Whether you are planning a gap year abroad or looking for something more permanent, teaching English in Europe is certainly an idea that is well worth exploring. Every year thousands of ordinary people just like you pack their bags and head off to this extraordinary continent in search of fun, adventure, and a cultural experience that will stay with them for life. As long as you have a solid understanding of the English language you are eligible, although most employers will expect you to also complete a TESOL certification course before you start teaching. Across the continent there are many countries to choose from, all which have their own benefits to offer. However, to give you a head start we have put together the following list of countries that we think are the best for teaching ESL in Europe right now.
Spain has been among the top destinations for TESOL in Europe for many years thanks to a widespread demand for qualified teachers and a culture that is very inviting to foreign visitors. With some of the best cuisine in the region, endless miles of beaches, year-round warm weather, and a relaxed outlook on life, what is not to like about Spain. Major cities such as Barcelona and Madrid attract the largest number of teachers due to the sheer number of potential jobs. However, you will also find opportunities in smaller cities, beach resorts, and even small country towns.
One particularly popular option is the Cultural Ambassadors Program (also known as the North American Language and Culture Assistants Program), that is run by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. Each year around 2,500 North Americans are employed by the scheme to work as assistant language teachers in elementary or secondary schools.
Check out our post: How do I find a job teaching English in Spain?
Similar to Spain, Italy has long been a popular destination for foreign ESL teachers as jobs are plentiful and the culture is as famous as any in the world. Pasta, pizza, gelato, and some of the very best wines on the continent are all waiting to be enjoyed. As it is a relatively small country, you can also realistically explore many of the country’s amazing cities in your spare time. You will never get bored of walking the streets and soaking up the atmosphere of iconic cities such as Rome, Venice, Milan and Florence. And the best news is that these are all among the cities with the most potential job options. Of course, Italy is not all about the cities as it is also home to spectacular landscapes and breathtaking coastlines that will keep drawing you back, time after time.
Check out our post: How do I find a job teaching English in Italy?
France makes up the third destination in Europe’s top three teaching spots. Although the French authorities are very protective of their own language, there is still a large appetite for English across much of the country. Paris is right at the heart of the job market, with hundreds of potential employers spread throughout the city. Language schools are many in number and private tutoring is also a very common option. On the downside, Paris is well known to be an expensive place to live which leads many teachers to head to other parts of the country. Wherever you end up living and working you are sure to have an incredible time sampling the world renowned cuisine between lessons.
Many foreign TESOL qualified teachers land a job in France via the TAPIF Program which stands for Teaching Assistant Program in France. This government-run initiative places foreign applicants into state schools where they work as teaching assistants.
Check out our post: How do I find a job teaching English in France?
Czech Republic (Czechia)
Although the previous three countries on this list are tried and tested destinations with plenty of jobs and fascinating cultures, the relatively high cost of living encourages many teachers to head further east and the Czech Republic is probably the most popular option in this region. Prague, the capital city, needs little introduction as it is famous the world over for its ancient streets and buildings dated back many hundreds of years. The city is also well known for its vibrant nightlife that offers endless fun, no matter what you like to do in your spare time. One other benefit that makes the Czech Republic so popular is the visa situation. Unlike many countries in the region, work visas are relatively easy to get hold of.
Check out our post: Can I get a work visa to teach English in the Czech Republic?
Due to the wide popularity of the previous countries, Germany can often be overlooked as a teaching destination. However, it thoroughly deserves its place on this list as jobs are plentiful in schools, language centers, universities, and private businesses, right across the country. Kindergartens are also a popular option with teachers who prefer to work with young children as they are widespread and the working conditions are typically of a very high standard. The capital Berlin has the largest number of potential opportunities, although Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Cologne are also popular choices.
Check out our post: Can I get a work visa to teach English in Germany?
These five countries above are particularly popular, but do not think that these are the only choices on offer. Most countries in Europe will have some amount of ESL jobs available, simply do an online search and see where your research takes you!