You can find teachers teaching English as a second language (ESL) in many countries around the world, but some of these places are easier on your bank account than others. Let’s take a look at five of the most affordable countries for teachers to teach ESL.


Argentina’s breathtaking natural beauty, friendly locals, and high demand for English teachers are reasons enough to start packing your bag, but these fail to mention just how cheap it is to live in this wonderful country. The average salary for ESL teachers is between US$600 and US$1,000 per month, one of the highest in all of South America. This salary paired with a very affordable cost of living, makes saving a portion of your paycheck each month muy facil. 

Check out why Argentina also makes our list for best places to teach ESL without a degree.


This tiny Latin American country is filled to the brim with natural beauty and charm. It is one of the best locations in the world for ESL teachers to work with university level students and business professionals. You’ll enjoy a modest monthly salary of between US$500 and US$1,000, but love how far your money stretches in this nature lover’s paradise.

The cost of living is extremely low with cheap transportation, meals for less than a single US dollar, and housing rates averaging around $450 per month in the city center of Quito. English teachers in Ecuador enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, with an unrestrained ability to explore, play, and save, while making a difference in the lives of their students.


Vietnam is one of the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia. A little over a decade ago the Vietnamese government passed education reforms that prioritized improving English proficiency in the country. These goals led to a massive boom in English teaching jobs available to native English speakers.

ESL teachers in Vietnam earn an average salary between US$1,000 and US$1,500 per month, with those who have experience and an Internationally accredited TEFL certification, earning upwards of US$2,000 every month. Housing is extremely budget-friendly, and often provided by schools! Mouth-watering dishes are abundant and cheap, leading many to give up cooking and simply enjoy the local cuisine on a daily basis.

Vietnam constantly makes the list for best places to teach ESL in the world, and it’s easy to see why. From the high teacher demand, ease of exploration, delicious food, and affordable cost of living, it’s no wonder people are running, not walking, to teach here.


While Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand have a cheaper cost of living than their East Asian counterparts, the higher wages for ESL teachers paired with a very reasonable cost of living, allows the island country of Taiwan to make this list. 

Similar to Vietnam, Taiwan has ambitious goals for English proficiency of their own that keep English teachers busy year-round. 

ESL teachers in Taiwan benefit from an average monthly salary of US$2,000-US$2,500 per month. Housing is reasonable with a studio apartment in the heart of Taipei coming in between US$400 and US$600 per month, with much cheaper housing options for those living outside of the capital city. 

Taiwan’s world-class transportation network connects teachers to every inch of the beautiful island, so cheap weekend getaways are as easy as getting on a bullet train. (One can go from Taipei in the north to Tainan in the South in 90 minutes flat!)

The blissful combination of affordable housing, transportation, and the delectable local cuisine make Taiwan an absolute gem for those wanting to experience East Asia on a budget. Don’t just take our word for it, check out “5 reasons why foreign teachers love living in Taiwan”! 


Mexico is an up-and-coming ESL powerhouse with its close trade ties to the United States. The tasty food, comfortable salary, and ease of learning the local language are why thousands of ESL teachers have been enticed into moving to this wonderful country.

Compared to the United States and other Western nations, Mexico is significantly cheaper for almost everything, especially transportation, food, and housing. An unassuming salary of US$800-US$1,200 per month goes further than you may think here. Housing will likely be your biggest expense with an average apartment in the city center coming in around US$500 per month. The rest of your salary can be saved, spent on delicious street vendor tacos, or coastal weekend getaways livin’ la vida pacifica or la vida loca.

Before you take off to enjoy the high quality of life in one of these affordable countries, you’ll need one more thing: an internationally accredited TEFL certification. While you’ll have plenty of time to explore all your new country has to offer, a good chunk of your time will be spent inside the classroom. Schools seek out teachers with a quality TEFL certification because they know these teachers can hold their own in the classroom. 

This course teaches you the vital teaching skills of ESL such as classroom management strategies, effective lesson planning, how to develop your students’ English language skills, foster a love of learning, and dozens more.

Start right away by enrolling with TEFL Adventure and begin taking steps towards your dream of teaching in one of the most affordable countries in the world.


Teacher in Taipei
Andrew grew up in Iowa and graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He’s spent the last six years teaching TEFL and ESL in Thailand and Taiwan.