More than a quarter of a million native English speakers are employed to teach English abroad every year. In many cases, those teaching English overseas will be hired locally and paid by the hour without major benefits like free housing and airfare.
However, there are some countries, including some of the largest job markets in the world for teaching English abroad, where it is common or even routine for schools to provide English teachers with free or reimbursed airfare.
What Countries Provide Free Airfare for Teaching English Abroad?
There are some countries where schools provide free airfare for teaching English abroad, although the availability of this benefit can vary based on the specific program, country, and individual circumstances. For instance, schools in China, South Korea and in the Middle East commonly offer such benefits.
Read more: Financial Benefits of Teaching English Abroad
Schools in these countries will either provide new teachers with an airline ticket upfront, or they will reimburse the teachers for their airfare after they arrive and begin teaching. This is to ensure teachers receiving airfare actually show up for work.
Additionally, some schools may require that new teachers pass through some sort of probationary period before receiving full benefits. In most cases, teachers will also receive airfare or a stipend for a flight home once their contract is over. If you leave early or break your contract, do not expect to receive your airfare home.
Countries Where Schools Commonly Provide Free or Reimbursed Airfare To English Teachers
More than 50,000 thousand foreigners are employed as English teachers in China each year and a high percentage receive free or reimbursed airfare. Most English teachers also usually receive free housing in China, or at least a stipend to cover housing costs and assistance in finding affordable housing.
Free or reimbursed airfare is the norm for some 25,000 Americans, Canadians and other English speakers who teach English in Korea. English teachers in Korea also typically receive free, furnished housing and make enough salary to save up to $1,000 or more each month after expenses.
Persian Gulf Countries in the Middle East
Americans, Canadians and other foreigners who teach English in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E., including Dubai and Abu Dhabi) will typically receive contracts that provide airfare to and from their home country.
Countries Where Some (But Not All!) Schools Provide Free Airfare or Stipends to English Teachers
Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and in some limited cases in other Asian nations as well.
Russia, Turkey and the Republic of Georgia Ministry of Education program.
Middle East & Former Soviet Republics
In rare cases in countries like Egypt, Iraq and Kazakhstan, English teachers may be provided with free airfare or a stipend.
Central & South America
It is not common for schools in these countries to provide free airfare or stipends to foreign English teachers.