Monday 28 April 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs in Malaysia

Updated 22 August 2014

Here's the information for Malaysia for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.  

If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at
  1. Mentoring programme: They need English Speaking Assistants, English Language Consultants, English Language Professionals, and English Language Training Fellows. For the ESA position you just need a TEFL cert and a degree. For the ELP and ELT positions you will need YL / primary teaching experience. For the ELT you will need to have at least an MA and experience in education, research, and reform in one of the areas they list on their website. You'll get $2400-$3000 a month, plus an accommodation allowance of RM 8,000 per month, use of a company car, settlement allowance, return airfare, RM 3,000 holiday allowance, and a contract completion allowance of RM 20,000. Single teachers with no dependents. Dave's Malaysia forum has a lot of info about the Malaysia Ministry of Education mentoring programme.They recruit through the Brighton Education Group (STC Consortium group), British Council, SMR HR, and Teach Anywhere.
  2. Sunway University 
  3. University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus: The Centre for English Language Education requires tutors that have a Masters in TESOL/TEFL/Applied Linguistics (or equivalent) and substantial experience teaching EAP in an internationally recognised tertiary institution. Pay is about PM 5000-6000 per month. Desirable qualities include experience of course development, assessment and an active interest in contemporary ELT methodology. They also have a campus in Ningbo, China. Applicants should send a CV and covering letter to


Thursday 24 April 2014

Beware of TEFL scams

Newbies often ask how they can tell if a job or a TEFL cert is a scam. The simple answer is that if it seems to good to be true, it is. While they are cushy jobs out there, newbies likely won't be able to land these without the required qualifications, experience, and know-how. If you're interested in teaching abroad, you should do a bit of research first. So how do you know if it's a scam?
  • A big tip off is if they ask you to send them money. I'm not talking about paying the embassy to get a visa, the hospital for a medical check up, or the airlines for your flights. I'm talking about when the company asks YOU to pay THEM. The only legit reason that you should pay is in the case of international school jobs. Their recruitment fairs often require you to pay. They are well publicised and you should have no trouble finding out if they're legit or not. You can find a list of these at the article, international schools.
  • A second way of telling if it's a scam if they offer a fantastic salary. Let's face it, English teachers aren't going to get rich. So if you're offered an astronomical figure from a no-name school, it's probably a scam. As mentioned before, there are those great jobs with huge salaries, few hours, and long vacations, but you're going to need a couple years experience and advanced qualifications, such as a masters degree or TEFL diploma.
  • Another tip off is spelling and grammar mistakes. Of course, non-native speakers may make a couple mistakes. Native speakers may leave out words or have typos, but if it's over the top, beware.
  • Nigeria, kings, queens, princeses, princesses, wealthy widows, and weathly widowers: these should all be avoided like the plague.
  • Generic emails, such as gmail, yahoo, or hotmail. Again, there are legit organisations that use these. But you'll have to be careful.
  • Fake contact info, such as fake phone numbers, websites, emails or addresses. Some scammers will use legit language school names, but fake emails. Use google maps, or email the actual language school. Some places, like Wall Street Institute even have a page warning against fake job offers.
  • If they want personal details, such as your bank details or social security number, you should be running the other way. Some people get scared off if an institute asks for their passport details. However, if you're going to need a visa, they're going to need your passport info sometime or another.
  • If you're sending scans of your degrees, photo, transcripts, references, or anything else, you might want to consider putting a watermark across it that says "Copy" or "For Application Purposes Only".

Think you've found a scam? Report it. You can contact the Federal Trade Commission at or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). In addition, there are international agencies such as ICPEN that handle cross-border/international internet fraud. (Thanks to for this info.) Those are some of the main ways to see if you're dealing with scammers. You can read more tips at warning signs of bad schools.


Tuesday 22 April 2014

Top US Expat Tax Myths Exposed, Explained and Debunked!

The following post is from a guest blogger. You might also be interested in reading my review of Greenback Taxes.

