A small country in the heart of Europe, Slovakia gained its independence in 1993 after the Velvet Revolution, having been part of Czechoslovakia and, earlier, the Austro-Hungarian empire. While not the most popular tourist destination in Central Europe, in recent years it has become a trendy location for travellers on a budget who want an authentic experience abroad. With picturesque hills, gothic town churches, and strong folk traditions. The High Tatras mountain range offering unparalleled hiking and climbing expeditions, and in the centre of the country, the rounded hills of the Low Tatras range offers a gentler climb, as well as wineries on par with the best of France.
Located right in the centre of Europe, staying in Slovakia would afford you the chance to travel to a variety of destinations. The capital, Bratislava, is close to Vienna and Prague to the west, and to the south Budapest is within easy reach. Home to a growing economy with a low cost of living, Slovakia is an attractive destination for those looking to work in TEFL.
Slovakia is a welcoming and friendly country to teach English abroad. There’s a substantial demand for TEFL teachers, helped in part by the European Social Fund which has provided free or subsidised English courses for civil servants and those working in education. You’ll find plenty of job opportunities, and with little competition (particularly in off-the-beaten-track locations) you’re sure to find something to apply for.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Bratislava, Kosice, Nitra, Presov, and Banksa Bystrica
- Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of €360 – €1,000 (£330 – £900 /$400 – $1,120) per month. Freelance rates are around €8 – €25 per 45-60 minute lesson (£6.30 – £23 / $8 – $28 )
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be minimum requirement for most jobs
- Prerequisite university degree: Most jobs require a degree
- Term times: September to June
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Language: Slovak
- Teaching programmes: Private Language Schools, State Schools, Business English, Corporate gigs, Freelance
- Age restrictions: Postgraduate
- Previous teaching experience: Helpful but not always required
Teaching in Slovakia, you will often be working around 25 to 30 hours per week (20-25 hours of teaching, plus prep time), which leaves you plenty of free time to travel and explore the country. Peak hiring time is in January, and also September/October. Teaching in a private language school might mean moving around during the day as corporate lessons are quite popular, whereas in a state school you’re more likely to be in the same place each day. Most schools prefer to interview in person, although a telephone or Skype interview in advance is common for a first introduction. As Slovakia isn’t as popular with TEFL teachers as other nearby countries, competition for jobs is relatively low, and if you have a degree and a TEFL certificate it won’t be hard to find a job.
It’s not common for teaching jobs in Slovakia to provide accommodation for their teachers, although they do often include health care and might offer money for other expenses. If accommodation is provided, it will likely be a flat share or home stay. You’ll find the most job opportunities in Bratislava, but don’t rule out smaller locations where there will be less competition and perhaps an even more authentic immersion into life in Slovakia. To teach freelance, you need a trade licence.
Requirements to teach English in Slovakia
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Slovakia||£330 - £900
($400 - $1,120)
As few schools provide accommodation, the cost of renting in Slovakia will be of key interest to TEFL teachers. While costs are low, many teachers choose to share apartments to save even more money. Bear in mind that the price of renting in Bratislava is around twice as much as renting in a small town in Central Slovakia. Locally, buying property is cheap and preferable to renting, so if you plan to stay for a long time, owning property could be a viable option.
Food is cheap in Slovakia, and you’ll be able to afford to go out for meals and drinks regularly. Many shopping centres and supermarkets are open late, even on the weekends, to accommodate shoppers with long working hours. Shopping centres are a good place to find entertainment in the city, such as cinemas. If you prefer outdoors pursuits, hiking is a popular pastime, as is visiting the spa for a touch of luxury.
People in Slovakia aren’t obsessed with making as much money as possible to acquire more material wealth. They take pleasure in the small things in life, like to take their time enjoying a nice meal, and value relationships and experiences over objects. Making friends in Slovakia will be key to enjoying your leisure time. Whatever your leisure time involves, be aware of cultural differences with your home country. Slovakia isn’t known for its hospitality culture, so don’t expect super-polite waiters or to get services for free.
- Accommodation: £597 – £838 / $744 – $1,044
- Utilities: £138 / $173
- Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £23 / $28
- Monthly transport pass: £24 / $30
- Basic dinner out for two: £21 / $27
- Cappuccino in expat area: £2.26 / $2.82
- A beer in a pub: £1.57 / $1.95
- 1 litre of milk: £0.78 / $0.98
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.12 / $1.40
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)