Top 15 Countries to Find Love as a TEFL Teacher


Being an English teacher working abroad can sometimes be a lonely profession. Sure, in most places you’ll have a great group of friends, and hundreds of students to keep you company, but they’re not that “special someone”.
In a new foreign land, it can be easy to find yourself looking for love in all the wrong places. So, we’re here to play cupid and show you the top 15 countries to find love as a TEFL teacher.
We’ll take you by Asia, around Europe and through South America, and try to give you a taste (or, in some cases, warning) about what to expect in each country. Now, if you’re single and ready to mingle, scroll on down…
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Photo Credit © Ding Yuin Shan | Flickr
Most of the TEFL teachers we’ve met from China have stated they’ve had a relationship with a local while teaching English in China. And, in some cases, they have even ended up marrying each other (awww). It’s important to note, that there seems to be something of a gender imbalance here – usually males dating local females is a far more common occurrence than the other way around.
Remember though, language and cultural differences can cause some difficulties. One of the big difficulties in Asia is exactly what a relationship is and when it begins. It might be that you both have different expectations of when the ‘serious’ relationship starts. Of course this varies a lot in any country, but it seems to be more often the case in Asia. So, it’s worth investing time in learning a bit of the language and brushing up on cultural expectations.

City of Love: Shanghai

If you’re interested in dating in China, this article goes through everything from sex and marriage to parents.

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Photo Credit © se7en0704 | WikiMedia

South Korea is one of the best countries for dating in Asia, and locals are known for frequently setting up their friends. The teachers we spoke to did mention that these ‘set ups’ could be somewhat spontaneous. So, don’t be surprised if what was meant to be a group outing turns out to be a blind date.
With South Korea boasting one of the best lifestyles for English teachers and expats alike, local and expat pairings are becoming more and more common. That doesn’t mean these pairings are always popular with the parents, but there’s nothing like winning over the parents… Right!?
A country with a strong love of pop culture, both men and women make the effort to look good. But, don’t be surprised if you find yourself wearing matching t-shirts or sneakers with bae – seriously.

City of Love: Seoul

Want to impress them on a first date? We’ll help you with what to eat.

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Walk in the Beach
Photo Credit © amslerPIX | Flickr
Known as Ticos and Ticas, the Costa Ricans are a warm and devoted nation. Family matters, and so does commitment. If that word “commitment” has just struck the fear of God into you, don’t run for the hills yet. Like any country, not everyone is looking for a serious relationship, but our research suggests it’s worth mentioning what you are “looking for” sooner rather than later.
Being a foreigner in Costa Rica isn’t a particularly big deal. Some people may be a little surprised that you don’t speak Spanish, but this won’t stop them flirting with you. The Ticos and Ticas know how to have a good time, whether you understand their chat up lines or not!

City of Love: San José

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The Kiss
Photo Credit © Pedro Ribeiro Simões | Flickr
Dark hair, dark eyes and bronzed bums… No, we’re not talking about Cristiano Ronaldo or Sara Sampaio (specifically) but the Mediterranean beauty can have you starstruck .
As a country that is hot on public displays of affection and grand gestures, don’t expect it to be a walk in the park. Some have even gone as far as labeling Portugal the “Champions League” of dating. You will need to do some serious woo’ing or expect to be woo’d, a passionate country has a passionate game.

City of Love: Lisbon

We’re gonna give you a helping hand with what to expect dating a Portuguese girl.

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Girls Out!!
Photo Credit © Spreng Ben | Flickr
The Japanese are not as reserved as some stereotypes may suggest, they know how to socialise and dating can be a lot of fun. A polite and sophisticated nation, you can always expect to be rejected in the nicest manner possible, if that’s any consolation.
Japan is often labelled an easier place for straight men to date, even for the nerds immersed in their manga comics. Whereas, for straight women, it can be a challenge as Japanese men can be quite shy, so often the first move is on you.
While same sex marriage isn’t legal, and this has been criticised by many, the country is LGBTQ friendly and Tokyo has a big LGBTQ scene. MIC recently voted it one of the best cities for LGBTQ 20-somethings

