Teach English in Serbia

Teach English in Serbia
Information and advice from English teachers with TEFL experience in Serbia.

One has to remember that NATO bombed Serbia within recent memory of people there. English is very much in need, but they are still aligned with their fellow Orthodox cousins in Russia. Serbia has not come as far along as Slovenia, but it is pretty much in line with the rest of the former Yugoslavia. Do not get into trouble, the cops are tough, and if you are from the US or the UK, even more so. Kids at school are normal, and generally well behaved. Money is still a little tight, students might only attend class once or twice a week, and you will teach all levels, kids and adults. Normally it is up to you to create the lesson plan. As a native English speaker, you will also be expected to teach the Serb English teacher, as well as your class load. Housing is either shared, or you can get an apartment in one of the old style communist apartment blocks. Forget about A/C , get a fan when you arrive, the buildings look like they were built from pre-cast concrete, and have joints that sometimes leak when it rains, but your little room, generally won’t. Food has a little bit of Greek or Turkish influence – kind of spicy. Grocery Stores are easily within walking distance, many people have bikes however. The language is both in Cyrillic and Latin characters, the words are exactly the same, but in the written version one looks like Russian, and the other looks Slavic.[/blockquote]
Anonymous, 16 July 2008

You are 100% wrong about Serbia!!! I’ve been teaching here for 10 years and some of the Serbian teachers have more skills than the natives. You have to spend some time here if you want to talk about it :)… People have A/Cs… and do lead a normal lifestyle… of course some of them can’t afford it, but isn’t it like that anywhere else…??? Don’t take the story above for granted! That’s my advice![/blockquote]
Nikola, 9 November 2008

In response to Anonymous’s comments, I agree with Nikola. I have only visited Belgrade once and found the city to be very cosmopolitan, aware of its history, and very friendly to Americans. Of course, I wasn’t doing anything that would cause contact with the police, so I can’t speak about that. Anonymous’s experience may cause him or her to believe what they have written, but one cannot generalize so much. The general political tide is more complex than Anonymous would have you believe. My taped interviews with Serbs contradict nearly everything Anonymous has stated. Belgrade is a well-developed city on par with Rome, Brussels, or Munich. They do have amenities like air conditioning, flush toilets, and everything else they have in, say, Madison, Wisconsin or Paris, France or even Nome, Alaska. They also have stunning architecture, a fascinating historical perspective, great food, and wonderful people. Nikola is also correct on the professionalism of the language teachers there. Like so many non-native speakers they are often technically more proficient in the language than many native-speaking English majors. Money is tight in Serbia for the aforementioned complex political situation. That doesn’t make Serbs any different from many Americans in the current economic climate. Luckily, teaching language doesn’t require a whole lot of capital, just some sense of compassion and the joy of speaking and writing![/blockquote]
Ron, 8 June 2009

The anonymous post is from an idiot. Take none of that seriously. Perhaps you had a bad experience but that is not the norm. Serbia is not Utopia but it is completely modern and you can find almost anything you would in the UK, US or western EU. People are very eager to learn and English courses are a great opportunity to experience that. The standard, though, is highly varied but impossible to assume who will or will not be skilled based on age, job, etc. They are wonderfully warm to most foreigners and you can reasonably expect that if you ask a favour, someone will take care of you. Sometimes even if you don’t ask![/blockquote]
DA, 13 December 2010

Be aware that Serbia is going deeper and deeper into an extreme economic crisis just at the time when most countries are now in the recovery stage. There is an over-saturation of the private language school market here, anyone who cant find a job opens a language school (or drives a taxi). More than 100 English language schools in a city of 400 thousand (Novi Sad) and even in relatively good economic times this makes a problem.In bad times like now, with 10 percent inflation and 25 percent unemployment it is a catastrophe, with too many schools competing for fewer and fewer students (and those students, or their parents,often fall very far behind in paying)and they all keep dividing the pie into smaller and smaller pieces until there’s nothing left but crumbs for everyone. At the moment it doesn’t matter whether a school is good or bad,new or established, they are all going down. Some schools have been here 10 or 20 yrs but are now thousands of euro in debt. A native speaker is considered an unnecessary luxury when they don’t have enough work for the local teachers already. In this year 2011 Serbia should be avoided. It wasn’t so bad a year or two ago but it is now and there is no evidence it will get better anytime soon.[/blockquote]
Anonymous, 16 February 2011

