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Teaching English in Malaysia 101

Spanning the South China Sea, from the Malay Peninsula to the legendary island of Borneo, Malaysia reflects the many faces of Asia. Take a stroll through the old streets of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or Malacca, and observe firsthand how centuries of trading among Malay, Arabian, Indian, Chinese, and Dutch seafarers played a part in creating the multi-faceted Malaysia of today.

Here you will encounter an enticing blend of cultures, religions, and cuisines. Within several city blocks, you can visit temples, pagodas, churches, and mosques before deciding whether you wish to dine on world-class Chinese, Indian, or Malaysian fare. 

Despite a large population and a fast developing economy, the job market for first-time teachers is not quite as large as some other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam & Thailand, but there are opportunities, especially for those with a BA degree, TEFL certification & some teaching experience. Most English teaching job interviews are conducted in advance over the phone or Skype for Malaysia. English teachers are typically responsible for airfare and housing expenses in most cases. Most teachers live in apartments recently vacated by previous teachers, and many room with coworkers.

A good salary allows English teachers in Malaysia to live a comfortable lifestyle. Schools typically offer 20 to 25 hours of work per week, leaving plenty of time to travel and explore. English teachers need at least a bachelor’s degree to teach in Malaysia, while a master's degree is preferred. TEFL certification is required (teachers often need to provide a copy to get their work visa). Most teaching jobs are concentrated in Kuala Lumpur and other major cities.

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