The Best Programs to Teach English Abroad

By Editorial Staff •  Updated: 11/25/23 •  Teach Abroad

Have you been bitten by the travel bug? Do you have a passion for teaching? If yes, teaching English abroad might be the perfect opportunity for you. Not only would you get to live in a foreign country and experience its culture, but you would also get paid to teach your native language.

In this comprehensive guide to the best programs to teach English abroad, specifically in Asia and Europe. We will look in-depth at Japan’s JET Program, South Korea’s EPIK Program, Spain’s NALCAP Program, France’s TAPIF Program, and Hungary’s CETP Program. We will give you an understanding of what makes these programs stand out, their requirements and benefits, and how you can increase your chances of getting selected.

Understanding the Basics of Teaching English Abroad

Teaching English abroad requires meeting specific requirements, including a bachelor’s degree and TESOL/TEFL certification. Asia and Europe are popular destinations for teaching English, offering unique cultural experiences.

The benefits of teaching English abroad extend beyond the classroom, allowing one to immerse oneself in a new culture and gain valuable teaching experience. Several programs are best for teaching English abroad, such as the JET Program in Japan and the EPIK Program in South Korea.

Programs to Teach English in Asia

Looking to teach English in Asia? There are several top programs you should consider. The JET Program in Japan is a government-sponsored initiative that offers a competitive salary and benefits package. South Korea has the EPIK program, which provides housing, airfare, and health insurance. Teach Taiwan is another excellent option, offering a competitive salary and accommodation.

If you’re interested in teaching in China, Indonesia, or Russia, English First is a global program with locations in these countries. And if you’re looking for TEFL certification and job placement assistance in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Thailand, check out various private TEFL programs that offer job placement. These programs provide excellent opportunities to teach English abroad in Asia.

Japan’s JET Program – Teach in a rural area

Japan’s JET Program, designed for native English speakers, offers a unique opportunity to teach English and immerse oneself in Japanese culture. With competitive salaries, health insurance, and flight expenses covered, the program ensures a comfortable experience.

Participants are placed in schools across Japan, allowing them to share their language and culture while gaining teaching experience. Cultural exchange opportunities further enrich participants’ understanding of Japan.

The application process includes rigorous screening, including a written test and interview. Teaching in Japan through the JET Program provides an invaluable chance to explore the vibrant Japanese culture and positively impact students’ lives.

Requirements for the Japan JET program

To participate in Japan’s JET program, applicants must meet specific requirements. This highly competitive program requires candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Additionally, having a strong interest and background in Japanese culture and language is essential.

While teaching experience or certification is not mandatory, it can be advantageous. The program offers participants a living allowance, subsidized housing, and annual flights to and from Japan. In addition to teaching English, JET participants are expected to assist with extracurricular activities and cultural events, fostering a well-rounded experience.

Application Process:

The application process typically includes submitting an application form, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and possibly participating in an interview. The interview may be conducted in person or online.

It’s crucial to thoroughly review the specific requirements and application procedures outlined by the JET Program for your country of application. The application timeline and procedures may vary, so be sure to stay informed and submit all required documents by the specified deadlines.



South Korea’s EPIK Program – Competitive and well paid

Looking to teach English in South Korea? Consider exploring the EPIK program, an opportunity that offers placement in public schools with benefits like free housing and airfare reimbursement. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree and meet specific qualifications to qualify.

The EPIK program provides orientation and ongoing support for teachers, making it an enriching cultural and professional experience. With its unique perks and comprehensive support, teaching in South Korea through the EPIK program can be a rewarding journey. Take the chance to embark on this exciting teaching adventure in South Korea.

An Overview of South Korea’s GEPIK Program

The GEPIK program in South Korea offers a range of benefits to English teachers, such as free housing and reimbursement for airfare. This program is specifically designed to teach English in South Korean public schools. It allows teachers to explore the country’s rich culture and history while meaningfully impacting students’ lives.

Before starting their teaching positions, teachers in the GEPIK program receive a comprehensive orientation. Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree and a clean criminal record to be eligible for this program. GEPIK offers a unique and rewarding experience for those interested in teaching English abroad.

Requirements for South Korea’s EPIK Program

To be eligible for South Korea’s EPIK Program, applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in an English-speaking country. Additionally, they must be citizens of a country where English is the primary language. While a TEFL/TESOL certification is preferred, it is not mandatory.