Americans are required to file a US tax return every year, regardless of where they live. Millions of expats are unaware of this filing obligation and millions more are confused about what is true and what is not. So we are going to set the record straight and explain the top 5 myths about US expat taxes!

Myth #1: I don’t need to file a US expat tax return once I move abroad.

This is untrue! There are approximately 7 million Americans living abroad and only about half actually file their US taxes each year, so many expats believe this myth is true! The US requires you to report your worldwide income every year. Assuming you earn enough money to be required to file in the US, you will need to file while living abroad. You need to file a US expat tax return if:

  • You are self-employed with income over $400 per year (yes, only $400…) 
  • You are single with income over $10,000 per year 
  • You are married filing jointly with income over $20,000 per year 
  • You are head of household with income over $12,850 per year You may also need to file if you have distributions from tax-favored accounts, such as IRAs or other pensions, or health or medical savings accounts. 

Myth #2: I can make $100,000 abroad and it’s tax-free! 

Well, this one may not be entirely a myth! If you qualify as an expat, you are eligible for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which allows you to exclude up to $97,600 of your income (in 2013) from your US taxes. So technically you can exclude much, if not all, of your earned income from your US tax liability. Earned income includes salary, wages, commissions and royalties, but does not include interest, dividends, retirement benefits, alimony, child support or rental income.

To qualify as an expat, you simply have to pass one of the 2 determining residency tests: the Physical Presence test or the Bona Fide Residence test. To qualify via the Physical Presence test, you need to have foreign-sourced income and be outside of the US for 330 of any 365-day period. (Most expats qualify this way.) To qualify via the Bona Fide Residence test, you must reside outside of the US for at least one year and have no intentions of returning to the US.

Remember that if you are self-employed you will still be responsible for Social Security/Payroll taxes, which is 15.3% for all self-employed individuals.

Myth #3: I am invisible to the tax man: They can’t find me! 

Until recently, this wasn’t entirely a myth. But now it is! The US has launched a full-scale effort to uncover tax evaders who hide money in offshore accounts. In 2014, FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) goes into effect and individuals are required to report their offshore assets if they exceed certain thresholds (see below). In additional to individual reporting requirements, the US has signed agreements with dozens of countries whereby foreign financial institutions will be required to report on the accounts of their American clients.

What does this mean? Well, if your assets exceed the threshold yet you fail to report it, your bank likely will. You can’t hide.

The types of assets that must be reported are:

  • Savings, deposit, checking, and brokerage accounts held with a bank or broker-dealer 
  • Stock or securities issued by a foreign corporation 
  • A note, bond or debenture issued by a foreign person 
  • A partnership interest in a foreign partnership 
  • An interest in a foreign retirement plan or deferred compensation plan 
  • An interest in a foreign estate 
  • Any interest in a foreign-issued insurance contract or annuity with a cash-surrender value 

The thresholds for filing FATCA Form 8938 are as follows:

  • Filing single and your balance was over $200,000 on the last day of the year or over $300,000 on any day during the year. 
  • Filing jointly and your balance was over $400,000 on the last day of the year or over $600,000 on any day during the year. 

In addition, if you have $10,000 in foreign bank accounts at any point during the year you are required to file the FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) Form FinCEN 114. This is yet another IRS tool to ensure taxpayers aren’t hiding their money overseas.

Penalties for failing to file Form 8938 or FinCEN 114 when you are required to do so can be steep (including criminal prosecution!), so if you have any questions about your personal reporting requirements, consult an expat tax professional.

Myth #4: I’m an expat so Obamacare definitely won’t impact me. 


Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act) went into effect in 2014 and expats around the world are wondering how they may be impacted. Obamacare requires that every American holds the minimum essential healthcare coverage or pay a penalty tax (which is assessed on your tax return the following year).

Expats who qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion are exempt from Obamacare provisions. If you don’t qualify, nor do you have a qualifying US expatriate health policy, then you may be forced to pay the Obamacare tax.

