One of the biggest factors that affects your living cost when teaching abroad is your rent. If you are lucky enough to find one of the top positions, you might get rent included in your contract, but the majority of teaching jobs will require you to pay your own rent.
This isn't necessarily a sign that the job shouldn't be taken though, plenty of great jobs exist where you pay the rent. Besides, there are usually other factors to consider as well.
Bearing all this in mind, we decided to make this week's article about the average rent in various cities around Asia. We've done some research, but we will want to point out that rent can fluctuate depending on whether you live alone, with others, and how large your apartment is. Even in a specific area of a city there can be a variety. This makes it quite hard for us to state a specific price.
To make it easier, we're going to show the average cost of renting a place by yourself. It's likely that you'll pay less if you live with others, so consider this figure to be a "Worst case scenario" (to the best of our knowledge at least).
The average cost of a single apartment, according to numbeo.com, is $15,000nt in the city centre, and $9,000nt outside of the city centre. This translates to an average of about $300 - $500 USD per month, depending on location.
If you're planning to head to a different part of the country, consider that the living costs are significantly lower outside of Taipei, and where they're not, you get considerably more space for the same dollar.
Numbeo puts the cost of living in Tokyo at between 77,000 and 138,000 Yen, again depending on whether you live inside or outside the city centre. This translates to about $650 - $1,200 USD per month. Tokyo is a much more expensive city than Taipei, and one of the most expensive in Asia, so this makes sense.
Generally though, Japan has higher wages and a higher living standard than the rest of Asia.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Vietnam is much cheaper than other parts of Asia, and due to its increasing popularity as a destination for English teachers, there is a lot of information about average rent now. Again basing our findings on Numbeo.com, we can see that the average rent in the city centre is 10 million VND and 6 million VND outside the city centre. For comparisons, this is about $260 to $450 USD.
Vietnam is often the cheapest in our lists, and its slowly increasing wages are making it an attractive destination to TEFL teachers. However, Taipei and Tokyo definitely offer a better standard of living.
In Beijing, the cost of living alone is about 7,500 Yuan in the city centre, or 3,500 outside of it. For USD, that works out as $1,100 to $550. This is pretty high for a city that offer a lot of pollution. However, the fact that it is Beijing, where things are modern, built to a higher standard than the rest of the country, and where wages are higher, generally cancels out the rent price.
Best Bang For Buck?
The best bang for buck is probably Taipei, where you can have a much higher standard of living than in other parts of Asia, without having to spend the same amount that you would in Tokyo.
However, you shouldn't choose a job based solely on the rent price. Use this as an informational guide, but look at the bigger picture while choosing your ideal position.