Teaching English in Laos

Laos is one of the most laid-back countries in which to teach, although it can be difficult for first-timers to find anything more than offers of part-time work paid by the hour. A small number of education centers will offer full-time contracts and pay for visa costs for teachers who are experienced in teaching in Asia. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer in more rural areas, but almost all paid positions are in the rather sleepy capital of Vientiane.  The EFL market is expanding slowly, but steadily, however it is almost impossible to find a job unless you are in country for a personal interview.  If you are looking for exciting night life or lots of entertainment, you will be disappointed in Laos.  Laos is for the really laid-back individual who likes a slow and easy pace.  Most of all, if you are going to live and work in Laos, you will need a lot of patience.  Things move slowly here and shouting or aggressive behaviour will not make things move any faster.

Salaries for teachers start at around $800 USD a month and top out at around $1,500 USD a month at a good international school.  However, don’t expect to start a full time position immediately, typically it takes time and patience to eventually find full time work.  You will probably have to start part-time hourly work earning from $10 – 20 USD per hour.  Most paid jobs are found in the capital Vientiane.  If you are looking for volunteer work, there are opportunities country wide in Laos.

Hiring schools will usually want their teachers to have a Degree and TEFL certification.  Most employers will arrange a visa for you. It is normal to enter on a tourist visa before applying for the work visa. Some employers will expect you to pay for your work visa (approximately 300 USD per year).

The cost of accommodation in Laos is low, but rising in Vientiane. Local food and transportation costs are very low.  Schools usually pay in US dollars. Employers are responsible for income tax.

One final word of advice if you are single you should be aware of strict laws in Laos regarding personal relationships between locals and foreigners.  You should always obey the laws in Laos.  The level of corruption is quite high and you could find yourself deported at the least or with a lengthy jail term for not obeying Laos laws.  Laos is definitely not a place where you want to be in prison.


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