Some expats are expected to hold a US insurance policy, but since you are required to reside in a US state in order to purchase a policy, it’s not an option. So unfortunately, you may be caught in this gap- living overseas and unable to obtain US health care coverage, but not overseas long enough to be exempt from Obamacare.

The penalty tax for 2014 is the greater of $95 per person ($47.50 per child) or 1% of your income. If you return to the US, you have 60 days to obtain coverage without penalty.

Myth #5: If I file now, I might get arrested on my next trip to the US. 

For most expats, this is a myth.

The IRS is unlikely to punish you if you come forward and voluntarily file your back taxes. Like we said, millions of Americans are in this situation and are behind on their US tax obligations. There are no guarantees that you won’t incur penalties for the delinquent returns, but it’s highly unlikely that you will be arrested. Ty Warner, founder of Beanie Babies stuffed animals was recently ordered to pay over $60 million in back taxes and penalties and he got probation—so don’t let your fear keep you from coming forward and getting caught up!

This post was written by David McKeegan, co-founder of Greenback Expat Tax Services. Greenback specializes in the preparation of US expat taxes for Americans living abroad. Greenback offers straightforward pricing, a simple, hassle-free process, and CPAs and IRS Enrolled Agents who have extensive experience in the field of expat tax preparation. If you’d like Greenback to prepare your individual US expat tax return, simply click here to get started. 

For more information about Greenback Expat Tax Services or your US expat tax obligations, please contact us or visit


Monday 21 April 2014

Poll Results March 2014: How many foreign teachers work at your school?

March's poll was "How many foreign teachers work at your school?" Here are the results.
  • less than 5: 33.33% with 2 votes
  • 6-10: 33.33% with 2 votes
  • 11-20: 16.67% with 1 vote
  • 21-50: 16.67% with 1 vote
  • 50+: 0% with 0 votes
It seems that most people are in schools with not a lot of foreign teachers. Here are some tips with socialising with other teachers.

Be sure to vote in this month's poll: How many hours of private lessons do you teach?


Sunday 20 April 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs in Macau

Updated 19 January 2016

Here's the information for Macau for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.  

If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at
  1. Pui Ching: You work hard for your money, but have dedicated colleagues and well-disciplined, intelligent students. It runs K - year 12. I think they hire TEFLers through an agency if they can't find the right person through personal contacts.
  2. University of Macau: Applicants must possess at minimum an MA in TESOL, TEFL, or Applied Linguistics with at least 2 years at the tertiary level. Academic publication experience is not necessary but a specific research interest/agenda is expected. The current local maximum income tax rate is 12% but is effectively around 5% - 7% after various discretionary exemptions. Here is the current pay scale. Pay starts at MOP 260,400, which is about $32,000. Here's the January 2016 advert for senior English instructor. Teaching load is 15 hours per week. and there are two 14 week semesters - but only 22 days annual leave (there is paid summer teaching for 3 weeks if you're interested). Regular salary is $65,000-93,000 per year with 10% pension, plus housing. There are also a number of subsidies: holiday, Christmas, housing, furniture, passage, baggage, and family which are in addition to the salary.


Thursday 17 April 2014

Vary Your Feedback With ESL Classes

"If it ain't broke, then don't fix it" holds true, but too often than not the type of feedback we give our students simply doesn't work. You know this because they keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again.

I ran across A Muse Muses by Neil McMahon in which he presents 14 different ways of feedback you can use with your students. So without further ado, you can read ways of varying feedback.


Saturday 12 April 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs in Kazakhstan

Here's the information for Kazakhstan for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.  

