Quality of Life in TEFL?
As an EFL
teacher will I live well?
Typically, EFL instructors are paid better than the
average wage in a country. You will usually live better
than the average wage earner.
Yeah, well . . . what level is that? What if the
"Average Wage Earner" lives in a tin shack?
Good question! Your quality of live can be modest, but
can also be very good. It depends a lot on the
country. But, I don't think I have ever lived poorly.
Nor have I heard other teachers from other countries
complain. Even in countries where wages are quite
low - teachers tend to live well on the local economy.
What problems exist?
Though it seems like a great idea to get free housing
from your employer - it is sometimes a bone of
contention. You may find yourself living in what looks
like a slum. I know I have. But, very modest housing
in many poorer countries doesn't mean what it means in
many developed countries. It is quite unlikely that
gangs or crime will be out of control.
In Korea, I had
friends who lived in an area - that back home in America
- I would be afraid to enter after dark. But, in Korea,
no problem. In many countries, crime is not the problem
it is back home.
While teaching English in Taiwan, Korea (twice), Saudi
Arabia and Thailand - my quality of life has always been
good. I eat well and live well, and can afford good
medical care (typically at a small fraction of the cost
With the exception of Thailand - I have
always been able to save significant money every month
(minimum US$800/month, up to double or triple that). In
all countries, you can expect to be able to live well on
the local economy and to be able to vacation in the