City of Love: Tokyo

If you’ve got your heart set on Japanese men, here’s an article on how to find a boyfriend

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Marcha del Orgullo
Photo Credit © Rodrigo Paredes | Flickr
Known as the “Paris” of South America, Argentina is not a bad place to be! The local men are usually forward and confident, which means foreigners have to up their game. A common strategy is known as playing it ‘hot and cold’, so it’s a perfect place for those who like a little mystery. In general, locals know how to charm the socks off people, so foreigners may sometimes find themselves feeling like awkward teenagers again.
Better yet, Argentina is very LGBTQ friendly, having recognised same sex marriage since 2010. Buenos Aires has a great LGBTQ dating scene, so it’s a country for all to enjoy!

City of Love: Buenos Aires

See why Gay Couples are Flocking to Buenos Aires

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Fiarro and Dee Engagement - 6
Photo Credit © Lemuel Cantos | Flickr
One of the biggest bonuses of dating in the Philippines is the language. Most locals speak English very well, so communication is actually relatively easy. But remember, even in similar cultures and with similar languages, there are differences in dating norms and expectations. Every culture, just like every person, is different! 
Dating is easy for straight men and women in the Philippines as well as LGBTQ folk. So, it’s a strong contender for most people wanting to find love in Asia. Though, locals may bring a friend with them on their first date with you, which apparently is totally normal… We’ve also heard that dating a local, if you’re a foreigner, can attract some nasty comments. But remember, love conquers all. Love and a nasty glare in return. 

City of Love: Manila

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A kiss
Photo Credit © Gabriel Flores Romero | Flickr
Home to macho men and sexy senoritas, foreigners are known as the much less attractive-sounding “Gringos” and “Gringas”. However, demand for workers to teach English is high, and it’s an attractive destination for many, many reasons. Immersing yourself in the dating scene in Mexico can be a wonderful experience. Just prepare to meet family, family and more family!
Mexican men have a traditional reputation for treating women like angels and going to great lengths to be caring and sensitive. That said, they also have a reputation for being quite doting on their mothers too. That’s something to watch out for. Mexican dating can still be quite traditional outside of major cities, so it’s worth researching local etiquette first and asking advice, so that you can be the respectful, polite and culturally sensitive lover we all want.

City of Love: Mexico City or Guadalajara

Here’s a bit o’ research on local etiquette. We just saved you a Google search.

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Couple & bike
Photo Credit © Alexander Baxevanis | Flickr
Considered the gem of Eastern Europe, Polish people are known as being exceptionally beautiful. For reference, Scarlett Johansson has Polish roots. Poland is also rated as one the best places to teach English in Europe. Great scenery, reasonable costs of living, and a rich history make Poland an interesting place to live and work as an EFL teacher. 
Dating in Poland is described as being fairly simple, with a minimum of games or complexities. Show up on time, be polite and enjoy the conversation. The Polish can come across as quite reserved and stern to begin with, but not to worry, patience is a virtue. When someone opens up to you, it’ll all be worthwhile. 

City of Love: Warsaw

See what’s it like teaching in Poland, courtesy of a veteran English teacher living in Krakow. 

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Metti in circolo il tuo amore
Photo Credit © Marco | Flickr
If you want passion, there’s no point scrolling further! The Italians are world renowned as passionate lovers who care deeply about their family, their football team and, of course, their food! So, if you want an adventurous ESL life, with fancy dining and a gorgeous girlfriend or boyfriend, book that flight…
It’s worth noting that passion runs both ways, though… One minute you’re reenacting the ‘Lady and the Tramp’ pasta scene, the next your spaghetti is hugging your shirt. It goes without saying, the Italians are definitely expressive! A few things to keep in mind are: chivalry isn’t dead, fashion is important and good cooking can save a relationship – that all goes for men and women. And ladies, be warned, you may find you’ve got friendly competition with the mother… Good luck!

City of Love: Venice or Milan

Lets take you through a Day in the Life of a TEFL Teacher in Milan.

