From graduation to the Gulf

Taking your teaching career international

Ben Brown is a primary teacher who moved to Qatar International School after graduating from the University of Gloucestershire in England. Here Ben discusses life in Doha, the capital of Qatar, and how teaching in an international school is helping his career:

“I think it’s the best thing you can do! Living and teaching within a different culture and having the chance to see the world is an incredible experience.

Making the move

After university, I wanted to go travelling and save some money.  A friend of mine recommended teaching overseas - I didn’t know opportunities like that were available for graduates. After doing some research, I thought ‘great, I can do this!’

I signed up to a recruitment company and within two weeks I was offered a range of positions – in Doha, Oman and Dubai. Why would I stay in the UK when I could save more money and travel more in Qatar?

Qatar International School

My professional development opportunities are really good. I’m learning so much from the teachers here. They are all experienced and happy to share their skills and creative ideas. They allow other teachers to go into their classroom to watch their teaching – we all do this. It’s helping me through the learning process.  Everyone is like family here - they support you professionally and personally.

The children are mostly local, meaning there are a lot of EASL children.

Working with them has been really beneficial to me. It’s given me the chance to work on good teaching practice and to develop an appreciation of good learning-focused displays and resources.

Living in Qatar

Life in Doha is very good. Teachers socialise really well together. There are lots of things to do here – going out to bars and plenty of socialising opportunities. We also go out on boats, quad biking, and group socialising with other teachers. I have a big group of friends who work with the gas companies too.

Qatar is also a good base to travel from. I’m saving money right now – it’s easy to do that. I have holidays booked to Amsterdam and the US. If I was working in the UK, I couldn’t possibly think of doing all that. I’m also planning to go to Oman and Bahrain. A lot of people go to Northern and Southern Africa because it’s so easily accessible from here.

The start of an international career

This experience is also helping me to get rid of my student overdraft.

Accommodation is provided for free, and my flat is of a good standard. I get 85% of my wage packet for myself and don’t pay rent, bills, tax or medical insurance. The fact that international schools pay me a better wage also makes me feel more valued in my profession.

Once my contract in Qatar ends, I’m hoping to teach in Hong Kong. Some friends from my university are currently teaching there. Knowing now that international teaching is available has given me a huge amount of confidence. It’s much easier to get an international teaching job where there’s a demand for qualified English-speaking teachers; there is so much competition in the UK right now. 

Teaching in an international school is similar to the UK, but the opportunities and lifestyle are massively different. There are so many possibilities to work in all other countries throughout the world. My advice is to get out there and do it!”

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