What are the best countries to teach English in Europe?

We often are asked what are the best countries to teach English in Europe. The answer is quite simple. The best countries to teach English in Europe are those where the current level of English is very low and there is a strong need to learn English.

A map of European countries by ability to converse in English

best countries to teach English in Europe

Best countries to teach English in Europe – by English language level

Low numbers mean that English knowledge is poor. High numbers mean that the level of English knowledge is good. The UK and Ireland score the highest so no surprises there.

A graph of English skill levels by European country

Graphic best countries to teach English in Europe

Graph of the best countries to teach English in Europe

Four countries stand out as having the worst level of English.

  1. Slovakia – 26% competence in English
  2. Bulgaria – 25% competence in English
  3. Spain – 22% competence in English
  4. Hungary – 20% competence in English

Two of these countries, according to the European top destination guide 2014, are in the top 10 favourites.

They are Budapest in Hungary ranked number 5 and Madrid in Spain ranked number 8.

According to the European top destination guide:

Madrid is an open-minded city where culture and entertainment share a thriving space. The Spanish capital makes everyone feel right at home while providing them with some of the world’s most interesting tourist attractions.

Budapest is a city of full of surprises and wonder, with its lively centre, pretty parks, majestic river, tall church spires and lavish spas. One of the most exciting cities in the world.

We’d add that the weather in Madrid is probably a bit better than Budapest. As for things like wine and life-style, Madrid almost certain is the unchallenged winner.

What sets Spain apart as the TEFL hotspot in Europe?

According to a study by EF English First and comments from The Economist, there are two explanations. The first explains why English knowledge is poor in Spain and the second explains why Spain’s attitude towards English is changing.

The Economist states that:

Several factors correlate with English ability. The larger the number of speakers of a country’s main language, the worse that country tends to be at English … This may also explain why Spain was the worst performer in western Europe, and why Latin America was the worst-performing region: Spanish’s role as an international language in a big region dampens incentives to learn English.

EF English First states that:

Crisis is driving change. Spain’s ongoing economic crisis is also having a major impact on the importance of English in the country. There are signs that the progress Spain has made in English will continue in years to come. A growing acceptance of English as an essential tool and a pro-English government are all driving more people to study English with greater intensity than ever before. There is still a great deal to do, but Spain appears to be well on its way to embracing English as a necessary skill in a globalized world.

One of the best countries to teach English in Europe is Spain

If you want to teach English in Europe, put Spain at the top of your list.

EFL/ESL teachers’ s salaries in Madrid are usually between 1,500 and 2,300 Euros a month. The average Spaniard lives on a around 1,000 a month. A one bedroom apartment is around 450€ a month and a reasonable 3 course fixed menu lunch with a bottle of wine costs about 10€. Basics: milk – 0.60€ a litre, bread – 0.40€ for a “baguette” style, fruits and vegetables are very cheap, wine – decent bottle for about 4.00€, rice – 0.70€ a kilo meat and fish are reasonably priced.

If you are not from the European Union and would like to learn or improve your Spanish and teach as well, we can organise classes with a Cervantes Institute school that includes a one year student visa.

Extra advice for choosing the best countries to teach English abroad

Want to learn how to teach English from the experts?

Contact EBC for more information about our accredited English teacher training courses and job placement program.

