How can I save money while teaching English abroad?

Financial reward is not the main priority for everyone who chooses to teach English abroad, however, the ability to live comfortably and to enjoy all that you new home has to offer is certainly something most people consider. To ensure you are able to earn a good income and have the option of saving some of it to fund travel or to pay off student loans, there are a few things you can do before you leave home and after you arrive in your new country of residence.

Will a TESOL certificate help me earn more while teaching English abroad?

Probably the most important thing you can do to help your earning potential before leaving home is to complete an internationally recognized TESOL certification course. TESOL certification is rapidly becoming an essential qualification in many of the most popular teaching destinations worldwide, particularly those that offer the highest salaries. Having a teaching qualification in your portfolio will certainly give you a wider choice of teaching jobs to apply for and also demonstrate to potential employers that you are a professionally minded teacher who is capable of providing a high standard of instruction in the classroom.

How will my choice of TESOL destination impact on how much I can save?

Where in the world you choose to teach will have a huge impact on your potential to save money. European countries such as France, Italy and Spain are many people's idea of a dream destination, however, their relatively high cost of living means they are not a great choice if saving cash is a priority. While you will be able to break even and live comfortably in these countries, you should consider other regions if you want the chance to pay off college debts or fund further travel. Asia and the Middle East are the two main destinations for teachers who want to earn top dollar. Employers in countries such as China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., routinely provide free housing and paid airfares on top of a good salary. Teachers working in these areas can typically save around 30% to 50% of their monthly income, which will add up to a significant amount of cash after a one year contract. In China and South Korea this figure could be anywhere from $500 to $1500 per month, while teachers in the Middle East could possibly save up to $2000 per month. Elsewhere in Asia, it is possible to save in the region of $500 per month in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan.

How can I earn extra cash while teaching English abroad?

In many countries it is common practice for teachers to top up their income by taking on private students in their own time. In top teaching destinations such as China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan parents routinely send their children to extra language classes outside of normal school hours. In these countries it is possible to earn anything from $20 to $50 per hour for each student you take on. Many European countries also have a strong demand for private tuition, which is a great opportunity to earn a little extra in a region where the cost of living is quite high

How can I save money on accommodation while teaching English abroad?

Unless you receive free or subsidized accommodation with your teaching contract, housing is usually the biggest expense for people teaching English overseas. The most common way to reduce this outlay is to share a house or apartment during your stay. It is common for teachers to house share with other teachers working in the same school or area, or to simply rent a room from a local family. Either option will make a big difference on how much you can save up during the length of your contract.

What else can I do to save money while teaching English abroad?

New teachers arriving in Asia or Latin America often fall into the trap of frequenting bars, restaurants and supermarkets that are specifically aimed at foreign workers and tourists. Although these establishments are a good way to socialize and make new friends in an unfamiliar environment, they can seriously damage your saving potential if you overuse them. To increase your chances of saving a good amount of your hard earned cash, it is wise to do your grocery shopping at local stores and markets and to hangout at local entertainment venues. As well as saving money, this approach will also provide a more authentic experience while teaching abroad.

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