There are loads of great reasons to get a TEFL certificate and find yourself work teaching English in Asia. To travel and see the world. To experience other cultures. To meet other people. To improve your CV. To earn some cash.
But did you know that you can save money compared to living here in the UK? You’ll be amazed how much cheaper things are over in Asia, and how well you can live without having to earn an absolute fortune…
One of the things that you’ll really notice if you do head out to teach English in Asia is that travel is much cheaper than here in the UK. For example, I took the train from Leeds to London to see some friends over Christmas and it set me back £48.50 and took just over two hours. Not too bad I suppose when you think a cab across London can easily set you back £60. But over in Asia your hard-earned cash will get you much, much further.
In China, for a similar cost, you could get hard-sleeper train from Beijing to Hong Kong and still have enough left for something to eat on the train. While over in Thailand you could get an overnight train and a bus down to Krabi, grab some breakfast by the river then jump on the morning ferry down to Koh Lanta and still have enough cash left over for a couple of nights in a beach hut under the palm trees! That’s more like it!
Lower Fuel Bills
One of the many benefits of swapping January in the UK for January in Asia is that if you choose the right destination, you could find yourself basking in glorious tropical sunshine.
Up here in Leeds it’s a rather nippy 5°C with a nasty northerly blowing in and showers predicted throughout the day. But over in Bangkok it’s a glorious 35°C with absolutely no chance of proper rain until sometime around the end of March!
So rather than spending £100 a month on gas, electricity and woolly jumpers, you could be spending it on weekend trips down to the islands, partying on the Kao San Road and eating amazing street food on the way home from work. And there are loads of great TEFL jobs over in Thailand at the moment too, including our Thai TEFL Internship
According to recent figures the average rent in the UK is somewhere around £700 a month, which is a fair old chunk of anyone’s salary. Over in Asia however a decent place to live is a little more affordable, in fact many TEFL jobs in Asia offer the successful candidate free accommodation and some help towards the bills.
If you do have to find your own place, your salary will probably be a little higher to compensate and rental process are usually pretty low. For example, in Beijing you should be able to find a decent flat-share with other ex-pat teachers for round £200 a month and in Bangkok you can expect to pay as little as £150. Away from Asia’s capitals, the rental prices drop dramatically, so you could end up paying even less.
Wherever you go in Asia you’ll find amazing street food. In India you’ll find super spicy samosas and pakora, on the streets of Thailand you’ll get to sample satai gai and pad thai, in South Korea steaming dishes of bibimbap and spicy noodles full of kimchi and in China you can expect street vendors to be selling anything from rou bazoi (steamed meat buns) and yu xiang rousi (fish flavor pork strips) through to deep fried bugs and crickets.
And no matter where you go and no matter how adventurous your palate, one thing remains the same: Asian street food is really cheap! Even in the most touristy areas of Bangkok you’ll be able to get a big bowl of Pad Thai for as little as 80p: less than the price of one of the nasty steak bakes from Greggs and much, much, much tastier!
Cheaper Nights Out
A few years back I was over in Phnom Penh in Cambodia with my partner. It was the end of a six month trip around Asia and we were in the mood to treat ourselves to a boozy night out and one last big blowout.
So we went to a backpacker’s place called the Lazy Gecko and had an amazing meal of Khmer curry and rice and a few beers and then stayed up until sunrise drinking more whisky and coke and chatting with a load of independent travelers and teachers down by the lake.
And we ended up spending the huge total of… £12! That’s probably one of the highlights of living and travelling in Asia, you’ll get to have nights out where you eat amazing food, hang out with people from all over the world, sample the local booze, and still spend less than popping to your local pub for a quiet pint or two and a packet of pork scratching!
So What’s Keeping You?
Here are three easy ways to find work teaching English in Asia…