The most popular countries for South Africans to teach English as a foreign language – and how much you can earn

The TEFL Academy has released a new report on teaching English in foreign countries, and how much you can expect to earn as an instructor.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language or TEFL is a popular gap year option for many South Arican, with a growing number of students using the course to travel the world while earning a living salary.

South Asia, China and South Korea have historically been popular destinations for South Africans, with a growing number also looking to do TEFL courses in Europe.

Below are some of the most popular TEFL countries and how much you can expect to earn while working there.


China

  • Degree requirement: BA/BS required
  • Typical contract length: 12 months
  • Typical students: Business professionals, students
  • Average monthly cost of living: £1,000 – £1,500 (R17,756 – R26,635)
  • Average monthly salary: £1,000 – £1,500 (R17,756 – R26,635)

France

  • Degree requirement: BA/BS required
  • Typical contract length: 9 – 12 months
  • Typical students: Business professionals, children
  • Average monthly cost of living:  €1,000 – €1,700 (R15,912 – R27,050)
  • Average monthly salary:  €1,295 –  €2,000 (R20,606 – R31,824)

Italy

  • Degree requirement: BA/BS required
  • Typical contract length: 9 – 12 months
  • Typical students: Business professionals, children
  • Average monthly cost of living: €800 – €1,500 (R12,729 – R23,868)
  • Average monthly salary: €800 – €1,500 (R12,729 – R23,868)

South Korea

  • Degree requirement: BA/BS required
  • Typical contract length: 12 months
  • Typical students: Children, students
  • Average monthly cost of living: 800,000 – 1.3 million KRW (R9,648 – R15,679)
  • Average monthly salary: 1.9 million – 2.1 million KRW (R22,915 – R25,327)

Spain

  • Degree requirement: Not required
  • Typical contract length: 6 – 12 months
  • Typical students: Business professionals, students
  • Average monthly cost of living: €1,000 – €1,500 (R15,912 – R23,868)
  • Average monthly salary: €1,000 – €1,500 (R15,912 – R23,868)

Thailand

  • Degree requirement: BA/BS required
  • Typical contract length: 3 – 12 months
  • Typical students: Business professionals, children
  • Average monthly cost of living: 20,480 – 30,725 THB (R9,454 – R14,183)
  • Average monthly salary: 21,107 – 31,661 THB (R9,743 – R14,615)

Vietnam 

  • Degree requirement: BA/BS required
  • Typical contract length: 12 months
  • Typical students: Business professionals, children
  • Average monthly cost of living: £400 – £600 (R7,094 – R10,641)
  • Average monthly salary: £630 – £1,225 (R11,173 – R21,725)

Read: 2 big changes coming to South African schools

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The most popular countries for South Africans to teach English as a foreign language – and how much you can earn