The cheapest country in Eastern Europe, Ukraine is a great TEFL destination for teachers who like a warm, friendly welcome, being somewhere with a low cost of living, and having a bit of an adventure. Perhaps not the easiest country to live in, if you can find a professional job (with all the legal paperwork) then a nice quality of life can be enjoyed in this country, with many teachers staying for several years.
TEFL students are often young learners, or young professionals hoping to boost their career prospects. A background in Business English would be useful, as would experience teaching kids and teens. If you want to try out teaching kids in Ukraine, look for a summer camp job where you can get an introduction to the country, and look for full-time work once you’re there. There’s no shortage of jobs for qualified teachers who are already in the country. Ukraine offers jobs for teachers at every stage of their career – inexperienced non-native teachers can find limited work, and there are also top-notch positions for those with qualifications and 3+ years of experience.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Kiev/Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhye, and Donetsk
- Average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be in the region of 7,000 – 30,000 UAH (£215 – £920 / $260 – $1,125) per month. Hourly rate of240 – 360 UAH (£7 – 11 / $9 – $13.50) an hour.
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification will be required for most positions
- Prerequisite university degree: Most jobs require a degree
- Term times: September to June
- Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)
- Language: Ukrainian
- Teaching programmes: Private Language Schools, Freelance, Business English, Public Schools, International Schools
- Age restrictions: Usually postgraduate
- Previous teaching experience: Useful, not always essential
There’s a high demand in Ukraine for TEFL teachers, booming since the 2016 DCFTA agreement which has led to some modernisation in the country. There are a good number of TEFL jobs around, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get one. It is expensive (and involves a lot of paperwork) for a school to hire a foreign teacher on the proper visa. Some schools got into the habit of hiring teachers on 3-month contracts and getting them to leave and re-enter the country as a tourist each time their visa is up. Obviously, you’d do well to avoid schools that don’t provide the legal visa required for full-time work and to keep it all above board. Going with a larger company, such as International House or British Council, will avoid this problem. Public schools hire in January/February and August/September.
Students in Ukraine are welcoming and enthusiastic. Young learners make up a large portion of TEFL students and so if you have experience teaching children, it won’t be hard to find a job. Teachers will often be invited to social events with their students, and even to visit students’ homes to meet their families. The unerring generosity and friendliness can be overwhelming for more introverted teachers, but if you love meeting locals and immersing yourself in a new culture, Ukraine is a great place to teach. A lively social atmosphere ranks as one of the reasons why many TEFL teachers end up staying long term in Ukraine. It’s also easy to find students for teaching one-to-one lessons in Ukraine, earning you a little extra money – group classes are a good way to ramp up your earnings as freelance lessons don’t always come with high wages.
Requirements to teach English in Ukraine
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Ukraine||£215 - £920
($260 - $1,125)
|Preferred||September||No||Accommodation sometimes included||Yes||None|
Ukraine is the cheapest country in Eastern Europe, making it an attractive destination for TEFL teachers who want to experience another culture on a budget. While TEFL wages aren’t high in Ukraine, with a low cost of living you can afford to enjoy a nice lifestyle and perhaps also put aside some savings for the future. Another perk is the fact that banks in Ukraine often have high interest, regularly over 10%, so you can put by more than you bargained for with a local bank account. Public transport is very cheap so its easy to get around. Some schools offer health insurance benefits, or free apartments with the job.
As with many cheap countries in Eastern Europe, you’ll find the infrastructure lacking somewhat compared with what you may be used to. Also, be prepared for plenty of red tape and mounds of paperwork whenever you try to get anything done. And be aware that some places in Ukraine are considered unsafe for visitors – please consult your embassy for current guidelines before applying for jobs in Ukraine. It might be difficult to get certain things done without at least a smattering of Ukrainian or Russian, so it’s perhaps not the easiest place to get by in, but if you like a challenge and are up for learning a new language, it’s a great opportunity.
- Accommodation: £313 – £610 / $387 – $753
- Utilities: £57 / $71
- Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £9 / $11
- Monthly transport pass: £12 / $15
- Basic dinner out for two: £13 / $15
- Cappuccino in expat area: £1.17 / $1.44
- A beer in a pub: £1.19 / $1.47
- 1 litre of milk: £0.81 / $0.99
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £0.75 / $0.93
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)