Belgrade, Serbia Review for ESL Teachers
Teaching English as a second language in Belgrade, Serbia
Belgrade City Review for ESL Teachers
Belgrade City, with a population of 1.23 million is the largest city in Serbia. The White City, as Belgrade translates from Serbian, is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, in the northern part of the Balkans.
Belgrade has 4 seasons, with cold winters, hot summers, but mild springs and rainy autumns. April is the most pleasant month of the year, but the weather is never too extreme, regardless of the season.
Since living in Belgrade is pretty cheap, a ESL teacher’s salary will allow you to enjoy the vibrant nightlife Belgrade is famous for. Many clubs along the banks of the river are open until dawn, which is why in 2009 The Times proclaimed Belgrade as with the best nightlife in Europe. Furthermore, with the recent influx of foreigners, there are many restaurants with diverse cuisines, which gives expats many options when it comes to food and drinks.
Belgrade’s street names are mostly in Cyrillic Serbian, which might represent a difficulty when it comes to navigating the city. However, most people speak fairly good English, so reaching any part of the city shouldn’t be too tough. Belgrade has an extensive public transport system based on buses, trams and trolleybuses, which are all part of a comprehensive ticketing system. The price of a standard ticket is 90 RSD, but taxis are also affordable. With occasional traffic jams, taxis are sometimes the best option.
The city has one airport, which is well-connected with all parts of Europe, especially the rest of the Balkan Peninsula. The most favourite destination for expat teachers is definitely the Adriatic coast due to its vicinity, affordability, and first of all, its stunning beauty. Greece and Italy are easily accessible destinations, as well.
ESL Companies in Belgrade
People in Serbia start learning English at an early age. This allows ESL teachers many job opportunities since English is popular among all age groups. Belgrade has one state university and many private ones, and all of them are open to hiring certified foreigners as ESL teachers. However, the vast number of private language centres that exist in Belgrade offer abundant employment options. The most famous and successful ESL companies in Belgrade are Helen Doron Centre, which specializes in teaching kids, Foreign Languages Institute, International Inlingua Language Center and Berlitz School, which all offer language courses to all age groups. Home tutoring is extremely popular with Serbian students, which proves to be the best way to earn some extra money. When it comes to immigration policies, Serbia is pretty open to foreign employees, so getting hold of a working visa in Belgrade shouldn’t be a hard task. With many vacancies for ESL teachers, most of the people coming to Belgrade decide to start looking for a job after they arrive and settle here.
Living as an ESL Teacher in Belgrade
The average salary for ESL teachers is approximately 700-800 EUR, possibly a little higher for native speakers. On the other hand, teachers are paid per class, which means that if you are willing to work more, your salary will significantly go up. Many teachers decide to do some extra online classes, or home tutoring, as an additional source of money. Having in mind low costs of accommodation and food in Belgrade, this salary can allow you to live in the historical city centre and enjoy different restaurants and dynamic nightlife. Of course, if your prime goal is to save money, this is also possible if you cut your expenses a little.
Being the biggest city in the Balkans, Belgrade has many international brands and shops from all over the world. There are many food chains, selling mostly local food brands or imported from Europe. Belgrade also has many green markets, which sell fresh organic food. The modern part of the city, New Belgrade, is also a home for the Chinese quarter, where you can buy genuine eastern goods.
Since Belgrade has a long tradition of welcoming foreigners, dating from the former Yugoslavia period, there are many expat checkpoints and websites which will help you integrate faster into the city life and meet other members of the expat community.
I lived in Belgrade for 5 years, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. It can be frenetic here sometimes, but contrary to a popular belief, Serbia is a safe country. Serbs don’t like too many rules, and that’s why living here can be both enjoyable and fun, especially for ESL teachers who are looking for something off the beaten track, where they can earn some money and experience something new.
TEFL Teacher Review Scores
- ESL lifestyle affordability 65%
- ESL Job availability 55%
- ESL community 45%
- Travel on an ESL budget 70%
- Overall rating 59%