While most of the world opted to stay close to home last year, those eager to travel are hoping 2021 will bring more possibilities for exploring. Securing an international teaching position can provide the security of a home base while opening opportunities for travel. 

Looking for a new teaching job abroad may seem daunting during these uncertain times, but we have done the hard work for you. Considering the unique circumstances of this year, we selected the best locations for international teaching jobs in 2021. 

To address concerns about finding the right job during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, our CEO, Alex, answered some important questions.

Searching for international teaching jobs by country 

Deciding on location is just one part of the job search process. In addition to outlining other important factors, we also shared specific schools Teacher Horizons partners with. We included COVID specific details about each location that can give you peace of mind in preparing to make the transition to a new country.

According to our large community of teachers some criteria remains popular in choosing where to live and work as an international teacher:

  • Salary
  • Types of teaching opportunities 
  • Safety 
  • Interesting culture
  • COVID precautions

These locations offer teachers good options to save, interesting travel opportunities and plenty of space to grow as an educator. Join Teacher Horizons now to explore jobs in these countries and more across the globe. 



Why has Malaysia made our list for top international teaching jobs in 2021? 

With a range of excellent international schools and a wealth of opportunities for nature lovers and urban dwellers, Malaysia has much to offer. Two of Malaysia’s cities, Melaka and George Town (Penang), are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites for their architectural and cultural histories, while the ancient rainforests contain some of the greatest biodiversity on earth. While most schools are centred in the populous and diverse capital, Kuala Lumpur, there are international schools (66 partnered with Teacher Horizons) in almost every major city spanning both regions divided by the South China Sea. 

The Malaysian government has put forward a robust vaccination plan with the goal of immunizing 80% of the population in one year. Additionally, the government has indicated that it will provide vaccines to foreign workers when they become available. While classes in Malaysian international schools remain online for the moment, the government is working to have students back in classrooms as soon as possible. 

Salary and benefit packages for international teaching jobs in Malaysia

Schools in Malaysia offer generous packages that allow teachers to save between $5,000 and $10,000 per year depending on individual expenditures. Teachers in Malaysia typically receive an accommodation allowance and private healthcare package, though healthcare in major cities is of an excellent standard. 

  • UCSI International School - Library
  • The International School of Kuala Lumpur - School entrance
  • Temby Schools Penang - Campus
  • Alice Smith School - Classroom

Expectations and requirements for international teaching jobs in Malaysia 

A visa and work permit are required to teach in Malaysia, but school administrators will support candidates with this process. Like most other international schools, previous teaching experience is needed, though it varies based on the school. Some schools require 4-years of teaching, while others only require 1-year prior experience. Most schools list this piece of information under the Employment tab of their school profile page.

Teacher Horizons endorsed and visited in Malaysia:

Alice Smith School

Crescendo-HELP International School




Why has Switzerland made our list for top international teaching jobs in 2021? 

Switzerland ranks as one of the most enjoyable places to live for a variety of reasons: incredible access to the outdoors, excellent public transportation, modern urban centres. The high quality of life is attractive to many and the plethora of international schools (Teacher Horizons has 49 partner schools in the country) make this the ideal location for those looking for a new adventure in 2021. For nature-lovers and foodies alike, the small yet distinguished landscape is the ideal location for traveling around Europe or exploring small alpine villages.

The country has managed to reduce the number of coronavirus infections since a spike in November of 2020; since then, cases have continuously dropped. With one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, Switzerland is making progress to return to full in-person learning by autumn of 2021.

Read about a Teacher Horizons educator’s experience living and teaching in Switzerland.

Salary and benefit packages for international teaching jobs in Switzerland

While the cost of living in Switzerland is higher than most places, teachers can expect a decent salary to compensate. Accommodations are not guaranteed at all international schools and teachers will need to adjust accordingly, though schools may be able to support new expats find affordable and appropriate housing. Healthcare in Switzerland is excellent. Though private health insurance is required, schools will provide or subsidize this. 

  • Institue Monte Rosa - School building
  • Le Regent International School - Sports pitch
  • La Garenne International School - Campus
  • International School Rheintal - School building
  • Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz School - Campus

Expectations and requirements for international teaching jobs in Switzerland

Teachers applying to work in international schools in Switzerland need at least 2 years of experience and a qualification or certificate in their specialty. Though European Union citizens do not require a visa to live and work in Switzerland, all expats require a residence visa which schools can help to secure. 

