I'm living the dream in the Middle East
Find out why more teachers are choosing life in the Middle East
Brilliant weather, motivated students, and a wealth of outdoor activities on offer. These are just some of the comments from TIC teachers about living and working in the Middle-East.
There are currently plenty of opportunities available in the United Arab Emirates. The region has more English-medium international schools than any other. But what's it really like to teach in the Middle East? TIC asked four teachers what they love most about living and working in this part of the world:
Janet Berg is an 'empty-nester' from Southport, UK. She recently moved to Qatar to teach at Doha British School School in Doha:
“I love the weather in Qatar. It's amazing for people like me who appreciate constant sunshine and blue skies! The country also offers so much in the way of sports and outdoor activities - I have been kayaking at midnight through the mangroves and partying aboard a wooden dhow in the bay!
Doha has some amazing architecture and the Islamic Art Museum is incredibly beautiful and atmospheric. In contrast, the Souq is a bustling hive of activity and gives you a glimpse of past traditions and cultures in Qatar.
I'm able to travel more since living here. From Doha I can take weekend trips to Dubai, which is only a forty minute flight away. Many other countries, such as Sri Lanka, are also within easy reach.
My living arrangements are fantastic. I have been given an allowance from school and have moved to a gorgeous apartment on the Pearl. It really is luxury living with a beautiful private pool area and gym. My balcony overlooks the Marina and then out to the Arabian Gulf. I'm living the dream and I feel extremely lucky!”
Sarah Brown is a secondary school maths teacher from Nottingham, UK. She previously taught in Qatar and is now working at Latifa School for Girls, an international school in Dubai:
“A perk of teaching in both Qatar and Dubai is that the students are motivated to learn. They look forward to coming to school and want to work hard. This was so different from my experience teaching in the UK! In Nottingham I spent most of my time trying to manage the students' behaviour. Here I spend most of my time teaching.
I've also really enjoyed making new friends in Dubai. I joined the Internations group which helped me to form a social network. I now have a wide and varied social circle with Emirati friends, teachers from the UK, and expats employed in other areas of work. The weather makes a big difference in encouraging people to be more sociable. It's also so easy to try new things out here. I've taken up skiing – there's an artificial ski slope in a shopping mall in Dubai!
It's relatively cheap to live here and this was a motivator for coming here. It's tax free and my accommodation and utilities are paid for by the school. All the money I earn is mine to spend.”
Ben Brown is a primary teacher from Cornwall, UK. He spent a year teaching at Qatar International School in Doha:
“Life in Doha was great. I really enjoyed how much the teachers at my school socialised. There are so many things to do in the city. I used to go out to bars and go quad bike and boating. I had a big group of friends which consisted of teachers and people who worked at the gas companies in Doha.
Qatar is also a great base to travel from. During my year in Qatar I traveled to Oman, Bahrain, USA and Amsterdam. I couldn't possibly have afforded all that if I was working in the UK. On top of the travel, I still managed to save money! It's easy to do that in Qatar. I didn't pay rent, bills, tax or medical insurance. I lived in a flat provided by the school, which is very typical.”
Claire Woodhouse is an English teacher from Buckinghamshire, UK. She now teaches English and Drama at ACS Doha International school in Qatar:
“I love the family-centred culture of Qatar - you often see whole families out together. It’s a very conservative, safe society for women to live in. In my free time I work out, swim and visit different places in the city.
My teaching timetable in Qatar is easier than in the UK, so I’m able to socialise far more with my colleagues, which makes for very effective ‘down time’ from work. I spend a lot less time lesson planning and marking than I did before, so I try to use that extra time fully. It’s easy to make friends here because the expat community is so small.
To other UK teachers looking to move to the Middle East, I'd most definitely say 'do it!'. What are you waiting for?”
TIC works with several international schools in the Middle-East. Take a look at our latest jobs in our Middle East vacancies section.