Can Couples TEFL?

Solo travel is an experience like no other that should be tried at least once in a lifetime. Nevertheless, such an undertaking can seem daunting, especially if you plan to be away for any period of time. That’s why traveling with a friend/partner/S.O. is also a good idea – it removes a lot of the stress of traveling by sharing the burden with whoever you decide to journey with. You also feel safer with someone by your side and, best of all, a partner is the perfect cure for loneliness!

It’s no different in TEFL life, either. We’re always being asked whether or not it’s possible for couples to teach English abroad together. The answer? Yes, it is – and it happens all the time.

Below are a few tips it would be best to keep a note of, so as to increase your chances of working abroad with your partner.

Working in the Same School

Often, the aim of most couples is to work in the same school together. Usually, this is a very achievable aim but what schools want from their employees can vary between institutions. On the one hand, some see coupled teachers as a positive and believe such relationships lead to happier workers who are less likely to abandon their positions. On the other, there are schools that see partners as a disadvantage as they may lead to an over-dependence in each other i.e. if one decides to leave then the other may follow. Keep an open mind; if you don’t manage to both find work in the same school it’s not the end of the world – just compromise and agree to work at separate schools, if needed.

Choosing Where to TEFL

A crucial aspect of the TEFL life abroad with another person is finding a place you are both compatible with. In other words, do your research before you head to work in a country neither you nor your partner have ever lived in. Maybe you have a strong preference for cooler climates over warm, a distaste of a certain cuisine, or lack the sufficient qualifications for a specific country. It’s an unfortunate truth that many areas require some sort of degree or high-level TEFL certificate which can be a real obstacle for many looking to teach abroad. To give yourselves the best opportunity possible, it’s recommended you have a recognized TEFL certification under your belt. Be certain that, if you do gain a TEFL certificate, that it is provided by a trustworthy and respected organization such as ourselves, TEFL Org.

Popular TEFL destinations which do officially require a degree include China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the UAE – in fact, a lot of Asian countries share this standard. Conversely, most of South and Central America plus some of Europe should prove fairly simple to land a job without a degree.

A rule of thumb when looking for jobs: larger population centers will provide the higher number of available jobs, but also the most competing job-seekers. This applies to teaching roles abroad, too, and is doubly relevant when two people want to work together. The bigger schools found in the cities are far more likely to have multiple vacancies open than those in rural areas. Again, possessing attractive qualifications will boost your chances no matter where you decide to live.


Another rule of thumb, more specific to TEFL, is: don’t expect to earn lots. Sure, you can save and live a pretty comfortable life – and most do. However, that’s paying for a single individual, not two. If you both plan to live together, you need to make sure that there will be two sources of income to be able to afford the costs of living. Negotiate your salary with employers. This is where good qualifications come in handy because if you have them, you also have a better chance to raise them as suits you.

Here’s a quick guide on how to best negotiate your salary from The Balance.

Hopefully, this article has been useful in helping decide how and where to teach English abroad with your partner.

Need some inspiration for where to work? Click here to go to our TEFL jobs center.

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