Wondering what are the best countries to teach English and save money? Have student loan debt you want to pay off?
Well, for many the best place is going to be in the Middle East, however if you don't have qualifications like a master's degree, teaching license, experience and/or possibly a CELTA then you're probably out of luck.
But don't despair.
You have other options.
Teaching English in Asia can be a pretty good bet for some including beginning English teachers.
So how much you can save teaching English in Taiwan, China, Korea or Japan?
Saving a $1000 a month is possible in Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan as salaries for English teachers are pretty good.
However, it is easier in some places. It also is going to depend on a few different factors such as: you, your job, your location in that country, and if you are getting any benefits or not.
How much you can save depends on you
If you spend a lot of money then of course you will be able to save less money. Here are some common ways to spend money and thus save less.
- Eating out, shopping, going to bars, and discos is likely going to eat up your cash fast. Eating out isn't always expensive. You can find cheap food, sometimes even cheaper than shopping at some local markets. I'd say that this easier to do in these places in this order: China is the cheapest, Taiwan is 2nd, Korea is 3rd and Japan is 4th. Foreign food and restaurants cost more.
- Big cities (Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Taipei) are also going to be more expensive. Rent, food, and transportation will generally cost more here. Some countries are more standardized, but some like China vary more as to how much money you can make depending on the school you are working for and location.
Let's start with the easiest place first to save money teaching English in Asia first.
How much can you save teaching English in Korea?
That depends on different factors, but I'd say between $10,000 and $16,000 USD. It's fairly easy for most teachers to save $1000 USD a month.
Korea is going to be one of the best places to teach English abroad and save money. Why? Because in Korea most teachers get free housing, severance pay, free airline tickets, and some get a pension as well. If you sign a contract to a school that offers these benefits then it shouldn't be hard unless of course you are a spender.
I saved 18,000,000 Won (currently $15,800 USD) my first year in Korea. I had a nice home and made 2.3-2.4 million Won a month. I still went out to eat sometimes and had some money to spend as well. I stayed in Korea, so my school gave me a reimbursement for my airfare at the end of my contract.
Learn more about teaching English in Korea.
How much can you save teaching English in Taiwan?
It depends on different factors, but I'd say it's possible to save between $500-$1000+ a month for most.
How can you save a $1000 a month in Taiwan?
In Taiwan you will probably have to juggle a couple of jobs to do that since schools do not usually offer benefits. If you get a salaried buxiban job in the evening (NT$48-60,000) and a part time morning job teaching kindergarten kids or adults then it shouldn't be a problem. Most part time jobs pay $NT600 an hour. So if you find a couple of hours in the morning then that could be another NT$24,000 a month.
If you are a licensed teacher then you can get a public school job that pays NT$65,000+. Then it might be possible to do it with just that.
I worked mostly part time jobs in Taiwan. At the most I worked 18-20 hours a week when I lived in Tainan. With that I didn't have a problem saving $500 a month. If I had worked in the mornings for a few hours as well I could have saved a $1000 a month, but I wasn't really interested and I had to travel about 30-40 minutes to work then.
So that's another thing to consider.
The time spent traveling to work will decrease the amount of extra time you have to work, if you want to.
Also remember that in some cases you'll probably make more getting paid by the hour. Some cram school teachers in Taiwan might only make NT$55,000 a month working from 2-9pm. If you taught 4 hours in the evening at an hourly rate you could make NT$48,000 a month which is nearly the same amount as a teacher working 35 hour weeks.
Some schools will offer a visa and ARC to teach in Taiwan for only teaching as little as 12 hours a week. The first school to give me a visa in Taiwan gave me one working about that many hours. The second school that gave me a visa gave me one for teaching 18 hours a week.
So if you want to make money teaching in Taiwan then it might be a good idea to stack part time jobs since it's possible.
Location will matter here. If you're in Taipei then you will be paying more for rent than you will in other places.
Learn more about teaching English in Taiwan.
How to save a $1000 a month in China
In China, as mentioned before there are big fluctuations in the salaries for teachers. The good thing is that many schools offer benefits here such as free housing and airfare reimbursement. In some of the big cities you might not get free housing, but you will likely be getting paid more.
If you can find a job making more than 10,000RMB a month and you have free housing then you should have no problem granted you don't spend a lot of money. You can probably get by on $200 a month for food and if you find a cheap place to stay then you might still be able to save a $1000 a month making 10,000RMB or more.
If you are making less than that then you might want to get a second job.
Learn more about teaching English in China.
Can you save money teaching English in Japan?
Yes, you can as long as you are not living in a city like Tokyo.
Salaries for ESL teachers in Japan are often higher, but it's not that easy to save as Japan is more expensive and schools don't usually offer benefits. However, I have lived there now since I originally wrote this and I found that it's not really that expensive to live aside for the start fees.
I made this video and post on how to move to Japan cheaply.
A few schools might help with rent, key money or offer cheaper accommodation and then again some of the large companies may offer you housing that is more expensive than what you could find on your own.
Salaries in Japan are pretty standardized (average 250,000 Yen), yet the cost of living is not. If you find a cheap place to rent, you're making 250,000 Yen monthly, and you don't have many expenses then you can save a $1000 a month here.
But that is probably not going to happen in a place like Tokyo. So you might want to consider moving to a smaller city to save more. Guest houses can also be a cheaper way to live and save.
Learn more about teaching English in Japan.
So that's how you can save $1000 a month teaching English in Asia. It's definitely possible, but remember a lot depends on you, your location and the school you work for. Money is important, but I wouldn't recommend making it your only interest or reason for teaching abroad.