If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at
  1. Eurospeak in Almaty.
  2. NGL (Natural Gas) Plants: Depending on where you are in KZ you could get €3000  a month tax free. Rotational work is the norm, so one month on, then one month off. You might have to work 6-7 days per week though. 
  3. Kazakh-British Technical University: Pay varies, but you can expect a decent salary, flights, accommodations, and 30 days vacation. 
  4. Nazarbayev Intellectual School: You'll make $48-$60k usd a year, depending on where you are placed in KZ. Subject and EFL teachers are needed. You'll need at least a BA. Travel allowance ($5000-$6000), housing allowance $600-$1,100/month), and one time shipping allowance ($2000) are also provided.
  5. Nazarbayev University: They had a teaching fellow in EAP position through the University College London that was advertised on The pay was £30,000-£39,000 a year plus 25% expat allowance. BA plus EAP teaching qualification was required as well as teaching experience.
  6. Oil Companies: High salaries, often tax free. Food and accomodations may be paid for. Rotational work.


Friday 11 April 2014

Stop Micromanaging Teachers

So many schools out there do this. They really need to start trusting the person they hired and let them do their job. This is especially true for institutes which are often run by people who have never taught a class in their lives. They also have to realise that students aren’t customers. Once they do this they will stop catering to their every whim.

Allowing teachers a certain amount of freedom will let them be creative and take learning to a new level. Google’s 20% programme is a good example of what can happen when companies allow their workers time to think outside the box. Schools need to remember that they hired someone who they believed could not only teach, but teach well; and they should let them do their job without too much interference.


Thursday 10 April 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs for Laos

Here's the information for Laos for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. You might also want to look at The Best TEFL Jobs With Worldwide Employers.  

If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at
  1. Vientiane College:  They have an English programme and are an IELTS testing centre.
  2. Vientiane International School:  You need a BA or teaching license.


Monday 7 April 2014

Hand in a Letter of Resignation Even If Your Contract is Up

I believe that letters of resignation aren't only necessary for when you're quitting your teaching job. I think that you should turn in a letter of resignation even if you are successfully completing your contract.

By doing this you will eliminate any doubt as to why you're leaving; no one can say that you were asked to leave.

Your letter of resignation doesn't have to be complicated. You can tell them you . . .
  • have enjoyed working with them.
  • feel it was an great opportunity.
  • were able to you to grow both personally and professionally.
  • wish everyone the best.
  • are leaving to take up another position / study / travel, etc.
  • do not plan to renew your contract with them.
  • will complete your current contract and fulfill all of your teaching and administrative duties. So therefore your letter of resignation will be effective after the last day of your contract, which will be X.


Tuesday 1 April 2014

Teaching in Asia

Updated 2 December 2014

Asia is a popular place for newbies and oldbies alike. The vastly different culture and language attracts people from around the world. Salaries and benefits vary widely within Asia so be sure to check out your options.

Below you can find a simple summary of what the most popular countries offer to help you choose an Asian country to teach in. You can also find a comparison of Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and China in this guide. Here's a thread with more information about teaching in Asia at Dave's ESL Cafe.

If you're looking for adventure, you might want to check ou the Bhutan Canada Foundation programme. Whereas most people who visit Bhutan have to spend $250 a day, you'll get to experience the real Bhutan.

Where To Find Job Adverts
ESL Cafe has been a long time favourite to search for job adverts. There are also many, many job sites out there. You can find a comprehensive list here at TEFL Tips in the job sites section

Salaries and Benefits
Salaries vary widely, from $500 in China to more than $3000 in Korea and Brunei. Korea is probably the best place to make money for newbies. If you have experience, head to Brunei. Licensed teachers can work at international schools anywhere in the world. You might also be interested in and teaching exchanges and fellowships. As far as benefits go, you could get nothing (which is pretty common in Taiwan) to nearly everything (more common in Brunei and Korea).
  • Furnished housing (or a housing and furniture allowance)
  • Flights home
  • Medical insurance
  • Yearly bonus
  • Contract completion bonus
  • Medical /health insurance
  • Contract re-signing bonus
  • Paid vacation
  • Relocation allowance
  • Tax free salary
Where to Go
Asia is huge and the opportunities are limitless. Jim Rodgers says that Asia is the place to go if you want to become wealthy. Here's a discussion about the most popular Asian countries TEFLers go to. Read the country profiles below to find out more information. Here's a list of the best schools I put together.

