The Kingdom of Belgium is a small country located in Western Europe. It is home to about 11 million people and is quite a diverse country for such a small place. Moreover, it houses some of the world’s most important headquarters including the European Union and NATO.
Belgium is split into 2 main halves with both Flemish and French languages being spoken. There is also a small population of German speaking residents and the country shares its borders with France, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands.
Belgium is known as the ‘Battlefield of Europe’ because it has been home to many European battles during its history. Unfortunately, after both the World Wars, this reputation was enhanced. In spite of this, Belgium has always been a prosperous country and today offers one of the highest standards of living anywhere in the world.
For more information about Belgium, see Wikipedia.
Why Teach English in Belgium
Tourism plays a major role in the economy of the country and Belgian businesses are reaching out into Europe and around the world meaning that the English language is taking on an ever increasing level of importance. Therefore, there is a need for young Belgians to learn English and native English speakers are preferred for teaching the language. As a result of this, you will find that there is a big demand for TEFL teachers in the country.
It’s not all work, work, work though! Belgium is famous for a number of things, including chocolate, waffles and above all beer! Belgium currently produces around 1100 different varieties of beer and is repeatedly rated for having the best beer in the world. So when you’re not working, you can sit back and enjoy some delicious beer, eat chocolate and enjoy some waffles!
Although Belgium is a small country, there is a lot to see and do. If you’re into history, culture and fine arts, you won’t ever be stuck for something to do in Belgium. The whole country littered with art galleries, architecture, music concerts and more!
Where to Teach English in Belgium
You will find that there are opportunities for teaching all over the country, but the most popular places for TEFL teachers are Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and Bruges.
Types of Teaching Jobs in Belgium
There are a number of language schools across Belgium and they often hire native English speaking TEFL teachers to teach a range of different classes. You can be teaching students of all levels, ages and backgrounds. As some of the students will be adults with full-time jobs, you will also find that there are classes early in the morning, late into the evening and at weekends.
It is possible to work as a ‘live-in’ tutor where you will teach English to a family in exchange for room and board. Usually, you don’t need to have teaching experience, nor do you necessarily need to have any teaching qualifications. Moreover, you will only be teaching for around 15 hours per week which gives you a lot of free time to explore.
There are numerous companies offering short term ESL home stays and a quick online search will reveal many companies that can help.
Another option is to take private lessons. There is no shortage of people in Belgium looking for English tuition. Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but it is also the capital of Europe. It is home to many international organisations and embassies, and you’ll find that there are many people looking for English tuition.
Teaching Requirements and Qualifications
Teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA certificate to be considered for any job in Belgium. Experience isn’t always necessary, but those with experience will find it easier to find a job. Having a master’s degree in a field connected to education will also help.
Moreover, business English is very popular, so if you have experience or qualifications associated with business, you will also find many opportunities.
Belgium isn’t really the place to go if you’re new to teaching. If you don’t have a decent internationally recognised teaching certificate (preferably a CELTA or DELTA), a degree or even a master’s degree, you will find it difficult to get a decent teaching job.
If you’re only looking to teach for the summer to pay for your travels, you should consider other options first.
Expected Salary and Living Costs
[sociallocker id=”1588″]You can actually earn a very high hourly rate in Belgium. It can start from €18 and go up to as much as €40 or more. It’s quite possible to earn €3000 per month depending on your job, what you’re teaching and where you’re working. Most teachers, however, will usually earn around €1600 – €2000 per month.
You must also take into account that salaries are taxed in Belgium and you will pay a high amount of tax on your income and it is usually around 25%.
Moreover, the cost of living in Belgium is very expensive, even a small flat can cost €400 a month and for a fairly decent 1 bedroom apartment it is likely to be even more than this. Groceries can be expensive and transportation can also be quite expensive. But these are areas that a frugal person will be able to cut back on once they get to know Belgium.
You will probably earn enough to break even and even save a few Euros each month if you can live frugally. But Belgium isn’t going to the place to teach if you’re looking to save a lot of money.
For more information about the cost of living in Belgium, take a look at Numbeo.[/sociallocker]
Belgium is a member of the EU and TEFL teachers from EU countries will be preferred because they don’t need a visa to work in the country.
If you don’t come from the EU, you will need to apply for a work permit. There are a number of different permits available depending on your job and how long you will be in the country. For more information, click here.
How to find a Job Teaching in Belgium
Similarly to other countries in Western Europe, most English teachers start to find work in the beginning of September or October and contracts will end in late June.
Whilst schools and institutes do advertise for vacant TEFL jobs online, they do usually require that you complete an interview in person. Therefore, it will be easier to secure a teaching job in Belgium if you’re already in the country.
You’ll find jobs advertised online on international and national jobs boards, in local newspapers and recruitment agencies. Moreover, you can also try contacting schools directly and checking to see if they are currently recruiting.
Teach English in Belgium
To work as a TEFL teacher in Belgium, you will need to be well qualified and experienced. In return, you can expect a high salary and have a very good standard of living.
The cost of living can be very expensive, and unless you really live frugally, or work more than the standard 25 teaching hours per week, you probably won’t save much money.
On the other hand, you will have the opportunity to explore a fascinating country and travel to other countries in Europe as Belgium has great transport links to all neighbouring countries.
Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Belgium, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.