What’s it Like to Teach English in Southeast Asia?

Teaching English abroad is one of the most fulfilling positions you can take on while traveling. TEFL positions are plentiful, and in Asia they remain in high demand. But what is it like for a foreigner that wants to teach English in Southeast Asia?


The requirements are not hefty if you want to teach English in Southeast Asia. In fact, a inspire4travel already qualifies based on normal life experiences. The only thing you need to get started is to have native level proficiency in English and a degree. Depending on what program you end up, a low-cost certificate may be required for a fulltime position. Teaching experience, helps, but isn’t required to get the most out of an English teaching position. 

Traveling The Country

Being employed in Southeast Asia means that you will get more chances to mingle with the local population. Lunch times are different, and after work activities will make it easier for you to make new friends. Instead of being seen as a visiting foreigner, an English teacher in Southeast Asia is seen as being part of the community. Individuals won’t be shy about chatting it up with you, so starting ice breaking conversations I no longer an anxiety laced issue. 


Teaching in Southeast Asia isn’t meant to be lucrative, but pays much more than you expect. The salary can go up to $5,500 per month, and is much more competitive than the base salary for an American teacher. Make sure to account for taxes back home if you are only staying short-term! 

Food and drinks in Southeast Asia are priced well, and the culture is known for having an active lifestyle. You can visit the same place every day for a week and see or taste something different. Medical needs aren’t overpriced, but you may need to spend a little extra to find comfortable clothes. When visiting for over a month, clothes will be your biggest expense. 

Meet The Students

The first meeting with the students will be the most important of your teaching career. This sets the tone, and helps you understand the differences in expectations when teaching English in Southeast Asia. Coworkers are pretty much the same, and will be more than happy to help you get adjusted. The biggest myth about teaching English in Southeast Asia is that coworkers will give you the cold shoulder. Teaching is a team effort in whatever program you enter, so coworkers will always have valuable advice to share. 

The Language Barrier

The language barrier is something that worries a lot of first time English teachers. Thankfully, there are helpful guides and rules to help new teachers interact with the students. In fact, the students are just as creative as the teacher when it comes to grasping new material. After the first day, teaching English in Southeast Asia becomes a very easygoing job with plenty of opportunities to learn things for yourself. 

An Adventure All on Its Own

There are few travel opportunities as rewarding as teaching English in another country. You’ll learn a lot about the Southeast Asian culture while giving back to the community. After applying for the position, prepare for a once in a lifetime adventure.

Sophia Anderson

Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on money, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development.