Can You Teach ESL in Countries Where English is Widely Spoken

By Geddy Gee
Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Hong Kong, and Macau have a high level of English proficiency. But there are still opportunities for teachers

Teaching English as a second language (ESL) has become a popular career choice for those who enjoy travelling and experiencing new cultures. Asia is a popular destination for ESL teachers, with many countries offering competitive salaries, benefits, and opportunities to explore new cultures. However, there are some countries in Asia where English is widely spoken, and you may wonder if there is still a demand for ESL teachers in those countries. In this article, we will explore whether you can teach ESL abroad in countries where English is widely spoken, and what opportunities are available.

Teach English in Singapore

Singapore is a small city-state in Southeast Asia known for its high standard of living, advanced economy, and cultural diversity. English is one of the four official languages of Singapore, alongside Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil. As a result, English is widely spoken and used as the language of business, education, and government.

Teaching English in Singapore can be a rewarding experience, as there is a high demand for qualified English teachers. Many private language schools and international schools hire foreign teachers to teach English to students of all ages and levels.

Singapore is the country in Asia with the highest English language proficiency with most Singaporeans speaking English at a native level as it is the language in which business and work is conducted. It’s common for people to speak languages such as Chinese, Malay, and Tamil at home, but the younger crowd is starting to focus more on English.

Because of the high language proficiency, it’s going to be challenging to get a teaching job in Singapore. The jobs are going to be focused on high level English so teachers are going to need higher level qualifications, although there are some language schools that cater to foreigners learning English in Singapore.

Teach English in Malaysia

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country known for its diverse culture, beautiful scenery, and delicious cuisine. English is widely spoken in Malaysia, alongside Malay, which is the official language of the country. Many Malaysians are fluent in English, and it is commonly used in business, education, and tourism.

Many people don’t know this, but Singapore used to be a city in Malaysia before it moved away and became another country. Because of this there are actually a lot of similarities between the two places. But one of the reasons why teaching English in Malaysia might be a more attractive option to some teachers is because of how large and diverse the country is. There are clear blue beaches on the East Coast on Islands such as Redang and Tioman and there are amazing mountains such as Kinabalu and Santubong. Then of course there are modern and advanced cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang where most of the teaching jobs will be.

In Malaysia, English proficiency is high Although there are a few official languages and some people might be more comfortable with say Malay or Chinese, people can speak English. This means that if you choose to work at a public or private school you are going to have to have advanced qualifications. However, Malaysia has many language schools that do cater to students from abroad who would like to study English in Malaysia.

The teaching environment in Malaysia can vary, depending on the school or institution you work for. Some schools may have more limited resources and facilities, while others may have modern and well-equipped classrooms. Class sizes can also vary, from smaller classes in private language schools to larger classes in universities.

Teach English in The Philippines

The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country known for its beautiful beaches, friendly people, and rich culture. English is one of the official languages of the Philippines, along with Filipino, and is widely spoken and used in business, education, and government.

The big cities in The Philippines such as Manila can be very intimidating to foreigners, but the people and nature is what make people love the country. The people are extremely welcoming and friendly and The Philippines has some of the best beaches in the world. 

Teaching ESL in the Philippines can be a rewarding experience, as there is a high demand for qualified English teachers even though people have a good command of the language. Many private language schools, international schools, and universities hire foreign teachers to teach English to students of all ages and levels.

To teach English in the Philippines, you typically need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certification, such as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. Experience teaching English is also highly valued by employers.

In conclusion, teaching English in the Philippines can be a great opportunity for experienced and qualified English teachers. The high demand for English instruction, advanced English proficiency, and cultural diversity make the Philippines an attractive destination for those looking to teach English abroad.

Teach English in Hong Kong or Macau

Hong Kong and Macau are two special administrative regions of China known for their bustling cities, unique cultures, and international outlook. English is one of the official languages of both regions, alongside Chinese, and is widely spoken and used in business, education, and government.

If you love big cities, you will love Hong Kong. The city has one of the most stand-out skylines in the world due to the density and height of the buildings. But just because Hong Kong is a big city doesn’t mean you can’t find nature nearby. There are mountains, beaches, and islands all around the coastal city.

On the other hand, Macau is the gambling capital of Asia. This city is filled with casino’s but there’s much more than that. Because of the city’s past as a Portuguese colony, the architecture is very interesting to see. A perfect blend of European and Chinese. 

Because both Hong Kong and Macau are autonomous regions they also offer a higher level of freedom than mainland China. Here you can access all the applications and websites you can back home. The language barrier is also lower due to many people speaking English. However, recently China has been making strides to unite with Hong Kong and remove its autonomy. Because of this you will notice that Mandarin Chinese is spoken more and more and this means that there is going to be a high demand for English teachers over here.

To teach English in Macau or Hong Kong, you typically need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certification, such as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. Experience teaching English is also highly valued by employers.

Teaching ESL in Hong Kong or Macau can be a rewarding experience, as there is a high demand for qualified English teachers. Many private language schools, international schools, and universities hire foreign teachers to teach English to students of all ages and levels.

Verdict

In conclusion, teaching ESL abroad in Asia is a great way to gain valuable teaching experience, explore new cultures, and make a positive impact on students’ lives. While English proficiency levels and teaching environments can vary across different countries, there are many opportunities for qualified and experienced English teachers in Asia.

Countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Macau offer high demand for English teachers, competitive salaries, and unique cultural experiences. Additionally, teaching in countries where English is widely spoken can be a great way to work with students who have a strong motivation to improve their English skills and prepare for international opportunities.

Whether you’re a new teacher looking for your first teaching experience or an experienced teacher looking for a new challenge, teaching ESL abroad in Asia can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. With the right qualifications and preparation, you can make a positive impact on your students and gain valuable skills and knowledge that will benefit you throughout your teaching career.

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Written by Geddy Gee for Teflnet March 2023
Ex-teacher, traveler, and writer at Teast
© Teflnet

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