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The Five Best Places to Teach English With a Family

Updated: Jan 18

The Five Best Places to Teach English With a Family
You can teach abroad with a family!

Some people believe that adventures are only for the young and once you get a little older and have a family, you have no choice but to settle down. It's also true that many of the people who do a CELTA course are young, free and single, but they are not the only ones! This article aims to give some ideas for those who are thinking of taking their family overseas for an English teaching adventure. We'll go through some of the reasons you might want to take your family abroad and then suggest five countries where you may wish to teach English as a foreign language.

Some people will question whether it's even possible to teach English abroad with a family and the answer is that yes, it is possible. Of course, life decisions and moves are more complicated for people with families, but that doesn't mean that it's not doable and it definitely is. If you dream of being like Donna from Mamma Mia and bringing up a child on a Greek island, then you can do a part-time online CELTA while you continue working and then you can start looking for jobs that will allow you to travel with children. You can advance your career by teaching abroad, while also providing a good life for your children, maybe by moving to a safer country, or by moving to a country where your children are less likely to suffer from racial or religious discrimination. There are many advantages to growing up in a foreign country These include learning cultural sensitivity and a greater sense of independence and resilience. There are also benefits to growing up bilingually, including improved cognitive abilities.

These are some countries that can be good to move to with children.

1. Spain

Spain has a thriving English language teaching industry. Even the smallest towns will have language academies, where both children and adults go to practise their English. Many jobs in Spain now require people to pass English exams and so the jobs market for teaching English as a foreign language is strong. Cambridge qualifications are highly valued in Spain and so a CELTA is by far the most well-known international teaching qualification in the country.

Spain is a very family-friendly country and has a pro-children culture. Restaurants, cafes and bars are much more welcoming of children than they are in the UK. If you have a cute baby, don't be surprised if a waiter asks if you can take the child into the kitchen so all the cooks can see the baby too. Social events are built around the needs of parents and if you are invited to someone's house for dinner, it is assumed that you will be going with your children. Spanish public authorities have invested heavily in childcare, meaning that you can enrol your children in a creche for a relatively small amount - much cheaper than what you would have to pay in the UK or Ireland.

It's not just childcare that is more affordable in Spain, the cost of living there is surprisingly low for a Western European country. Overall, the cost of living in Spain is 21% lower than in the UK. Food and drink in particular are much cheaper than in other Western European countries, and eating out regularly is not something reserved for the very rich as it is in other countries. The cost of rent is over 30% cheaper in Spain than in the UK, and even buying a house is significantly cheaper in Spain too.

Spain is attractive for many other reasons too - the climate, the open and friendly culture and the ease of travel to many other countries make it an ideal destination for someone who wishes to travel with or without a family.

2. Japan

Japan is a dream destination for many people whether they love its aesthetic tradition of art, silks, china and cherry blossoms, or their more recent massive cultural exports like Pokemon and Hello Kitty. It's a country with state-of-the-art technology everywhere, from their railway stations to their public toilets and it can feel like living in the future.

English language teachers are in high demand in Japan, both in public schools and in language institutes and universities, and employers in Japan, unlike some in Europe, are much more likely to be open to helping with visas, as well as the costs of flights and accommodation, especially for suitably qualified teachers with a recognised teaching qualification like a CELTA. Japan has a specific visa category for teachers, and this type of visa is relatively easy to get a 'dependent visa' for a spouse and for children with, so you certainly wouldn't be the only person who takes their children with them to teach in Japan.

Japan is an extremely safe country for families and it regularly ranks among the top 10 safest countries in the world. The traditional culture of respect for others permeates all aspects of life in the country and this means that petty crime like theft is rare and that it's not uncommon to leave your belongings unattended on a cafe table or in a bus station for this reason.

As well as ranking highly for safety, Japan also ranks very well for education, with its education system coming in the top five in the world in many studies. Public schools offer a high standard of education, but if you would prefer your children go to an international school and study through English, there are also many options to choose from.

Not only is Japan one of the most modern, innovative and exciting countries in the world but for children, growing up in a safe environment, learning a language that's completely different from English and immersing themselves in a brand new culture will broaden their horizons and help them become citizens of the world of the future.

