of the world.

The best places to teach abroad in 2021

Teaching online

We know, we know…it’s not a destination! But there’s no chance that any list of the best places to teach abroad in 2021 could fly by without a nod to the new kid on the block: Online teaching. It was booming anyway, but COVID-19 put remote learning into the stratosphere. We’ve never seen such a huge demand for online TEFL teachers, or so many schools establishing themselves. In fact, we’ve only gone and designed a whole course specifically aimed at online work. The best thing, though? There’s no coronavirus restriction that can stop you from applying for these jobs right away!


If you think you’ve got another TEFL destination that’s going to be big in 2021, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Or, if you’re ready to get qualified and teaching all around the globe, get over to our courses page to see how.

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