As the land of four languages, many of the international schools in Switzerland offer instruction in German, French and Spanish alongside English. If learning new languages is your passion, Switzerland is a good place to expand your linguistic repertoire.

Teacher Horizons endorsed in Switzerland:

Zurich International School

International School Rheintal



Why has China made our list for top international teaching jobs in 2021? 

There are international schools in every major city in China. A fascinating and vast country, China boasts a wealth of diversity and a rich history. The major cities, known as the “big three”, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are home to the largest expat communities and enable teachers to find familiar comforts they would at home in terms of international food and shopping options. Don’t be put off from the smaller towns though. This is where you will really get to dive into regional diversity and learn about each province’s rich cultural heritage. If you opt for Southern China you will be greeted with a pleasant, tropical climate. If colder climes are more your thing head north for some cool and dry weather. 

China’s COVID response, though strict, made dramatic gains against the spread of the virus. With vaccination effort well under way and low transmission rates, schools in the country are currently teaching in-person classes.

Read more about living in Beijing from a teacher of ours.

Salary and benefit packages for international teaching jobs in China

Your saving potential is great in China.  There is a vast range of salary offered depending on your experience and the type of school. The average pay is about 2,200 USD per month at the low end for an international teacher. Your experience and qualifications will determine how much this ranges in China. 

Public healthcare is available in China, although the quality is variable. Most expats choose to use private health insurance. Many international schools offer private health insurance as part of their benefits package. There can be heavy pollution in some cities but do your research. Our Advisers know China well and will be able to chat to you about this and help you find the best place; some locations might not be as bad as we tend to think as outsiders. 

  • Suzhou Innovation Academy - School building
  • Zhuhai International School - Sports pitch
  • DTD Education Shanghai - School exterior
  • Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong - Sports Day
  • Dipont Education - School campus

Expectations and requirements for international teaching jobs in China. 

A common question is “Do I need a Teaching Licence for international teaching in China?” and for international teaching jobs this is the case. A Bachelor’s degree in the subject you will teach is required and a teaching certification like a PGCE, licence or equivalent depending on where you studied. Teaching experience relevant to the subject will be expected. Due to the visa regulations 2 years prior experience is required.

Teacher Horizons endorsed and visited in China:

The British School Guangzhou

Beijing International School


Costa Rica

Why has Costa Rica made our list for top international teaching jobs in 2021? 

Rich ecological diversity, world class surfing destinations, and cosmopolitan cities are just a few of the reasons Costa Rica is regularly cited as one of the happiest countries in the world. The culturally diverse capital, San José, and geographic extremes (beaches and volcanos) offer endless opportunities to travel and explore. Costa Rica is home to 13 international schools partnered with Teacher Horizons, which teach British, American, and international curricula. 

Since the beginning of 2021, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica have steadily declined and enforcement of strict measures suggest that this trend will continue. With immunization efforts already underway, Costa Rica is well prepared to manage coronavirus in 2021. Currently there are no measures in place to close schools. 

Salary and benefit packages for international teaching jobs in Costa Rica

While the salaries are generally less generous in Costa Rica than schools in Asia or Europe, the cost of living is relatively inexpensive which still enables teachers to save. Many of Teacher Horizons’ partner schools in Costa Rica offer private healthcare packages and other benefits such as flight allowances. 

  • United World College Costa Rica - Students
  • The British School of Costa Rica - Campus
  • Pan American School - Classroom
  • Country Day School - Campus
  • Blue Valley School - School building

Expectations and requirements for international teaching jobs in Costa Rica

Schools in Costa Rica require 2 years of teaching experience and a teaching certificate or qualification. Administrators at the school can help secure a visa and work permits. For select schools, the language of instruction is both English and Spanish. If you are not a Spanish speaker there are plenty of opportunities to learn the language, though many people speak English due to the influence of tourism in the country. 

Teacher Horizons endorsed in Costa Rica:

The British School Costa Rica

United World College Costa Rica

Why is Teacher Horizons the best place to find international school teaching jobs?

Our community of teachers get access to hundreds of teaching opportunities in some of the best schools and most exciting countries around the world. We understand balancing your regular life while finding your next job can be hard. Teacher Horizons can help take the chore out of the international school job search by making it simple, transparent, exciting, and importantly so… you can join free!

Visit our Professional Learning Hub to connect and explore opportunities for professional growth, both as an individual and as a school.

Written by William Melhado
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