3. United Arab Emirates

The UAE, with its cosmopolitan centres of Dubai and Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a magnet for people from all over the world. Almost 90% of people living in the UAE weren't born there. Since the pandemic, the UAE has instituted a number of reforms to attract foreign nationals. These include allowing the sale and consumption of alcohol without a license, allowing couples to cohabit without being married, and allowing companies to be registered in the country with 100% foreign ownership. The country is increasingly looking to the West and has even changed its weekend from the traditional Middle Eastern one with Fridays off, to the more Western Saturday and Sunday off.

The Emirates are an attractive place to work as well as to live. They offer high rates of pay. A CELTA-qualified teacher in a school or university in the UAE will earn somewhere in the region of £2000 - £4000 a month. This high rate of pay is made even more attractive by the fact that there is no income tax in the UAE. As well as employing English teachers in their schools and universities, the UAE actively encourages digital nomads, and so you have the option of teaching online as well as teaching in a school.

The UAE is a pro-family country, and Islam is the state religion. Childcare costs in nurseries are relatively low, and nannies are widely available if you'd prefer in-house care. There are a range of private schools catering specifically to the international population, many with rolling enrolment all year round, so a child doesn't need to wait until September to join school. Private schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have an excellent reputation and some feature on lists of the top schools in the world.

The UAE is a beautiful, clean, modern country, with sparkling shopping malls, well-cared for public spaces and state-of-the-art housing. It's a hub for international travel, with short flight times to India and Europe. It has an international outlook and actively encourages inward migration, while also maintaining a strong religious and pro-family ethos.

4. Slovakia

The English teaching sector in Central and Eastern Europe has bounced back after the pandemic. English language teachers in Slovakia can expect to find many private language schools and academies offering work teaching children, teens and adults, as well as business English positions and exam preparation courses. Typically, international CELTA-qualified teachers in language schools like this can expect to earn more than teachers in state schools, meaning that these jobs offer a relatively high standard of living in comparison to others.

The cost of living in Slovakia and neighbouring countries is low in comparison with the UK. Bringing up a family is expensive, and Slovakian rent is over 50% lower than rent in the UK. A meal in a restaurant is over 100% more expensive in the UK than Slovakia!

Slovakia is one of Europe's youngest countries, which means that there will be a lot of children around the same age as your children, meaning more friends, facilities and educational options for all of them. It's also a country which favours outdoor activities, whether mountaineering, hiking or mushroom picking, a life in Slovakia, even in the cities, is likely to be healthier for your child than in a big British city.

Slovakia, though relatively few tourists travel there, is an attractive country, with majestic Austro-Hungarian cities, and peaceful mountainous outdoor spaces, where children can grow up in safety and parents can afford some extra luxuries.

5. South Korea

South Korea is one of the biggest markets in the world for English language teachers, with over 10,000 foreigners teaching English there at any one time. Most teaching jobs for CELTA graduates will be within the school system, with teachers working in a language support capacity for native Korean English language teachers in primary and secondary schools, as well as at universities, although there are also many jobs working in language schools in the evening and at weekends as well.

South Korea is rightly proud of its education system, which regularly features in the Top 5 in the world PISA rankings. The school system is results-focused and their students tend to achieve more highly than their counterparts in other countries. There are international schools in bigger cities, though foreign students are welcome in Korean schools too. Wherever they study, they will receive rigorous tuition, in a wide range of subjects.

South Korea is a very healthy country. They have the third highest life expectancy in the world, at over 83 years. South Korean healthcare is very advanced, while being free at the point of delivery, even for foreigners. It's a country that values health and hygiene for all.

Although most international English teachers arriving in South Korea will not be travelling with their families, this beautiful and prosperous country is well-equipped to provide everything a family needs in terms of health, schooling and all the other amenities of modern life, often to a higher standard than we may be used to in Europe.

Having a family isn't a reason to stop you from moving abroad to teach English. There are so many possible benefits, including greater safety, bilingualism, increased cultural awareness, world class education systems, lower cost of living and more. Wherever you're thinking of going, it's essential to do your research. You can book an appointment to chat about job opportunities with one of the DC Teacher Training team here and whatever your plans, your potential for getting teaching work abroad will be enhanced by doing one of our online or face-to-face Cambridge CELTA courses.

Dr Connor O'Donoghue hails from Ireland and he started teaching English as a foreign language in Poland in 2003 and he became a CELTA trainer in 2008. He has taught and trained in Ireland, the UK, France, Italy, Slovenia, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. Connor also holds a Masters and a PhD in Education from Trinity College in Dublin. He has previously managed large teacher training centres in Vietnam and in London before founding DC Teacher Training.

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