The Top 10 Best Cities for Teaching Internationally

Published on 25th October, 2017 by Andrew Wigford. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

International schools can be found in some of the most exotic and vibrant cities across the globe. Andrew, TIC’s Managing Director, has picked what he thinks are the 10 best cities for teaching internationally next school year (2018/2019). Where would you like to teach?

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh is fast becoming one of the top destinations for teachers. There are some great schools to choose from with a range of curricula and good salary packages. The city is popular because of its warm and welcoming locals and great cuisine. It is considered a very safe city and is a great base from which to travel to South East Asia.

A top tip: Get an apartment with a spare room as all your friends and family will want to visit!

Many of TIC’s teachers are working in the city including Ronald Saw and Ursula Inta who are teaching at ABC International School. Here’s what Ron and Ursula have to say about it: “We both like the pace of Vietnam, and especially of Ho Chi Minh City. There are so many people and things to do. You could never be bored living here! One of the highlights is definitely the Vietnamese food – I don't think we'll ever get sick of it!”

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an exciting and vibrant international city which has a rich heritage. It is known for its culinary delights; from street food, to interesting bars, to traditional restaurants. It is also a great base to travel from, and you can escape the city quickly to visit the outlying islands, beautiful beaches and quaint villages.

There’s a great range of schools in the city, but make sure you negotiate the right package because it can be an expensive place to live.

Top tip: Don’t worry about where your school and apartment are located as public transport is excellent, efficient and cheap.


Teachers can enjoy a great lifestyle in Bangkok. There is a good selection of top international schools offering excellent salary and benefits packages. The weather is sunny and warm and there are lots of interesting places to visit; from historical temples to beautiful scenery. It’s also a great location for travelling, with easy access to other places in South East Asia such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

My top tip: Live close to school as the traffic here can be a nightmare!

One of TIC’s teachers, Richard Downs is a House Master and Economics teacher at Harrow International School in Bangkok. “I would definitely recommend teaching in Bangkok,” he says. “I am giving my family opportunities and a lifestyle that I do not believe they could get back in the UK. My children go to a world class school, we live in superb accommodation, eat good food, have fantastic holidays, are financially comfortable and have made good friends from a large variety of backgrounds and cultures.”

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has a good range of schools and is a big city with a small-town feel. It has towering skyscrapers but still maintains a traditional atmosphere. It’s known as Asia’s ‘green capital’ as it’s environmentally friendly and has lots of park space.
There’s a variety of delicious dining options, reflecting the best of Malaysian cuisine. The expat community is large and supportive. It’s not a place to get rich on a teacher’s salary but you can certainly live comfortably.

A top tip when living in KL: If you get a chance, visit Penang; it’s beautiful!


The Colombian capital is an amazing place. It sits high above sea level and has a mild climate all year round. Its cobbled historic centre has a mix of colonial house buildings, restaurants and bars. If you want a warm climate you can drive down to the plateau and experience tropical heat. School numbers are currently growing in this city and the country is stabilising. Salaries are not great, but who cares when you’re living in such an interesting and exciting location!

My top tip: If you want to immerse yourself in the culture then learn a bit of Spanish, go to a salsa class and try to experience a typical Colombian party.

Mexico City

Mexico City is one of my favourite cities. The city is a huge metropolis but is made up of small ‘towns’ with their own character. It’s both edgy and laid back and it has fantastic sites and an amazing culture. Mexico’s selection of cuisine is gaining global attention. The city is also a great base to travel from, with opportunities to see other parts of the country at the weekends, or South and Central America during the holidays. There aren’t that many international schools to choose from but numbers are growing. The salaries are not high but the cost of living is low.

A top tip from me: Live in one of the great colonial ‘towns’ in the city; they are beautiful and each has its own unique character.

TIC helped Sean Clancy get his teaching job at Edron Academy in the city. Here’s what Sean has to say: “As cheesy as it sounds, there's something for everybody in Mexico City. I live in Coaycan, a beautiful part of the city. There are also some great markets nearby. You can get on the underground and go anywhere for 5 pesos. You can also visit some beautiful towns by luxury coach relatively cheaply. Come to Mexico! Come looking for a challenge and view it as an opportunity to develop.”


I lived and taught in an international school here for five years. It’s an amazing city full of culture and history. In the summer, you can swim in the lakes around the city and in the winter, you can ice skate on them! It is full of museums, coffee-houses and bars and is regularly voted one of the world’s top cities for quality of life.  There aren’t that many international schools to choose from and the taxes are high, but you can still live very comfortably on the right salary.

Top tip: Prepare for an invasion of relatives because everyone wants to visit this beautiful city. It also helps if you can learn to like opera!


Dubai is not everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s a perfect place for teachers who like to travel and also to shop! The expat community is vibrant and there’s always a lot going on in Dubai.
The standard of living is high with lots of excellent living and relaxation facilities and, due to the tax-free salaries, more of your earnings are yours to spend or save. There are many international schools to choose from, offering state of the art facilities and lucrative salaries.

My top tip: Don’t live too far away from school as traffic can be a nightmare.

Anthea Addison is a University Counsellor currently working at Greenfields Community School in Dubai: “I enjoy that Dubai has lots going on every day and every weekend,” she says. “I live in school accommodation and think this is the best part of living in Dubai. Our accommodation is great! We have a well-equipped gym, a gorgeous swimming pool and our common areas are well kept.”


This is the place to go if you want to get a real taste of the Middle East, be around friendly people and have the opportunity to immerse yourself culturally. Modern buildings blend with the remnants of an ancient civilisation. At the bottom of the city’s many hills it features spectacular Roman ruins, a brilliant museum, souqs and coffeehouses.

There are two or three good international schools. The salaries aren’t the best, but you will have a great adventure here, especially if you love exploring culture and history.

My top tip: Brush up on your Roman history before you go, to appreciate what you are living around. 


Amsterdam is a mix of history and culture with modern flair. Walk along the canals and you’re never far from a café, hidden garden, bar or museum.
There are lots of top quality international schools to choose from, but salaries can vary a lot. The quality of life, and good tax incentives in the Netherlands mean that many teachers end up staying here for years.
A top tip: For the true Dutch experience, buy a bicycle and enjoy travelling this way; everyone does it and the city is set up well for cycling.

You might also be interested in these informative articles:
Stop dreaming and do it! TIC event will tell you how
I moved overseas to develop my skills and teach a progressive curriculum
Should I…can I teach abroad? 10 questions to ask yourself

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Andrew Wigford

Andrew is Managing Director of TIC. He has been involved in international education both as a teacher and Headteacher for over 25 years and has worked in Germany, Colombia and Austria. He set up TIC recruitment in 2005 to help teachers find great jobs in great international schools.