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Country Guide for Teaching English in Southeast Asia

Country Guide for Teaching English in Southeast Asia

Kids in Ou Dong, Cambodia

Brunei

Brunei is an ideal place to teach English, as it is safe, peaceful and the students are polite and respectful of foreign teachers. It also doesn’t hurt that teachers are not charged income tax, so you take home your entire salary every month. Moreover, many schools will grant housing assistance, cutting down your costs even more. However, standards are quite high in Brunei, as most of the teaching jobs are at primary and secondary schools. Therefore, you may find it difficult to find a job without a B.Ed or teaching qualification from your home country.

Requirements:

•You must be a native speaker from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the UK

•Bachelor’s degree, preferably a B.Ed, qualified teacher status such as a PGCE, Dip.T or accredited teaching certificate from your home state or province

•CELTA, TEFL and TESL certificates are not necessary, but definitely help

Work Visa:

You must have an employment visa to work in Brunei. Your school will arrange this for you, including all the paperwork and fees.

Expected Salary:

An average teaching salary in Brunei is anywhere from $42,000 BND to $77,000 BND per year (around $34,300 USD to $62,900 USD). Depending on the school, teacher packages might also include a housing allowance, settling in allowance and a bonus upon contract completion.

 

Cambodia

Back in the day, it was easy for backpackers to pick up work teaching English in Cambodia with no qualifications. However, times have changed, and schools in the kingdom have stepped up their game. Don’t expect to find a job if you haven’t invested in the proper education or certification prior to applying. The easiest places to find work are in Phnom Penh and Siam Reap. Overall, teaching in Cambodia is a pleasant experience, as the students are keen to learn, very respectful of teachers and quick to crack a smile or join in a laugh.

Requirements:

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL or TESL certificate

Work Visa:

You must have a business visa to work in Cambodia. You can get a 30-day business visa on arrival in Cambodia and extend it every month, however, most schools will arrange a 6-month or 1-year business visa for you, including all of the paperwork and fees.

Expected Salary:

Anywhere from USD $500 to $3,000 a month. ESL schools in Cambodia typically do not offer plane tickets, housing, settling in allowances or bonuses upon contract completion.

 

East Timor

East Timor is one of the world’s newest independent nations, and is one of those off the beaten path type places where you won’t find hoards of tourists. As such, it can be a very rewarding place to work. The students are eager to learn, the salaries are decent and it is easy to head out on your days off to some of the world’s best diving spots, beautiful retreats in the mountains and miles and miles of pristine sandy beaches.

Requirements:

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL or TESL

•Teaching Experience

Work Visa:

You must have a proper work visa to teach in East Timor, however, this is easy enough to obtain. The school or organization that hires you will usually arrange the visa for you, including all paperwork and fees. You can apply for the visa from a consulate in your home country or from within East Timor.

Expected Salary:

Salaries generally start at around $20.00 an hour, but could be higher depending on the school or organization and your experience. Employers may also include round-trip airfare, health and medical insurance and temporary accommodation upon arrival in East Timor.

 

Indonesia

Your best chances of finding work teaching English in Indonesia will be in the capital city of Jakarta. Here you will find many schools with competitive salaries and benefits. Elsewhere, English First dominates the English teaching scene. Salaries in Indonesia for ESL teachers tend to be lower than other parts of Southeast Asia, and working visas are expensive and slightly difficult to procure. Therefore, many schools may ask you to cover the costs of your own visa or sign a contract agreeing to repay the cost of the visa if you leave before the agreed upon completion date.

Requirements:

•Must be a native English speaker from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL or TESL certificate

Work Visa:

To legally work in Indonesia, you must have a work visa called a KITAS. If you meet all of the requirements, your school should arrange this for you. However, the KITAS is very expensive (about $1,500 USD), so some schools may take the cost out of your paycheck in increments each month, ask you to pay up front for the visa and then pay you back in increments each month, or ask you to sign a contract so that if you leave before the contract finishes, you are obligated to pay back the remainder of the visa.

Expected Salary:

From USD $300 to $1,500 a month, depending on the school. This may or may not include a housing allowance or free board at a house shared with other teachers.

 

Laos

Teaching English in Laos is great for those who prefer a more laid-back vibe over the hustle and bustle of city life. Laos is one of the most chilled out countries in Southeast Asia, even in the capital city of Vientiane, where you will find the majority of jobs. In addition, the friendly people and spectacular scenery are added bonuses. You won’t get rich teaching in Laos, but the cost of living is low and the going is easy here.

Requirements:

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL, or TESL certificate. **Some schools may hire you on without these qualifications, however, you may be looking at low rates per hour and part-time work.

•Experience is preferred but not necessary

Work Visa:

You must have a business visa to legally work in Laos. Most teachers come in on a tourist visa, secure a job, and then arrange the business visa from within the country. Your employer must sponsor you for the business visa, and they will usually arrange everything for you, including paperwork and fees. That being said, some teachers have reported that certain schools expect teachers to pay for the visa themselves at a cost of about $300 USD per year.

Expected Salary:

Salaries vary in Laos. Inexperienced teachers or those with no teaching qualifications may be offered rates are as low as $9 to $10 USD per hour and only a few working classes a week. For experienced teachers with legitimate credentials, the average salary is about $800 to $1,000 USD per month. It is very rare to find a school in Laos that will pay for plane tickets, housing, insurance or offer contract completion bonuses.

 

Malaysia

Teachers in Malaysia are rewarded with amazing scenery, a fabulously vibrant mix of cultures and religions, modern cities and incredible food. ESL students in Malaysia range from young learners just learning the alphabet to university students studying advanced grammar in an effort to study or travel abroad.

