Romania is a country shaped by its folk culture as much as by the Carpathian Mountains running through it. Villages in the mountains have been isolated and self-sufficient throughout most of their history, meaning each one has its own unique traditions and stories. Only recently have these villages become more interconnected, so the connection to local folklore remains a cultural touchstone for many Romanians. If you want a TEFL adventure in a country where you can really immerse yourself in the language and the culture, Romania is a great choice.
The rise of interconnectivity and modernisation in the country has driven demand for TEFL instructors, particularly in once-isolated villages. While you’re there, you’ll have the opportunity to visit reinforced churches, towering castles, abandoned forts, and other historical structures in your spare time. People in the country are eager to help outsiders integrate with local customs, and you may even have these excursions paid for by your employer! For this reason, TEFL roles in the country are particularly well-suited for historians, folklorists, and other storytellers. Whether you have a taste for the macabre, an interest in superstitious tales, or a desire to nurture your imagination, you’ll find it all with TEFL in Romania.
However, while teaching in Romania may sound like a fairy tale, the truth is that it’s not always easy to find work there. While English lessons are popular, the low wages across the country make it unviable for many schools to hire English teachers from abroad. The market for freelance and private language teaching is also poor for this reason. If you’re keen to go to Romania, look into one of the many volunteering opportunities you can find to teach English in the country. Be prepared to take a pay cut compared to what you’d usually expect to be earning as an English teacher, but if you live frugally, you can enjoy a good quality of life in this marvellous country.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Bucharest, Constanta, Cluj-Napoca, and Lasi
- Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 1,100 Leu (£200 / $260) per month. Top jobs can pay up to 2,500 Leu (£460 / $580), but these positions are rare. The hourly rate will be around 50 Leu (£9 / $12).
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be a minimum for most jobs
- Prerequisite university degree: Most jobs are for postgraduate candidates, but voluntary opportunities can often accept those without a degree
- Term times: September to June
- Currency: Romanian leu (RON)
- Language: Romanian
- Teaching programmes: Public Schools, Private Schools, Language Schools, International Schools, Freelance, Volunteering
- Age restrictions: Postgraduate, but volunteering opportunities for those aged 16+
- Previous teaching experience: Beneficial to most jobs
English has been taught in Romanian primary schools since the collapse of communism, so most young people can communicate quite well in English. Both children and teenagers are often highly motivated to become skilled in English – one for the benefit of watching English-language cartoons, the other for the chance to live and work abroad in years to come. Since a 2014 ruling that has made it easier for Romanians to live and work in the UK, English is more popular than ever.
Getting hired in a public school in Romania is pretty difficult. Local teachers do a good job of teaching English, and schools generally can’t afford the inflated wages they’d need to pay in order to hire a teacher from abroad. However, opportunities are sometimes available, more commonly in the capital. Private schools and International schools can be a bit more flexible, and while language schools aren’t a major business in Romania, they’re gaining popularity, particularly with affluent companies that can afford language lessons for their staff. Freelance work is scarce and you’re unlikely to build a full profile of freelance work, but you will likely be able to find a handful of students to supplement your other full-time or part-time salary. Most teachers will find it hard to afford to live in Romania on the wage of just one full-time job. If you’re able to teach English online in your free time, this is a good way to make far more than you would by teaching private classes locally.
Requirements for teaching English in Romania
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Romania||£200 - £460
($260 - 580)
|Preferred||September||No||Accommodation sometimes included||Yes||None|
One of the cheapest countries in Eastern Europe, the cost of living is particularly favourable in Romania. However, even with such a low cost of living, teachers can still struggle to make ends meet in this country as the TEFL wages are so low. Most schools are unable to afford to hire teachers from abroad. If you do find a full-time job, you’ll likely be on the same wages as the local teachers, although some schools are able to provide benefits such as free or subsidised housing. Rent is particularly low in Romania, so even if you do have to find your own apartment, you should be able to find something within budget.
Living like a local is the best way to get by on a smaller wage. If you’re frugal you can enjoy a good quality of life in Romania, even though it’s one of the poorer countries in Europe. Romanians are great hosts and you’ll get the most out of your time there by trying to make local friends. Their friendliness and desire to impress can come across as aggressive at times, and you may be encouraged to overindulge in food and drink at social events, or to take part in cultural activities like traditional dances – but on the whole, this is good natured fun. Despite the fact that you might not be earning much more than them, locals may view you as a bit of a celebrity and assume you’re rich, which is a description they assign to most foreigners they meet. Younger Romanians will understand that being foreign doesn’t always mean you’re rich, but you’ll still be popular with young people who are eager to learn about other cultures and dream of travelling themselves.
- Accommodation: £339 – £559/ $425 – $701
- Utilities: £73 / $91
- Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £26 / $33
- Monthly transport pass: £13 / $16
- Basic dinner out for two: £20 / $25
- Cappuccino in expat area: £2.33 / $2.92
- A beer in a pub: £1.51 / $1.90
- 1 litre of milk: £0.93 / $1.17
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.10 / $1.38
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)
“During my three weeks of teaching in Romania, I taught topics such as colours, animals, places and transportation. In addition to this on a Saturday afternoon I was able to have an arts and crafts workshop, where we made dream catchers, from various different materials.
As well as teaching, we participated in evening activities for the children such as discos, film nights, quiz nights and so much more. We also supervised the children in sporting activities such as swimming, hiking and zip-wiring! Hiking in the Romanian countryside was beyond stunning.”
Louise, TEFL Org graduate, taught at a summer camp in Romania
Discover more student stories from TEFL Org graduates.