Who You'll Teach
From kindergarten through secondary school, university, and language schools, there are chance to teach learners of all levels and ages.

What to Expect
Culture Shock tends to hit people pretty quickly in Asia. Communication is strained and Asians have a different way of doing things than Westerners. Read the article culture shock to find out more. Religion is very different in Asia. There are Buddhists, Ancestory worshippers, Muslims, Christians and more. Being tolerant of religion and respecting laws that go along with their religion is necessary.

Face is something very common in Asia. You don't want to lose face or force someone to lose face. This can cause problems. Rather than saying "no" or "I don't know", your boss may say "yes" or "We'll see". This is to save your face and his face. Patience is definitely needed!

Class sizes tend to be larger in Asia. Some people may have 40 students in a primary class or 70 or more in university classes. Be sure to ask about class size before accepting job.

Asia is wonderful, the people are kind and eager to learn about your life, and the culture is like nothing you've seen before. As with all areas of the world, some people love it and some people hate it. I personally love Asia and hope that I'm here to stay. There are SO many interesting things to learn about Asia. Try checking out a culture book or a book on how to do business in Asia before coming over.

Brunei is a little known secret among TEFLers. A small, Muslim country near Indonesia, it has strict requirements for its residents. You'll need to be a licensed teacher in your home country and have 3 years teaching experience in primary or secondary schools. If you fulfill those requirements, then you can make between $37,000 and $57,000 a year plus benefits. Salaries aren't taxes and you get great benefits such as furnished or subsidized housing, insurance, interest-free car loans, settling-in allowance, and allowances for your spouse / children. CfBT (not open to Americans) and Teach Away recruit for Brunei. Teach Away also has an online TEFL cert from the University of Toronto. The general Asia discussion forums have more info. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Brunei.

With the Khmer Rouge, the Killing Fields, and Poi Pot, Cambodia hasn't had the best reputation. Things are changing though and the country is opening up. A positive is that a business visa is easy enough to get at the border. You'll just end up paying a bit extra that what tourist visas cost. You can renew it in country and stay and teach. The Cambodia discussion forum has more info. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Cambodia.

China usually has a lower salary than many places, but if you can get 8000 - 10000 RMB a month plus benefits you probably will be able to save a decent amount due to the low cost of living. Contrary to fact, there are places in China that pay well.
IELTS testing with the British Council can bring in some extra cash. Job openings are often placed on Dave's ESL Cafe or contact the nearest British Council. Here's a description of the requirements. Be aware that China is a very popular place for newbies and as such as earned the reputation as having teachers fit into one of the 3M categories: mercenaries, missionaries, or misfits. Not saying that all teachers are like that in China, but I've met my fair of odd teachers there. The China discussion forum has more info. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in China.

Edit: It seems the British Council will be phasing out part-time weekend examining.

Hong Kong may be a more difficult market to get into, but if you can get in, you can earn a very good salary. The NET (Native English Teacher) Scheme is the best, money-wise, but you will need experience and a background in teaching. Since the British only recently turned Hong Kong back to China, the atmosphere is East meets West. Many nationalities make HK their home and you can hear different languages being spoken. You can find businessmen chatting on cell phones and Chinese men squatting on the side of the road playing mahjongg. Start-up and living costs are high, but this is balanced by the higher salaries. Teach Away recruits for NET. They also have a TEFL cert from the University of Toronto. You can make from $3000 to $6500 a month. The Hong Kong discussion forum has more info. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Hong Kong.

If the Far East is calling you, then Indonesia is perfect. A country reputed to have the highest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia will allow you to see a world completely different than your own. Plus, it's a tropical island, what more could you ask for? Stay out of Jakarta and you might want to avoid the party island of Bali, but other than that, the world's your oyster. Expect between $500 and $800 usd a month for teaching about 20 hours a week. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Indonesia.