Contact one of our Student Advisers

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Highly Recommended! Everyone is helpful and the course itself was very helpful, especially for people who have no teaching background and would like to change careers.
Cheyenne Albon
08:00 10 Oct 18
I had a good time doing my TEFL here in Madrid with EBC. The classes always started on time with a very realistic approach used to teach. I would recommend people to do TEFL from EBC to learn good ways to teach English and make it fun for students.
gaurav swamy
12:52 05 Oct 18
i learned a lot of strategies in teaching.I took the intensive 1 month course and it was really hard work but it was well worth it. Thanks a lot to our amazing teacher. I was so happy to receive my Certificate.Thanks alot EBC for everything.
lhiz Velasco Cabales
08:27 05 Sep 18
EBC is a wonderful academy. I attended an intensive course to gain my TEFL/TESOL qualification. The teaching was in-depth, covering skills, general and business English, as well as how to teach children and adults. All of this was imparted by our professional guide, John. Thank you to all the staff who went out of their way to be encouraging and helpful. It has been a memorable experience!
Michelle Fernández
18:00 02 Sep 18
Great course with an awesome staff. All aspects of teaching, grammar, finding work and even living in Spain are covered in great detail. Would recommend highly to anyone looking to do their TEFL.
Joe Kemp
12:53 31 Aug 18
Excellent and very comprehensive programme. Our instructor taught us everything we need to know about teaching English. The practice teaching sessions we did are great experience for the real world and I now feel confident that I can teach professionally. Thank you John for your commitment and dedication.
Susi Santorelli
12:03 31 Aug 18
Totally recommend EBC. A thorough course, well worth the money and with highly qualified instructors. I had never taught before taking this course, but the 8 hours teaching practice makes you feel so prepared. They answered every single one of my questions and made me feel confident to make this investment. Don't hesitate taking this course!
Kathryn Royal
11:59 31 Aug 18
Great course! You'll work very hard (it's very intensive) but definitely worth it. I totally recommend it.
Sol Montaser
09:00 27 Jul 18
The class was very good. The instructor John is friendly and very thorough with his classes. William, in the front office, is a joy and is very helpful with all of my course needs. Tita, is very nice and was helpful in explaining different options for working and staying in Madrid.
Jaime Tully
08:59 27 Jul 18
John is a good teacher and he puts efforts inorder to understand your requirements. He teaches you in the right ways, like how to present the language in a simple way, how to keep the motivation on, etc.It´s a intensive course but it´s really worth !!Willam is a good administrator. Thanks for all the help and support. 🙂
Tanya Bhagat
11:41 18 May 18
The course is very intensive but IT IS REALY WORTH! If you are looking for a course that teaches you how to become an English teacher, well this is the best one. You really get the better skills for teaching English at all levels with a clear knowledge about what you are doing. The staff of the course is really nice and helpful. He is a really nice person who helps you whatever you need.Teachers here at really good and they really know how to train you as a English teacher very well.
Dro !
11:24 18 May 18
I am very pleased with my experience at EBC Madrid. Professor John was an amazing mentor that really prepared my classmates and I to teach English. I feel confident going into the job market and finding a teaching job.
Elizabeth Wohlford
15:28 08 Mar 18
EBC Madrid had equipped me with the necessary knowledge and skills I need to be better in teaching. William is so nice and is very accommodating to us students. And, John is the best teacher who can simplify and make the students understand even the most complicated grammatical concept. Kudos!
Anne Marnelli
14:42 08 Mar 18
The course is very intensive but it helps a lot to bring out the best in me. John is an amazing teacher and he is very professional. I'm very thankful for all the guidance and help that I received from EBC. I highly recommend it.
Roxanne A.
14:42 08 Mar 18
The course is really useful. It makes you equipped with the right knowledge, training and attitude. Things you need to have that confidence to go out and face the world as an English teacher. Highly recommended!
Pedi Dela Cruz
14:25 08 Mar 18
This is a great place to get your TEFL certification. The staff is kind, organized and very helpful. It was such a comfortable learning environment that I enjoyed very much. I liked the personalized attention and I got a lot more confidence and experience to be an English teacher. Thanks for everything!
Victoria Metz
10:35 02 Feb 18
I found the instruction throughout the course to be very effective and I finished the course feeling excited and prepared to begin teaching. There is nothing fancy about the EBC facility, however this doesn't in any way reduce the overall quality of the course. John, the instructor, has extensive experience (both as an TEFL teacher and a TEFL course trainer), which is evident in the thoughtful organization of the course. My class had only five students, which created lots of time for personal attention and advice. Make sure you come prepared to work hard!
Adam Schreiber
12:06 14 Dec 17
It was a great and intensive course! I learned and enjoyed this whole learning how to teach experience. Thank you very much for your time and knowledge. I feel well-prepared now. EBC Madrid, 2017.
Michele Buitron
11:57 14 Dec 17
I've just finished my EBC TEFL course. It was a great experience. I definitely recommend this course. John is an amazing teacher and he is very professional. It was just a pleasure. Thank you so much and good luck!
Natalia Egorova
15:04 10 Nov 17
The course has been really useful and the teacher, John, made the classes so much fun and very interesting. It is has been a great experience and has helped me realise how much I really enjoy teaching. It has also been a bit intense at times but I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to become an English teacher.
Natasha Jimenez
20:17 05 Oct 17
Class of August 2017.It's been a busy stressful 4 weeks but I am happy the group and I have all made it and we have TEFL certificates to show for all our hard-work and sleepless nights. Much thanks to our trainer John for his patience and ability to find solutions and guidance to help you find your way and energy throughout the course. EBC international is the best place to learn and share your knowledge of teaching. And for people like me who has no idea how to teach things like grammar and also to learn the grammar...this is the place to be!
Ashley Kabanda
11:14 31 Aug 17

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