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Teaching English in Laos 101

Laos is famous for its sleepy, laidback ambiance, however, this quiet achiever has been steadily growing for the last decade. The Republic of Laos has approximately 6.5 million citizens, who are often divided according to altitude into lowland, midland, and upland Laotians. The official language of Laos is Lao, which sounds similar to Thai. Many of the older generation speak French, while the younger generation speaks English as well as their native languages. Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Its neighbors include Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Myanmar and the aforementioned Thailand, which makes for some great travel opportunities.

Laos is a very undeveloped country and there is not a large demand for English yet, compared to its neighboring countries. A majority of the positions available here are volunteer, however, private language institutes can be found in larger cities like Vientiane and Pakse. Teachers are typically responsible for their airfare and housing. Most teachers live in apartments recently vacated by previous teachers, and many share an apartment with other English teachers.

Although the salary earned in comparison to the monthly cost of living is breakeven, English teachers are still able to live a comfortable lifestyle due to a very low cost of living. Schools offer approximately 20 to 30 hours of work per week, leaving plenty of time to explore. A BA degree is not required to teach English in Laos however, a TEFL certification is absolutely necessary. Please also note that while a Bachelor’s degree is not required to secure a job in this country, it still can be strongly preferred by employers. If you do not have a degree, you should be prepared for a more competitive job search. Most of those teaching English in Laos will find jobs in the major cities of Vientiane and Pakse.


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