What Are The Benefits To Living And Teaching ESL in the Middle East?
While many Americans, Canadians, and other native English speakers venture to Asian countries to begin their ESL careers, and do this shortly after graduating from college, many others have, and are finding rewarding work in the Middle East. Despite a sluggish global economy, with its overall toll on the financial industry worldwide, teaching in the Middle East can be financially worthwhile. Moreover, many countries in the Middle East are investing heavily in education, especially higher education. This means for qualified and well-educated Americans, there are more job opportunities not only in ESL but as professors at universities in the region. For instances, Saudi Arabia has fully funded master’s and Ph.D. programs at King Saud University, which raises several questions about that particular country. First, are locals benefitting for this influx of funds to King Saud University? Are people actually learning English? There is also the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) program in the UAE. The ADEC scholarship program provides numerous scholarships in order, as its website indicates, achieve “the emirate’s social and economic goals.”
As for all around teaching possibilities, popular teaching destinations are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Jordan, and Kuwait. One of the perks of teaching abroad in the Middle East - and elsewhere across the globe - is free living accommodations as well as round trip air travel (in some cases, dependents of ESL instructors will also receive free airfare). An even bigger plus? ESL instructors enjoy a tax-free salary. Finally, most of these countries require 1 to 2 year contracts for work. Once you are finished with your contract and decide to return home, you will oftentimes receive a severance package.
Here are a few reasons to think about teaching ESL in the aforementioned countries.
- Abu Dhabi is a city and an emirate, the latter of which means that it is a territory and ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch. The population is 1.9 million people.
- Like other places in the Middle East, salaries can be quite high.
- The city is located on an island, and it shares borders with Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Oman.
- Abu Dhabi offers private and public teaching positions, and you can teach from elementary to the college level.
- Salaries range from $3,000 a month to upwards of $6,000 a month.
- Dubai is a city-state in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with well over 2 million inhabitants.
- Dubai is cosmopolitan and attracts people from all over the world. It is a central location in the Middle East for business, so it is a lively and thriving city.
- The highest skyscraper, the majestic Burj Khalifa, is located in Dubai.
- You can teach at private schools, embassy schools, and also at the university level.
- Like Abu Dhabi, Dubai offers lucrative salaries to ESL teachers.
- Most jobs - and this goes for the majority of jobs in the Middle East - require TEFL or TESOL certification, plus teaching experience.
- Jordan is the Hashemite Kingdom. It shares borders with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Israel. The population is over 6.5 million people, and 8 languages are spoken there.
- Education is held in high esteem, and this country also offers ESL teachers great salaries and benefits.
- Like the other countries in the Middle East, as an ESL instructor, you will receive excellent medical benefits, too.
- Kuwait won its independence from Great Britain in 1961.
- It is a sovereign state in the north-east part of the Arabian peninsula.
- Kuwait has a population of 3.5 million.
- Many teachers find working and living in Kuwait to be quite easy and pleasant.
- ESL teachers also enjoy fantastic shopping options.
- Salaries for ESL instructors in Kuwait range from $1,800 to $3,500 a month.
It can be both rewarding and challenging to teaching ESL abroad. Popular opinion, which doesn’t always hold the Middle East with high esteem in the United States, tends to make many ESL instructors steer clear of this part of the world. However, that might not be the best choice, especially if you are interested in paying down your student loans quickly and also wish to explore a culturally rich country as an ESL instructor in the Middle East. The forthcoming series of articles will:
- Further explore the ups and downs to living, working, and teaching in the Middle East, and
- Investigate the massive amount of funding that Middle Eastern countries are pouring into centers of higher learning.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wattsdave/
Cryn Johannsen's Recent Posts
Cryn Johannsen is the founder and executive director of All Education Matters (AEM) which was founded in order to educate the public and elected officials about the ever growing student loan debt crisis.
Johannsen is widely known across the US for her expertise about student loans and as an investigative journalist. Her written articles have been published frequently in USA Today, Moneycrashers.com, Huffington Post, Truthout.org, Hyervocal.com and The Loop 21.
On ESL101.com Johannsen’s feature column is be dedicated to topics that relate to the ESL field, the global economy, and working and living abroad.