Just because you’re moving across the world doesn’t mean that you need to abandon all the hard work you’ve put into building a healthy lifestyle for yourself!

Though the temptations might look a little different (Think: gelato instead of grocery store ice cream, freshly baked pastries instead of a sad Starbucks muffin, etc.), your commitment to your health and fitness can still be a priority.

When choosing a destination for TEFL jobs and internships, you might consider selecting a place that shares your love for wellness.

While any TEFL teacher can succeed in their fitness and career goals in any location (yes, there are healthy expats loving life in polluted Beijing!), you will set yourself up for even more success —or perhaps a new way to look at wellness—if you choose a place where the locals “speak” healthy living and fitness.

Here are the best TEFL destinations if you’re obsessed with health and fitness. Pack your jump rope, heart rate monitor, yoga mat, a reusable water bottle, and find TEFL jobs in healthy places! 

A woman canoeing

Top countries for TEFL teachers who prioritize their health 

1. India

Best for: Yogis, Vegetarians, Chai Tea Lovers 
No one wants to go into a full week of student-facing lessons and grading and wrangling kiddos feeling less than their best self. And there’s no better place to find your balance, fuel your body in the right way, and “shake it off” with a chai than gorgeous India—a great destination for health-minded TEFL teachers.

Food is often locally sourced, homemade, and might we add, flippin’ delicious. Fresh tropical fruit is the norm (not to mention the perfect treat after a serious Ashtanga session at your new yoga studio). Take a deep breath and step into your classroom feeling healthy and wholesome!

A group of people doing yoga in India

2. Thailand

Best for: Meditation, Vegans, Swimming, Thai Massage 
A surf paradise with plenty of remote beaches, Thailand is also home to stunning mountains for climbing (and feeling powerful), tropical beaches for sun-soaking, waterfalls for splashing, and best of all?—spotty cell reception (so you have no choice but to disconnect every now and then!).

Healthy TEFL teachers will feel right at home amidst the Thai culture, which prioritizes a calm connection to the land, is fueling important ecological movements like seed saving and mud home building, and even boasts its very own version of stretching and relaxing (be warned—Thai massage is addicting!).

Don’t worry; you’ll still want to do a great job in the TEFL classroom despite the fact that wellness distractions (and vegan curries ) abound. Why not try to incorporate activity and health tips into your ESL lessons!? Work-life balance FTW.

Recommended TEFL job: 5 Month TEFL Internship around Chiang Mai

A bowl full of fruit

3. Japan

Best for: Jasmine Tea Lovers, Martial Artists, People Who Want to Live a Long Time       
The Japanese have been revered for their long life expectancy, which is higher than almost anywhere else—Did you know that Okinawa has the highest number of centenarians in the world? Awesome! So, what’s their secret? We guess it has something to do with their balanced diet, a culture that values community and zen, those gorgeous spas (onsens), and all that green tea! 

If one of your life principles is to eat as little sugar as possible, you’ll nom happily on Japanese cuisine, which focuses on largely fresh and unprocessed foods. Fish and grains will keep you focused on your TEFL lessons even after the school bell rings—and the zen gardens are the perfect retreat after a stressful day in the classroom.

Need an outlet that will get your heart rate up? Try climbing the Japanese Alps. Game to focus on self-improvement, fulfillment, and personal growth? Sign up for Karate, Judo, or Aikido classes. 

A cup of tea with a flower floating in it

4. Costa Rica

Best for: Herbal Medicines, Juices, Swimming, Yoga Retreats 
The call of the wild can be answered with ease in gorgeous Costa Rica. As the most environmentally friendly country in the world, it’s no surprise that the locals’ love for the planet has translated seamlessly into a love of self. You can even buy Kombucha here!

According to Hidden Gardens, “Costa Ricans are remarkably health conscious, and many of the older people grew up with a traditional diet that included herbal teas and food medicine.

Typical Tico condiments, such as onion, garlic, cilantro, pepper, thyme, oregano, are known for their therapeutic properties, as are many other Tico foods and drinks.” Get in touch with natural medicines in a new way while teaching ESL and embracing pura vida—the pure life.

Need to get away from it all during the mid-school year holidays? There’s a self-discovery retreat (nearby) for that. Learn about permaculture, simple living, and the health benefits of fresh-pressed soursop, passion fruit, and pineapple. Drink it in while taking a dip in gorgeous blue waters. You’ve never taken better care of yourself!

A man meditating on a hill

5. Spain

Best for: Fitness Fanatics  
Spain is only second to the US in terms of hours clocked at the gym in any given year—which makes TOTAL sense when you think about how delicious (and readily available) churros con chocolata and sangria are.

You’ll find tons of familiar sports on offer, like basketball, tennis, cycling, water sports, golf, and skiing. New-to-you activities might include bullfighting (not recommended for TEFL teachers) and handball.

Tired from that great workout but not in the mood for a siesta? Give yourself a little oceanside retreat and try surfing (or find a more chilled-out getaway by getting lazy with a book along the beach!).

Spain really has it all—including TEFL jobs with long contracts and decent pay. Live in a smaller city in Spain to really soak up some small-town R&R and feel embraced by the warm and inviting Spanish culture.

A man windsurfing

Recommended TEFL job: 9 Month Paid TEFL Internship

These are the best places for healthy TEFL teachers!

TEFL jobs in these health-oriented countries are guaranteed to have you living your best (not to mention most wellness-packed!) life. Find meaningful work and an adventure while keeping your heart healthy and happy.

Ready to put your best foot forward and start planning your TEFL experience abroad? Reach out to one of Premier TEFL’s top advisors to get the ball rollin’ today.

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