I agree with anonymous, that’s the way, fear no one and speak your mind. I’ve been living here for 6 years and have seen nothing but misery, confusion and extreme corruption all covered by very thick layers of pretentiousness and lies by the Serbian government. The only people who have prospered here are the criminals and the well connected Oh and Ceca but then she’s both of those things, anyway as I was saying it’s a downhill slide here in Serbia and so it’s best to stay clear.[/blockquote]
Micky zee, 10 October 2011

No, not true. Serbians are incredibly friendly people and really don’t hold a grudge about what happened in 1999. I’ve spent a lot of time there and I’ve found that people are incredibly eager to meet and speak to Americans and to prove that they are not the “animals” that the western media portrays them as. I encourage those who believe otherwise to go for a visit and spend enough time to get to know someone.[/blockquote]
B, 2 November 2011

I have just returned in July having spent the Summer in Serbia. English schools can’t get enough students, and Serbia has relatively high English language proficiency. On most main boulevards, there are people working jobs passing out flyers to go to an English language school. They are actively and aggressively advertised, so you can rest assured at least on the one hand that the school you may be working for has plenty of advertising exposure, perhaps over saturation though.

The language schools have their own teachers, and don’t really ‘need’ native speakers. You can get a job as a teacher’s assistant, and basically just be the ‘accent reference’. The actual teacher may be more proficient in English than you are technically, but your accent will be valuable nonetheless, especially if you are from Los Angeles or New York or London and can teach a specific accent.

Yes, Serbia is a corrupt country. But to focus on that universal point about societies speaks more about the writer who is undoubtedly naive about the real relations in his/her own country, and therefor sees it pronounced in others. Also, each country handles corruption differently. I’d rather pay a cop 20e to rip a ticket up on the spot, than deal with the ‘other kind of corruption’ where overzealous cops in the US just make stuff up in order to hit some quota, make a promotion, meanwhile you are stuck hundreds of dollars in court fines, drivers ed, points on DMV record, etc.

The regular police are generally polite and show regard for the public, unlike in the USA. They tend to be young and full of an idealistic sense of legalism and responsibility. They are not ‘WWF Fuk yeah! killem all let god sort em out’ like in most US locales.

Also, gypsies aside who seem to like it how they are, there aren’t racially/culturally marginalized subcultures in Serbia. They are all ‘Serbian’, and one out of 20 is Hungarian by ancestry and surname.

Recently a young Serbian cop committed suicide in the back seat of a squad car after hurting or killing a woman pedestrian while he was driving too fast. In the US, this cop would have taken a ‘she shouldn’t have been in my way’ attitude, and probably even promoted.

Serbia is not going into an economic crisis any faster than the Eurozone, which the Dinar is mostly tied to, is. On the plus-side, Serbia is also somewhat of a Russian interest too, and so the value of the Dinar is also related not just to the Euro but also to natural gas rates coming from the Russian GAZPROM.[/blockquote]
J Flores, 11 January 2012

I have taught English to the primary and secondary students, and Spanish in the South of Serbia and it has been the best teaching experience ever! I must say that looking for opportunities to teach has not been the easiest task. I’ve previously taught in Georgia and Mongolia. My Serbian host family is wonderful, the local people are very supportive and I have also learned a bit of Serbian! Excellent for both short-term and long-term teaching positions. And – the food is the best I have ever tasted. My favourite part is the relative ease of living and people who are open and warm. A very positive experience indeed.[/blockquote]
Marina, 29 January 2012

