Teach English abroad as a non-native speaker in 2023

an illustration of a cat on a globe with a suitcase

Teaching English abroad as a non-native speaker is certainly possible, but not easy. It comes with some additional considerations and challenges. Still, many countries have diverse and inclusive hiring practices, valuing both language skills and teaching qualifications.

Here are a few countries where non-native English speakers might have opportunities to teach.

Where can I teach English abroad as a non-native speaker in 2023?

Your Home Country

That’s right. First, start searching local before trying to teach abroad as a non-native. Teaching English in your home country to non-native speakers could be an option. Language schools often appreciate instructors who understand the specific challenges learners from your country face. Try reaching out to Refugee Resettlement Agencies.

Early in my career, I worked for a fantastic refugee resettlement agency in Philadelphia called Nationalities Service Center. While there, I taught primarily Iraqi refugees. My coworker was a young Iraqi man who spoke excellent English. He was a great teacher, though he wasn’t a native speaaker. He could connect with the students in a way I couldn’t, as I did not speak Arabic.

Where to Teach Abroad as a Non-native English Speaker in 2023

European Union Countries

Some countries in the European Union, such as Spain, Italy, and France, might hire non-native speakers. They often value teachers who can provide language instruction while also offering cultural insights.

Latin America

Many countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, have a demand for English teachers. Non-native speakers might find opportunities, particularly if they possess strong language skills and teaching qualifications.


Some Asian countries, like China, South Korea, and Japan, have a demand for English teachers. While some schools prefer native speakers due to visa regulations, there are positions available for non-native speakers who meet certain language and teaching qualifications.

Middle East

Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar often have high demand for English teachers. They may prioritize teaching qualifications and experience over native speaker status.

Online Teaching Platforms

Teaching English online is a global option that doesn’t necessarily require you to relocate. Many online platforms, like VIPKid or Cambly, hire non-native English speakers as long as they have strong language skills and teaching abilities.

Final Thoughts on Teaching English abroad as a non-native

When considering teaching opportunities abroad as a non-native English speaker, it’s important to research the specific requirements and regulations of each country. Some countries may have stricter visa and hiring requirements for non-native speakers, while others might be more open and flexible. Additionally, having internationally recognized teaching qualifications, such as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification, can enhance your chances of securing a teaching position abroad.

Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL
Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL

Ingrid Maria Pimsner has been teaching for over a decade in various universities, nonprofits, and private academies. She has taught English as a Second Language for Lutheran Children & Family Service, Nationalities Service Center, Lernstudio Barbarossa Berlin-Tegel, and more. In addition to her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification, she holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA from Maryland Institute College of Art.