4 Places ESL Teachers Save Big Money!

ESL teachers save big money

These are my top 4 places ESL teachers save big money!


Many ESL teachers save big money by working in a select number of countries. Today, I’ve compiled a list from my own personal experiences and from what I’ve heard from fellow teachers.


As a veteran ESL teacher, I often speak to people who are either entering the ESL market or thinking of doing it soon. One of the most common questions I get asked is “Where can I make the most money teaching English abroad?”


This is not an easy question to answer because there are so many variables involved. Things like spending habits and interests play a huge role.


I have friends in Bangkok, Thailand that make half of what I make in Japan and they manage to save over $1,000 USD a month. On the other hand, I have friends in Japan that make around the same as I do, and they are broke by the end of each month.


Making a lot of money doesn’t mean you will save any, but it sure helps. From all my experiences and the experiences of my friends, here are the top 4 countries that make it easier to save money as an ESL teacher.





Mt. Fuji, Japan




With its exceptional mixture of futuristic cities and historical temples, delicious and strange cuisine and natural beauty, Japan is one of the top destinations for qualified English teachers.


Since the early 80’s, Japan has made many ESL teachers wealthy. Although the high pay and exorbitant bonuses of yesteryear no longer exist, this is still one of the best places to save money.


Why ESL teachers save big money in Japan:

  • Very good salaries in the $2500 to $3000 USD range per month
  • Airfare reimbursement (although this is rapidly becoming a thing of the past)
  • Low income tax for ESL teacher’s pay rate
  • Subsidized housing
  • Paid transportation to and from work
  • Low value added tax (sales tax)
  • Easy to find private students for additional money





Temple in Korea


South Korea


Korea’s growing economy and obsession with education has made teaching English very profitable. Many of my friends have built up small fortunes or reinvested their savings into real estate back home while living in Korea.


Why ESL teachers save big money in Korea:

  • Very good salaries in the $2000 to $2500 USD range per month
  • Jobs usually offer free furnished housing
  • Airfare reimbursement
  • End of contract bonus
  • Easy to find private students for additional money





UAE Building


Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Qatar and Oman (Arab Gulf Region)


Extremely wealthy countries that are working hard at being international players in both the economic and political arenas. They have invested heavily in English language instruction and as a result, ESL teachers can get great pay and benefits packages.


This job market is very competitive, so the more qualifications the better.


Why ESL teachers save big money in the Arab Gulf Region:

  • Awesome salaries in the $3000 to $5000 USD range per month
  • Income is totally tax free – you keep every penny earned
  • Free health insurance
  • Furnished housing or a generous housing stipend
  • Flights to and from your home country





Great Wall of China




Like Japan, China offers an abundance of differences between ancient culture and modern society. And, with 300 million ESL students, it’s the largest and most profitable market in the world.


Why ESL teachers save big money in China:

  • Decent salaries that seem to be rising with demand
  • Most employers offer free housing
  • Reimbursed airfare, although sometimes only partial
  • Relatively low cost of living, except for Beijing and Shanghai
  • Easy to find private students for additional money





Monument in Taiwan




This is a bonus. I don’t really know much about Taiwan, but I’ve heard great things about working there. The salaries seem quite good and I’ve met people that said they could save $500 to $800 USD per month.


Taiwan is one of the world leaders in electronics production. Their demand for English is just as strong as Japan and Korea with an almost equivalent pay.


Why ESL teachers save big money in Taiwan:

  • Earn $1500 to $2000 USD per month


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