Requirements:

•Native speakers from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland are preferred

• Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL or TESL certificate

•Experience teaching

Work Visa:

You must have an Employment Pass to legally work in Malaysia. Most teachers enter the country on a tourist visa, secure a job, and then apply for the Employment Pass from within the country. Your employer must sponsor you for the EP, and they will typically arrange the paperwork and pay the fees. You must leave Malaysia to activate the Employment Pass.

Expected Salary:

Teaching salaries vary in Malaysia depending on the school or organization and your qualifications and experience. Average salaries range anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 USD. Some schools will also include a housing allowance, plane tickets and medical insurance.

Myanmar

Once a destination far removed from the typical ESL teacher’s bucket list, Myanmar is now enjoying a period of change, and English language teaching positions are becoming more plentiful. Yangon is where you will find the bulk of English language teaching jobs in Myanmar, and although the salaries may not be as high as those in other countries in Southeast Asia, the people you meet and the unique experiences you will have here make up for it.

Requirements:

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL, or TESL certificate

**It should be noted that it is possible to find a teaching job in Myanmar without a degree or teaching qualifications. However, if you don’t have these basic requirements, don’t expect to make killer money or receive any benefits.

Work Visa:

You must have a business visa to teach English in Myanmar. If you secure a job before you enter the country, your employer will arrange the paperwork for a business visa for you. Once you have the sponsorship letters, you can apply for a business visa at any Myanmar embassy. The multiple entry business visa is valid for 6 months, but you must leave the country every 70 days to extend the visa.

Expected Salary:

The average salary for an English teacher in Myanmar hovers around $1,000 to $1,500 USD a month, although this varies depending on your qualifications and experience. Some schools will pay for your visa costs, housing, plane tickets and even bonuses upon contract completion. As more and more English language schools open in Yangon and beyond, salaries and benefits will most likely become more competitive.

Philippines

It’s easy to see why so many people want to teach English in the Philippines. With over 7,000 islands, seemingly endless white sandy beaches, soaring mountains, verdant rice terraces, colorful culture and friendly locals, who wouldn’t want to work here? Unfortunately, finding ESL jobs in the Philippines is not easy. So many Filipino people speak excellent English that many schools prefer to hire locals rather than deal with the paperwork for employment visas for foreigners. However, if you really put your heart into it, you can find places that are willing to take on a foreign teacher.

Requirements:

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL, or TEFL certificate

Work Visa:

Once you find work in the Philippines, your employer will have to apply for an Alien Employment Permit, which takes about 14 days to process. After you have this permit, you can apply for an employment visa.

Expected Salary:

Salaries for ESL teachers in the Philippines are quite low compared to the cost of living, at about $800 to $1,000 USD per month. English language schools in the Philippines do not usually pay for flights, accommodation, or insurance. You may or may not get a bonus upon completion of your contract.

Thailand

Once upon a time, it was easy for backpackers with few or no qualifications to pick up English teaching jobs in Thailand. In recent years though, the government and schools have become much more switched on, and now you need at least a bachelor’s degree to get your foot in the door in the competitive English teaching field. That being said, if you have the right qualifications, there are literally hundreds of teaching jobs available at any given time in Thailand.

Requirements:

•Must be a native English speaker from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, the UK or USA

•Bachelor’s degree or higher

•CELTA, TEFL, or TESL certificate

Work Visa:

To work in Thailand, you must have a business visa and a work permit. It is quite common for teachers to enter Thailand on a 30-day tourist visa, find a job, and get a letter of sponsorship from their future employer for a business visa. Once you have the sponsorship letter, you must leave the country to apply for a business visa at a Thai embassy. For those who accept employment before arriving in the country, your employer will arrange the sponsorship paperwork for you, and you can apply for and enter Thailand on a Non-immigrant Business visa. The business visa is valid for 60 days, and can be extended for another 30 days.

Once you enter the country on your business visa, your employer must process the work permit for you. You do not have to leave the country to do this, and once you have the work permit, you can extend your business visa so that it is valid for one year. When your work permit expires, your business visa will also expire.

Expected Salary:

English teaching salaries in Thailand run the full gamut from pitifully meager to more than adequate to save money and have a great lifestyle. Your salary will depend on your qualifications, experience and the school or organization you work for. The best thing to do is try a number of different schools before making a decision. Some schools will also provide accommodation, round-trip airfare, medical insurance and bonuses upon contract completion.

Vietnam

Vietnam’s economy has been booming in recent years, and the influx of money means that more and more students are now able to afford foreign language classes. In addition, an increase in foreign investment and the popularity of Facebook (even though the website is banned in the country), have really motivated the younger generation to learn English as a second language. All this adds up to an increase in jobs and competitive salaries for ESL teachers in Vietnam.

Requirements:

•Must be a native English speaker from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, the US or UK.

•Bachelor’s degree

•CELTA, TEFL, or TESL certificate

•Teaching experience

Work Visa:

To get a work visa in Vietnam, your employer must sponsor you. Most enter the country on a tourist visa, and then either find a job or wait for their employer to submit all the necessary documents. Once your employer has submitted the letter of sponsorship to the government, you have 3 months to submit a police background check, obtain a medical checkup from an approved hospital or clinic, and submit original copies of your degree and teaching certificates. If everything is in order, you will receive a multiple entry work visa that is valid for the length of your teaching contract. You do not have to leave the country to change your visa.

Expected Salary:

Teaching salaries in Vietnam are quite high compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. You can expect to make anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 USD a month, depending on your qualifications, experience and the company that hires you on. Many schools will also offer a housing allowance, medical insurance, plane tickets and bonuses upon completion of your contract.