The 5 coldest TEFL destinations out there
If you’re the sort of teacher and traveler who prefers the mountains to the beaches, the Arctic to the tropics, and the actual chill to the chill factor, then this guide to the 5 coldest TEFL destinations out there is just what you’ve been searching for. It runs through a handful of places where the thermometers are sure to dip below the zero mark during the winter time; where woolly jumpers and thermal under layers are a must. There’s plenty in the mix, from the snow-doused isles of Japan to the historic towns of south Poland…
Teachers who like snow are sure to love Japan. The northern part of this amazing Asian country is known for having some of the heaviest and finest snowfall of anywhere on the globe. You’re looking for the island of Hokkaido, which actually sits just 29 miles off the shores of Russia at its closest point. That should give you an idea of just how cold it can get in the midst of the winter. The main city – and the place with the most TEFL jobs – is Sapporo, but the stunning backcountry is the real draw. That rolls through the Daisetsuzan National Park to smoking volcano cones and hot springs. There’s skiing, too, at the award-winning resorts of Niseko and Furano.
Although it’s not particularly far north, the landlocked Czech Republic, recently renamed Czechia, has a continental climate that means it doesn’t enjoy the warming oceanic breezes of countries nearer the Med or the Baltic. The upshot? Thermometers can plummet to nearly -35 C (-31 F) in the middle of winter. Thankfully, there are oodles of cozy beer halls to counter the sub-zero outside with frothy ales to warm the blood. Prague also happens to have some of the most festive Christmas markets in the whole of Europe, best enjoyed when your breath is frosting in the air!
Contrary to what many think, Poland can be balmy in the summer months – like 35 degrees C (95 F) and humid sort of balmy. On the flip side, Poland gets super, duper cold in the winter. The southern mountains around Zakopane tend to be the chilliest of all the places. Come December, they are often bathed under a blanket of the white stuff and weather temps that are regularly -10 C or even more below the zero mark. Most folks will work in larger cities like Krakow or Warsaw, where the pay can be as high as $1,900/month.
Estonia is often overlooked by teachers keen to find a job in Europe. But it shouldn’t be. The country sits on the side of the sloshing Baltic Sea, offering the UNESCO-tagged capital of Tallinn and wonderous swathes of pine forests that roll on to meet the Russian border. The location alone should give a clue that it’s a cold spot in the winter. In fact, the record low temp in these parts was a whopping -43.5 C (that’s -46.3 F), while the daily mean temperature in the capital is between +2 C and -3.6 C (35-25 F) from November to February. Bring the big coat!
Even though the vast majority of teachers who head the way of Finland will probably be chasing jobs in the southern cities of Helsinki and Turku, there’s no getting away from the fact that it will be a chilly place come November. Even the capital – one of the most southerly points in the country – sees daily means that are below freezing point from December through to March! Go further north and you can enter the wondrous world of Lapland, where fells rise between dashes of Arctic tundra. A certain Santa Claus lives up that way, you know?
If you can think of any more places that should be on our list of the coldest TEFL destinations out there, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Alternatively, start chasing those sub-zero temperatures by getting your 120-hour TEFL certificate today.