The EPIK Program offers numerous benefits, including furnished housing, airfare reimbursement, and paid vacation time. This program provides a valuable opportunity to teach in South Korean public schools and gain cultural experiences. By fulfilling these requirements, aspiring English teachers can embark on a fulfilling journey teaching abroad in South Korea.

Application process for EPIK

Complete and submit the online application form provided on the EPIK website during the designated application period.

Prepare and submit necessary documents, which may include:

  1. Copy of your passport
  2. Sealed university transcripts
  3. Letters of recommendation
  4. A criminal background check
  5. Health statement
  6. A self-introduction or personal statement

Successful applicants are usually contacted for an interview. The interview may be conducted in person, over the phone, or via video conferencing. If selected, applicants receive a Letter of Appointment and are placed in a specific location in South Korea. EPIK tries to consider preferences, but placement is ultimately determined by the needs of the program.

Visa Application

After placement, applicants receive information on the visa application process. This typically involves obtaining an E-2 visa, which is the visa category for English teachers in South Korea.

Pre-Departure Orientation:

You’ll have to attend a pre-departure orientation, either in your home country or in South Korea, to receive information about living and teaching in South Korea and to meet other EPIK participants.

Arrive in South Korea:

Travel to South Korea and participate in the in-country orientation provided by EPIK. This orientation covers various aspects of life in Korea and provides support for settling into your new community.

It’s crucial to refer to the official EPIK website or contact the EPIK office directly for the most accurate and current information.



Understanding South Korea’s SMOE Program

The SMOE program, short for the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, is a renowned teaching program that hires English teachers for public schools in Seoul. As an English teacher with SMOE, you can enjoy competitive salaries, paid vacation time, and incredible benefits like free housing and airfare.

To be eligible for SMOE, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and be native English speakers from countries where English is the official language. SMOE is dedicated to providing comprehensive training and support to help teachers adjust to living and working in Korea. This program offers a unique opportunity for cultural exchange and professional development.


SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education) and EPIK (English Program in Korea) both offer opportunities for teaching English in South Korea, but they differ in key aspects.

SMOE focuses specifically on the Seoul Metropolitan Area, providing a more urban experience. Teachers are directly hired by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, which can lead to a closer connection with the local government and education system.

EPIK, on the other hand, is a nationwide program run by the Korean Ministry of Education. It places teachers throughout South Korea, offering a range of placement options in urban, suburban, and rural areas. EPIK provides a standardized program and support structure, placing teachers in public schools.

The choice between SMOE and EPIK often depends on personal preferences regarding location, school environment, and the desire for a more direct relationship with local government. The application processes and experiences can vary, so prospective teachers should carefully research each program to make an informed decision based on their preferences and goals.

Teaching English in Europe: A Comprehensive Guide

Teaching English in Europe offers a wide range of opportunities for aspiring educators. The English teaching market in Europe is diverse and thriving, with numerous programs and organizations that cater to teachers interested in this field. Requirements and qualifications for English teachers vary across different countries, but generally, a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification are preferred.

Finding and securing a teaching position in Europe can be competitive, so it’s essential to do thorough research and prepare accordingly. Teaching English abroad in Europe comes with its own benefits and challenges, including cultural immersion, professional development, and the opportunity to explore the continent’s rich history and diverse landscapes.

Discovering Spain’s NALCAP Program

The NALCAP program in Spain is a government-run initiative to recruit native English speakers for teaching positions in local public schools. It offers a competitive salary, health insurance coverage, and assistance in finding suitable housing. Teachers are usually placed for 10 months, with the option to extend an additional year. NALCAP also prioritizes the professional development of its teachers, providing ongoing support and opportunities for growth.

Moreover, the program facilitates cultural exchanges, allowing participants to learn Spanish and immerse themselves in the local culture. With its comprehensive benefits and educational commitment, NALCAP is an excellent opportunity for individuals looking to teach English abroad in Spain.

Introducing France’s TAPIF Program

France’s TAPIF program offers native English speakers the opportunity to teach English in France. Open to individuals aged 20-35 years old, participants receive a monthly stipend and health insurance coverage during their stay. Applicants need a Bachelor’s degree and basic French language skills to qualify. The program not only provides valuable teaching experience but also allows for cultural immersion.