I really can’t believe my eyes! Do you really think we are savages or something?! I am a proud Serbian teacher of English who has been in this job for 13 years now, working in one of the 10 private language schools that we have in this town, and after 13 years in this business I can proudly say that we are not a single euro in debt. Mr Anonymous obviously had a bad experience and “puts us all into one bag”! Even though we suffered a lot, even though we struggle every day with different problems, it is still nice and easy to live here. There is always a job if you want one. We are warmhearted, kind, hospitable and friendly to everyone. Just act as a human and you will receive a human reaction. If you want to come here to become rich, you are in the wrong place. But if you want to earn for a decent life, to be free to walk the streets without being monitored by the cameras all over, if you want to experience all of the natural beauties of the country and a great hospitality of the people, you are in the right place. And native speakers are not “an unnecessary luxury”…you can ask an American who has been working in my school for a year. You got it all wrong Mr Anonymous… It is not all about politics, government and black percentages.[/blockquote]
Serbian_teacher, 14 Feb 2012

I am Serbian born but have lived in Australia for most of my life, and am currently working in oz as a teacher. I would relish the opportunity to go back to Serbia and find work as a teacher but am struggling to find any advertised jobs. Could somebody please advise me of companies to contact or job seeker websites in Serbia? Also, whats the going rate for teachers in Serbia? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.[/blockquote]
Vladimir, 12 June 2012

I am an English teaching assistant in Europe from America and have visited Belgrade for a few days earlier this year. I really enjoyed my visit there, and the people whom I met were very warm and friendly. Because it is difficult for non-EU citizens to stay and teach in Europe (and because I’d much rather stay here than return to the US), I’ve been searching for opportunities outside the EU as well. The amount of money earned is no object. Native English-speaking teachers need to come to terms with reality: our profession will not make you rich unless you manage to teach in the Middle East, which also comes with some drawbacks. A REAL English teacher is one who works for the teaching experience and cultural immersion, not for the number of digits in their paycheck. If you’re concerned about how much you will earn and be able to waste on unessential things, keep your ass at home and watch the Travel Channel. Leave the experiences for us to have…[/blockquote]
the_wanderer, 28 Nov 2013


Teacher training courses in Serbia
English language schools in Serbia


  1. Because my son is currently living and working in Serbia with the immigrant challenge. it is to help that cause and help Serbia advance and adapt to the new world coming that I would love to teach there. I am highly experienced and have taught English to international students at California State University, Northridge for the past 30 years. I am experienced in training teachers, parents, and students in teaching English, Positive Thinking, and Adapting to the new world which is upon us all. Is there any place for me in Serbia?

    I would love to help in any way I can.

    Thank you.
    Gloria Cliffords
    glospirit@ sbcglobal.net

  2. I am from Serbia, native one as people say. Searching internet and trying to find appropriate job for me. So I have been learning English since my second grade of elementary school and after 16 years of private lessons I went to private school where I got CAE passing the exam in British Council. Nowadays the time has come to make one more and in December CPE will wait for me. So if anyone needs a teacher who can help you understand Serbian and English even more.

    Thanks in advance
    Ivana Đođić

  3. I’d say it is pretty obvious that Mr. Anonymous lived outside the center or not in Belgrade at all in a very cheap apartment. It is simply the case that the poorer people of all countries are more nationalistic. Mr. Anonymous, please buy yourself an A/C

  4. Hello
    I would like to put out that I would like to speak to anyone willing to assist and put me in the right direction of how I may work and live in Serbia. I live in NY but parents are from Montenegro. Here is my email pavlenikocevic at Gmail.

    Thank you in advance.
    Hvala puno.

  5. I am a teacher of English with seven years of teaching experience. I want to teach in Serbia. May somebody help me get a job there

    my name is Peter.

  6. Serbia is a cool place with potential for incredible adventures and sight-seeing. Problem is, it’s difficult to make a sustainable wage here, and I wouldn’t advise coming here if you just want to teach English – which you are pretty much limited to, unless you want to sell your soul to some Globalist corporation. The Globalists have been in total control since they broke up Yugoslavia and bought the country for pennies on the dollar. EVERYTHING in the country has become, or is in process of becoming “privatized” (sold to the corporate Mafia on the “Free Market”).
    Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of wealthy people here, along with the majority of the population below poverty level, but they have their ways of making money… and they certainly didn’t get their Audis and Mercedes by teaching English :p

    Agree with the guy above who said you shouldn’t come here if you want to make money, but Serbia is a beautiful country with a tremendous wealth of history and good, kind-hearted, humble people in general.


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