Should I teach English in Cambodia? That’s the first question we asked ourselves.
We didn’t always know we were going to teach in Cambodia. In fact, when we decided we were going to sell all of our belongings to teach English abroad, Cambodia wasn’t even on our minds at all.
We knew people would teach in South Korea, China, and Japan. We also knew people would teach in Thailand, but we didn’t really understand how you’d make much money doing that. Unlike a lot of travel bloggers, we started our journey with next to no money. Being able to save money was a huge priority for us, so volunteering wasn’t really on the docket.
The other (big) thing was that although we had both gone to post-secondary school, neither of us have 4 year bachelor degrees. Nick went to trades school (plumbing) and I went to film school. We both finished with certificates and diplomas, but that’s not the degree countries like S. Korea and Japan are looking for.
So we did a quick Google search – where could we teach without a BA and still save money? That’s when we saw it for the first time – our perfect option may be to teach in Cambodia.
At the time of writing this, there still isn’t really a lot of coverage on how to teach English in Cambodia (hence why we started this blog). We loved the past year of teaching in Phnom Penh, so we wanted to shine some light on Cambodia in general. Who knows – maybe you’ll consider it too.
#1. It is relatively easy to find work
We found positions in Phnom Penh the day we got off the plane. Although not everybody is this lucky, it is an indicator of how quickly you can find work. If you are a capable, friendly English-speaking person, it won’t be too difficult to find a job teaching in Cambodia.
#2. Yes – you can save money
The pay may appear low but the cost of living is also quite low. That means you can save the majority of your paychecks. See our article Saving Money: Teaching and living in Phnom Penh to learn more about saving money while you teach in Cambodia.
#3. You do not need to know Khmer
Although we encourage people to *try* and learn Khmer while they teach in Cambodia, it isn’t necessary to know the language to navigate through the country. Many people speak English and most of the signage is in English as well. This makes the transition into the country much easier.
#4. Cambodian parents are very grateful
Of course, the kids are amazing – but what really stood out to us was how grateful the parents are. Teachers are highly regarded in Cambodia and for the most part, respected in their positions. We loved working with the parents to make the best plans for the education of the children. They were generally grateful for us and we were grateful for them. Win, win!
#5. Life is relaxed and simple
Coming from the Western world, life in Cambodia is very attractive. The people are lovely, smiley, and relaxed. There is no rush. The weather is warm and the cost of living is low. The majority of our weekends were spent at rooftop pools or finding funky clothes in the market. The lifestyle drawed us into Cambodia and made it very hard to leave.
#6. Cambodia is beautiful
Cambodia is a beautiful, versatile country with countless things to see and do. The history is rich, the people are friendly and there is always something to see and learn. From the chaos in Phnom Penh, to the white sand beaches in Koh Rong, to the lazy riverside lifestyle in Kampot, all the way to the ancient temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia is just a breathtaking country.
So – are you convinced yet? If you are a passionate and dedicated ESL teacher, we encourage you to consider Cambodia as an option for your next journey. You won’t regret it.
Thinking of moving to Cambodia? Find our step-by-step guide here.
See our videos about the pros & cons about living in Cambodia:
And other videos on our Youtube channel here.
I wanted to ask what was the most difficult subject of English you had to teach? What areas of the city did you apply to? I see that some schools want a four-year degree(next to aeon mall 1), and I don’t have that. Did you apply north of the grand palace, around the Russian market, and close to aeon mall 2? Thank you for your help.
Nick was teaching 3rd grade and I was teaching nursery, but there are high school jobs as well. Most “English teaching” jobs in Cambodia simply are just grade school teacher jobs – so you’d be teaching math, English, science, social studies, etc. at an international school. We applied everywhere in the city.