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What to expect as a teacher in Dubai

It is hard to believe that Dubai was once a sleepy fishing town when you see it now, and the education system in Dubai has grown with the economic boom. Teaching in Dubai has become almost synonymous with teaching in the Middle East, and it is a very popular location. Whilst this means that there are lots of expatriate teachers in the region with whom to socialise, it also means that there is lots of competition for jobs.

There is no one type of Dubai school and no typical salary. Schools that serve a local population will often collect lower fees and therefore pay lower salaries, but they are often more amenable to take on less experienced teachers that other schools will not consider. Teaching in these schools requires you to immerse yourself in local culture and once you do, you will find that you might get invited to a local wedding and enjoy local festivities which are less accessible to teachers who remain in the expatriate bubble.

Because Dubai is very multinational with over 70% of residence from outside the UAE, there are a number of schools serving a mix of nationalities and indeed very few schools are made up of only one nationality. This is why teaching in Dubai usually requires that teachers are comfortable educating children for whom English is not the first language, no matter what subject or curriculum they teach.

Salaries, like that of all Gulf countries, are tax free in the country of origin, and benefits packages include furnished housing - which may or may not be shared with another teacher and thus not suitable for teachers with spouse/dependents - this varies by school, flights yearly, and an end of contract bonus, called gratuity, which many teachers use in lieu of a pension payment. Medical insurance is provided but it may or may not extend beyond your host country or cover travel. Utilities may or may not be part of the package but in our experience utilities in the Middle East are very inexpensive. A budget of 300-500 AED per month is usually adequate for most teachers provided you have eco-friendly practices such as turning off your air-conditioning when you are not at home.

Please note that because housing is part of the benefits package, and housing allowances in lieu of housing are not common and do not usually cover the cost of an apartment, most teaching jobs in Dubai are not suited to teachers with a family unless a teacher's spouse already has their own more lucrative employment package. Most schools offer 30-50% discounts on school fees for children of teachers who work at the school - free school places are not common.

About Dubai

Capital: Dubai
Language: Arabic
Population: 1.6 million

Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Once a small unknown town built by Persian traders, Dubai is now an expatriate paradise known for its warm weather, shopping, extravagance and tall skyscrapers.

Dubai is going from strength to strength and exceeding expectations and doing many world firsts including the first 7 star hotel, luxury underwater hotel and tallest tower.

Dubai offers a fantastic cultural experience combined with a fantastic expatriate lifestyle, with the locals being very warm and welcoming.

Frequently called the Shopping Capital of the Middle East, shopping is a favourite past time of locals, and with many visiting Dubai for its shopping alone, especially during the month long Dubai Shopping Festival in January.

Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Oman.

Eating and Drinking

There are endless restaurant options in Dubai. You can dine in 5 star hotel restaurants, visit traditional restaurants or stands, as well as enjoy some of the western fast food restaurants from back home. There is a great mix, you will never be left short of places to eat in Dubai.

Certain hotels and private bars serve alcohol, but you must remember that alcohol cannot be consumed in public and only in certain licensed premises.

Activities

Dubai offers a vast array of activities, both high adrenaline and relaxing. There is dune bashing, sand skiing, abseiling, hiking, diving, parasailing, fishing and diving. There are plenty of parks to relax in, boats to cruise in and beaches for relaxing. A little bit of something for everyone.

Transport

The travel opportunities within and around Dubai are endless. Dubai is a major transport hub with over 120 airlines currently flying in and out of the emirate. A majority of the travel within Dubai is by car, whether it be taxi, private car or with a driver. Roads are of very good condition, but Dubai is quite well known for its traffic jams.

Climate

From June through to September, Dubai can experience highs into the high 40's. From October, the temperatures drop slowly to nice temperature highs of the early 30's, with temperatures sometimes reaching a low of 10C in winter. Sand storms also do happen from time to time.

Currency

The currency in Dubai is the UAE Dirham or AED.

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