Japan was a popular TEFL destination back in the 1990s, but even though things aren't what they used to be, you can still save money. Typical starting salaries are about 250,000 yen a month, which roughly works out to about $2550 usd a month. Debito has a greenlist and a blacklist of Japanese universities.

Take into account that you won't be getting free housing. The school might pay for a portion of it, but that will be your biggest expense. Due to key money (the deposit you put down on an apartment), start-up costs are high. Living costs are also pretty high. Added to that is the flooded teacher market which makes for more competition and allows for employers to ask for more experience and more qualifications.

One of the biggest benefits of working in Japan is that you own your visa, so if you lose your job, you can still legally stay in country. Another added plus is that Japanese is easier to learn than other Asian languages. You can get your own work visa or get a working holiday visa. See this article about working holiday visas, or contact the nearest Japanese embassy for visa options. The Japan discussion forum has more info. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Japan.

The Korean won isn't worth as much as it was a couple years ago. The ebooks Coming to Korea and Living in Korea have lots of good info. While the days of easily saving $20,000 usd a year are gone, you should be able to save $15,000 usd.  $20,000 usd isn't impossible if you budget. Getting severance and your pension back at the end of your contract really helps. There's a lot of paper pushing going on, Korea has the lowest productivity rate in the OECD. So that means long hours, with little getting done. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Korea.

Take into account that visa laws are very strict. If you're on an E2 visa, you can only work for one institute and even teaching private classes is illegal. If caught, you could be fined or deported.

If you're looking to teach at a hagwon (institute) you should look at the Reliable Teacher Hagwon Review. Public school jobs are also popular and if you're interested you should apply to EPIK, GEPIK, SMOE, TALK, or GNUCR. If you're looking to teach at a university, try Joe Seoul Man's blog. The Korea discussion forums have more info.

If international schools are more your style try looking at Konglishman's post, Olivencia's post, PsyGuy's post, and Kikomom's post on Dave's.

Singaporeans, Chinese, and Indians live here along with Malaysians and expats from around the world. Malaysia is a melting pot of many religions including Christianity, Buddism, and Islam. It's a fantastic place to visit and even better if you're able to live there. Although it's in SE Asia, it's not a third world country so that means that cost of living is higher than what you would pay in Thailand or Vietnam. Teach Away has many teaching positions ranging from ESL teachers, subject teachers, teach trainers, advisors, managers, and more. They also have a TEFL cert from the University of Toronto. The General Asia discussion forums have more info. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Malaysia.

Taiwan tends to pay higher salaries than China, but less than Korea. Taiwan has a high start up cost as well. But if you're there long term, you can save. Another benefit is that you can usually work for more than one employer legally. The year-long hot weather is another perk to living in Taiwan. The Taiwan discussion forums have more info. The ultimate guide to teaching in Taiwan also has lots of tips. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Taiwan.

If you're looking for a laid-back atmosphere, try Thailand. Although you will probably be paid less, sometimes a more relaxed atmosphere outweighs the pay. You can probably make about $1000 usd - $2000 a month, but due to the fact of cheap living costs, some TEFLers have been able to save a couple thousand dollars a year. Thailand is located in South East Asia, has great weather year round and lots of beaches. It's also a top tourist destination, so you'll find many of the amenities there that you will find at home. The Thailand discussion forums have more info. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Thailand.

Since costs of living is so low, your salary lasts longer. Language Link, ILA, Apollo, and RMIT have decent paying jobs in Vietnam. Most people are able to make between $1500 and $3000 usd a month. Typical benefits include relocation allowance, health insurance, paid vacation, contract completion bonus, and renewal bonus. There are lots of jobs out there for people who want to teach VYL. Try checking out New Hanoian or email

People have reported being able to find pretty nice apartments for only $300 a month. Most can also afford a cleaning lady a couple times a week and to eat out in restaurants as well as save a bit of cash at the end of the month. Vietnam is in the heart of SE Asia, so you can take trips to surrounding countries very easily. The Vietnam discussion forums have more info. Here's my list of the best schools to work for in Vietnam.


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