The best places to teach English abroad when you’ve got absolutely NO experience [With job postings]

The best places to teach English abroad when you’ve got absolutely NO experience [With job postings]

For many ESL teachers, their first teaching job is also their first time standing in front of a class of expectant students. But with your OISE TEFL certification behind you and the perfect mix of nerves, excitement and confidence you too can land a fantastic opportunity teaching English abroad.

Recommended reading: What qualifications do I need to teach English abroad?

Finding a job teaching English abroad when you don’t have any experience is more than doable. (Teaching English abroad without an ESL certification, though? Not so much!) However, with an abundance of ESL jobs and even more locations to choose from, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher where you should spread your fresh set of TEFL-certified wings.

So, without further ado, here’s our guide to the best locations with teaching jobs abroad for anyone with little to no experience.


When you combine one of the world’s largest economies with an expansive population keen to master the English language you’ll have a hotbed of ESL teaching jobs up for grabs. From pre-K to adult language learners, teaching English in China will give you the opportunity to teach English grammar, conversational English, business communication and more.

With so many positions available, choosing one can be a tough decision, that’s why we recommend Teach Away’s Explore Program. Teach Away has partnered with China’s largest and most-reputable schools to give you access to a number of ESL jobs in the countries most sought-after destinations, so you can be sure you’re in good hands while you’re abroad.
Recommended reading: Common ESL job scams (and how to avoid them)

Latest ESL teaching jobs in China >


Japan has certainly become an increasingly popular destination in recent years for TEFL grads. While this has made ESL teaching positions slightly more competitive, there are still a number of great opportunities for teachers of all experience levels. One of the most popular and reputable ways to land a job teaching in Japan is through the JET program. Run by the Japanese government, this program typically hires new college and university grads to work as ALTs (assistant language teachers) in the public school system or at a private language school.

Private tutoring is also popular in Japan and it’s usually fairly easy for ESL teachers to pick up a few extra (well-paid) hours each week with students looking for a little extra guidance.

Latest ESL teaching jobs in Japan >

South Korea

The popularity of Japan as a teach abroad destination has skyrocketed in recent years, due to large demand for ESL instructors and the wonderful quality of life on offer. This has also meant that competition for roles has become tough, but nevertheless there are still good opportunities for inexperienced teachers to be found if you’re prepared to search for them. Private tutoring is also popular here and it’s usually easy to pick up a few extra, and well paid, hours each week with students looking for a little extra guidance. The peaceful, unique culture is both welcoming and captivating.

Latest ESL teaching jobs in South Korea >


Teaching English online is a perfect opportunity to ease into international education without getting on a plane. Whether you’re not quite ready to move abroad or life just gets in the way, you don’t have to give up on your dream of teaching English abroad.

Recommended reading: Want to teach abroad? Try teaching English online first.

The demand for online teachers has reached an all-time high as of late and the increasing number of young and adult English language learners around the world shows no signs of stopping. The best part about this gig? You can teach from the comfort of your own home, put your new ESL teaching skills to the test and set your own schedule.

Try out this handy online teaching pay calculator to find out just how much you can make each month!

Latest online English teaching jobs >

So there you have it! The beginner’s guide to teaching English abroad if you have zero experience.

Take the first step to teaching English abroad and get TEFL certified today!
Already TEFL certified? Then what are you waiting for! Check out Teach Away’s ESL job board and get applying today.


Dear Christie

Thank you so much for your response, I will do as per your have advise.

Kind regards


Lauren Mahloko
Hi Lauren,

Many of our TEFL graduates are nervous about beginning to apply for jobs without much classroom experience. The internationally widely accepted minimum requirements to teach abroad are a TEFL certificate and a bachelors degree in any area. In-class teaching experience is sometimes a requirement, but not always.

The best thing to do is to research jobs you may be interested in and review the requirements. You can then determine if you have sufficient qualifications or what you need to obtain.

In your case, the previous volunteer work you have done may be accepted as teaching experience – be sure to list that on your resume! The most important thing to remember, though, is to just get started!

Good luck!

Elspeth Chalmers
Dear Christie

I would like to teach as well. I have 20 hours of classroom teaching experience and I’m still busy with my 100-hour online course. Then it will be combined to be a 120-hour TEFL. When can I start applying for jobs with no experience?
I do have B.Tech Degree in Human Resource Management, and experience in volunteer assistance of students with their homework in different subjects as part of serving the community.

Your kind response will be appreciated.

Kind regards,


Lauren Mahloko
Hello Jordan, this is a great question and one that I think the What’s the difference between TEFL and CELTA? we recently published will help with. CELTA is highly regarded by international schools that follow a British curriculum and schools/institutions in Europe. That being said, a TEFL certification is also widely recognized internationally. It may be worth thinking if the format (often in-person versus online) and price of a CELTA course fit your learning style and budget. Further, as you are interested in specific countries in Europe, I would highly suggest you begin researching ESL teaching jobs in these countries to determine what qualifications schools are looking for. It will become clear very quickly if they are looking for TEFL or CELTA qualified teachers and whether or not they have a preference. I hope this was helpful. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to reply! Best, Christie.
Christie Van Tol
I have a question. I want to teach English in Europe. Portugal is my first choice because I know Portuguese, but Spain, the crezh republic and Germany are okay too. Is the TEFL widely recognized there or is the CELTA better for Europe? Thank you.

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