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Dating in Thailand is often laden with jokes about ladyboys, arranged marriages and sexpats in our home countries. However, if you look past that, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s pretty easy for anyone to find a date here. A thriving international scene, multicultural cities and a lot of nightlife means dating should be easy for all genders, nationalities and orientations.
Thai women are considered as very independent when it comes to dating, they don’t wait around on your every move and can fend for themselves. Sure, the odd gift or gesture is expected here and there, but it’s not make or break. In general, dating and meeting Thai people is a fun experience – they love to have a good time and you often end a night out with more friends than you started. 

City of Love: Bangkok

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Photo Credit © ierdnall | Flickr
If you haven’t been to Russia, you’ve probably got some of your ideas about Russians from a Bond movie, right? Ruthless and stoney faced? That’s not  true though. Sure, they don”t beat around the bush, but that’s because you’re probably wasting precious time to party or dawdling when it’s -20 outside.
Both Russian men and women are known to be very loyal partners, and once you’ve broken down their slightly stern exterior, they are amazingly warm and welcoming. They are also incredibly fashionable despite the challenging weather conditions, so don’t forget to make an effort with your winter wear! 

City of Love: St. Petersburg

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The Colombian Kiss
Photo Credit © DenisDenis | Flickr
Their hips don’t lie! Colombian woman are already known for their voluptuous curves and striking features, so we’ve likely already got men searching for English teaching jobs in Bogotá. However, Colombia suits both men and women for dating.
Prepare for two things: to give lots of compliments – Colombians as a rule love to be reminded how good they look. But, who doesn’t? – and, more importantly, to learn how to dance properly! If you can’t dance, get lessons now because he/she doesn’t want to be with someone ‘Gringo dancing’…

City of Love: Bogotá

If your already panicking about the dancing, this may help…The Latin Dance Specialist

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Orugullo Madrid
Photo Credit © Calvin Smith | Flickr
The Spaniards are great at sweeping people off their feet, so EFL teachers moving here will have to work on their romance game. Spain is not only the best country for teachers looking for love in Europe, it is also rated the best for gay and lesbians according to PewGlobal, with same-sex marriage legalised way back in 2005.
The Spaniards are a lot of fun, things can get a little intense, but this is due to that infamous Mediterranean passion that keeps getting mentioned. Don’t expect them to turn up on time, just prepare yourself for an adventure, especially when it involves dancing or their family.

City of Love: Barcelona

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Edits: Colour & Brightness
Photo Credit © Eduardo Otubo | Flickr
Prepared to be charmed, not only by the beauty of the people, but the country, the food and the samba! Brazilian men and women are blessed with stunning figures, warm personalities and the innate ability to create a party from nothing!
Brazil offers an exciting dating scene for straight and LGBTQ teachers. The men are forward and affectionate, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself kissing in public. The women are confident and independent, and admittedly a tad intimidating for foreigners, at first. But, embrace the new culture! We also recommend you read up on samba, it’s not quite the same as what “we English teachers” consider as samba – it’s good to be prepared…

City of Love: Rio De Janeiro or São Paulo

If you really need the helping hand, there’s even a WikiHow on how to find a girlfriend in Brazil.

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There you have it! The best countries for dating as a TEFL teacher. If you’re all about the passion, with some occasional possessiveness, we guess you’ll be off to the mediterranean. If you want to improve your ‘Gringo dancing’, get over to South America. Or, if you want to an experience an entirely different dating culture, get yourself to Asia. 
Disclaimer: This is just for fun and a cheeky play on some common ideas about values, characteristics and priorities of each country’s traditional values. Remember that every person is unique and there are no ‘hard-and-fast’ rules when it comes to dating. Just be respectful and open minded, and you’ll be set for success. Information was acquired from first hand experiences of TEFL teachers and countries included were based on U.S. News & World Report survey of ‘Best Countries for Dating, According to the Millennials’.

If you’ve already given up on love, but some how found yourself all the way down here, we can help you with the BEST PLACES TO TEACH IN 2017 and if your motivation is money rather than love, we’ve got the COUNTRIES WITH THE HIGHEST SALARIES, but we ain’t sayin’ you a gold digger…