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Strengthen Your Wallet By Teaching English

  • 3 min read

Earning an income in a foreign currency has become the go-to solution for South Africans looking to combat inflation and the increasing cost of living. For young graduates entering the job market with existing financial responsibilities, leveraging the exchange rate is one way to ease budgeting concerns. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) offers a tried and tested method to find work that pays in dollars, won, or dirhams – with the added benefit of travelling the world.

“Young people are under immense pressure to balance economic and personal goals with financial and familial responsibilities – especially in South Africa. Teaching English abroad allows them to generate additional income, which they can use to channel funds back to their families, build savings, and tackle student loan repayments – all while enjoying the freedom to work from home or experiencing new destinations,” says Rhyan O’Sullivan, Managing Director at The TEFL Academy, South Africa’s leading TEFL qualification provider.

Earning in a foreign currency can offer potential income tax benefits. Depending on the number of days spent outside South Africa during the tax year, and the nature of the employment abroad, teachers may be exempted from paying tax. Another bonus is that South Africa has entered into double taxation agreements with countries such as China, United Arab Emirates and Singapore to prevent double taxation, while some Middle Eastern countries even allow you to earn a tax-free income.

Qualified teachers can anticipate earning between R190 and R560 per hour, depending on their level of experience and the exchange rate in the destination country. This hourly rate surpasses that of most entry-level jobs in South Africa.  “In general, teaching salaries are good enough to cover the cost of living in your chosen destination, and sometimes come with additional perks such as airfare, medical insurance, visas and furnished accommodation. Opting for online teaching from home could mean earning in a stronger currency, which allows you to stretch your income further and enjoy an overall higher standard of living,” says O’Sullivan.

Comprehensive employment packages are usually offered by countries in Asia, such as South Korea and Japan, and Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. “Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the trendy South Korean culture, explore tropical rainforests or live it up in the sleek cityscape of Dubai, TEFL gives you a chance to gain an authentic experience of living in a different country, while saving enough money to go beyond making ends meet,” says O’Sullivan.

Offering accessible and cost-effective ways to get TEFL-qualified, The TEFL Academy provides internationally accredited and regulated online courses. The company hosts a jobs board on their website, with over 1 500 international teaching opportunities for potential teachers to pursue, across a number of countries. For more information, visit