A McDonalds outlet in Beijing. Last year, 1,200 South Africans received visas to teach English in China. (Getty Images)
  • The five most popular countries for South Africans teaching English are China, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea.
  • China pays the best, and living expenses there are also among the cheapest.
  • Some countries, like Spain, are more suited for short stints.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider South Africa.

South Africans teaching English in China can earn almost double the average teaching salary on offer locally.

While the average salary of South African teachers is barely reaching R 21,000 a month, according to a survey by the jobs site Indeed, English teachers in China can earn up to R41,000, according to the TEFL Academy.

The organisation is the biggest course provider of teaching English as a foreign language in South Africa, and has launched the world’s first factbook for English teachers abroad.

It shows that English teachers can earn sizable salaries in countries like Kuwait (R39,000 - with TEFL estimating that your living costs will be only R14,000 a month), Norway R47,000 and Oman R45,000.

These are the five most popular countries among South African TEFL teachers:

China – average monthly salaries of up to R41,000

China boasts one of the highest paying teaching positions internationally, TEFL says. Also, living costs are among the lowest. The organisation estimates that you can live on between R18,000 and R27,000 a month.

Chinese students are interested in learning English for business, academic and general conversation.

Last year, the Chinese embassy awarded 1,200 visas to South African teachers.

Vietnam – average monthly salaries of up to R22,600

TEFL estimates that you can survive on between R5,400 and R10,800 a month in Vietnam. “The cost of living is relatively cheap, allowing teaching salaries to accommodate travelling around the country and a comfortable lifestyle.“

The country’s growing tourism industry has encouraged locals to learn business English, TEFL says.

South Korea – average monthly salaries of up to R23,400

“Teachers looking to save money or pay back student loans should consider taking up positions on this island nation – most schools will reimburse flights and offer accommodation, paid holidays and an annual bonus,” says TEFL.

Thailand – average monthly salaries of up to R16,000

Thailand is an excellent place for newly qualified teachers to learn and hone their teaching skills, due to the slower pace of life, says TEFL.

Spain – average monthly salaries of up to R22,500

“Teachers can explore the country while working in summer camps, as language assistants and through private school teaching. Spain is suitable for travellers who do not have a university degree and are looking for a shorter time abroad.”


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