So you may not be from the USA, the UK, Australia, or any other of the countries deemed as home to “Native English Speakers,” but you still want to teach abroad. The good news? You absolutely can teach English abroad as a non-native speaker.

The slightly-bummer news? Your job options will be slightly more limited (particularly in East Asia and the Persian Gulf countries), and you might have to take some extra steps in the application process to prove your qualifications.

Those small details aside, there is still plenty of teach abroad opportunities from our friends who — like their students — speak English as a second language.

And that’s just it, isn’t it? You’ve literally studied the language, know the in’s and out’s and the rules and exceptions and *gasp* — even how to explain them.

As an ESL student yourself, you have years of experience tackling the beast that is English fluency, and have inside intel on what works for a lesson plan and what usually falls flat. And as far as we’re concerned, that makes you an ESL teacher more students can relate to a teacher who isn’t afraid to empathize with the struggle, and a teacher who is more motivated than ever to help non-native speakers achieve your level of proficiency (or more!).

Here’s our best advice on how to teach English abroad as a non-native speaker, including five countries hiring teachers like YOU right now.

Young children being taught how read.

Am I from a native English speaking country?

Unfortunately, even if your home country uses English in most of its day-to-day communication, the world job market has a very narrow classification of countries home to “native English speakers.

If you’re not a citizen of the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa, your passport doesn’t fit the bill.

This can be particularly frustrating to aspiring ESL teachers from countries in English-speaking Caribbean, Belize, India, or the Philippines, for instance. And while we understand your annoyances, we’re on your team and want to make sure you can teach English abroad as a non-native speaker.

Where can I teach English abroad as a non-native speaker?

We’re glad you asked. Here’s just a few of our favorite destinations where you can find teaching jobs abroad for non-native English speakers. Have fun perusing and daydreaming your program options, and — of course — don’t forget to reach out to us at Premier TEFL to get the ball rolling on your quintessential ESL adventure.

Temple in India.

5 Best countries to teach English for non native speakers

1. India

Finding teaching jobs in India for non-native speakers might not be as easy as finding curries or mango lassis, but they’re out there and worth finding nonetheless! For ESL teachers, life in India has much to offer and provides a great intercultural backdrop to your (already fulfilling) teaching duties.

From the rolling foothills of the Himalayas and secret temples perched in unlikely places to its colorful coasts and busy cities, there’s more to India than meets the eye.

What you should know:

  • Get a TEFL certificate to improve your chances of finding teaching jobs in India for non-native speakers
  • Hiring happens year-round, but jobs typically start in June and October.
Building in Cambodia

2. Cambodia

We don’t blame you for being drawn to Cambodia’s mystique — maybe it has something to do with its wild, ancient jungles, the occasional monkey statue, and/or its holy landscapes studded with orange-clothed monks.

It may not get all the attention of its neighbors, but Angkor Wat stands on its own, and the intensely growing scene of expats make for burgeoning ESL job markets for non native English speakers.

What you should know:

  • Our advice still stands. Get that TEFL!
  • The academic year starts in September but ESL jobs in Cambodia hire year-round. Expect to work between 15-30 hours a week and enjoy ample vacation time.

Program options:


Let Eva tell you about her time in Cambodia. Monique shares her recent experience as a Non-Native English teacher. Read it now!

Waterfall in Argentina- Teach english as non native

3. Argentina

Non-English speaking meat lovers and vegetarians alike will find comfort knowing you can find an ESL teaching job in Argentina. Particularly in its world-class capital of Buenos Aires, non-native speakers will fall in love not only with their teaching jobs, but also the vibrant barrios, the warm locals, and yes, the steak.

Christina review on review.co.uk

What you should know:

  • Regardless of your English language proficiency, getting a TEFL will help secure better ESL jobs
  • Hiring seasons for ESL teachers in Argentina are typically in late winter and mid-summer; however, language schools hire year-round. Prepare to teach for longer, ballpark 3-12 months!

Program options:

Beach resort in Romania. - Teach english as non native

4. Romania

Whether you have a penchant for vampires or verb structures, you’re in luck — there are many English teaching jobs in Romania for non-native speakers. You’ll find solace in this land of merry wanderers, where curiosity reigns and routine is shunned.

Beyond snapping countless photos of the painted monasteries and castles, you’ll have an incredible international work experience and change the lives of future changemakers. All in a day’s work, right?!

What you should know:

  • If we said it once, we’ve said it twice, we’ve said it a bunch. Get that TEFL!
  • In more rural communities, there are public and private schools, with very few language or international schools. In the capital of Bucharest, there will be many of each of these schools, as well as prospects for private tutoring.

Program options:

Panda resting on a tree- Teach english as non native

5. China

Though China has been making waves of having stricter qualifications for its ESL teacher jobs, you can still find teaching jobs in China for non-native speakers with excellent accents. #PhewEmoji? , because living and working in China is AWESOME.

The students are eager and engaged, the soups are warm and spicy, and the views are unmatched (both in the city and the country!). And, as a bonus, if you ever run out of fun ESL activities for the classroom, you can always make the kiddos count how many bricks comprise the Great Wall.

What you should know:

  • Our advice still stands. Get that TEFL!
  • The academic year starts in September but ESL jobs in China hire year-round. Expect to work between 15-30 hours a week and enjoy ample vacation time.
A bunch of children waving at the camera. - Teach english as non native

Blacklist! Avoid these countries with very strict hiring and work visa standards for non-native speakers:

We’d love for you to visit them, but maybe going as an ESL teacher isn’t the best fit. These countries tend to have very strict qualifications and hiring standards, and unfortunately (for them, their youth, AND you), they don’t accept non-native English teachers as English teachers in their schools.

  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • UAE
  • Vietnam

Wild Card: Teach Online

The hottest new trend in English teaching is online tuition. Exploding through 2018, there now are hundreds of online teaching platforms to choose from.

Teach from home or abroad. Boost your employment chances by brushing up your digital teaching skills and join online teaching facebook groups online or abroad for peer reviews on the best employers, rates of pay and online teaching tips!

Now get out there and find your paid English teaching jobs around the world!

To our Spanish-speaking, French-speaking, basically-any-language-speaking friends/amigos/amis/etc., you CAN teach English abroad as a non-native speaker. (Even if you don’t have a degree!) The only thing stopping you… is you.

Let’s do this!

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