You speak English. You love adventure. You can’t get enough dumplings… or pad thai… or curry. This can only mean one thing. It’s time for you to find jobs in Asia for English speakers! Put on Mulan, open up your laptop, and start searching for flights to Beijing, Bangkok, and beyond.

Here are some of our favorite ways to teach English in Asia in 2023.

First things first: Plan to get a TEFL certificate

If you want to find teaching English work in Asia for foreigners, your first stop should be your national passport agency… and the second stop should be a TEFL certificate program. The benefits of having a TEFL certificate span professional and personal growth, ultimately teaching YOU how to be the best teacher you can be for your students. 

What’s more? You’ll have better job prospects and will more hireable with this certification under your belt to boot.

How to teach English in Asia

1. Score a TEFL internship

TEFL internships can be a great first-step to teach English in Asia—especially if you’re new to the TEFL scene. They differ slightly from straight-up jobs:

“When you seek a TEFL job, you often times use a placement service to connect you directly with a job vacancy in your international destination of choice. While these services can be great if you’re an experienced expat (AKA you have lived and traveled and worked abroad extensively in the past) or you are looking to roll your sleeves up for a more independent work abroad experience, TEFL jobs do little in the way of offering ongoing, direct support once you have started your teaching English job abroad.”

Students in class

You can find TEFL internships in a variety of Asian nations: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea. Internships range in length from a few weeks to a few months, and generally include perks like a salary, accommodation assistance, a welcome orientation, program support, and an instant community. You’ll also earn your TEFL certificate automatically, opening future doors for more teaching opportunities. 

Not a bad gig, eh?

You can read a more comprehensive breakdown on the difference between TEFL jobs and TEFL internships in this article here.

2. Tutor one on one

One strategy experienced expats employ to work and travel Asia is to find a small group of students to tutor one on one. These students can be found in a variety of ways—through your network abroad, by utilizing local job listing websites, by marketing yourself and your services with a tear-away phone number flyer at that corner cafe.

Two woman looking at a computer

Tutoring has important benefits: You get to be very focused on a single student and can customize your lesson plan to meet their individual needs. It can also pay a significantly higher rate than teaching at a school (if you play your cards right). 

The major downside is that these types of arrangements are typically illegal unless you have secured a work visa through other means.

3. Find online English teaching jobs

Did you know you can teach English in Asia… online? Base yourself in densely forested Kunming or the big-city lights of Seoul. It actually doesn’t matter where you end up, so long as you have a good WIFI connection and a willingness to work odd hours (outside of normal school hours, at least!).

Online English teaching companies like VIPKID and ALO7 make getting started as an online English teacher easier than ever (here are five awesome companies we love).

Pro tip: You can specialize as an online English teacher with a dedicated TEFL certificate for teaching English online. It’s highly recommended if you want your job opportunities in Asia to be the cream of the crop!

Laptop Guy in cafe

4. Use a job placement service

Anyone Googling “jobs in Asia for English speakers” know the huge teaching job placement market all too well. It can be hard to navigate the myriad options and figure out how to compare teaching jobs abroad. Our friends at GoAbroad offer this advice:

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my ultimate goal in teaching abroad? Why do I want to teach abroad? 
  • What do I want to teach abroad? 
  • What kind of teaching environment are you looking for?
  • Where do I want to teach abroad?  [ASIA… duh!]
  • What is my financial situation and how will teaching abroad affect that? 
  • Am I prepared to become TEFL certified? 

Having clear answers to the above questions will help you pick the right teaching abroad job placement service for your needs.

Computer - Asia

5. Apply directly to schools

If you want to skip the middleman altogether, an option to consider is moving to Asia and seeking jobs at local primary, middle, high schools—or dedicated English language schools—to see if they have job availability and you fulfill their qualifications. Be warned, however. This can be a risky move, as you oftentimes are put in a precarious position without legal backing and without a support system to navigate the rules of international employment.

Without an organization to vet the employer on your behalf, you might be walking into a job that doesn’t treat their employees well or doesn’t fulfill pay agreements. You might fly under the deportation radar or you might be at increased-risk without anyone to advocate for you.

This can be a more affordable route, enter with caution and plenty of research!

Chinese school children - Asia

6. Volunteer

There are dozens of schools in Asia that would love to teach their students English but simply cannot afford to hire a native English speaker. These schools are often in rural areas working with under-served youth. If you have a big heart for teaching and want to share your skills with oft-overlooked individuals, finding volunteer English teaching opportunities in Asia might be the right path for you.

What’s more, this low-stakes opportunity can give you a taste of what it’s like to teach English in Asia. Armed with more experience and comfort levels, you might feel the confidence needed to pursue other jobs in Asia for English speakers.

Teacher with her students - Asia

Teach English in Asia in 2023

There are a variety of jobs in Asia for foreigners, but we think teaching English is the best way to lead a life of adventure and meaning. Get TEFL certified then pick your path to teach English in Asia. We’ll see you there!

Discover here the experience of our amazing interns in Asia:

Teaching in Thailand with Harriet

A Day in South Korea with Madelyn

Ishaq’s Story in Cambodia

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