Teach English in United Arab Emirates

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How to Begin Teaching in United Arab Emirates

Influences from India, Malaysia, Philippines and the UK

It offers a great standard of living for anyone looking to teach English.

The UAE is a huge oil-producing country with influences from India, Malaysia, Philippines and the UK.  Subsequently, it is a country of fusion and of contrast. The ultra-modern architecture of Dubai sits side by side with the country’s ancient Bedouin culture. The country is currently undertaking a huge investment in infrastructure and construction. The pinnacle of this is the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest structure in the world. Dubai also has a plethora of premium shopping complexes, beaches where you can wear a bathing suit or shorts, as well as temples. This means that Dubai is more liberal than other cities in the region. However, do not be fooled by the modern appearance. For both men and women reserved clothing and behaviour is expected in public. Those who break the rules, such as with public displays of affection with the opposite sex, can find themselves facing imprisonment or deportation. 

There are seven different Emirates that make up the UAE. The UAE has more than one royal family unlike other European countries or Japan. Each family has its own distinctive culture, traditions, and history. A royal family rules each Emirate of the UAE, with the most powerful being the families in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The emir of Abu Dhabi is the country’s head of state while the emir of Dubai serves as the nation’s prime minister. 

Abu Dhabi, another region of the UAE, is also more conservative, particularly in how women dress. This means women should not show any shoulder, cleavage or knees. While in Abu Dhabi you can visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the country and inspired by the Taj Mahal. The striking white architecture is made up of 82 marbled domes and more than 1,000 columns.  Close to Abu Dhabi is the garden oasis of Al Ain, with parks and the scenic backdrop of the Hajar Mountains. Buying and selling Camels has been an integral part of the UAE’s tradition and history. To experience the local tradition, make sure to stop at the camel market in Al Ain.  

There is a large expat community in the UAE that move here for business, teaching, fashion and much more. Almost 80% of the population in the country is made up of over 200 nationalities, which means there is a huge variety of cultures and food.

Teaching Opportunities

Despite the restrictions, the UAE is more liberal than some other countries in the region. It offers a great standard of living for anyone looking to teach English. There is a large demand for English teachers, due to the ever-growing importance of the UAE in the global economy. There are high salaries, no income tax on your earnings and great benefits. These generally include luxury furnished accommodation, health insurance, paid holidays and reimbursed airfare. The high salaries also bring with them high expectations of teachers. Teachers need to have a degree, a 120-hour TEFL certificate and experience. There are some limited opportunities for newly qualified teachers.

Contracts are for 20-25 hours of teaching per week. Students are motivated and open to learn, but the pace of learning might be slower than in other regions of the world. The locations where it is possible to find teaching opportunities are Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. It is also vitally important that teachers find work before coming to the country, due to the strict work visa regulations. It is possible to find jobs advertised on online forums. EFL opportunities generally have start dates beginning in September and January respectively. This means that due to the lengthy visa-processing time, teachers need to begin applying 4 months in advance.

Teaching Requirements

Degree Requirement Typical Contract Length Peak Hiring Seasons Visa Info Typical Students Average Monthly Cost of Living in £ GBP & Local Currency Average Monthly Salary in £ GBP & Local Currency
BA/BS required12 – 24 months September and January Work visa in advance Business professionals, children 4,820 – 12,050 (800 – 2000 GBP) 8,680 - 18,077 (1,440 – 3000 GBP)
BA/BS required
12 – 24 months
September and January
Work visa in advance
Business professionals, children
8,680 - 18,077 (1,440 – 3000 GBP)

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