Teaching in the Middle East: Pros, Cons, and Exciting Experiences
Is it all it’s cracked up to be in another country?
As a teacher in the Middle East, living and working in a new and unfamiliar country has exciting and challenging aspects. While cultural differences can be vast, there are many things to look forward to.
One of the biggest challenges of teaching in the Middle East is the language barrier. Arabic is the primary language in many countries in the region. While English is widely spoken, it can still be challenging to communicate effectively with students and parents who need to say it fluently. Additionally, cultural norms and customs may differ from what you are used to, which can take some getting used to.
How about the cost of living? I’m barely able to save as it is…
The cost of living in the Middle East varies depending on the country and city you live in. While some cities can be expensive, teachers’ overall standard of living is often relatively high. Many teaching positions offer comprehensive salary and benefits packages, including housing, health insurance, and annual airfare home. Salaries can range from $2,000 to $4,000 monthly, depending on your experience and qualifications.
What about high days and holidays?
One of the benefits of teaching in the Middle East is the generous annual leave and school holidays. Most teaching contracts offer at least two months of summer vacation and breaks for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. This can be an excellent opportunity to explore other countries in the region or to travel back home to visit family and friends.
Is there anything other than sand and brunch…?
There are many exciting things to do in the Middle East, from exploring ancient ruins to trying new foods and experiencing vibrant local cultures. Some of the most popular tourist destinations in the region include Petra in Jordan, the Pyramids in Egypt, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Whether you are interested in history, architecture, or outdoor activities, there is something for everyone in the Middle East.
Family life in the Middle East can be both challenging and rewarding. While the culture may initially be unfamiliar, there are many opportunities to make new friends and get involved in local communities. Schools in the region often offer support for teachers and their families, including housing and schooling options for children.
I’ve heard you can cook an egg on the hood of a car in the summer.
Of course, there are also some cons to teaching in the Middle East. The heat can be oppressive in some areas, particularly during the summer, and cultural differences may take some time to adjust. Additionally, some countries in the region have strict laws and regulations that can be difficult to navigate.
Overall, teaching in the Middle East can be a rewarding and exciting experience. While there are challenges to overcome, the opportunity to explore a new culture, positively impact students’ lives and enjoy a high standard of living make it a worthwhile adventure for many teachers.
I’m used to teaching a specific curriculum; is it the same?
In terms of schools in the Middle East, there are many different types of institutions, ranging from international schools to local public schools. International schools typically follow a Western-style curriculum and offer instruction in English, while local public schools often teach in Arabic and may follow a different curriculum. The standards for teaching and education can vary widely depending on the school and country, so it’s essential to research the specific institution you are considering working for.
One of the most exciting teaching experiences in the Middle East is learning about and engaging with a rich and diverse culture. From exploring traditional souks and markets to attending cultural festivals and events, there are endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn from your students and colleagues.
My hours are long enough; what are the benefits?
One of the biggest challenges of teaching in an Arabic country is adjusting to the pace of life and work. Depending on the land and institution, work hours may be longer, and there may be more bureaucracy and red tape to navigate. It’s essential to be patient and flexible and to approach the experience with an open mind and a willingness to learn and adapt.
Regarding salary and benefits, packages vary widely depending on the country and institution. In general, international schools tend to offer higher wages and better benefits packages than local public schools. Some schools may offer additional perks like free housing or transportation allowances. Negotiating your contract carefully and understanding what is included in your package before accepting a position is essential.
They do say teaching is a vocation…
Teaching in the Middle East can be an exciting and rewarding experience for those willing to embrace the challenges and opportunities of living and working in a new and unfamiliar culture. While there are undoubtedly cultural and logistical hurdles to overcome, engaging with a rich and diverse culture, positively impacting students’ lives, and enjoying a high standard of living make it a worthwhile adventure for many teachers.
Relocate MENA can provide services that make the moving process smoother, more efficient, and less stressful for individuals and companies in the Middle East and North Africa region.