If you’re deciding whether or not to accept a job teaching English as a foreign language in Europe, there’s a few things to think about. The main consideration? Probably the cost of living relative to your earnings. Salaries vary wildly in Europe and high costs of living can really eat into your earnings if you don’t choose wisely. So, we’re here to help with the best places to teach English in Europe.
Keep in mind that schools in European TEFL destinations – unlike some Asian ones – won’t usually offer free flights home and subsidised accommodation. But there are many relatively inexpensive cities which will make your earnings go further, and allow you to bump up your savings too. Here’s five popular cities…
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Best Places To Teach English In Europe
Spain takes the crown when it comes to pay rates. So, we can think of a million reasons why you should make this country your new home. Mainly, it’s the average monthly salary for ‘auxiliares de conversación’ (language assistants) teaching at a school and enrolled in programmes run by Meddeas, the Spanish Ministry of Education (‘Ministerio de Educación’) and BEDA. You can expect to earn around $970-1,330. Sign up to these organisations and you’ll be teaching as little as 16 to 24 hours a week!
Your working day will be finished by the end of lunch time, you’ll work just 4 days a week and you can easily combine this job with other part-time jobs. You could work as an in-house or external au pair, teach English privately, work at a restaurant or bar in the evening, help students with essays, or translation work.
Teachers in Spain have plenty of job opportunities. Plus, the cost of renting a room is relatively low in Spain, even in the glitzy capital Madrid.
Cost of living in Madrid:
- Beer: $1.70-3.30 for half a litre
- Glass of wine: $2.20-3.30
- Espresso: $1.40-2
- Price of a shared apartment and utilities: $390-560
- Public transport: $1.67 for a single ticket, $13.60 for a 10-journey transport pass within Zone A (bringing the price down to $1.36 per swipe), $60/month for Zone A. This comes down to just $22/month for under-26s (with free access to certain museums and art galleries for those with the ‘joven’ (young person) pass).
- Average salary of an English teacher: $970-2200/month
Hungary might not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking about teaching English abroad, but don’t count it out just yet. For would-be TEFL teachers, Hungary has a lot to offer. Think: beautiful architecture, historical sites and a great transport network. From here you can easily (and cheaply!) visit cities such as Vienna in Austria or Bratislava in Slovakia.
Budapest in particular has an amazing nightlife scene. Its famous ‘Ruin’ bars in the old Jewish quarter are popular with both locals and internationals for a night out. If you teach at a reputable school such as Angol Intézet (the most prominent English language school catering to those seeking to learn business English), you can expect to earn an above average salary for the industry of around $1000 (300,000 HUF).
This really isn’t bad at all when you consider typical low living costs in the country.
Cost of living in Budapest:
- Beer: $1.10-2.20 for half a litre
- Glass of wine: $2-2.30
- Espresso: $1-1.30
- Price of a shared apartment and utilities: $350-500
- Public transport: $1.17 (350 HUF) for a single ticket and $32 (9500 HUF) for a monthly pass. This includes the public transport boat which links the two sides of the river called BKK, reduced to just $11.50 (3450 HUF) for students.
- Average salary of an English teacher: $780-1000/month
Portugal is famous for many things, from its colourful ‘azulejos’ (tiles) and scenic coastlines to its tasty seafood cuisine. You’ll have plenty of things to snap for your Instagram feed here.
English teachers are in high demand in Portugal, since its economy is heavily tourism-based. So, this pushes a lot of locals to master English in order to be considered for roles in the tourism industry. Are you a native English speaker (or possess native-like speaking ability) and also hold a recognised EFL teaching qualification such as a TEFL.org certificate? You’ll have no problems finding a job here.
The typical pay packet of an English teacher is between $780-1100 per month, depending on location. Teachers often supplement their pay with private classes too, which you can charge around $13 an hour.
Cost of living in Lisbon:
- Beer: $1.70-3.40 for half a litre
- Glass of wine: $1.70-3.40
- Espresso: Referred to locally as ‘bica’ and priced around $0.70-1.10
- Price of a shared apartment and utilities: $390-560
- Public transport: $1.70 for a single ticket, or $34 for a monthly travel card.
- Average salary of an English teacher: $780-1100/month
Demand for English teachers in Czech Republic is high, making it a TEFL-holder’s paradise. As the country grows to attract more foreign investment with foreign companies setting up in Prague and beyond, English is quickly becoming a must-have language. There’s also decent opportunities to get a job in the IT or TeleComms industry here, if you wish to stay on after your teaching experience finishes.
While Prague is the most popular place to settle down, there’s lots more to see here. Czech Republic has incredible scenery, charming spa towns, fairytale castles and – best of all – a low cost of living.
You can expect to earn anywhere from $780-1450 per month depending on the schools you sign up to work with. Many teachers here choose to top up their income by doing some sort of private tuition on the side. You can earn a rate of around $9-16 per hour.
Cost of living in Prague:
- Beer: $1.10-2 for half a litre
- Glass of wine: $1.10-2
- Espresso: $1.50-2.20
- Price of a shared apartment and utilities: $215-350
- Public transport: Hop on and off various types of public transport for just $1.40 (32 CZK) for a period of 90-minutes within Prague, or pay $24/month (550 CZK) for an unlimited pass
Italy is easily one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, with its snowy mountains in the north and turquoise blue waters in the south. Add in amazing art and history all over the country and it makes this the perfect choice for anyone whose idea of teaching English in Europe = romanticism.
Although TEFL salaries in Italy aren’t particularly high, there’s a low cost of living in a lot of areas (there’s lots of budget accommodation, food and drinks options outside of tourist hotspots). With plenty of things to do and see across the country, Italy enters this list as one of the best places to teach English abroad.
You can also supplement your income by teaching English privately on the side, or offer students help applying to university programmes or jobs abroad. A popular option is often to live with a host family to save money on rent in larger cities.
Cost of living in Rome:
- Beer: $3.40-5.60 for half a litre
- Glass of wine: $5.50
- Espresso: $1.10 standing at the counter, or from $3.40-5.60 if you sit down at a table.
- Price of a shared apartment and utilities: $360-670
- Public transport:$1.70 for a single ticket valid for 90-minutes, or $39/month for an unlimited pass.
- Average salary: $890-1,800/month
This article is in partnership with TEFL.org