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SA teachers make a break for the East

South African English teachers are finding innovative ways to travel and work amid global lockdown restrictions. With countries like Taiwan, China, and Thailand re-opening their borders to international travellers, locals who are qualified to teach English as a foreign language are securing work visas and migrating to East Asian countries where they can enjoy fewer restrictions and better quality of life, while vaccines are being rolled out.

“The pandemic has impacted work and travel plans across the board. Graduates and young professionals in particular feel like they’re missing out by not being able to travel once they finish school or university. Securing a work visa is a safe way to travel to certain countries that have eased lockdown restrictions, without having to wait for the pandemic to end,” says Tom Gibbons, Director at The TEFL Academy, South Africa’s leading provider of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualifications.

A survey conducted by The TEFL Academy has revealed that the top four countries to teach in during Covid-19 are Vietnam, South Korea, China, and Japan. Relaxed lockdown restrictions and monthly earning potential – which ranges from R15 000 to R45 000 per month, depending on experience – are attracting South African teachers to these regions.

Of the certified and in-training South African TEFL teachers surveyed, 70% want to live and work in Asia in the long term, with 25% planning to migrate in 2021 to avoid lockdown restrictions at home. Seventy five percent say they will teach online this year – while a third of these hope to use this experience to secure a job abroad in the future. Globally, almost 40% of TEFL teachers plan to travel and teach in 2021, despite lockdown restrictions, with 60% opting to continue teaching online.

Those searching for employment opportunities can take advantage of the relatively short period of study required to get certified, as well as the current scarcity of English teachers abroad. “With the likelihood of a third Covid-19 wave in the near future, many people are looking for a quick, and reliable route out. When studied full time, a TEFL course can typically be completed within four to six weeks – and with English teachers in short supply, there is huge demand for English teachers at schools in Asian countries,” says Gibbons.

In most cases, international arrivals are subject to a Covid-19 PCT test and 14 days of self-isolation at a designated location. “Those looking for jobs overseas should contact their job recruiters for more information beforehand to see if assistance on travel, accommodation and isolation costs are available,” says Gibbons.

Offering accessible, flexible and cost-effective ways to get TEFL qualified, The TEFL Academy provides internationally accredited and regulated online courses. The company also offers a dedicated 30-hour Teaching Business English course for those wanting to update their existing skillset. To give teachers an idea of earning potential, degree requirements, typical student profiles and average teaching hours per country, they have released the 2021 TEFL World Factbook. For more information, visit





Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications

Ciaran Maidwell

021 447 1082 / 072 693 9401


On behalf of

Tom Gibbons

Director at The TEFL Academy


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