By participating in TAPIF, English speakers can immerse themselves in the vibrant French culture and gain a deeper understanding of the language. With its combination of teaching opportunities and cultural experiences, the TAPIF program is an excellent choice for teaching English abroad.

An Insight into Hungary’s CETP Program

Hungary’s CETP program offers a unique opportunity to teach English in the heart of Europe. Participants in the program are provided with a monthly stipend, furnished housing, and health insurance. The program focuses on teaching English to Hungarian students in public schools and community centers. CETP program participants can also explore Hungary’s rich culture through organized cultural activities.

This program is open to native English speakers with Bachelor’s degrees and a TEFL certification. With its attractive benefits and cultural experiences, Hungary’s CETP program is an excellent choice for those seeking to teach English abroad in Europe.

Peace Corps (Americans Only)

The Peace Corps, a prestigious and globally recognized organization, offers a unique avenue for ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers seeking meaningful and impactful experiences in international education.

Rooted in a legacy of service and cultural exchange, the Peace Corps provides individuals with the opportunity to immerse themselves in diverse communities around the world, facilitating language learning and promoting cross-cultural understanding.

For ESL teachers aspiring to make a difference, the Peace Corps stands as a pathway to not only share the gift of language but also to contribute to community development, foster mutual respect, and forge lasting connections in the spirit of global cooperation.

This introduction outlines the transformative journey that awaits ESL educators within the Peace Corps, embodying the ethos of service, cultural exchange, and positive change.

Requirements for ESL teachers in the Peace Corps

It’s important to note that the Peace Corps application process is competitive, and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Successful candidates are those who demonstrate a genuine commitment to service, a passion for cross-cultural exchange, and the ability to thrive in diverse and sometimes challenging environments.

Peace Corps typically requires candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree. The degree can be in any field, but having a degree in education, English, linguistics, or a related field can be beneficial, especially for ESL teaching assignments.

While not always required, having prior teaching experience, especially in ESL contexts, can strengthen your application. This experience could be in a formal classroom setting or through volunteer work.

The Peace Corps places a strong emphasis on candidates who can adapt to different cultural contexts. Demonstrating cross-cultural experience, open-mindedness, and flexibility in diverse environments is essential.

What Makes These Programs the Best?

The best English teaching programs stand out for their comprehensive training and support, offering teaching opportunities in diverse settings and locations. With a strong reputation and positive participant reviews, these programs prioritize cultural immersion and personal growth.

Evaluating Program Benefits and Opportunities

Several essential factors exist to evaluate when considering the best programs to teach English abroad. These factors will help you determine the benefits and opportunities offered by each program. First and foremost, look for programs that provide extensive training and support to their participants.

This will ensure that you are well-prepared and equipped for your teaching responsibilities. Additionally, programs offering cultural immersion opportunities can significantly enhance your experience by allowing you to better understand the local culture and language. Professional development and career advancement opportunities are also crucial aspects to consider.

They will help you grow as an educator and open doors for future career prospects. Another critical consideration is the level of logistical support provided by the program. Housing, transportation, and other practical assistance can make the experience more comfortable and convenient. Lastly, it’s essential to consider program reviews and alums feedback.

These insights will give you valuable information about the overall quality and reputation of the program. You can choose the best program to teach English abroad by carefully evaluating these program benefits and opportunities.

How Can One Increase Their Chances of Getting Selected for These Programs?

To increase your chances of getting selected for these programs:

  1. Consider obtaining a TEFL or TESOL certification to showcase your language teaching skills.
  2. Gain teaching experience, even through volunteering or tutoring.
  3. Tailor your application to meet the specific requirements of each program and highlight relevant skills and experiences on your resume.


In conclusion, if you have a passion for teaching and a desire to explore new cultures, teaching English abroad can be a rewarding experience. With programs available in Asia and Europe, you have plenty of options. Whether Japan’s JET Program, South Korea’s EPIK Program, or Spain’s NALCAP Program, each program offers unique opportunities and requirements.

It’s essential to research and understand the specific criteria for each program to increase your chances of being selected. Additionally, gaining relevant experience and obtaining TEFL certification can strengthen your application. If you want more, checkout our guide on the best countries to teach English abroad:

Editorial Staff

I'm David Unwin and I head the editorial staff here at Teach and GO. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I and my team now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more.

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